Title: This Life of Mine
Pairing: Junsu/Ri In
Genre: angst, drama
Length: 2,066 words
Rating: R for language and sex
A/N: Second part to this. I'm expecting probably two more parts. So much for a one-shot! :P Comments ♥
Nothing we can’t fix.
That’s what he said to me. I think about the meaning of those words. I’ve never felt words shock me back into reality so quickly.
Nothing we can’t fix.
It’s meaningless. Does he intend to make an effort to fix us? His life is perfect the way it is, why would he?
Nothing we can’t fix.
I pulled away from him, my hand sliding back across his chest. I wouldn’t cater to his pretenses, I couldn’t. Junsu’s eyes opened and he caught sight of the look on my face, knowing I was about to book it out of there as quick as I could. I pulled the sheets closer, preparing to pull them with me.
“No—Ri!” He grabbed my wrist.
Our eyes met and held, his gaze as wide as mine.
“Why are you angry?”
I was now on my knees, backing off the bed. He was on his side, holding my wrist firmly.
“Ri,” he said, insisting on an answer.
“You think we can fix this?” I said in a low voice. “You must be crazy.”
“Ri, please. You said one night. I didn’t mean…to ruin it,” he began.
But we both knew there was nothing to ruin. I dressed and left the room, preferring to sit downstairs.
How dare he pretend we can put a Band-Aid on these wounds? On my wounds?
He was only home for one or two days after that. Then he flew off into the sunset to pursue what was most important to him, what has always been most important—money, fame, influence, stage, and spotlight. Now I’m alone again.
I hang his pink shirts in the closet.
You think I’m being too hard on him, for not believing he has good intentions. Let me tell you a story.
Two nights after Junsu and I slept together for the first time my father found out about it somehow. I stood trembling outside his study while Junsu spoke with him.
Junsu was repentant at first and I was hoping the whole storm would blow over, but suddenly their words became more heated and suddenly the words were outright shouted.
“I can’t marry her!”
I slipped around the corner in case either of them burst out the door but I sank into the wall, pressing my temple against the surface as I listened.
“This is the 21st century, sir, and you can’t force me to marry her,” Junsu insisted. My breathing got short as I contemplated the meaning of his words. My father continued to talk, too low for me to understand through the closed doors.
I understood if Junsu said ‘no’ right now. He was on his way to stardom, of course this wasn’t good timing, but the man loved me. He would do the honorable thing one day, and my father shouldn’t force it any sooner…
Suddenly Junsu did burst out the door, alone, striding purposefully to the front door.
“Junsu,” I said, reaching for him. His eyes widened but he was shaking me off, still walking away. “Junsu, its fine,” I continued. “I understand. I’ll talk to him and we can postpone it…”
“Postpone it?” Junsu said. “Cancel it.”
My father appeared in the hallway and I glanced at him, noting his stoic expression. I dropped Junsu’s arm.
“Did you do this on purpose?” he asked slowly. “Did you tell your father about us? Is this what you wanted?”
“No!” I cried. I was horrified. “No, that isn’t what happened. I would never force you into this, but if it’s going to happen, why can’t we just be happy together? Isn’t this what you wanted? Eventually?”
“No!” he snapped.
I remember jerking like he’d hit me.
“What?” I whispered.
“I’m going places, Ri In,” he said softly, like he was pleading with me, like this was all my fault. “We aren’t meant to be together, I won’t be able to take care of you…”
“But you will take care of her,” my father said in a steely voice. I shrunk as Junsu continued to argue with my father, telling him that this was the worst possible time for him and that he never intended for things to end this way.
It’s supposed to be a beginning, not an end.
Honestly, why do you want to know all this? My life is full of bitterness. I would step off if I were you.
My mother-in-law calls one morning to ask if I can give her a hand with something. I go out to the market to pick up the produce she needs and drive the forty minutes to her house. She invites me in and we go to the kitchen to test out a recipe.
I wash the vegetables while she bustles about preparing something and I glance at the TV on the kitchen counter. It’s tuned to a news channel where the camera is following a group of people at the airport, complete with bustling fans and camera flashes. The man at the center of the mob is none other than my husband Kim Junsu. I suspect that’s why my mother-in-law was watching?
I ignore the captions on the screen and while she gives me instructions for the recipe I back to the TV and change the channel.
The day Junsu and I got married was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. I was all alone, literally, figuratively, and emotionally. The event was planned in such a rush and hush that my friends and extended family would not be attending. It would only be Junsu and myself, my parents, his father (his mother couldn’t bear to show up at the time), and his brother.
I don’t remember most of the day itself, or any of the days leading up to it, but I do recall walking down the aisle on my father’s arm. Junsu didn’t even look at my father as he took my hand and turned us roughly to the minister. Instead of looking at each other, we faced front. We exchanged rings and repeated our vows, and Junsu never so much as looked me in the eye. His attitude was so infuriatingly arrogant, his temper demanding from the very first instant of our marriage that I be the one to compromise.
My heart was officially broken by this point, and my way of gluing it back together was to adopt his self-righteousness. We didn’t speak unless it was required. We didn’t look at each other except by accident. We consummated our marriage on a night when our tempers got the better of both of us, and it was so rough and hard it had to have hurt us both, but we never would have admitted it.
It was childish of us. It was the only way to protect our hurt feelings and keep from saying things we didn’t want to say.
Why don’t you consider fixing things? you ask. You aren’t even trying, you say.
This is not possible. Junsu and I not only don’t love each other, we don’t even like each other. We have said and done horrible things to each other that I, for one, can never forgive.
You’ve done some pretty great things to each other too, you joke.
You know nothing about real life, young one. Attraction means nothing in this marriage. Sex is a way for us to use each other; it didn’t bring us knowledge and understanding of each other, far from it. I barely know Junsu any better than the man who delivers my mail, and if I stared into Junsu’s eyes for hours I wouldn’t learn a damn thing about him.
Do I even think that he’s serious about what he said? I don’t know. Yes, it’s what I wish for, but it doesn’t mean he has any intentions of following through.
Junsu broke my heart and stole my hope. I need healing and I don’t think he can give it.
Soon after we were married I was asked to accompany him to dinners, promotion stages, and charity events. Junsu’s name was catching on fire, his fame growing at an astounding rate. I suspect his agency wanted to use me, my pretty face and figure by his side, to their advantage. My inability to adapt to society life however, caused them to change their strategy. They wanted me to dote on him, to worship and adore him, but I was no actor. The events grew increasingly more dreaded, and I spent less and less time at his side and more and more time in corners.
One night in particular I was standing in a hallway with marble floors, avoiding a charity ball within the next room. A couple walked out the doors with glasses of champagne and when they passed me, they did a double take.
“Why…aren’t you Kim Junsu’s wife?” the woman asked. I froze for a moment and then nodded.
She sparkled and pulled her husband along with her to meet me.
They began to ask me questions about Junsu’s work, his refreshing artistry and signature voice, his impressive work ethic. They wanted to know how much he worked at home and what inspired him. I didn’t know what to say, and I imagined they were creating answers for themselves, twisting my few words to suit their expectations, and that was fine with me.
After about twenty minutes of this useless conversation, I glanced up at the ballroom doors and realized Junsu was standing there, a glass in one hand and the other in his pocket, watching me flounder in the face of social status.
The woman and her husband turned to see him and he strolled over to chat for a few moments before they excused themselves, smiling and waving goodbye.
Once they were gone, Junsu took my elbow and leaned close to my ear, exuding arrogance with every particle of his being. I know what he saw me as, and it was exactly the way I felt; I was a little girl in the midst of a fairytale, undeserving of so many good things.
I closed my eyes against his words before he even spoke them, but they hurt just the same.
“You don’t belong in my world.”
That same night, after spending the entire day at my in-laws’, Junsu gave me a call.
“Hey,” he said, sounding a little breathless.
“Hey,” I replied cautiously. I was walking into the house, dropping my keys on the counter.
“I just got back from a show-thing and I just wanted to call before I forgot.”
“…” I leaned against the wall and waited for him to explain himself.
“I um…” he began. “So the weather is supposed to be real nice this weekend, and I wanted to ask you if you’d come out to the beach house. I’m still in Japan, but I can meet you there say, Friday afternoon.”
I crossed an arm over my stomach and looked at my feet.
“You want me to?”
He hesitated, probably afraid that I was tricking him into something.
“Yeah. I want you to.”
I was completely unsure of what to say. If I accepted, there was a tiny possibility it would end well. Or there was a chance that he was going to screw me over and embarrass me somehow or otherwise be hateful. If I denied, though, I would look like a bitch because what else did I have to do? He said he wanted me to come.
I decided my self-esteem could handle a hit if necessary. There was a little to lose and a lot more to gain.
We finalized a few details and said goodnight.
I thought about the history of Junsu’s inconsistency. That had always been his biggest problem. I was constantly waiting around to see what he would do next—one time he came back from a show in Okinawa and brought me a coral necklace. The next time he returned from a tour I cooked dinner and he threw his plate in the trash.
This weekend could end badly or it could end nicely. If it ended nicely I’d expect him to do something mean to make up the odds. I never knew what the hell to expect and I was not willing to jump on his roller coaster ride of emotion.
And that, my friends, is why I am the way I am.