The engine revved as Yunho pulled his black Suzuki out of the dark parking garage underneath the apartment complex he currently resided in with his other band mates. It was finally time for their much needed vacation away from the spotlights of fame, and Yunho knew exactly where he was headed. His car turned south down the side streets, heading towards his home town of Gwangju where he had been born and raised. Rain pattered against the dark windshield as Yunho glanced over his shoulder to double check that his duffel bags and laptop were still safely secured on the car floor as he hurried onto the freeway.
Randomly placed streetlamps shone the way for his small vehicle, the only moving thing on the road for a ways since it was quite early in the morning. Unless he wanted to get mobbed by fan girls and paparazzi, leaving early in the wee hours of the morning was his only option.
As he drove, his cell phone beeped from inside the back pocket of his jeans. Pulling it out and flipping open the bright neon screen, a text message appeared, “Be safe and don’t speed like an idiot.”
Chuckling to himself, Yunho wrote back, “Sure thing Min.” shutting his phone and throwing it lightly into the empty passenger’s seat. Changmin must have been up for his midnight snack and noticed he had left already, soon Yoochun would join him and then they too would be off to their own respective homes.
Junsu would also leave, but Yunho couldn’t recall Jaejoong ever mentioning anything about going home, to be honest, he didn’t think Jae was going home at all. For a minute, Yunho wanted to turn the car around and hang with Jaejoong for the holiday, but thought better of it. If Jae had decided to stay at the apartment there had to be a reason for it, and he shouldn’t disturb him. But still the desire to turn around pulled at his heartstrings, so he shook his head and tried to forget about it. Jaejoong could live without him for a few weeks, so what was the big deal?
“If he wants to call me he will.” Yunho said to himself as he drove even further into the night. No sense in bugging the man if he may want to be left alone, so that should settle it.
“Do you guys really all have to leave me? Not one of you can stay here and take care of your older band mate?” Jaejoong whined as the last of his friends packed up for their two week vacation.
“Jaejoong, I will only be on the other side of town, and Changmin is only 40 minutes away by car, you should be fine. You can always call us too!” Junsu scolded as he zipped up his suitcase and started lugging it to the front doorway.
Jaejoong followed his younger friend to the door, helping grab his things on the way.
“Here,” Jaejoong said as he threw a small toiletries bag into Junsu’s hands, “Leave me alone here to rot you bastard.”
“I don’t think you’ll rot.”
“Yes I will, and no one in this place will notice until your all coming up the stairs and the smell of decaying flesh assails your nostrils.”
Junsu sighed, rolling his eyes, “Oh yes, and let me guess, wild dogs will be eating your limbs?”
Jaejoong faked surprise, “How’d you know?”
Junsu chuckled, grabbing his suitcases and opening the front door, walking out silently into the carpeted hallway. Turning around, Junsu pulled his cell out from his back pocket, shaking it in Jaejoong’s face.
“If you need me, I am just a call away. Feel free to come visit me at the ‘rent’s place too, you know you’re always welcome.”
Jaejoong sighed, “Yeah I know, thanks Su. Have a good time!” He started shutting the door when a foot landed in the way and Junsu’s head appeared from around the corner.
“Don’t drink all the alcohol, I paid for it!”
Jaejoong laughed as he pushed Junsu’s head out of the door slamming it after shouting,
Changing his mind, Jaejoong swung open the door once more, seeing that Junsu was only halfway down the hall with his pile of luggage.
“Don’t forget to call me!” he shouted, Junsu’s dolphin laughter ringing off the walls of the hallway in response.
“You’re such a girl!” Junsu shouted as the elevator dinged its arrival on their floor and Jaejoong watched in amusement as he struggled to throw all his baggage into the small compartment. The twin doors shut, and he watched Junsu wave goodbye, cell phone clutched in a loose fist.
Finally, the elevator doors closed fully, leaving Jaejoong completely and utterly alone in the doorway. A draft started to waft in so he quickly retreated behind the thick wall of wood to escape the cold. Walking to the window, Jaejoong looked through the foggy glass down at the streets below, noticing the familiar red Mazda turn out of the parking garage. The rain from last night had frozen on the windows and streets since it was still the middle of winter, making the whole city seem to sparkle in the morning sunlight. Glancing at the clock, Jaejoong sighed, it was only 7:00am, what the hell was he supposed to do all day? Sit?
“I am already bored, and it is only 7…I am in for one long two weeks.”
Yunho yawned as his small sports car finally started pulling down his street, the familiar homes and the names of the families they held flowing through his memory.
As he approached his mother’s small town house, Yunho had to smile at the large white and blue banner hanging off the front porch.
“WELCOME HOME BABY!” It proclaimed, its white surface gleaming with polish and laminate paper.
“So much for understated.” Yunho whispered to himself as he parked his car on the side of the street.
Unlocking his door, Yunho heard a scream come from the doorway, “YUNHO YOUR HOME!”
Turning around after shutting the door, he looked up at the short but beautiful woman walking down through the yard.
Yunho said as his mother came ever closer her arms outstretched, “Give me a hug you big pop star!”
Yunho smiled, his white teeth flashing as he hugged his mother, his face blushing as he could swear he saw the neighbor girl giggling from an upstairs window.
“Hey mom, how about we go inside and we can talk more in there?”
His mother looked up at him in surprise, then realization came to her face, “Oh yeah, sorry honey…grab your things and come on inside, I have some pot roast cooking for later.”
Yunho agreed and grabbed his things from the trunk, dragging them up the slight incline that led to the red and white painted house.
Walking through the door, Yunho set his luggage down quietly on the hardwood floor, the smell of beef and potatoes wafting through his nostrils. The sound of busy footfall resonated through the small house, coming from both the upstairs and downstairs.
“Hey big brother,” Jihae, Yunho’s younger sister exclaimed while walking down the narrow staircase, “Nice shades.”
“Thanks” Yunho replied, pulling the said item off his face and away from his eyes, taking in all the white washed glory of his old home. “How are you Jihae?”
Jihae paused in her walk towards the kitchen entrance, “I am tired since mother woke me at 7am to put the stupid banner up on the front lawn.”
Yunho smirked, “Yeah I noticed that banner…I guess you weren’t the one behind it.”
Jihae rolled her large black eyes, “No, our crazy mother is…she really gets way to emotional when you come home…which is practically never.”
“Thanks for the happy greeting.” Yunho said as he walked past his sister and into the sunlit kitchen to where his mother was wiping down the countertops.
“So Mom, when I said I wanted an understated homecoming you had to go off and make a banner?” Yunho asked, a teasing smile lighting up his face.
She rang out a dish towel, “I rather like the banner, and it says more than I could.”
Laughing Yunho grabbed her hand, “Welcome home baby….did it really have to say baby on it?”
“Would you rather it say Sweet Cheeks?” She replied, hands on her hips and a scowl on her brow.
Yunho stared mortified at her, “Was that an option?”
His mother chuckled, “Your lucky it wasn’t, but don’t think I won’t use that idea next time.”
Sitting down in a chair Yunho chuckled, “Looking forward to what the neighbors will say about that.”
Ringing out her cloth for the last time, she folded it once and hung it from the sink faucet, afterwards turning to face her son.
“So, how are the boys? How old is Changmin now?”
Running a hand through his un-styled hair, Yunho answered, “They are all doing great, and Changmin is 20 now.”
Leaning against the counter she sipped at a half-cup of tea, “Oh wow, 20 already, well from what we can see on TV he definitely looks older than 20.”
“You sound just like everyone else.”
She smiled at Yunho’s mumbled response, pushing herself off from the counter to give a light hug to her son.
“Go upstairs and put your stuff away in your old room, everything is there waiting for you.”
Yunho smiled and hugged his mother back even tighter, “Alright, I will be back in a few.”
“My humps, my humps, my humps, my humps, my lovely lady lumps, in the back and in the front….check it out!” Jaejoong sung as the stereo he had in the kitchen blasted it from the small speakers. If there was ever a time to do stupid and embarrassing stuff, it was when you were home alone, so Jaejoong was taking full advantage of it.
Shimmying his way over to the oven, Jaejoong checked to see if his dinner of lasagna and meatballs had finished it’s time in the sauna. Seeing it was done, Jaejoong pulled out the hot pan,
“I’ma gonna eat chou!” he shouted at the pile of sizzling tomato sauce.
Pulling down a plate, Jaejoong sliced himself a large helping of the fattening Italian dish, his mouth watering at his own masterpiece.
“Am I good, or am I good?” He asked to no one in-particular, even if the right word would actually be nothing.
Biting into the chewy pasta and sauce, a string of cheese hanging off his chin, Jaejoong checked his voicemail for the fifth time that hour.
“Still no messages.” Jaejoong sighed, “Shows how much I am loved…the fuckers.”
Shoving a large piece of lasagna into his mouth, Jaejoong forgot manners as he chomped with his mouth open, smacking sounds echoing off the walls of the empty apartment.
Looking around, Jaejoong sighed loudly once again to himself for lonely reassurance,
“Changmin would have loved this…” he smiled, “But I bet his mother cooked him something better…the fucker.”
Gulping down a swig of Pepsi from a can, Jaejoong grabbed his plate and headed for the living room couch, flipping on the large television screen. After scanning through a few channels, Jaejoong finally settled on a show which he couldn’t remember the name of, but figured it would kill his boredom. As the crazy colored animated people ran about the screen, Jaejoong watched half-heartedly while he finished his plate of food and downed his Pepsi. His fingers itched to call someone, to talk with another human being. It had become a little boring to talk to himself in the mirror, and he would talk to Bambi, but to be completely honest, Jaejoong never really knew why Yunho talked to the stuffed animal in the first place. Did Yunho know that Bambi was a boy deer? The man always talked to the thing, and referred to it as his companion in day to day conversations.
Jaejoong had always pondered what would happen if Yunho remembered his furry friend’s actual gender, but in the end, it may not make any difference.
“Yunho could just imagine it was a girl…rip off the antlers and there you go….wait, does Bambi have antlers?”
The curiosity ate at Jaejoong, the insistent wanting to pull the video tape out from under his bed very imminent. Yes, he kept old Disney movies under his bed, you know, just in case.
Jumping off the couch, Jaejoong only took a second to throw his dishes into the sink and run into his room, pulling the old, dusty box out from under his mattress.
Seeing the familiar primary colored drawings brought a smile to Jaejoong’s face, the little bunnies and deer running all about on the cover bringing a small spark of light into the empty apartment.
The only thing Jaejoong wished was that Yunho was there watching it with him.
Yunho was the only one who would really make the movie sparkle.
to be continued....
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