“Where are you? Are you OK?” Hoya exclaimed as you picked up the phone and put it to your ear.
“I’m fine, Hoya. I am just at school” Calmly replying to the worried friend on the other side of the line, “I just came out of my Language class” you explained as you could hear him breathe heavier into his phone.
“Well make sure that you don’t lounge around.” Hoya strictly said as he came back to his senses, trying to calm himself down.
“Ok, I have to go to the library and then I will be heading home.” You explained your schedule to try and ease his thoughts.
“Ok, bye.” Hoya disappointingly said as he hung up the phone, depressed that he would have to wait a little longer to see you. He looked at the clock on his phone and thought about the distance and how much time it would take to get to you. He stood up grabbed his keys and ran out the door.
A couple of months ago you walked out of your apartment and collapsed as you walked to the stairs, exhausted from the countless hours of studying and what little food you had to eat. Hoya walked out of the apartment next to yours, about the same time that you had collapsed. He gazed upon the lifeless body that lay in front of him. He shifted his head from side to side looking up and down the hall for anybody else that could help. He walked a couple of steps and kneeled by your head, he turned you over to your back gently, and he grasped your wrists and pulled you up leaning on his shoulder. He carried you into his apartment, for he didn’t know what to do besides to be hospitable. He placed you gently on his couch, rubbing a cool towel on your sweaty head. He sat beside you until you woke up. Your eyes groggily opened as you set your eyes on his beautiful face and his oncoming smile.
“Hi there” He said with a warm, welcoming voice. You pushed yourself up so you sat upright leaning on the armrest of the couch. “Are you hungry?” He asked as he looked at your pale figure.
“Yes, and a little thirsty too.” You said quietly not trying to intrude
“Coming right up!” He said as he shuffled to the kitchen. You watched the kind stranger cut up various fruits and put them into a white bowl and sprinkled a mix of spices on top. He walked over with the bowl resting in the palm of his hand and a tall glass of water, with cubed ice that sloshed around with each step, clinking the side of the glass. He handed you the bowl of fruit as he placed the glass of water on the contemporary coffee table. You took a small bite of his fruit salad creation and relaxed when the spices hit your tongue causing you to grin widely at the familiar taste of home that you had purely missed while being at college. You savored the final bites of the fruit salad before diving in for another bite. He sat there awkwardly playing with his perfect fingers as you finished eating.
“So what’s your name?” He asked trying not to make direct eye contact
“__________” You responded, “What’s yours?”
“Lee Ho Won, but you can call me Hoya.” He smiled as he looked into your eyes; you broke eye contact and looked down at the bowl that rested in your hands.
You still remembered what happened that day like it was yesterday. All the fun, laughs and secrets that you shared with each other, still stayed in your memory and made you smile every time that you thought about the first day. Every day since then he has talked with you, texted you or written you a note. Today was just another day, no different than any other times that he had contacted you.
You searched the library for the text books that you needed and began to walk out of the library, after checking them out. You pushed the heavy doors that relished the sun and the slight breeze that blew through the trees. You skipped down the steps enjoying the beautiful day that surrounded you. A man walked past you, you didn’t think anything of it due to the college setting, he suddenly turned around and pushed something into your back making you uncomfortable as you arched your back with your backpack balancing on one shoulder. He grabbed your upper arm pushing you towards a white car.
“If you make this difficult, you will be hurt. Just walk, don’t scream or make eye contact with anyone, just do what we say.” A husky cracking voices’ message pierced into your head as you tried to do what he said while formulating another plan in your head.
Hoya’s black Jeep pulled up afar from the white car that the man was leading you to, you turned your head at the arriving vehicle. Hoya unlatched his door and stood out the doorway and watched you as both of you walked towards the curb. You looked over at Hoya; the man pushed the object into your back a little more, poking through your blouse. Hoya stepped out of his Jeep and jogged up to the sidewalk. The man pushed the object into you with more force; you felt a warm liquid run down your lower back, knowing that he had drawn blood. You glanced down at the passing sidewalk. The cracks passed under your feet as the man pushed you faster and faster to the white car that was approaching. Hoya began to quicken his pace as he saw the man’s hand on your arm forcing you forward to the car. He was unsure of what the circumstances that were being taken to get you off campus. Another man opened the back door as you were feet from the car, you watched Hoya as he ran up to the man behind you and took hold of his collar, holding him with a fist in the air ready to strike. The man holding the door, pushed your books out of your hands as they tumbled to the ground, the man took you by the wrist and threw you into the car. You braced your arms against the door frame of the white car, pausing for just a moment looking over your shoulder as you got a good look at the man, you ripped your wrist away from his clenching hand running causing him to leap after you and grab you around the waist. He lifted you off of the ground and walked back over to the car. He placed a hand over your mouth but you wiggled out of the grip, you kicked and screamed as you began to gain an audience from fellow college students.
“Hoya!” You screamed as the man threw you in the back of the car and threw your books and backpack on top of you. The distracted Hoya watched you pound on the window after they threw you into the car. The man held Hoya and threw him to the ground, Hoya turned from his stomach to his back. The two men had scrambled into the car with you still in the back. You started to pound on the window as they started up the car. He rose to his feet and ran to his
Jeep chasing after you. You continued to pound and hit the window with all you had in hope that Hoya might come after you. You punched the back seat as tears finally released from your eyes. You tried to look out the window to figure out where you were, you found a cross street and looked at the street signs. Inconspicuously pulling out your phone and texted the cross roads to Hoya in hope that he could find you.
Hoya drove furiously after you. Making sure that the men didn’t get what they wanted. His mind filled with images and slow moving pictures of your beauty and grace. His phone buzzed and he snapped back to reality, looking down at the text, he saw the random names and thought where he had seen them before, he figured it out and chuckled to himself and drove to the clues that you had left him. He was more determined than ever to get you back.
You gathered your books into the backpack so that you could make a run for it if you needed to. A loud engine began to roar behind you as you turned around and pounded on the window again.
“Hoya, Hoya, help please!” you yelled at the glass as if he could hear you. Tears streamed down your face as you saw his through the window.
The car took a vase of action throwing you off balance and rolling around in the backseat. Hoya dodged traffic that they were now weaving through. You sat up near the back window again as you began to pound and yell to the window. The man in the passenger seat reached back grabbed both of your hands and tied them around your back, with zip ties so you couldn’t untie yourself. He turned around and shoved you into the seat, trying constantly to turn around and every time he shoved you back into your seat, then he began to hit and slap you for turning around. You kept screaming his name endlessly hoping that he could help somehow.
“Shut her up!” The driver yelled as he handed the other man a bandanna to wrap in your mouth. He shoved the wrapped bandanna into your mouth causing it to be agape as the tied it around your head.
They turned you around and hit you a couple of more times before they threw you back against the warm cloth that wrapped the seats. The car began to swerve at an alarming increasing amount of speed, tears flowed down your face from helplessness and from the sorrowful feeling that rested in the pit of your stomach and began to seep into your thoughts. The car turned onto a dirt road and still picking up speed with every passing mile, they began to swerve between trees and rocks that they were passing. The car began to slow as it approached a small wrecked cabin that was tilted to one side. The car was parked within the trees, trying to conceal the secret that they had. They took you out of the car, you gazed down the long driveway hoping that Hoya would show up, you longed to see his face, you longed to see a friend. They pushed you into the small cabin that leaned to one side. They removed a couple of objects out of your walking path so you would be able to walk through. Your eyes wondered around the small prison as they pushed you through a tall door frame. The room had no windows, but it was lit by several small candles around the room, an old iron bed frame with a worn out mattress with pure white sheets hugging its corners, there was a floor length mirror and a chair off in the adjacent corner. You stood your ground as they tried to push you into the room. That stronger man lifted you up around your waist and threw you over his shoulder. He walked over to the bed and set you down on it with your back against the headboard. Two other men undid your previous wrist ties and grabbed both of your wrists and placed them above your head and latched them to the bedframe with more zip ties. Your head hung down and touched your chest. One man followed your arm down with his finger and lifted your chin slightly. He pulled the hair out of your face as you jolted your chin from his grasp.
“She’ll get used to it, just leave her.” The extra men gathered by the door locking he door as they exited. You sat there looking around the room trying to see what you could use to escape. You heard some movement outside, you focused on what you could hear, closing your eyes you could faintly hear a conversation forming, and rocks clicked as their shoes ran over the rocks.
They were talking about you.
“Boss, did we get the right girl?” Some of the many men asked
“Would Lee Howon be following us, trying to get her back if she wasn’t?” The boss questioned
“Ahhhh, Boss you are smart.” The same man commented denouncing himself in the process.
The boss chuckled evilly as they returned back to the cabin with the slamming of the door. You watched the door as the footsteps approached. A man opened the door; he was the only one so far that wasn’t wearing a ski mask. He walked in with two other men that stood on either side of the door frame.
“Hello” he said with a kind voice, you avoided eye contact, “Be nice, we are only trying to help.”
He walked up to the side of the bed and sat close to you. You pulled away as he put his hands up to your face; he reached for the bandanna and pulled it out of your mouth. It fell onto your chest soaking with your saliva.
“We are going to ask you a couple of questions, beauty. Please answer them for me.” He said with a seductive voice, he rubbed your cheek and you looked the other way. “Are you the girlfriend of Lee Howon?” You stared at the wall. “Do you think he is coming?” You glanced down and then back up, trying not to show emotion. “Look at me when I talk to you.” His hand grabbed your lower jaw pushing your cheeks together and forced you to look at him. Once again you moved your eyes to avoid eye contact with him. He slapped you several times across the face, his rings scrapped across your face leaving impressions and bruises where he hit you.
He moved back and walked to one of the other guards, passing something to him. The tall bulky man approached as the blade reflected the candlelight in the hazy room, you started to squirm and kick it out of his hand as he moved towards you. He pulled your knee sock down exposing your lower log. He hung the knife over your fresh, clean skin, with a sudden movement the blade dug into your leg and you whined at the pain. You retracted your leg but he held it firmly against the white sheets. The blade seized as blood ran down your leg and you opened your eyes to see him exit the room. You tried to fold the comforter so that you could try and slow your bleeding.
Several hours had passed and still no sign of Hoya. They had integrated you, punched, kicked, smacked, slit and beat you. Every time the door would open you curled yourself into a ball until you didn’t have enough energy to. A chubbier man opened the door and walked in with a tray.
“Lunch time, my lady” He said in his falsetto voice. Setting the tray of food on the bed, he fed you gently slipping little pieces of bread and grapes into your mouth. The meal was devoured and he got up and walked to the door.
“What time is it?” You whispered for you had no voice after screaming at so many men.
“Umm, about three” He said as he opened the door and walked out. Your head hung against your chest once again. A small knocking from the wall woke you as you looked around.
“Hoya?!” You asked the strange knock, he responded by taping three more times on the wooden wall.
You did it another time to make sure you weren’t hearing things, and again he responded with small knocks against the wood. A smile appeared on your face as Hoya’s face set into your mind. You heard his footsteps on the pine needle covered tin roof, it creaked and cracked with every step. All five men came into the room. You tried to remain unemotional to help Hoya. The ceiling began to give as you watched the cracks seeped across the ceiling. In an instant Hoya fell through the roof taking out two of the men that he had landed on. Hoya took his stance from the debris and found an opponent that was ready to strike. Battling the man opposing his every move that the man executed, he knocked the man to the ground with one swift chest kick. He looked over at you as you looked over to another man that was fast approaching. A man from the rubble emerged and walked up to you and cut a piece of duct tape and placed it on your mouth. You yelled anyways, he flung you over his shoulder and carried you out of the room, kicking and screaming. You yelled for Hoya as the man was taking you away from him.
Hoya looked up at the muffled screaming and saw the man close the door behind him. The man messed with the locks on the door. His fists pounded against the door, you heard him as he shouted for you.
“Hang on I will be right there!” Hoya shouted through the door as the man took you out of the small cabin, he jogged to the car placing you in the backseat, and he climbed over the seats to the driver’s side and put the key into the ignition. He turned the key but nothing happened, he slammed his hand against the dash and continued to turn the key. You slowly grabbed for the door handle when the man got out and grabbed you by your wrists and pulled you out of the car. He drug you along behind him, you dragged your feet hoping to slow him up. He lifted you again over his shoulder and began to jog through the forage that was nearby. He was very clumsy and he tripped over a branch that was bursting out from the ground. Both of you crashed down to the dirt as approaching footsteps became louder and louder. The man mumbled under his breath as he flung you over his shoulder once again. He ran to the boathouse that wasn’t far away. He put you in a small boat and pulled the chord that revved the engine, he connected the remote control to the motor, he tied your hands behind your back and zip tied you once more.
“Hold this, you let go, you go.” He said as he placed a round object in your hand and removed a pin, you sunk into your despair as you figured out that it was a grenade. He pushed the boat away from the shoreline as you looked around the large lake, no houses, and no docks, there was no activity around. You found the man far in the distance as he stopped the boat, lowered an anchor and threw the remote control into a can and lit it on fire, he escaped through the brush lining. You sat and waited trying to loosen the straps around your wrists and ankles. You looked around yelling what you could through the duct tape over your mouth. You grew tired of trying to rebel against the little plastic that was around your ankles and wrists. You tried to take your mind off of the imminent danger that stared you in the face.
The lapping water against the boat sides aggravated you more than soothing you. The brush seemed to crackle in the distance, you brought you head up from the bent over position that you were in. You looked over in the direction, you squinted your eyes to enhance the person that was coming through the brush. A man emerged from the tree line frantically looking around, he ran over to the smoking can where the remote control was burned to a crisp. You started to fidget in the small row boat that you were in. You began to whimper and yell once more hoping to catch the attention of the man on the shore. He moved away from the can slowly as he rested his hands behind his head, pacing up and down the shoreline, he turned to look over the water. He bent down and bug through the rocks on the beach, his head lifted with a rock in his grasp and stood up, the rock dropped out of his hand and you began to yell once more. He stammered on the shoreline trying to find a way to get to you. He took off his shirt and ran into the water; you felt a wave of peace came over you as he swam towards you and the little boat; you cheered him on as he swam to you. After a couple of minutes he reached the side of the boat. His arm flung over the side of the boat grasping onto the rope that was inside the boat, the boat tipped towards his weight and he pulled himself inside. He sat across from you gasping for air, his bent over figure glistened in the sun with his wet skin, the beaded water sat on his skin and drizzled down his lovely muscles. The cool water dripped off of his hair and into the bottom of the boat. You watched his shoulder blades ascend and descend with every breath, his stone washed jeans clung to his thighs tightly and his shoes molded to his feet. His head slowly lifted as he was catching his breath. You finally realized that the man was your one and only one, Hoya.
“Are you ok?” He asked as he sat up revealing his chest and abdominal muscles. You nodded your head slowly at his question. He moved closer to you, stretching his hand up to your face. He wiped his thumb on your cheek; you closed your eyes at his touch. He started to gently lift the corner of the duct tape from your mouth. You felt warm sensation serge through your body and your heart began to race as your thoughts slowed; you nodded slowly as he held your chin with his free hand. He quickly ripped the tape off of your mouth causing you to moan at the pain that he inflicted on you. Once the tape was removed he rubbed his finger over your new skin and a tear fell down your cheek. You looked down to your ankles; he looked down as well, resting his forehead on yours. His cool hair mingled with your warm hair, he wrapped your arm around his, he pulled you over to where he was sitting and laid you on your back, and he moved your feet on the side of the boat and leaned over you to grab your feet. Your head rested on one of his thighs while he grabbed the zip tie and began to pull, you looked up and saw his chest muscles ripple and his arms tense as he began to pull. The zip tie snapped, he sat upright repositioning your legs so he could help you sit upright. You turned your back to him as he began to work on your wrists. He suddenly stopped pulling and rubbed the side of your hand that held the ball of death.
“I know,” You hopelessly said. He grabbed the zip tie again and pulled it apart. You were about to bring your hands around in front of you but he held your wrists.
“I am going to take this from you, Ok?” He rubbed the side of your hand once more
“Just don’t be the bomb.” You said sarcastically trying to lighten the mood; he smiled as you looked over your shoulder at him. He gently took the grenade from your hand. You blushed at his hand being in yours.
“Ready?” He asked turning you back around
“For what?” You said turning to face him
“To go” He whispered looking into your crystal clear eyes. You nodded slowly; he threw the grenade up into the air as far as Hoya could throw it. He threw himself over you wrapping his arms around your head and holding you close to him. You lay on the bottom of the small boat with him on top of you, shielding you from the blast. The grenade exploded in midair, debris started to fall as you began to notice how hard he was breathing and how fast his heart was beating, your cheek brushed up against his smooth chest. You gently pushed him off of you as he still clung to you. You pushed away a little harder as you felt him move his head to look up. A shot was fired above his head; his head dove down into the boat and fell into your hair holding you closer than ever. You wrapped your arms around his back and heard another shot.
“Ready?” His warm breath grazed your ear as his whisper soothed you. You looked at his chocolate eyes; he rolled to the side of the boat, he grabbed you around your waist and rolled you on top of him. The boat started to flip. You closed your eyes and plugged your nose preparing for the plunge.
The cold, brisk water engulfed you as someone pulled you up to the surface under the boat; guns were firing overhead and then cease fire.
“Swim, whatever you do don’t let go of my hand.” Hoya debriefed as you nodded at him
“Ok.” You breathed as he took you under. He pulled you under swimming with his arm to the shoreline.
You tried to swim as much as you could but your lack of energy and your wounds stung with the water on them, they had you occupied at the moment. You were a few feet from shore; you could feel the soft, smooth, refined gravel beneath your feet. Hoya pulled you to shore, you limped as he wrapped his arm around your waist and you pulled your arm across his shoulders, emerging from the lapping waves he bent down and grabbed his shirt that was covered in sand. You stood there balancing on one of your feet as he grabbed his shirt. He looked up at you from his crouched position; he saw your leg as a trail of blood ran down your leg from the cuts you had received earlier. He scooted over towards your hurt leg, you had it raised behind you but then you moved it and placed it on Hoya’s strong thigh. He started to wipe away the blood with is shirt. He ripped a strip of his shirt off and tied it tight around your calf. A couple more shots came whizzing by and he grabbed your waist and pulled you into the forest. You stopped when you reached a clearing, you tried to catch your breath by stopping and he knew that you had to still keep going. So you stood on top of a nearby rock and sat on his back as he gave you a ride as he ran through the forest. Your head rested on his sweaty, bare skin in between his shoulder blades. You closed your eyes at the immense amount of pain that you were in. He set you down on the edge of a paved road. He spotted a motorcycle nearby, he hotwired the motorcycle and drove it over to where you were. You hopped on the back, wrapping your arms around his strong torso; you fell unconscious during the winding roads of the countryside.
“__________?” Hoya leaned in to kiss your forehead.
“Where am I?” You asked looking around,
“Your apartment” He shamefully said as he turned to grab some new cotton swabs for your leg.
“How did you get in?” You really wanted to know since he didn’t have a spare key and you left yours in your bag.
“I picked the lock.” He dabbed your leg gash again, making you wince as you sat up.
“So what are you doing now?” You smiled at his answer
“I am cleaning your wounds that I inflicted on you.”
“You didn’t inflict them on me, those men did. Don’t blame yourself Hoya.” You sat up and place a hand on his back
“They only wanted you because of me. They wanted to kill you because I wouldn’t sponsor their product.” Hoya confessed, “This wouldn’t have happened if they knew that I-I…” He trailed off
“That you what? That you would have done the commercial?” You tried to dig a little more out of him
“I have to go get you some ointment.” Hoya gently moved your legs onto the couch from his lap. He walked to the bathroom. You stood up and followed him in there limping all the way.
“Just because our parents are friends and they moved us next to each other doesn’t mean that you have to like me.” You said as you steadied yourself on the doorframe. Hoya took a tube off of the shelf and fiddled with it in his hands.
“I wouldn’t have done the commercial even if I knew this was going to happen. Even if our parents are friends and they put us as neighbors wouldn’t change the fact that I worry about you all of the time. I worry that people will hurt you because of me or I will hurt you with my feelings that you would never want to accept.” Hoya walked out of the bathroom patting your shoulder. You turned to face him
“Hoya? How could you say that? I might have the same feelings for you as you do for me. Take that chance and face your fears. Isn’t that what you did for me when I was in trouble, you faced your fear of being caught, handling a bomb, swimming for long distances, and loosing me.” You still leaned on the doorframe as he turned around at the last comment you made.
“How do you know that I was afraid of losing you?” He walked back to you slightly
“All of the notes, phone calls, the first time we met formally. Also your mom told me.” You smiled towards the end as he tilted his head back and smirked.
“Let’s talk care of your wounds and then you can take care of mine.” He said scooping you up into both of his arms as he carried you wedding style to the couch.
Never underestimate the power of a friendship. It is the most influential force, whether it is in marriage, in families or with friends. They can help you in your darkest hours and your spotlighted moments.