That night, Ranhee promptly texted Jiyong to meet her at the library the following afternoon.
The next day, she walked in the library, her eyes trained on the occupied seats, looking for Jiyong.
As she glanced towards the right, her eyes caught him waving heartily at her. She turned to see Jiyong happily greeting her, and telling her to hurry up.
It was completely different from the day before. This time, he had a genuine smile on. His eyes sparkled in the dim lighting, courtesy the seat he chose. She also noticed the stack of books he had taken the effort to acquire.
She figured that he didn’t indulge in alcohol or drugs willingly, or at least promote it. He also had a sense of dignity. But due to vocational constraints, he resorted to such habits for relaxation. It was painful to see what Jiyong could be. He was a lovely person, without his addictions.
Before she sat down, he started to talk.
“Look, Ranhee, I’m really sorry about yesterday. I was drunk, and I didn’t know what I was doing. I’m really grateful to you; you still want to tutor me. You have to help me. OK?”
She didn’t know what to say. She had come prepared with a full fledged lecture on why he should get rid of his habits, but it was clear that he tried to. What would she get by lecturing him about something he already knew?
She sat down and vaguely started,” Yeah, it’s OK. I guess you should keep it under control, though…”
She waited for him to retort back. Both descended into a deep silence. She wasn’t sure on how to continue; she felt both sorry and slightly comfortable.
After a few minutes, Jiyong spoke up.
“Can you do something for me?”
Ranhee slowly nodded. On her mind, she said no. It was not in his place to ask for favours when he had to correct himself. Ranhee believed that self-correction was of utmost importance, and was best done alone. Only that brought out the true vigour of the person’s spirit.
“OK, I need you to come with me to the orphanage.”
Ranhee looked up at him. What did he have to do with the orphanage? Was he going to teach the poor children there to drink as well?
He stood up and yanked Ranhee up as well. He then proceeded to pull her outside the library, and without leaving her hand, walked to the orphanage, a block away.
“I’ll explain when we get there,” he said, excitedly.
When they finally arrived, she noticed the number of children outside to greet him.
All of them looked immensely happy to see him; they hugged him by the dozen, before he could even enter.
“Everyone, this is my friend, Ranhee! Say hi!” He shouted after they pulled him inside.
Ranhee curtly bowed, as all the children, including their caretaker, excitedly greeted her.
Ranhee thought it would take an hour at most, but Jiyong did not want to get up from there.
He tended to each child, giving special attention to the infants.
” I’m an orphan, you know,” he said, as he fondled a baby. “Not many people know that about me. I may seem like a spoiled brat, but I have my reasons. All idols do.”
Ranhee was astonished. She was sure none of the fans knew about him being an orphan. Her heart sunk deeper as he made sure each baby found his embrace. There was such a distinct side to him that no one knew about.
After leaving the orphanage, Jiyong took her to his dorm and forced her to tutor him. He was a great student- though he was a bit slow to understand, he was quick to implement whatever he learnt. He was patient when she taught, and yearned for acknowledgement of his understanding.
After the tutorial session, he took her out for snacks. Each time it was something different. Ranhee was suspicious as to whether he was just doing this to make up for the day before, but the same continued the next day and the many after that. It became a routine to visit the orphanage, then have tutorials, then go out to eat.
She came to know of so much about him. Everything he did with his conscience was the complete opposite of what he did without it. If someone met him when he was not intoxicated, they would have never guessed about his darker side.
Each night, as she laid down to sleep, she would go over everything she learnt that day. But after being with Jiyong, only he flooded her thoughts. He taught her so much.
She realised that it was hard to work as a musician. There was so much responsibility and pressure they had to cope with. Therefore, using alcohol and drugs did not seem detrimental. It made him feel better, and helped him relax. It was his gateway to a world without any concerns.
No one had ever looked at this side of the picture. It stopped with being an idol. The public, which included Ranhee, never cared about an idol outside of his vocation.
She could see that it was difficult for him to give it up. Each time they met, they would happily be talking, or laughing about one thing or the other. But in the middle, he never failed to pull out a cigarette. It was a tough habit.
His addictions made up his evil alter ego. She had destroy it, how much ever it helped him relax. Jiyong deserved a better life- not a dark and intoxicated one.
Meeting up with Ranhee brought new shades of sunlight in Joyong’s life as well. He became closer and closer to her, through which he came to know of a number of things about her. He reveled in the simpler aspects of her: she loved deokbokki but hated how her mother made it. She was, herself, a huge fan of Big Bang and turned to their music for comfort. He began to feel happier about agreeing to study with her, because she was like the small ray of light in his dark life. Behind his sober figure, lied depression, insomnia, pressure, and the constant need to light a cigarette and gulp down a full bottle of vodka. Ranhee was slowly diminishing each of those feature, one by one. He couldn’t help but admire her. Like Ranhee, his thoughts only concerned her.
Ranhee and Jiyong were make increased progress in coping with his addictions, until one day.
On Halloween, everything went out of hand.
His company had organised a party, along with a few lucky fans. Jiyong happily indulged in all the drinks and a number of the fans offered him an array of drugs, which he willingly accepted.
He had agreed to meet Ranhee after the party. She had stayed at him for his sake, while her parents had gone out for their own party.
Jiyong had to struggle to stand up. He had gone out of bounds. Seungri dropped him at Ranhee’s house.
Jiyong was now familiar with her house. He punched in her security code and barged in.
As soon she saw him, Ranhee knew what he had done. It was horrible; everything she had seen in him had vanished, and was replaced by the disgusting side that she witnessed the first time she went to tutor him.
As he slumped onto her, tightly holding her in his embrace, she inhaled the string scent of alcohol from him.
“Jiyong! What have you done!” She exclaimed, jerking him off.
He didn’t reply. Instead, he went straight for her again, this time holding her tighter than before. His fan his hand across her back, before settling down on her shoulder. He slowly pulled the fabric away with his teeth and stamped it with his wet kiss.
“Jiyong, stop it! What- what are you doing?” Ranhee whimpered, tears welling up in her eyes.
Jiyong pulled away from her before huskily whispering in her ear, ” It’s not about what I’m doing. It’s about what I’m going to do.”
He nuzzled her neck, slowly pulling her shirt up.
Ranhee jerked him off, hyperventilating.
Her mind was hazy; she didn’t know what to do.
Without thinking, she slapped her hand across his cheeks.
He didn’t say anything, but the fire in his eyes encapsulated the anger he felt. He had never been so maddened. He quickly gave back the slap, before yanking her by her hair and throwing her towards the wall.
Ranhee couldn’t see. Her vision went blurry, and her head throbbed like never before. Her forehead was numb.
Jiyong kicked her down as she tried to stand, and slammed into her lips before saying, ” Don’t ever do that again.”
The following days, neither attended school. And neither met each other. Normally, Ranhee would have gone up to Jiyng and thrashed him before lecturing him. But this time, it was different. Jiyong was the spice in her life now. He had softened here. She was in love with him.
It was only when Jiyong was sent for questioning for alleged possession of marijuana did she gather enough courage to see him. She was certainly afraid that he would still be the psycho he was that day, but she knew he needed her help.
She gingerly walked up to his dorm, which was swarming with media personnel, and then proceeded to the back door entrance to get in without many people knowing.
Her heart raced as she rung the doorbell. She was almost grateful that it was Daesung who answered, and not Jiyong.
“Ranhee-ssi, I’m so happy you’ve come. Please forgive him for what he did that day. He really needs you,” he said, looking down.
All the members were clearly depressed. The atmosphere of the whole place was cold and stagnant. Everyone wanted to know what would happen next. Everyone cared for him.
He led her towards his room, which was locked. He knocked at the door before quietly telling him that someone had come to see him.
The door opened, but no one was to be seen.
Jiyong walked backwards along with the door, so that no one could see him. He then said,”Come in.”
As soon as she shuffled into the room, he shut the door.
An uncomfortable silence followed, before Ranhee spoke up.
“Jiyong, I- I can’t believe it. Why did you do that? What are your fans going to think?”
No reply. She looked at him with the corner of her eye and saw his hands running through his hair. He seemed to be crying.
” Yah, don’t just cry now. You can make everything dramatic and get away with it,” she said, a tad angry. He wasn’t supposed to cry in situations like this- he had to fix them!
But she saw that he sincerely was crying, as he looked up at her, just like when she first asked him about being his tutor. A genuine look of miserableness and sorrow was plastered across his face.
“Jiyong, don’t- why- why are you crying?” She asked, carefully sitting beside him.
” I fucked up everything! My career, my life, and you. I’m just a dumb, useless piece of shit! I don’t deserve anything. I hate myself,” he shouted, startling Ranhee.
Tears flooded her eyes, as she turned his face towards her.
At that moment, anything she thought she knew about Jiyong, or idols in general, vanished.
They too, had the desire to live life to the fullest. But they also had a conscious responsibility towards their vocation, their fans. They had any number of misgivings as anyone else. But it didn’t deter them from trying to meet with the public’s standards. Everyone wants to enjoy life. But these idols, they can’t.
“I’ll get you out of this,” she promised. And she fulfilled it.
After contemplating on everything she ever learnt from Jiyong, she came to accept that his addictions were not going to stop by themselves. When he was cleared of his allegations, Ranhee made sure she was by his side everyday. Slowly, he gave up on every addiction. But he developed one new one.
After they started dating, Ranhee made sure their relationship was made public. Of course, she forgave him for the Halloween incident, and both made sure to cast that memory away. She wanted anything that would cause stress to Jiyong to get out of the way. Every weekend, he dropped his work and went out with Ranhee. She made sure he had fun, and that he didn’t fall under his career. After all, idols have to live their life to the fullest as well.
The story was really… vague, wasn’t it? I’m not sure if the ending is proper but I hope you guys like it! Thanks for all your support, especially the new subscribers!!
I wrote this on the iPad, so there might be a few spaces here and there. Please forgive me!