While JR is saying goodbye to his parents I’m sitting on the staircase. I’m thinking about his mother. She is really nice and she is comfortable being around. I would love to learn sign language and communicate with her that way. JR’s father is also friendly and he seemed very interested in me. He asked about my interests and what I like to do when I have the time. I don’t know why he asked but I just answered.
Just then my thoughts are interrupted as I hear JR’s steps come closer. I look up and see him stop in front of me. He glances at me for a couple of seconds and then says my name.
I lift my hand to stop him from saying another word. “I know I know. You want to say that you’re sorry and thankful.”
JR tilts his head slightly while still looking at me. “Actually I just want you to move out of my way. But if that makes you feel better then let’s just act like I was going to say sorry and thank you.”
I roll my eyes and don’t even want to comment on that. I just get up and step aside. While passing by me on the stairs he reaches out and strokes my hair very lightly and only for a short moment. I turn my head and follow him with my eyes until he turns around the corner and disappears out of my sight. I smile slightly and look at the ground. JR is a jerk, but he has his sweet moments. And today something changed. Every time he does something to piss me off from today onwards I will let it slip. After what his father told me about him I’ll never look at him the same. I won’t treat him differently but I feel like I know him better now and that changed something in our friendship. If what we have can be called a friendship.
The last day of our vacation I spend with the boys. The four of us visit a park located near our house. A few minutes after we arrived, Baekho and Ren arrive too. Ren isn’t hostile towards me anymore since I haven’t made any trouble. He is actually quite friendly. And right now the guys are running all over the place playing around with each other. Everyone except JR of course. He is sitting on the grass leaning against a tree with his eyes closed. I can’t help but smile and walk over to sit next to him.
“Jonghyun-ah,” I say as I sit down. “Wae?” he mumbles and opens one eye to look at me. “I want to ask you something.”
“Can you teach me sign language?”
He opens the other eye and looks at me surprised. “Teach you sign language?” he asks and I nod. “I really want to learn! Then next time I meet your mother I will be able to communicate with her better,” I say with a lot of enthusiasm. JR gazes at me for a while without saying anything. Then he asks: “You know that sign language isn’t something you learn overnight right?”
“That’s why I want you to teach me from today onwards,” I say with a big smile on my face. JR raises an eyebrow. “And if I refuse?”
“Well that’s just too bad ‘cause I won’t take no for an answer,” I say still with a smile on my face. The message is very clear. I’m not giving him a choice. He knows that but I didn’t expect him to actually give in.
“Okay,” he says and I can’t hide my surprised expression. I thought I had to fight him more to make him agree. But this actually wasn’t that hard. He agreed faster than expected. Not that it’s a bad thing it’s just not very JR-like.
“What do you want to learn?” he asks and I think about it. “You decide,” I end up saying and JR rolls his eyes. “You really are simple minded,” he says in a subdued voice that is barely hearable, “well, let’s get started then.”
At first he teaches me the alphabet and then how to say my name. In sign language you tell your name by spelling it. Then he teaches me how to present myself with name and age. Just the basics. At first I actually thought JR would make fun of me and teach me something weird. But he is actually very serious about this. He teaches me very purposively and he is unexpectedly patient with me. And when I can’t get the gestures right he will grab my hands and make them for me. Every time his hands touch mine I lose my mind for a moment and forget how to breathe. My heart gets out of control and a few times I actually fear that it will break through my chest. But I do my best to not let it show and act like my mind isn’t going crazy. Instead I focus on the things JR is telling me. Because of course sign language isn’t something you just do. Like with regular language you have to pronounce the words correctly for people to understand. It’s the same with sign language. I can’t let my hand gestures be sloppy because then the other person will have a hard time understanding. JR also tells me that like normal language sign language has ‘dialects’. From the way a person’s hands move and their position compared to their upper body you can tell where the person is from. Or rather where they learned sign language. I didn’t expect myself to get so caught up in it but I actually find it very fascinating. It’s way more complicated than I thought but I still want to learn. I actually want to learn even more now. And JR promises to be my teacher from now on.
Just as JR finishes our ‘lesson’ Aron throws himself down on the grass in front of us.
“I’m exhausted,” he says out of breath and I can’t help but smile. “Well you have been running around for the last thirty minutes,” I say and he struggles to catch his breath. “He is in terrible shape,” Minhyun says as he lies down next to me. I flinch slightly when he rests his head in my lap. I quickly pull myself together and say: “Well we can’t all be in perfect shape like you.”
“True,” he says and smiles at me, “but I still have more energy. Heejin play with me.”
I shake my head. “I’m too lazy,” I protest and Minhyun grins. “Then I’ll just do all the work,” he says and gets up. Then he puts one arm around my back and the other under my legs. Then he picks me up as if I weighed 5 kilos and not 50. I squeal and look at him surprised.
“What are you doing?” I ask him but he just smiles, “yah Hwang Minhyun put me down right now!”
“Or what?” he asks cockily. “Or I’ll… eh…” I try to come up with a good threat while looking around. “The view is actually quite good from up here,” I say and totally forget about threatening Minhyun. He chuckles and apparently finds me amusing. “I know right,” he says and I nod. I hear JR mumble pabo but I choose to ignore him. Just then Ren and Baekho join the others under the tree. As they sit down JR gets up and walks away. I don’t know if he doesn’t want to be around them or it’s something else. I ask Minhyun to put me down and this time he listens. He carefully puts me down and I quickly follow JR.
“Is something wrong?” I ask and he ignores me, “are we too loud?”
He still doesn’t respond and I step in front of him. He stops and glances at me with an indifferent look.
“If there is something wrong you can tell me. You know that right?” I say and he doesn’t reply. Just as I think he isn’t going to respond at all he raises his hand. He gestures for me to get closer. I lean forward and he asks me to come even closer. I do as he says and he also leans forward. My breathing stops as his lips move very close to my ear. I wait for him to whisper something but instead he blows into my ear. I pull away and hear him laugh.
“Why did you do that?!” I ask accusingly. “For fun,” he says and shrugs, “but actually I want to tell you something.”
He says and leans closer again. I stand still and wait for him to tell me what it is. But he blows in my ear again. “I can’t believe you fell for it twice,” he says and I clench my teeth. “Yah Kim Jonghyun! Jugulle?!” I shout and glare at him. “Mmh,” he says and obviously doesn’t care about my threat at all. “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me,” I mumble and JR smirks. “Don’t be so hard on yourself. You just have trust issues,” he says and I raise an eyebrow. “Isn’t that when you can’t trust anyone you have trust issues?” I ask and he shrugs. “Who cares,” he says indifferently. Just then Minhyun calls for us.
“We’re leaving now! Are you coming?!” he shouts. “Coming!” I shout back and is about to leave when JR grabs my arm and holds me back. “Wait a sec,” he says and I look at him confused. Then he turns me towards him and bends down. At first I don’t understand why but then I realize my shoelace is untied. But why would JR care about that? I look at the back of his neck as he ties my shoelace.
“This isn’t like you. Are you worried I’ll get hurt?” I ask and JR scoffs. “I don’t want you to fall and break your leg because then I’ll have to be the one to carry you home.”
I chuckle because he always denies caring about me. It can at times be kind of funny.
“Then why not just leave me behind?” I ask and he looks up at me. “Your mother wouldn’t let me get away with that,” he says and I smile. “That’s true,” I say and JR turns his attention back to my shoelace, “so it all comes down to you being afraid of my mom.”
“Shut up,” he says and I chuckle. I tousle his hair and he actually lets me do it. He doesn’t pull away as I expect him to. He just finishes tying my shoelace and then gets up. “Let’s go,” he says and walks away. I look at him and wonder why he is like this. This isn’t like him at all. He is different and I can’t really decide if I like it or not.
“Don’t make me wait for you,” JR says and I quickly catch up with him. I’ll just have to see if this behavior continues and then find out what to think about it.
On Monday school starts again. I get up early like usual so I can use the bathroom before the boys. Looking in the mirror I decide to do something different about myself. I put some lipgloss on and put my hair up in a ponytail. I’m satisfied with the result and leave the bathroom to go downstairs and eat breakfast.
On our way to school Minhyun talks all the way but I don’t really listen. My attention is on JR. I wonder if he noticed that I look a little different. I don’t really expect him to compliment me or anything but if he had just looked at me twice I would have been satisfied. Though I’m not sure why his attention is so important to me. Could I really be in love with him?
Just then we reach the school and I push those thoughts away. We walk up to the hallway where our classrooms are and I’m about to enter my classroom when JR grabs my arm. I turn to look at him but he is looking at his friends.
“You can just go. This will only take a second,” he says and they hesitantly walk away from us. “What is it?” I ask and JR turns towards me. Then he reaches for my ponytail and pulls out the elastic. My hair falls down over my shoulder and frames my face. I don’t understand what he is doing. Then he takes my hand and puts the elastic around my wrist.
“Your hair looks better down,” he says in a subdued voice and then looks into my eyes. I feel my face turning hot and I want to look away but for some reason I can’t stop looking at his face. Then JR strokes some of my hair behind my ear. I feel his hand touching my ear and I expect my body to react like usual. But it doesn’t. Normally when someone touches my ear I freak out. My ears are the most sensitive part of my body and I never allow anyone to touch them. I always get tense and push the person who tries away. But even though JR is touching my ear my body doesn’t get tense. Actually a shiver is going through my entire body and I don’t feel the need to push him away. Instead of finding it uncomfortable I kind of… enjoy it? Even though it makes no sense JR is apparently the only person in this world that I will allow to touch my sensitive ears. What exactly does that mean?
“Nice earrings,” JR says and smiles cockily before he lets go of my ear and walks away leaving me confused. He always does this. Saying and doing things that make my heart race. Making me do and feel things I have never done and felt before. Since JR moved in I have been experiencing new things. And slowly he made his way into my life. And my heart. I have been denying the truth. Deceived myself and kept my feelings in the dark. But I guess I can’t do that anymore. I now understand what has been going on lately and there is no reason to deny it anymore. I can’t deny my feelings. And there is no doubt. I am in love with JR.