Indeed, Seunghyun at first turned numb when she finally answered the phone, but once he heard her screaming he started shouting her name, making everybody around him freeze.
"Please stop!" he could still hear Liana's voice through the screeches and the huffs or the puffs inside that car.
"Why would I?" Mike's too pleased voice cut her whining. "Give me one good reason..." he started grinning.
"You're gonna get all three of us killed!" Liana mostly whispered hoping that she wouldn't be heard all the way down to the floor, but unfortunately, she was. Seunghyun dropped his phone as a sudden screech and a loud thud brought the never-ending sound of a telephone busy line.
"Hyung...?" Ji merely muttered.
Seunghyun's eyes traveled from one of his band members to the other before, as if he was just gotten up from a dream, kneeled to look for his cellphone.
"Nn... noona?..." he said in the now silent phone. "Noona, are you there?... Noona!" he dialed the number three times in less than a minute, but every time that annoying lady kept on saying that the caller could not be reached.
"Hyung..." the youngest got his arm to help him stand up, but he wouldn't react.
"Not now... just let him be..." Daesung mostly whispered while Seunghyun slowly dropped on his bottom, covering his eyes to take a deep breath. He mumbled from 1 to 10 and got his eyes back up, smiling, even if it was just a fake smile. He checked up the clock on the wall - 20 minutes till their show - he stretched out his hands to both Seungri and Daesung to help him up.
"Hyung, just sit there..." Daesung said.
"It's ok" Seunghyun smiled a little more confident. "I'm all better now..." he said taking a few shuffling steps towards the grey door leading to the make-up area. He stopped for a couple of minutes in front of the big whiteboard indicating the playlist they will follow and the run-time of each song.
"We stick to the schedule," he said before getting lost behind the door.
Even though he tried to calm down by saying things like "Nothing could've happened", "It's only three hours..." the last screeching sounds and Liana's 'three of us' meddled with his head more than he wanted to acknowledge.
"Sir, are you ok?" asked the lady of the make-up staff when he sat on her chair.
"No" Seunghyun answered sincerely "But it must not show" he closed his eyes making everyone around understand that he was not to be disturbed.
Five bottles of beer and 20 minutes later he was yet again one gorgeous male doll. He smiled powerlessly and picked from a suitcase full of black glasses one pair to cover that red threads in his eyes that no make-up could cover.
"Hyung..." Ji grabbed his arm.
"Hyung" Daesung also interfered "we can start with our solos and..."
"It's ok. Everything's gonna be ok..." he kept that creepy faded smile on his face. I can do this... She's going be ok..." he mumbled all the way to the backstage. Jiyong quickly followed him closely looking like they kept on talking. The other three band members followed them too.
"What do you think this was all about?" Seungri whispered to Taeyang.
"Not sure, but I bet it has something to do with the girl in the paper..." Taeyang whispered back.
"Yah!" Daesung also whispered "Don't gossip! Just wait for him to tell us!"
"My guess is that it's about that newspaper article too" the latter ignored his senior's advice, but it cost him a knock on the back of his head.
"I said to not gossip!" Daesung whisper-shouted at him, pushing him to move faster.
In no time the darkness on the stage swallowed them and the thundering cheers shuttered their hearts. All of them looked and quickly occupied their places in the dark, just as they rehearsed.
"All three of us"... rounded Mike's head. Suddenly something wet slit his cheekbones looping around his chin. His eyes quickly looked for something on the floor to hang on, but unfortunately, they fell on Liana's lighted cellphone screen. Faster than she could even blink, he grabbed it from in between the seats and threw it out of the window. At first, Liana took a short scream but when his eyes met hers she quickly swallowed it. He wasn't crying anymore, but his breath was heavy and his hands were shaking on the steering wheel. The way too sudden brake also made Liana grab the car's dashboard. She couldn't even dare to look at him, so she kept her eyes on the floor, thanking God that they stopped and they were alive... well, at least that's what she hoped...
"When did you find out?" Mike asked without looking at her.
"As soon as I came here..." she answered, still holding her eyes deep on the ground.
"Are you sure?!" he stared at her squeezing the steering wheel.
Liana couldn't answer, she was too dumbfounded; it wasn't the reaction she would've anticipated. 'What's that supposed to mean?' she would've asked him but he cut in again.
"WHEN did you find out?"
'Are you implying that a pregnancy could occur in just 3 days???' Liana would've asked if she could just make her lips to open up, but instead she just stared at him in disbelief.
"Hmph..." Mike puffed turning on the engine again.
'Was he this idiot before?..." she kept on looking at him.
"Stop staring at me!" Mike shouted shaking the tears down Liana's eyes.
After the wheels rolled just for a few times, he stopped the car again, as sudden as before.
"Is it mine?" he looked for her eyes, but all he could find was a big, sudden flood that he misinterpreted.
"W... what?..." Liana could merely whisper.
"I asked if the baby it's mine..." he spoke in such gray tone.
"Is... is this what you really want to ask?..." she felt the need to grab a hold on something even if she was seated. Her hand reached the door handle, giving Mike again a wrong idea of her answer.
"Why...?" he seemed to have calmed down.
"I... me... it wasn't on purpose..." Liana babbled.
"I don't care!" Mike shut her off. "One last time: is this baby mine or not?" Mike's cold words froze even her tears turning them into ice stares.
"No" she answered piercing his eyes without even a blink.
"Get out..." Mike muttered as two tears slid across his face.
Even before he could finish speaking, Liana pushed the handle and got off in an instant. He eye followed her until she got on a taxi. His both hands grabbed his hair, wondering why he didn't stop her. He rolled his eyes angrily, to force them to stop pouring, but they hit her forgotten purse. Because it was opened and because something white was almost popping out, he quickly pulled it out. It was a white envelope. His eyes widened when he read in their language the words "maternity" and the name of a hospital in their country. He opened it in a glance to look for the date - it was from almost a month ago - three weeks to be more precise, the exact date Liana left for Seoul. There was no way he could stop his tears over-flooding now. His shaking hands started fighting with the key that seemed like it wouldn't roll around for nothing in this world.
"Are you ok, miss?" the old taxi driver asked.
"Yes...um... nae, gwenchanayo*... " Liana answered in low voice wiping away the tears.
"Where to?" the driver asked again.
"Umm... Olympic gymnastics arena?..." she said after the huge billboard on the building in front revealed the location she was actually trying to remember
The song started. It was Seunghyun's solo. Lucky enough he had to sing from behind some huge panels with static images and long, colored stripes. People could not see him, but he could check on them... even if he knew there was basically no possible way for her to be there. This was one of his saddest songs, so he felt comfortable singing it and letting his shaky voice came out until it disappeared at whole. The melody didn't stop, just that instead of him singing, the thousands voices in the arena became one and continued the sad song. He smiled when the panels rose and revealed his face on the huge Tv screen, making a thousand voices scream in randomly.
Liana quickly got off the cab and just stood in front of the glass doors. The four bodyguards stared back at her but none said anything. No matter how much she'd think about it, she simply couldn't find a way to get in. She learned by heart all the bodyguards' positions and any other human being on a 50-meter radius, but still couldn't think of a way to get in, so she decided to simply stay and wait for Seunghyun to get out. She was about to sit on one of the stairs when a car caught her eye. She quickly jumped up.
"Liana!" Mike rushed outside the car, but she quickly grabbed a bodyguard my his shoulders and hid behind him.
"Dowajuseyo*!" she whispered to him, trying to sound as scared as she could, but when they weren't looking, she made faces to Mike who tried to get close to her.
"Sir, I'm sorry, but you have to stop..." the bodyguard said in English after he already said it once in Korean but Mike wouldn't react.
"It's ok, she's my wife... I just need to talk to her..." Mike tried explaining but Liana just shook her head when the bodyguard asked for her opinion in a nonverbal way.
"Sir, you'll just have to..." he started talking again when he felt Liana letting go of his shoulders. He turned around to look for her, but she was already behind the big, leathery doors. At first, the noise froze her, the lights and the cheering... Someone unintentionally hit her and she got scared thinking it hat to be either Mike of the bodyguards so she quickly darted in the crowd. Mike intended to follow her but the bodyguards on the door managed to grab him just in time, and the other two went inside, looking for Liana.
Everybody around her was screaming, and flopping their arms in the air, some were even crying but all of them were singing, and right now they were all "a good boy". She smiled really pleased, forwarding one step at a time. Suddenly, the music stopped. A thick darkness surrounded everyone around, so they couldn't see neither the eyes of the person next to you. A loud, rhythmic bass drum made all the thousands of hearts beat at once. Everyone around started screaming and waving the yellow crown sticks in the air, shouting a name. It was only after several seconds she managed to understand the word: T O P.
"Kid... you are quite a phenomenon..." she tried to smile, understanding once and for all that the story between them could not have a good ending. She quickly stopped the two tears that were about to get out of her eyes, then turned around to leave. She just couldn't... Seunghyun's incredibly fast rap convinced her to look at him just once more. The fireworks on the stage and the lights flying around stole a soft smile making her eyes to follow them in awe. That's when she felt someone shaking her arm: "You're on the screen!!!" a couple of girls screamed and jumped around her, laughing and waving their hands too.
"Huh? What?" she barely managed to hum when she caught a glimpse of the huge screen where for like half of a second she could see her own face.
Seunghyun froze in place, the microphone in his hand now hanging numb along his leg. He simply couldn't think of a way to react. Actually, he was still wondering if it was just his imagination or she was really there. Like suddenly woken up from a dream, he rolled around looking for someone. He was actually trying to figure out which camera filmed and in what direction, but his eyes hit a very hectic Jiyong from backstage. At first, he stared at his friend's gestures without really understanding them, but when the crowd started singing in one voice the chorus of his song, he understood Ji's desperate signs that almost looked like he was asking for something to eat. He nodded and started waving his hand. He brought back the microphone to his mouth and just in time to finish the song with another super-fast rap line. Some instrumentals took over as light dimmed on the stage. When Seunghyun thought it was safe to exit the stage, he rushed to Jiyong, throwing the mic.
"She's here!" he almost shouted, but only because of the really loud music.
"So??" Ji followed him, holding onto his arm.
"You can't just get down there!" Daesung overheard them and quickly approached.
Liana was still lost for words, even if a new song started now. It wasn't Seunghyun singing anymore, but a wonderful voice, almost like an angel began singing, started with a sad, yet so clear 'Mianhae, mianhae, hajima...'. She was mesmerized, following the singer's every move and tears began sliding down her face. She quickly wiped them away, as if someone could actually see her, and rolled around to do who knows what when she could definitely see Mike's face about several people from her. Instantly, she hid her face, turned 180 degrees to her left, and started again poking and nudging people around to step further from that place. Even though it felt like she overcame 100 of screaming (some furious, some too immersed to even care about her) girls, she could catch a glimpse of some empty stairs. She dashed over there without realizing that those stairs were leading to the empty place in front of the stage, where only photographers and cameramen were allowed. Well, she didn't realize that, but the man guarding that exact area already grabbed her arm, saying something in Korean. She stopped to stare at him, but he already began pulling and pushing her away.
"I'm sorry but I can't... I don't understand you..." she tried saying, but there was no way he could hear her, he would only pull on her arm.
"YAH!!" she finally managed to make him at least look at her. "I don't understand you!!!" she yelled again, pulling her own hand so hard that she lost balance and tripped over.
The bodyguard was about to get her up but someone stopped his hand from touching her. At least it tried because she was way too fast to get up on her own and ready to start a fight, but she froze: Seunghyun was holding on the bodyguard's hand and now both of them stared at her extremely loud 'PABO YAH!!!' with doubled eyes.
"Kiddo..." she only managed to mumble before a smile flourished on her face.
Seunghyun opened up his mouth to say something, yet no word came out, making Liana misread him...again... Her smile disappeared, being replaced by two teary eyes.
"HYUNG!!" a somehow familiar voice startled them, making Liana's tears to drop down as she only looked at Daesung carrying Seunghyun away. The bodyguard grabbed her hand too and pushed her behind the sign that kept away the crazy crowd. ...How could she not see it?? It was a god-damned iron bar separating the crowd area from the media area... Liana shook her head. The lights turned off again for a couple of seconds, then it came back red and yellow. A huge angel statue appeared on the center of the stage and Jiyong dashed from somewhere, jumping and singing among some female dummies. Liana smiled at the lyric she could understand 'I'm in love noona...'. Sooner than she realized, Seunghyun took over the stage, right before she could get used to that angel-like voice boy. She burst out laughing seeing his purple suit and cute stage-play with that cane of his.
Mike climbed down the last two stairs before they reached the big, leathery doors.
"You're lucky we're not calling the police" one of the bodyguards holding his arm said in a crooked English.
"I am really sorry, but I had no idea that it was a concert in there" Mike lied so obvious that made both of them smile. "Oh, may I ask you a favor?" he looked for something in his pocket. "Can... you... give... this... to that guy over there?" he said while folding a paper into a tiny square.
"What?" the bodyguard couldn't abstain his laughter "To him?" he really laughed out loud when Mike pointed to Seunghyun on the poster next to them.
"Yeah. It's personal. Pretty please! " Mike answered so sincerely, handing over the paper.
The lights turned off for the last time, after the long requested 'encore'. All the screams turned into gibbering, babbling, laughing. When the lights turned on again, everybody started to slowly walk towards the exist - the big leather doors. Mike was probably still waiting outside those doors, so she wouldn't want to go there, but to keep the neat march, she had to comply; she followed everybody else, feeling the joy in their speech and their exchange of points of view... She climbed the last two stairs before she stepped outside the doors. Always alert, she was looking for Mike, even though it was a little difficult to spot someone in that crowd. Luckily, he was nowhere to be found. Liana smiled and quickly dashed towards the stairs that lead outside, in the parking lot.
"Jomshee-manyo*!" a rather think voice startled her.
"Nae?" she froze in place when she recognized the bodyguard she used as her shield against Mike.
"Jeoleul ttaleusibsio*" the man said starting to walk in the other direction.
"Nae?..." Liana had no idea what she was supposed to do, but seeing the man walking and signaling for her to come, she assumed that that meant "follow me" or something.
Ok, she WAS following him... but why??... That was the exact thought in Liana's mind. She wanted to ask for an explanation or something but she wasn't sure what language she should use... he seemed to not know English, but she couldn't really speak in Korean. Her mind kept her busy all the way through the narrow hallway and probably she wouldn't even notice she had to stop if she wouldn't hit the bodyguard's back when he stopped in front of a glass door. The man simply smiled and pointed to the door in a polite way, with both of his hands; he then took a short bow and left. Liana eye-followed him totally confused until she picked out Seunghyung's figure behind those glass doors. She smiled and slowly pushed the door, opening it without a single noise. Seunghyun wasn't alone in that room, there was also Jiyong and the other boys from their band, as well as another bodyguard and several other people cleaning and gathering up a lot of wires and clothes. She took a step inside the room but quickly stopped, holding on the door. The paper that bodyguard handed to Seunghyun made her heart skip a beat.
"What's this?" Seunghyun unfortunately asked in Korean, so Liana didn't understood a single thing.
"Someone asked us to give it to Seunghyun-ssi" the bodyguard answered a little ashamed.
Liana still couldn't understand, but she didn't move one bit... all she could catch until now was that the paper was for Seunghyun. She quietly took a step back, without really knowing why.
"So what?!" Ji's defiant voice made Liana stare at him as he grasped the paper from Seunghyun's hands and unfolded it.
If someone could've weighed the sky, that was Liana right in that instant! The maternity's logo that she visited several weeks ago was now hanging in front of her eyes and Ji's reaction let her understand it was precisely her paper... Mike must've taken it from her purse that she left in his car.
"What is it?" Seunghyun asked.
"Don't know yet" Jiyong answered a little concerned when he saw the logo with a mom holding a baby. He took out his phone and pictured the paper, with nothing more in his head than the name 'Liana Dobre', the only words he could actually read and for some reason sounded very familiar to him. 'Is that her name?...' he tried to remember even though he wasn't sure if his friend ever said her name or he just picture it. In less than 2.63 seconds the translation of the paper appeared on his little cellphone screen.
"Oh..." he escaped a sort of a raddled sigh.
"What? What is it?" Seunghyun asked again seeing Ji's dumbfounded expression. He got close to him to also read it but the door's sound stopped him. He thought that it was the bodyguard he sent after Liana so he quickly rolled to greet them with a smile.
"Huh?..." he looked around seeing no one. "What was that..." he walked to the door.
"Hyung..." Ji stopped him. "Have you seen this?"
"Umm... no..." Seunghyun's curiosity won over and he chose to read the paper instead of going after the thing that he thought he heard on the hallway. He took the paper. The first thing that drew his attention was the little picture with the woman holding a baby. The words looked as unknown as they did for Ji, so he handed over the phone. Of course, the name popped out first as well. Seunghyuin quickly took the phone in his hands to read it closely. His heart skipped a beat, but sweat drops started appearing when he also read the date. It was indeed the result of a pregnancy test, it was indeed Liana's, but the date was way before they even met.
"Hyung..." Ji looked for his friend's eyes.
Seunghyun started at him for a couple of seconds, but his eyes were lost, as they were deep in some calculations or something. He then blinked twice, really fast and handed back Ji's phone.
"Hyung!! Where do you go now?!" Ji shouted when Seunghyun dashed outside the glass door. "Hyung!!" he shouted again but there was no one to answer, just his other friends approaching shyly.
"It's everything ok?" Daesung tried to get a glimpse of the paper Jiyong was still holding.
"What is this? Is hyung gonna have a baby?!" the younger Seungri almost shouted seeing the dammned logo on the paper he robbed from Ji's hands.
"WHAT?!!" Ji and the other two friends shouted so loud that they made everybody else around stare at them.
"Shut it!" Ji muttered unamused taking back the paper then fleeing beyond the glass door too.
"Is he..." Seungri whispered to Daesung who stared at him with big eyes at first but then snapped him over the head.
"Shut it!" Daesung also said robbing a smile from the angel-voiced boy, Taeyang.
Seunghyun crossed the narrow hallway in almost a glimpse but when he was about to reach the big, exit hall, he quickly took a step back to stay hidden in the shadows - the whole ward was still overwhelmed with noisy girls. He almost thought he spotted Liana when someone caught his arm.
"Have you gone crazy?" Jiyong whisper-shouted at him. "Get back and at least wait for them to leave" he kept on whispering while dragging his hand.
Instead of a spoken answer, Seunghyun snatched the paper from his hand and quietly followed him back.
"You know booze ain't gonna help you now..." Jiyong found himself talking out loud.
"Do I look so pitiful in your eyes?" Seunghyun asked without even looking at him, being too focused on nicely folding the paper and hide it deep in his pocket.
"That's not what I meant..." Ji babbled ashamed.
"Next time watch your tongue..." Seunghyun used his gentle but rough voice.
"I'm sorry, hyung..."
They both entered the back room, but none of them dared to ask a thing, especially restless Seungri, who simply turned around pretending to pack something.
Daesung slowly approached.
"Hyung..." he said.
"Mhm?" Seunghyun looked really uninterested.
A quick sight exchange with Jiyong made Daesung understood it wasn't a good time for a talk.
"I can't believe you guys! Is this the amount of trust you have in your hyung?..." Seunghyun mostly mumbled as he picked up his Gucci bag after stuffing a sun-glass pair in it and a black simple cap he took from the hands of a smiling staff girl.
"Where do you go..." Ji started asking but the icy shards in Seunghyun's eyes muted him in an instant.
"I'll be right back" Seunghyun replied with a grin.
"Yes..." was the only thing that could leave Ji's lips right now and he almost bowed when his senior friend passed by him.
Liana was about to open her door's room, but her hand stopped in mid-air. She imagined Mike must've been there, so she just gave up. She took a turn around and headed for the elevators. She climbed in one of them exactly when another 'ding-ed' its arrival. She pressed the lobby floor key; the doors started closing when out of the other elevator Seunghyun popped out. Without looking around he dashed to her room. He knocked several times.
"Noona! Noona are you there?" he shouted, knocking.
"She left you too?" Mike's voice froze his hand up in the air when the knob rolled and he appeared in the doorstep.
Seunghyun took a step back when Mike stepped forward.
"Don't worry, I'm not gonna hit you again" he smiled exiting the room. "To be honest I was kinda` hoping she'd be with you..."
"Did you..." Seunghyun wanted to ask, but Mike cut him off.
"Hey! I'm a man, I ruffle only with men!" he smiled patting Seunghyun's shoulder. "And... I must apologize to you. I had no idea you two had it so serious... but, frankly, I have a hunch that you didn't know either... You got my message, right?" he looked for his eyes trying to see if Seunghyun understands what he wanted to say. "Were you able to translate the paper I left for you?" Mike explained when seeing the doubt in Seughyun's eyes.
"This one?" Seunghyun took it out of his pocket.
"Yeah, that one" Mike's jaw flinched.
"I don't get it..." Seunghyun spoke so sincere that made Mike's eyes to widen up. "On this date, we hadn't even met... So that means..." he would've continued with the logical 'this kid it's yours', but again Mike cut off his speech:
"Yeah! That's what I meant. I don't know if I must congratulate you or feel pity..."
"You can apologize, to begin with," Seunghyun harshly answered.
"Yes, I am sorry," Mike said in an instant stretching his hand out, but he placed it back in his pocket with a jigger smile when Seunghyun wouldn't take it.
Footsteps noise made both guys turn around and almost yell out Liana's name.
"Oh... Hello..." Mike cooled down with another puzzled smile.
Seunghyun only took a short bow.
"H...hello..." teacher Mariana answered exchanging looks from one to the other.
"Have you seen Liana/ Have you seen Liana-ssi today?" both of the boys asked at once.
"What do you mean?" Mariana focused her gaze towards Mike. "I haven't since she left with you this morning. I actually came to look for her..."
She took a short glimpse to Seunghyun, then looked for Mike's eyes once again.
"Did you... perhaps... lost her?" she asked wonderingly.
"Yeah... in every possible way..." Mike exhaled.
"She ran from both of us..." Seunghyun also said when she rolled around to meet his eyes.
"There's no use..." Mike stopped her when she took out her cellphone.
"Why not?" she also asked.
"She... I threw away her phone..." Mike looked for the floor.
Liana stopped to check her surroundings. By the looks of it, she was heading towards the hospital where little Mark was in. She took a deep breath and decided that she'd give up on the traffic's lights green color, so she just froze there next to it. 'Was that him? Should I go back?...' she began thinking at the rushed steps she heard right before the elevator's door closed. Even if she'd went back, she had no idea what she could say to either of them and the night was just around the corner. The green color was back so she started crossing the street totally unaware of anything around her.
"You're still here??..."
When he came out of Liana's room, Mike's dumbfounded voice startled Seunghyun making him to instantly look around. He sighed when he acknowledged it was only Mike talking.
"You're not gonna give up?" Mike coldly asked.
"Will you?" Seunghyun rounded it up.
"I already did" Mike's bitter smile testified it. "Otherwise you wouldn't be standing here... all in one piece..." he mostly mumbled for himself, but Seunghyun could really hear him. "Look..." he started again after taking 3 steps pretending to leave. "It's almost past midnight. Clearly, you won't be able to meet with her today..."
Wouldn't he? Or was he trying to keep her all for himself, Seunghyun must've think judging by the look in his eyes, but Mike managed to steal a beat from his heart when he said:
"We'll be leaving for our country tomorrow evening. Drop by the airport at around 5... Who knows, maybe you'll have a movie-drop-dead-scene and you might even end up walking away with the bony-lass" he spoke as he walked towards the elevators.
'What did he just said?' Seunghyun tried to use all of his English notions to make sure he understood what he just heard. When he snapped out of it, it was too late already because Mike was long gone. He rolled around a few times before he shuffled to the elevators playing and replaying Mike's words in his head.
Liana had no idea why it took her so long to reach the hospital, so now she was blankly staring at it, trying to figure out when and why did the big, round clock on the hospital's wall would show 23.49... She couldn't find any answer so she just shrugged and went up the stairs to Mark's room. Before she'd knock she glued her ear to the door - it sounded like teacher Michaela was there, talking to the nurse. She exhaled once, embraced the most beautiful smile she could and knocked twice.
"Oh, finally you are here!" Michaela almost burst.
"Yeah... I'm sorry..." Liana started, but the older teacher wouldn't let her speak.
"I sent Mariana to bring you here ages ago! What took you long??"
"Um..." Liana babbled something.
"Never mind!" Michaela said shoving a black bag into her arms. "Hold this!"
"Teach'..." the little boy touched her face when she sat next to him to help Michaela pack his things. "Why are your eyes so red?" he asked freezing Liana.
Michaela took a quick glance and wondered how she couldn't have noticed it before but kept her silence.
"I... it's a little windy outside..." Liana quickly found the perfect excuse.
"I thought you were sad we have to leave" Mark pouted.
'That's right!!! We're leaving tomorrow!!...' Liana's heart just got even smaller. She smiled at the little boy: "This is why you're pouting? Are you sad we're leaving?" she found the strength to keep a clean voice.
'Yes..." Mark answered. "I spent so many days locked up in here..."
"There were merely 4 days" teacher's Michaela laughter crushed Liana's heart, even more, bringing it close to physical pain. She bit her lower lip to help her concentrate and hid her teary eyes.
"Are you ready? C'mon! Let's go!" Michaela's harsh tone tore apart her strength and those tears came tumbling down without a warning.
"Liana, are you alright?" the older woman felt totally guilty for Liana's tears.
"Yes... yes, I'm sorry..." Liana quickly wiped them away smiling. "Let's go!" she grabbed Mark's hand.
"I really didn't meant to ..." Michaela started but couldn't finish even though nobody actually interrupted her.
"It's ok" Liana smiled brightly as she pushed the white door.
They exited the hospital and the autumn's cold night wind hit their faces sending sudden grimaces on them.
"Oh... so cold..." Liana hid her mouth and nose inside her cupped hands, but she really did it because some other tears threaten to gather up.
"Oh, it really is!" Michaela approved. "Come on! There's our car!" she said pointing towards a stationary taxi, but Liana couldn't move. She was right! That was Jiyong's car! She tried her best to catch a glimpse inside (definitely in search of Seunghyun) but it was impossible through those black windows. Judging by the road he took, it looked like he was heading for her hotel... of course, she could be wrong... but if he was indeed going there... that meant it was really Seunghyun this morning?... All those thoughts rushed through her mind in less than a couple of seconds before Michaela called her.
"I... I'll be right there, you go ahead. I need to do something first and I'll follow you in an instant!" she quickly said and ran back inside the hospital.
'Why don't you want to go back home' she asked hiding behind the glass door. 'He was clearly going there... that can only mean... he's still there??' she suddenly straightened her posture. She immediately rushed out to catch Michaela's taxi but it was too late. She rolled around to look for another one but there wasn't any. Sooner than she realized her feet started walking at low speed. It was like her body wanted to get to her hotel faster than anything but her mind was slowing them down. She tried to conceive a speech... actually two of them to serve to both boys - Mike and Seunghyun, but her brain refused to cooperate.
The sound signal of the traffic light also announced the colors changing but the one on the other side of the crosswalk didn't seem to hear it - his head was covered with a black cap and his face hidden deep in the big scarf. Liana's first thought was to scream at him but when the man rose his head up she froze. Seunghyun also froze in the middle of the black and white stripes, but not because of the flaming light that was closing in faster and faster, nor because of the long, howling honk that came together with it - he was staring at Liana and a soft smile almost flourished on his face when a sudden hitch turned everything black. The screechy sound of a gliding tire made his eyes tingle several times until he realized he could actually hear things.
"Gwenchana*?" he could hear a rather thick, but somehow familiar voice asking once per second.
He was now aware that he was alive but he was afraid to open up his eyes since he felt a certain squeeze on his chest and he imagined it might be a part of the car or some parts of the tires.
"Gwenchana" he suddenly heard the voice he was so eager to hear.
His eyes popped out open just to meet Liana's tears.
"Gwenchana?" Liana asked again touching his face with trembling hands.
"Gwenchana? Hyung!" the thick voice also came back more alive.
Seunghhyun frowned, not understanding why was Jiyong staring at him and why was there a thin grain of blood coming down from his younger friend's forehead.
"Are you hurt anywhere?" both Liana and Jiyong asked, one in English, the other in Korean.
Before he could answer that question he quickly checked the surroundings (still searching for those car parts that might be crushing him). He found Jiyong's car hitched on a light pole just a couple of feet to the left - it still had all of its tires and no parts of it were missing, so he inspected the weight on his chest. He smiled when he understood it was no other than Liana's body over his.
"Nae*..." he finally answered smiling.
"Really? Are you really alright?" Liana stood up stretching out her hand.
"Yeah!" Seunghyun answered accepting both Liana's and Jiyong's helping hands to get up in the sitting position.
"Are you alright?" he wiped his thumb on Ji's forehead.
"Mwo*? Ah.. nae..." Ji quickly reassured him.
"Were you trying to run me over?" Seunghyun almost laughed still holding Liana's hand to stand up.
"Anyeo* hyung!!" Ji flashed his hands also battling some nasty tears that wanted to get down from his eyes.
"Just kidding, Ji-ah!" Seunghyun patted his shoulder. "Are you really ok?"
"Yes, yes i am" Jiyong calmed down a little.
"Gajima*... jaebal*..." Seunghyun suddenly said feeling Liana's hand sliding away from his grip.
He turned around to face her and she grabbed his shoulders to roll him around a little looking for possible wounds.
"I'm ok. I'm not hurt at all..." Seunghyun grabbed her hands into his.
"Good..." Liana freed herself again and turned towards Jiyong. "You need to go to the hospital..." she said with a small bite on her lower lip.
"No... it's ok... i'm really fine..." Ji said a little concerned.
"No, she's right!" Seunghyun approved.
"L-let's go..." Liana mostly mumbled and by the looks of it she was a little struggling to keep a straight line. She grabbed Ji's arm but it seemed like she was actually leaning on him rather than guiding him.
"Are you ok?" Seunghyun asked stretching his hand out but Liana held better on Ji's arm in an obvious 'leave me alone' stance.
"Let's go!" she pushed Ji so he'd start walking.
"You don't want to talk to me?" Seunghyun wouldn't give up.
'Kiddo... please don't make me talk right now...' she'd answer if she wouldn't have to use all of her strength to not give in to that excruciating pain in the lower part of her torso. She just stared at him, tears gathering up.
Seunghyun could tell something wasn't right. Even though she wanted to look rough and upset, her eyes were actually screaming for help. He checked on her, but on the outside, everything seemed ok, so he concluded that she might be angry or scared or she wouldn't want to talk about it with Jiyong being there.
"Are we going to the hospital on foot?" he decided to keep it low for now.
"It's just around the corner..." she replied in one breath.
"But... you know... my car..." Ji tried to speak but she wouldn't listen. "Are you sure you're ok?..." he asked when her hands just became heavier, holding really tight on him.
Seunghyun clearly knew now something was off, so he grabbed her arm. As soon as he did it, Liana let go of Ji's jacket and let herself faint in his arms.
"Noona!" both of the boys yelled.
"Noona!" Seunghyun easily shook her receiving no answer.
She was so pale that they could see it even in the dim light of the night.
"Let's take her to the hospital!" Ji said looking around for the hospital she said it would be just around the corner.
As they were walking, Seunghyun revised everything that has happened trying to reach the reason for her state. He thought that when she pushed him away from Ji`s car, she hurt herself, but there was no...
"Hyung!" Jiyong cut off his thoughts.
"Mm?" he looked for his friend's eyes that were glued to one of his hands.
"Blood...." Jiyong eye-followed a soft blood stain on Seunghyun's left hand.
"What?..." he'd ask but they both figured out the answer - the left hand being the hand that touched Liana's lower body part only.
"Do you think...." Ji whispered.
Even if he didn't use words, the answer was obvious. They reached the hospital sooner than they thought. They quickly checked the surroundings - it was empty all around. Who could be out at midnight anyway?
Jiyong approached the lady at the entrance desk. He used his scarf to cover half of his face but not the bloody bump on his head too.
"Oh, are you alright?" The lady asked seeing him.
"I am.... but my friend I don't think she is..." he answered pointing to the fainted Liana.
In less than a couple of seconds, Seunghyun's arms were again empty as a nurse was carrying Liana away on a silent gurney.
"We're at a hospital... you should let a qualified person do it..." Seunghyun said when Jiyong came back from the pharmacy with a package of bandages.
"You know I don't let just anyone touch me" Ji's soft laughter turned off the gloomy atmosphere.
"Get over here!" Seunghyun playfully slapped his hand and started unpacking the medicinal alcohol.
"Ouch, hyung! It stings!" Ji whined but Seunghyun wouldn't stop cleaning his wound.
"Stay still, you won't die!"
"But... where did they take her? Ji asked sighing. "It's almost past 1.30..." they looked around the totally empty hallway.
"I know, right? It's not like she's....." they quickly exchanged looks and jumped up. In less than five steps they bumped on a janitor carrying away his cart.
"Excuse me, sir! Can you please tell me where's the obstetrics..." Seunghyun said a little unsure.
"Fifth floor" the janitor answered. "But you won't find anyone there at this hour."
"We came with a girl..about an hour ago" Ji added.
"Really? I just come from there and it was no one. maybe she was taken back to the ward. Better go and ask" he said before leaving on his path.
"Yes, thank you!" both boys took short bows and hurried towards the reception clerk.
Before they could say a single word, someone approached them.
"Aish... why do you keep getting yourselves into trouble?" the young man said. "Boss wants you both in his office first thing tomorrow morning.
"But... why are you here?" Seunghyun asked looking around.
"Someone called from your cellphone and told the president to send someone here"
"My-my phone?" Seunghyun looked for his pockets but the man standing in front of him took it out from his own pocket. "W-who...?"
"The girl you came with told me to give it back to you" the female receptionist interfered, mostly whispering.
"The girl...?" Ji's eyes widened and she nodded.
"Was she ok?" Seunghyun quickly asked. "How could you let her leave? She was unconscious when we came!"
"Just for the first 10 minutes" the woman explained.
"But..what happened?" Ji also spoke. "Did she..." he couldn't ask the whole question.
"Yes. Miscarriage." the lady seemed to look on the screen of her computer. "Sometimes due to high emotional stress some women..."
Jiyong looked for his friend's eyes but regretted it when he hit on the tears gathering up. he opened up his mouth to speak, but Seunghyun took a sudden turn and started walking.
"Hyung..." Ji followed him.
"Umm...Excuse me!" the lady spoke a little louder this time. "Could you... please sign this before you leave?" she turned back to whispering stretching out one of their CD albums.
"Yes..." Ji sighed.
"Don't worry, I will never say a thing" she said while he wrote something on the case.
"Yes. I really thank you!" Jiyong felt a little more at ease.
"You say she was really ok? And she left on her own feet?" Seunghyun grabbed the pen from Ji's hands and quickly doodled something on the case too.
"Yes. She must've been still in some pain but she signed the papers to leave."
"Thank you!" Seunghyun smiled at her. "This will be our little secret, ok?" he stared deep in her eyes, and even if he'd be some sort of a vampire he wouldn't have this kind of persuasion power - the poor woman just stared back and simply nodded with no word what so ever.
"Do you want to go back to her..." Ji started asking but Seunghyun replied a stern "No".
"Where have you been??" Mike rushed to the door when Liana pushed it to get inside her room.
"Why are you still here?" she asked without looking at him.
" I'll be leaving only tomorrow... where else could I'd be staying?"
Liana finally leaned on the big armchair with a short groan.
"Are you ok?" he stepped once to help but her hand holding her belly froze his legs.
"It's not what you're thinking..." she mumbled. "It... it wasn't intentionally..." she said tears starting pouring down.
Mike held up on his own tears and gulped once to gather up the force to open his mouth.
"I'm really sorry, Mike... I never planned this..." Liana couldn't hold back her tears anymore.
"It's... I'm..." he babbled a little but he ended up petting her hair. "It's ok... it's gonna be ok..." he whispered mostly for himself. "It's ok..." he said again placing a kiss on her head. "No matter what, I am here for you. You know that right?" he hugged her tight, tears also coming down his cheeks. "H-how did..." he was about to ask but fortunately, he realized it was the dumbest question he could think of, so he switched it to "Have you been to the hospital?"
Liana nodded without a word.
He would've caress her belly, but his hand stopped in mid-air. He grabbed her shoulder instead to glue her to his chest while placing another kiss on her head.
"Is this serious?" the man with the black cap asked when Jiyong entered his office alone.
"Umm..." Ji babbled something that could not be comprehensive.
"Where is he now?" the man asked dialing a number.
"I don't know..." Ji lowered his eyes as the voice on the phone announced that the caller could not be reached.
"Is this the same from the paper?"
"Mhm," Jiyong nodded.
Seunghyun twisted the phone in his hand when suddenly dropped it on the car's dash. His eyes got lost on the powerful waves up-front. He took a deep breath then stepped outside the car. Even though his eyes stared at the stormy sea, the images in front of him were totally different. Liana's tears, the moment she fainted in his arms and the blood on his hands vanished away any other thought that tried to reach his mind. He imagined himself trying to explain to his manager, his agency president why did they had to get to the hospital last night and he quickly ruffled his hair exhaling loudly. Instead of lowering them afterward he kept them glued to his head as he almost physically felt Liana's hands in his hands. He blinked once to focus on Liana's first touch on his naked shoulder...
''Come on! Stop wasting time!'' Liana said smiling to little Mark, dragging his luggage. ''Did you packed the whole Korea in here?'' She laughed lifting up his way too heavy bag.
''Just a few necessities'' the small, smiling kid answered in a playful tone.
'I hope they won't stop and imprison us when they'll check it up, right? You little con artist'' she ruffled his hair but her smile faded away. She shook her head to chase away the forming tears and held the little's boy hand as they followed everybody else to a certain boarding office.
Liana dropped a quick eye on the huge clock on the arrivals and departures pannel. Four and a couple of minutes... the last minutes before boarding into the plane.
Mike noticed her silent sigh and softly patted her shoulder.
''Are you ok?'' He asked looking gently for her eyes.
''Yes'' she answered without facing him.
'This is the last call for boarding flight WE-349' the lady announced making teacher Mariana and teacher Michaela slightly pushing forward the kids they were holding. Liana also made sure all the kids followed her through the door that got them inside the plane. She also made sure they reached their places and they kept seated. Mike was also helping when something grabbed his attention. He rose his head to look for the sound that seemed so familiar but he had no idea where he heard it before. His eyes hit on the small screen of a cellphone right next to where he was standing now. The owner of the phone quickly apologized when the music video started playing even if she didn't have the earphones plugged in. Mike threw fire glances at her then quickly checked on Liana. She seemed like she didn't hear it or maybe she couldn't recognize Seunghyun's song. Mike took a discreet sigh and threw new fire darts at the poor girl who had already stopped the music.
Mariana and Mihaela followed little Luisa on board.
''Are they all?'' Liana asked counting everybody.
The clock on the dashboard turned its numbers into 17:16 and Seunghyun's foot stepped rougher on the speed foot lever. His eyes were covered by dark black glasses but the corners of his mouth were pointing downwards. In no time the seaside scenery turned into the tall, bright buildings.
He slammed the car's door and dashed inside the huge airport building but he froze. What flight was he supposed to look for? Besides, now that he really thought about it, Mike said the plane was leaving at 5 so that meant the boarding happened an hour ago... His eyes already checked all the flights at this hour, but they were all already closed.
"Maybe you should've really came a lot earlier if you'd really wanted to stop her" a male voice startled him. He rolled around in an instant and froze.
Just after the girl from the plane paused her music, Mike checked for Liana and at first, she didn't seem to acknowledge it, but then he heard little Luisa ask if her teacher was ok. He looked for her eyes again but he could only find uncontrollable tears pouring down on her cheeks.
'Jesus! You look like a silly teenager' he snapped at her grabbing her hand hard.
'W-what are you doing?' Liana chocked on her own tears.
'A deal!" Mike answered pulling her away from the kids. He pulled her outside the door even if the stewardess told them they won't wait for their return. It's ok, we'll take the next plane' he answered with a smile, still pulling Liana away on the narrow hallway until they reached the boarding gate again.
"W-what.... w-why...?' she barely could mumble.
'It's a deal! If he pops up till the next flight, you can stay here. If he doesn't, we'll get back together and never talk about this again' Mike explained starting a new violent stream inside Liana's eyes, but she nodded. They both looked on the panel for the next flight and Mike's confidence got a little shattered - the next flight was only about 9 hours from now. He kept it cool though, with a faded smile on his face even though the doubt in his eyes was almost as big as Liana's.
'Fuck...' Mike growled. He started pulling Liana again and she followed him without a word.
""Maybe you should've really came a lot earlier if you'd really wanted to stop her"" he said stopping behind a man.
Liana's eyes doubled and she gulped when Seunghyun turned around to face them.
"Well, say something, otherwise I'm not letting her go," Mike said after the 20 something seconds of perfect silence.
"N-Noona..." was the only thing Seunghyun's lips could articulate.
"That's not good enough!" Mike started pulling Liana again, but she freed herself in less than two steps while Seunghyun grabbed his arm.
Mike bit his lower lip but stopped in place.
"Were you here to plead her not to leave?" he asked without lowering his gaze.
"Yes..." Seunghyun finally spoke.
"I guess you want to stay too..." he whispered to Liana.
"It's a deal..." she whispered back.
"I'm not taking you back after this" he whispered to her again.
"There won't be needed" Seunghyun answered.
"Ugh, whatever!" Mike threw his hands in the air. "I told you, you'll have a scene like in those soap movies" he babbled away as he walked towards an office clerk.
Seunghyun stretched out his arms to hug her but she stopped him.
"Mwo? Wae?..." he pouted. "Ohh... are you angry I didn't make it here sooner?" he started to speak following her closely.
"Three o'clock, 7 o'clock and 9 o'clock" she replied without facing him.
He looked at the called directions only to spot several young girls, poking one another, sending looks to one another and even taking stealthy pictures with their phones. He smiled. He just realized how much he really fell for her and how dependable she could get. He pushed the black sunglasses better on his nose, he threw his chin deeper inside the big scarf, shoved his hands inside his big coat pockets and reached Liana's steps. He smiled to her form one ear to the other and they exited the airport building shoulder to shoulder...
nae, gwenchanayo* - yes, i am ok
Dowajuseyo*- help me
Jomshee-manyo*! - one moment please
jeoleul ttaleusibsio* - Please follow me
mwo - what?
nae - yes
anyeo - no
gajima - don't leave
jaebal - please