This is the edited version of chapter 2 of Addictions. I like this better, but I didn’t want to throw the old version away. So here’s the edited version!
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. In her mind, she said no. It was not in his place to ask for favors 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 vigor 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 sank 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 lay 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 to 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 Jiyong'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, laid 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 features, one by one. He couldn't help but admire her. Like Ranhee, his thoughts only concerned her.
Ranhee and Jiyong were making increased progress in coping with his addictions, until one day.
On Halloween, everything went out of hand.
Ranhee switched on the TV and was blasted with heart wrenching news.
"Popular k-pop idol G-Dragon has allegedly been caught in the possession of marijuana. What trials will the heartthrob face?"
His company had organized 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. Jiyong had to struggle to stand up. He had gone out of bounds.
Ranhee sunk onto her sofa, cupping her mouth. She couldn’t believe it.
When she took up the challenge of subduing his habits, Ranhee kept imagining what would happen if the public found out. It was pretty much the top thing she wished to never happen to him.
She didn’t know how Jiyong felt.
She hurriedly dialed his familiar phone number and waited impatiently for him to pick up.
"Jiyong, it’s Ranhee. Do you want me to come over?"
"A-ani. I’ll come over there."
Ranhee knew it was too dangerous for him to step outside.
"Jiyong, you can’t. It’s not safe. I’ll try and come-"
"Shut up, baby. I’m coming THERE."
The ring following was hard and loud to Ranhee. ‘Shut up, baby’, was not something he often said. In fact, he wouldn’t have dared to utter anything like that.
Ranhee tried to recall how he sounded. She had garnered enough affection for him to feel warm on recalling the way he called her baby. But something was off about. His speech was slightly slurred. She had a slight idea on why he sounded unusual, but she wasn’t sure of it.
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. He was intoxicated like never before.
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 strong 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. He ran 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 Jiyong 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.
However, one night, she began to imagine Jiyong’s plight. Before, she was of utmost fright that someone would find out about Jiyong’s addictions. She was prepared to do anything for him, should that situation have arisen. She mentally observed herself- she lied to him. She wasn’t there for him at the most taxing time of his life. She was lying at home, garnering fear and hate.
She changed her mind. She was going 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 them 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?
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!
"I’m so disappointed in you, in every aspect. I saw so much in you, and you just let me down. Why are you so easy to break? You're like a baby, Jiyong. I don't even know why I invested my time in you," Ranhee began, tears rolling down her warm cheeks.
She looked up to watch Jiyong roll his head back. He was showing ignorance, indifference. But at the same time, he cried relentlessly.
"Jiyong, LISTEN TO ME!" she exclaimed, raising her voice. "Why are you just ignoring me?"
"Because I fucking hate it, Ranhee! I hate scoldings, and I feel like killing myself when I get criticism. YET, I CAN'T SEEM TO ESCAPE IT! Do- do you know how many fucking times I've heard people telling me that they're 'disappointed in me'? As much as I like to have fun, I don't just slack off and bathe myself in crack! I'm tired of this. All they can do is reprimand me; can't they just support me for once? Even my music is looked down upon. I can't take it."
Ranhee was startled with Jiyong's sudden outburst. He was keeping all this bottled up for so long. And what pained her the most was that he was angry at her as well. She winced as he imitated her.
She looked up. His face was covered in snot from crying so much.
"Jiyong, can you stop crying? You can't cry in situations like this," she said, trying to keep her rigid stance. His rant was tugging her from all ends, trying to soften her.
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 misery and sorrow was plastered across his face.
"Even you don't like me anymore." he whispered.
"No! Jiyong, it's the complete opposite!"
"Jiyong, I- I love you. I meant to tell you that a long time ago."
He looked up, slightly interested.
"I've known that all along. I'm just scared."
Ranhee gave up on her incompliancy and sat down next to him, gently placing her palms on his shoulders.
She looked into his eyes. His life was hard, and she chose to help him. She could understand his problems, and it was upto her to fix them.
She realized the true definition for 'idol' that day.
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.
Despite her promise, all Ranhee could do was comfort Jiyong as he got embroiled into the contoversy. She did whatever was in her hands, and stood by him day by day.
And although Jiyong remained depressed for those few days, he couldn't help but appreciate her efforts. She was beautiful, not only physically, but in every way.
Eventually, Jiyong was cleared of his allegations, and continued on with his idol life.
Ranhee came to accept that his addictions were not going to stop by themselves. She worked hard to help him, and the fuit of her labour showed up when Jiyong threw all his cigarettes away. He slowly got rid of his addictions.
Ranhee made sure he didn't fall under his career. Every weekend, he dropped his work and went out with her. It didn't matter where they went- it was just for relaxation and comfort.
But one day, Ranhee was held doubtful when Jiyong randomly said, " Baby, I can't take it."
"Yah, Jiyong, you're so dramatic all the time. What's wrong? Spit it out," she replied, casually. But deep down, a little fear she garnered erupted. Did he get caught doing something? If so, why was he even doing it? Didn't he stop?
"I'm just- I'm into th- I've developed a new "addiction"," he said, trying to word it correctly.
Before Ranhee could speak, he continued.
"In fact, I was addicted to it long ago- like before the, uh, incident. And it's sort of affecting my career, but I think its just because I'm hiding it. I have to let it out. The fans probably won't like it, but, I just love it. It's my sunshine, its my music. It's that important."
"The fans won't like it? What about me? How can you refer to it as your sunshine? I don't like this- it's not good for us, and it certainly isn't good for you. And its probably not good to break it to the fans. What is this?" she said, furrowing her eyebrows. She was showing a brave, almost nonchalant expression, but deep down, the same fear ignited once again. She couldn't work with his addictions again- not when they were in a full fledged relationship, at least. She was scared for him, and it would not help if they cut off ties because of it.
"So you don't like yourself?"
Jiyong crept up towards her, inches from her lips. He smiled brightly, reminiscent of when she saw him in the library. It was fatal, his smile. Fatal.
"Yah, Ranhee. You're my addiction. And I want to show you off to the fans."
Ranhee blew a huge puff of air, letting relief engulf her.
"God, you scared me."
Jiyong looked longingly at her. He wasn't sure if she was ready to face the public yet.
Ranhee answered with a deep kiss.
Being his new addiction was pretty OK. As long as she was the final one. Both her and her idol had to live life to the fullest, right?
And she was.