Hey guys, next chapter is here. Vingle has been off-kilter still so hopefully this works well. Let me know if it cuts out like other people have said on other stories and I'll try to figure it out. For now, let's see what's in store for us.
Thank you to all of you who are reading, liking, clipping, following, and commenting.
Disclaimer: Many of the characters aside from BTS are made up and BTS themselves are not BTS in this story. And, of course, I don't know the BTS boys personally so their personalities are probably mostly fictional.
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Beginning: Chapter 1
Previous: Hoseok- Chapter 22
Next: Hoseok- Chapter 24
Warning: Contains mild language
Over the next week leading to the press conference, everything was back to normal. Or as normal as it had been. Jimin wasn’t completely avoiding SooJin anymore, but he still wasn’t really talking to her. Hoseok had gone back to his normal, friendly, but not too friendly, self. SooJin continued working hard on her PT. She was moved on to the forearm crutches so that she would have to balance more. But other than that, things pretty much stayed the same. They practiced a lot more on the stairs so that she would be able to do everything herself. The doctor had called and told her she probably wouldn’t need the home aide after the next Monday or Tuesday at the latest.
Finally, it was the day of the press conference. SooJin nervously buttoned up her blouse. She was scared to have all of those people staring at her. What would they think about her? What if they could see how messed up she was? What if they wanted her to say something? She had thought about it, if she should say something. She was scared, but if her family and friends were being attacked, then she would have no choice but to speak up to defend them.
She heard Jin’s knock. The door opened a crack. “Can I come in?”
“Yeah. I just finished getting dressed.” The door opened all the way and Jin stepped in.
“Nervous?” SooJin nodded. “I can’t really tell you to not be, but we’ll be right there with you. You don’t have anything to worry about.”
“I know... I’m just... scared.” Jin hugged her. “But I’ll be fine. I’d have to deal with this sooner or later, right? Better I get used to it early.”
“I guess that’s the downside of being part of our family. You’ll always be under public scrutiny.” SooJin could tell by her brother’s voice that he felt guilty about it.
“I’ll be fine. I can handle it. Being your sister is more than worth it,” she assured him. Jin smiled at her. He could never fully express his gratitude that she was alive, that fate had allowed them to be together again.
“The drivers are here,” came Hoseok’s voice. The two separated.
“Thank you, Hoseok. I’ll make sure everyone’s ready.” And then Jin left. Hoseok stepped in to let him pass, then he walked to SooJin. Her heart sped up.
“Are you nervous?”
SooJin smiled. “I’m nervous, but I’ll be okay.” She admired how nice he looked in his suit. She didn’t realize that he was admiring her as well.
“R-Ready?” he asked. SooJin nodded and grabbed her crutches. The new crutches allowed her more freedom of movement, for which she was grateful, but going down the stairs was still a bit precarious. Hoseok was there to help her down. Everyone piled into three cars. They were to be chauffeured to the conference and then likely to dinner afterwards. Then, they would drive themselves home.
JiEun joked with SooJin in order to help ease her nerves. It worked for a while until they pulled up to the back entrance of the building where the conference was to be held. They were very early in order to avoid dealing with a crowd and to make sure they could set up without being rushed. Already, though, there were some reporters waiting at the front. They all went into the building and greeted Mr. and Mrs. Kim. SooJin’s mother kept close to SooJin’s side while they waited. She told her what would be said during the conference and what might happen. Jin, Hoseok, and Mr. Kim discussed everything they would say.
A couple hours later, the conference was ready to start. SooJin walked herself up the steps and Jin escorted her to her seat. Jin sat on one side, closest to their parents, and Hoseok sat on her other side. The rest stood in the back of the room. JiEun made sure that they were in a place where SooJin could see them through the throng of reporters. Mr. and Mrs. Kim stood together at the podium to start the conference.
Mr. Kim started speaking. “I thank all of you for attending this press conference in order to give us a fair chance to explain recent events. I hope you will listen carefully to what we have to say.”
“We were originally planning to hold a session like this in a few weeks,” Mrs. Kim continued. “We only recently discovered that our SooJin...” she was quiet for a moment, “that our SooJin was still alive. It was amazingly happy news that was only discovered because of her horrible accident. We’re still in the process of dealing with the paperwork relating to this revelation. And our SooJin, as you can see, is still recovering.”
Eyes of the reporters, and their cameras, turned to SooJin. She immediately turned her head away, the attention causing her already-present anxiety to turn up higher. A warm hand rested on hers. She looked up to see Jin smiling reassuringly at her. She felt herself relax again. Hoseok so badly wanted to do the same but knew that he couldn’t because of the circumstances. However, he was brave enough to lightly put his hand on her arm.
Mrs. Kim continued, “We were hoping to wait until she was recovered before forcing her into the spotlight. But someone was apparently hellbent on making two families look bad for their benefit.”
At Jin’s turn, he explained the memory loss after SooJin’s accident, the mistaken identity, and her adoption. He talked about how random events led to her and all of them becoming friends. He told the rehearsed story of how it was JiEun and SooJin’s friendship that led them to asking SooJin to stay. This had been okayed by JiEun who also wanted to make sure that the wrong conclusions would not be drawn about the boys. Then he talked about the recent accident that led to the discovery of her identity.
Then it was the doctor’s turn to confirm how they discovered her identity. His part was very short. And then it went to Hoseok. He explained how everyone had visited her in the hospital constantly. Several of them would walk her around the hospital and stay with her during her PT sessions. He once again emphasized how the pictures that were published were handpicked for the results that ended up happening.
“So, you and Miss Kim are not in a relationship or dating?” a reporter asked.
“No, we are not. We are not now, nor have we ever been.” Even though she knew to expect it, the words still pricked her heart. “The only relationship we have is one of friendship.” That one hit deeper. “Just like all of our other friends who are here supporting us.” The knife twisted.
“So there are no plans of a relationship in the future?” another reporter asked.
“Are those really the questions you’re going to keep asking?”
“That’s not an answer.”
“Here’s my answer. I cannot predict the future. No one knows what will even happen tomorrow.” Hoseok knew those words would not sate the reporters. As much as he hated saying it, he had to say a truth without telling the whole truth: that he wished there were plans. “But as it stands now, no. There have never been discussions of that nature between her and me. That’s as much of an answer as I can possibly give.” The reporters looked annoyed, but allowed it to stand.
“Can we hear something from the young miss?” a reporter in the back asked. Jin stood up and Hoseok took his seat. SooJin looked to Hoseok and he smiled back reassuringly.
“Don’t worry, you don’t need to,” he told her. “We already told them that it wouldn’t be likely, but it’s their nature to ask anyway.”
Jin started talking at the podium. “As we stated before the conference, my sister is still getting used to everything. We are not planning to have her speak. But if you have any other—“ He stopped talking when all of the reporters suddenly turned to SooJin. He looked back to find her standing, balancing with her crutches.
“Th-there’s something I’d like to say,” SooJin said quietly. Jin quickly covered the space between them.
“Are you sure? You really don’t have to.” SooJin nodded.
“I don’t like them saying bad things about you guys because of me. I just want to say something short.” Jin smiled, surprised, but proud of her courage. Jin offered to escort her to the podium and she gladly accepted. She needed all the support she could get.
When SooJin reached the podium, she looked out into the crowd. Immediately, she felt her anxiety spike again. She scoured the back of the room until she spotted JiEun. JiEun put her hands over her head in a heart shape. Taehyung and Jungkook copied. The others, even Jimin, smiled encouragingly. SooJin smiled and felt peace and confidence flood her body.
“Thank you for coming here today. I apologize in advance for not being as... eloquent as you might expect from someone in the Kim family. But I hope you can take my words to heart. It’s only been a little over a month since I found out that I wasn’t the person I thought I was. Before my recent accident, I had become friends with the people my family has mentioned. They treated me like family and cared for me like they had known me my whole life. The comfort I felt from them... I will never be able to repay. They found me at a dark part of my life, but they never judged me. Kim JiEun treated me like her big sister, even calling me unnie. The one who turned out to actually be my real brother treated me like a little sister. The others treated me just as kindly. I truly felt loved by them.
“Since finding out who I actually was, I have continued to feel loved. And I gained the love of two wonderful parents. Even though the accident was, of course, unwelcome, I can now be eternally grateful because it helped me find my real family. I was so happy.” SooJin’s smile dropped. “And then all of this nonsense happened. Without waiting for facts, people created elaborate stories filled with lies and deceit and turned my family and friends into pathetic, money-hungry, greedy people.”
She looked into the eyes of any reporter who would meet her gaze. “To whoever started all this, you should feel ashamed. Whatever your agenda, it’s unacceptable to treat anyone like this. And to those who were more than happy to join the feeding frenzy without even second-guessing the validity of those accusations, you should also feel ashamed.” Jin grabbed her hand and held it.
“But you have a chance to fix it now. Please... listen to what we have told you here today. You don’t even have to take our word for it. Look into it yourselves. Most of what we said is public record. Research it and come to an appropriate and logical conclusion. That’s all I can ask of you. My family, my friends… I love them with all my heart. All I ask is that you report the truth. And in the future, with us or with anyone else, please treat them with the same dignity that you, yourself, would want to be treated with. Th-that’s what I wanted to say.” She was back to being nervous. She was afraid she might have stepped over the line. But it was something that needed to be said. She bowed politely.
“I love you too, unnie!” SooJin heard JiEun yell. She looked up and smiled back to her sweet little sister.
One of the reporters laughed. “It looks like she truly is part of your family, Mr. Kim,” he said to SooJin’s father. Her father walked to his daughter and put a hand on her shoulder.
“It would appear so,” he laughed. The rest of the reporters joined in the laughter. SooJin smiled and bowed again before walking back to her seat. She had to be careful to not collapse into the seat. Hoseok put his hand on her arm.
“You did really well,” he assured her. SooJin smiled. Mr. Kim gave his final remarks before closing the conference. A few reporters tried to ask more questions, but the majority seemed to be satisfied at the conclusion.
All of them exited and met in one of the back rooms. JiEun ran up to SooJin. “That was so great, unnie. I was seriously about to cry.” The others voiced their agreement.
“Well, I don’t know about you all, but I’m starving,” Jin commented. The others adamantly agreed. Mr. Kim insisted on treating them to dinner. They went to a nice restaurant and laughed the entire dinner. Over the course of dinner, Jin and SooJin talked to each other and agreed that it would be a good idea to finish telling their parents everything that happened to SooJin. It had been long enough for their parents to get used to having their daughter back, but also, it was very likely that at least one of the reporters would discover the whole truth. It would be better to hear it from their children rather than the media.
After dinner, Mrs. Kim told them all that SooJin’s birthday was in a month. SooJin was surprised by the news, and even more surprised that she hadn’t realized that what she thought was her birthday was actually next week. She thought that it was kind of funny how close they were together. Her mother told them that she wanted to throw her a party at their house. She invited all of them to come and told SooJin to invite anyone else. SooJin told them about SunYung, MinJu, and HyeMi whom she was close to and whom they had met briefly while visiting at the hospital.
The conversation continued for a while. Her parents had brought it up before and they knew that SooJin was more comfortable with living where she had been living than living at her parents’ house since it was new for her. But they asked if she would like to do a sleepover just for the one night. Everyone invited themselves so it turned into a birthday slumber party.
After promises to find a day that would work for everyone, it was time to leave. Jin and SooJin followed their parents to their home while the others went back to their own house. With SooJin holding her mother’s hand tightly, they told their parents everything about the missing years. Their mother cried at hearing what her daughter had gone through. Her father, too, was emotional, though his anger definitely showed.
SooJin couldn’t make the words come out to tell them about her suicide attempts. When SooJin had first found out that Jin knew about it after she came home, she had been ashamed. It was made worse by the fact that everyone knew about it. That meant that Hoseok knew as well. That was probably why he was so dead set on getting her out of the hospital when she talked about what she was feeling. But they adamantly assured her of their understanding of her situation. They had given her nothing but support. But it was still hard to talk about.
Jin understood and told their parents for her. SooJin hugged her mother tightly when she burst into tears. SooJin told them over and over that it wasn’t their fault and reminded them that everything had worked out in the end. She assured them that it would never happen again, that she was happy now. Jin explained the reason why they were telling them and their parents thanked them for letting them hear it from their child rather than the media.
Eventually, Jin and SooJin left for home. The others were waiting to hear from them at the house. When everything was told, they all headed for bed. SooJin was so tired from the day that she let Jin carry her up the stairs instead of going herself. She fell asleep almost as soon as her head hit the pillow and only dreamed of happy things.
Over the next few weeks, SooJin continued to improve. She no longer needed the home aide and she was able to go back to the hospital for her PT sessions. SooJin moved on from the crutches to just having a ‘just in case’ walking cane. She and Hoseok continued to be close, though not as close as they were when alcohol was involved. Both she and Hoseok were actually able to start believing that maybe their feelings were mutual. But they were still too afraid to say anything. Jimin continued to keep his distance as he tried to keep his promise. But it was weighing heavily on him.
On the Friday of the third week after the conference, SooJin was up late studying in the living room. She was worried. It was almost one in the morning and no one had heard from Jimin. The others didn’t seem too worried, but she was. They were convinced that he was out at a club trying to pick up some girl after his long hiatus. But SooJin didn’t feel like it was likely. Back when they were still close, Jimin had confessed to her that he hated himself for doing it. He said that he never cared when he was out, but the next day, it always made him feel ashamed. He said he was addicted to the thrill and the feeling, but he wanted to stop. And for a long while, he had kept to it. There was no reason why he’d give up now.
SooJin saw the lights of a car pulling up to the house. She carefully got up. She heard the scraping of a key trying to find the key slot. The door unlocked and opened. In stumbled Jimin. Just behind him, tugging on his hand, was a woman wearing a barely-there dress.
SooJin’s eyes narrowed. She was disappointed and a little angry that she had stayed up worried just to see this. Jimin didn’t notice her at first. He wasn’t paying much attention to anything. The woman on his arm was a beauty who had spotted him as soon as he came in. She came onto him very strongly. He found everything about her to be annoying, her laugh, her practically plastic personality, the way she laughed at everything he said as if it was the funniest thing in the world. But she wanted him to take her home, so he obliged. He needed something to forget. As much as he hated himself for it, this woman might help force his feelings away from SooJin. If nothing else, she would be his point of no return.
The woman kept giggling drunkenly and Jimin rolled his eyes as he pushed the door shut. And then he saw her, the woman he needed to forget. His eyes met SooJin’s and he saw the disappointment in her eyes. He looked away guiltily. His feelings were thrown in so many different directions. He wanted to see her sad, because that would mean she cared for him the way he still cared for her. At the same time, he didn’t want to see it because he needed to get over her anyway. And her disappointment made him feel even worse about what he was doing. But he kept telling himself that he needed to do it.
He pulled the woman with him to the stairs and then up them to his room. SooJin kicked at her stack of books in anger. After everything, he was really going to do this. She had waited for him for hours and hadn’t answered anyone’s texts. She had been worried about him and he had been out doing the thing he hated... again. She quickly grabbed her books and stormed up the stairs (as much as one can storm with a cane) to her room. She slammed the door shut.
Her anger turned to herself. She wasn’t just angry that he was doing it again so much as she was angry that she still hadn’t found out what was wrong. Why he had been ignoring her, treating her like no one... again. She was angry at herself for not pushing hard enough. He hated his behavior. And yet, he was doing it again and she didn’t know why. She set the books on her desk. That’s when she noticed she was missing one. She must’ve kicked it under the sectional earlier. She debated if she even wanted to bother going back downstairs again.
With a sigh, she headed back to the door. She had just opened it when she heard yelling down the hall. “Stupid asshole!” the woman screeched. SooJin looked into the hallway to see the woman that had come in with Jimin stomping down the hallway, screaming and yelling curses. She watched the woman disappear when she turned down the stairs. SooJin stepped into the hallway. The front door slammed shut. What the hell had happened? She hadn’t even been here for 10 minutes.
SooJin walked down the hall. She was worried that something might have happened to Jimin. As she passed the approached the study next to Jungkook’s room, she could see that Jimin’s door was still open. She stopped just outside of his room. Jimin was sitting on his bed, fully clothed, elbows on his knees, head in his hands. Jimin suddenly jumped up, grabbed his alarm clock, and, with a frustrated yell, threw it at the wall next to the door. Startled, SooJin jumped back to avoid the flying pieces of the clock.
Well, that was something, don't you think, lol. I wonder what'll happen next. Will Jimin continue to avoid the problem? Or will he finally be forced to face it? As for Hoseok... GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER!!! lol. Anyhow, I hope you enjoyed. We're getting to the last set of chapters. Wonder what I got in store for Hoseok and SooJin? You'll find out soon. ;)
Next chapter will be out on Wednesday.
Thank you @Mavis2478 for the story.