The sight that beheld me when I opened the bedroom door was permanently engraved in my mind. My boyfriend was half-naked in our bed, with another half-naked guy. Together.
“Mark?” I called timidly through the crack in the door.
“Mina?!” I heard the loud rustling of the sheets, as both boys rushed to make themselves decent. “You can come in.” I slowly opened the door to see Mark fully dressed, a look of concern on his face. “I swear it wasn’t what you think. We were just watching TV on the bed, and you know guys walk around shirtless. I do it all the time.” I believed him, but I wanted to meet this other guy. I looked around to find him. My eyes widened when they fell upon the familiar body, and my heart began to race. His back was turned, but I could recognize him a mile away.
“Jagi, what’s wrong? Why are you so pale? Are you sick?” He rushed over to my side, and began checking my temperature with his palm. My body tensed, and my eyes remained planted on the back of the man in front of me. I could tell who he was by the way he stood, and the outline of his body
“Jackson,” I whispered.
“Do you know him? He’s in my group, Got7.”
“Get him out of this house. Get him out right now!” I shrieked.
“Jagi? Jackson, what’s going on?” At that time, Jackson had finally turned, and locked eyes with me. He muttered a line of curses under his breath. I broke free from Mark’s grasp, and rushed out of the bedroom. I never thought I would see him again. I never wanted to see him again. The guy who took my virginity from me. Unwillingly.
My mind had stopped functioning as I ran out of the house, no cellphone, no shoes, nothing. The tears I had held in were falling like waterfalls, and all I could hear was the pounding of my heart in my head. This couldn’t be happening. He could’ve been friends with anyone, but it just had to be my boyfriend. The memories I had spent years tucking away resurfaced so quickly, reminding me of the horrible incident. I had been studying abroad in South Korea for the year. Jackson, with his warm personality, had been my first friend, helping me adapt to my new environment. I never would’ve thought he would betray me like he did.
My running slowed to a stop in the middle of the city sidewalk. People rushed past me, shooting me concerned glances or glares. I was eventually shoved to the side by an unaware passerby. I leaned against the cold brick wall of the building, and slowly slid down until I came into contact with the cold, concrete sidewalk. I curled into a ball, pulling my arms over my head. The vivid memories haunted me, and I could still feel his unwelcome touches all over my body. It had taken years to piece myself back together after that incident, and it only took a second to tear me apart once again.
I ran my fingers through my hair for the tenth time since she left. Mark was pacing around the bedroom, trying to put his thoughts together. He came to halt, and I looked up at him.
“I think it’s time you explain what the hell is going on here.” His voice was dangerously calm. He was moments away from exploding in rage. “How do you know Mina? What past do you have with her that could possibly have invoked that kind of reaction from her?”
“I met her in University. She was studying abroad, and I helped her adjust when she first got here. I was her first friend here.”
“You were either very delirious, or there’s more to the story. I want the truth Jackson. Now,” he seethed. Mark’s usually calm demeanor was nowhere in sight. He was right. She wouldn’t have reacted like that if we were good friends. I struggled to piece my words together.
“I-I- Do you remember when I told you about that incident I had 5 years back?” My mind quickly went back to the incident.
“Jackson, where are we going?”
“It’s my secret hideout where I got to study.” I heard her snort.
“Since when did you study?”
“I may not take school seriously, but I still have to get good grades, or my parents will force me to go back to Hong Kong,” I pouted.
“Whatever you say Wang,” she chuckled.
The memory fast-forwarded, and I was met with a fear-stricken Mina, trapped in my unwelcome embrace.
Her screams of protest rung in my ears as I forced myself onto her. Tears were streaming down her face, but I kept going. There was no turning back. When I was satisfied, I smirked at her crumpled form, and left her alone in the cold warehouse.
“You never gave me the details. Just that it had caused you to become a completely different person. You were stuck in a dark place, but you managed to crawl out of it, and completely change the direction of your life.” I nodded. That’s exactly what had happened. It was the thing that I felt most guilty about in my whole life. It still haunted me day and night, how much I hurt her. And now she was Mark’s girlfriend. My best friend’s girlfriend.
“I really was a completely different person back then,” I mumbled, staring at my hands in my lap. I sighed before meeting Mark’s eyes. “I raped a woman, and that woman…” I paused, my gaze wavering. “That woman was Mina.”
I had tried to make an effort to find my way back home, but I was too numb. My body, my mind, everything was numb, and empty. I was lost physically and mentally.
“Are you ok?” I continued walking, oblivious to the person voicing their concern. “Excuse me,” I felt a hand grasp my shoulder, and I was pulled out of my daze. My head slowly turned to look at the owner of the hand. She sighed with relief, finally able to get my attention. “I’ve been keeping an eye on you for the last 30 minutes, and something just kept pushing me to intervene. Are you ok?” Her thick Southern accent threw me off guard, but I nodded once before turning around, and continuing my venture back home. “Hey!” I heard her quick footsteps grow louder as she caught up to me. “Do you need anything? Money, food, water?”
“I need to make a phone call.” Her eyes lit up.
“Oh! Here! You can use my phone. Make as many calls as you need.” She handed me the thin device, the phone screen already open. I dialed his number, and waited for him to pick, listening to the phone ring.
“Jagiya…” I managed when he finally answered, pain evident in my voice.
“Jagiya! Where are you? Are you ok?” I was immediately flooded with questions when he realized it was me.
“I’m ok,” I mumbled.
“You’re not ok. Where are you? I’m going to come pick you up.”
“He’s gone Mina. You don’t need to worry about him.” I absently nodded before turning to the girl who had lent me her phone. “Um, excuse me, but, where are we?”
“Here, give me the phone, and I’ll tell them the address.” I handed her the phone, and began looking around as she began speaking in the phone. I turned back to face her when she pocketed the phone. “He’s on his way. He said it would be about 10 minutes. Do you want to grab some coffee? There’s a café right down the street.” I weakly smiled, and nodded.
This wasn’t happening. He couldn’t be telling the truth.
“Y-you… raped Mina… 5 years ago?” I ran my fingers through my hair, trying to get a grasp of the situation. “My girlfriend. Mina. You…” I trailed off, overcome with so many different emotions.
“I know your angry, Mark, you have every right to be.”
“Angry? I’m not just angry, Jackson,” I seethed. “I’m concerned for my girlfriend who is god knows where, I’m heartbroken knowing what she was put through, and I’m enraged over what you did to her. But most of all, I feel betrayed. How could you hide something like this from me?”
“I hid it from everybody! You are the only other person that knows about what happened other than the two people involved. And I never in a million years would’ve thought she was the girlfriend you kept hidden from us for 3 years!” in anger, I picked up the empty wine glass sitting on the bedside table, and tossed it against the wall, watching it shatter into pieces upon impact.
“How long do you think it would take to glue that wine glass back together perfectly?” He scrunched his eyebrows in confusion.
“What kind of question is that?”
“Just answer it,” I hissed.
“That would be practically impossible, and if it were possible, it would take forever.”
“Now say you were able to piece it back together after 5 years. How easily do you think it would break again? What would you do if I just knocked it over, and broke it again out of clumsiness?”
“I would be angry and devastated. Mark, what’s the point of all these questions?” I stared at him with cold eyes.
“All that hard work you spent putting it back together, only to be ruined in a split second. Now replace that wine glass with Mina. Think about how you shattered her five years ago, and left her to mend her broken pieces. I couldn't touch her for two years after we started dating. That means it took her four years to finally overcome what you did to her, but the second she recognized you, all of that time and suffering became nothing. She’s out there alone Jackson, trying to recover again from the pain you put her through.” I had made him speechless. My phone began to ring and I fished it out of my pocket. I tilted my head at the unfamiliar number, but answered it anyways.
“Jagiya…” Mina. I could feel her pain just listening to her voice.
“Jagiya! Where are you? Are you ok?” I got her location from a woman with a heavy accent, who I assumed was the owner of the phone. I hung up before turning to Jackson.
“I think we both just need some space. I’m still angry, but I know you’ve reflected on your actions since then. I can tell you regret it deeply.”
“I don’t want to lose you Mark. You’re the only person I trust with my life,” he strained as tears threatened to fall from his eyes.
“I know Jackson, but we need time. It will take some time before I or Mina can be comfortable around you again. Although, I don’t know if Mina will ever get to that point.” He nodded.
“I’m gonna head back to the dorm. Hopefully none of the other members are there. I’d rather not get bombarded with questions.” I softly smiled, and watched him walk through the front door. My heart ached for my best friend, but my pain was nothing compared to what Mina was probably going through. I slipped my shoes on and grabbed my keys before heading to the car. I had to be there for her, or this tension would never get resolved.
We talked, well, mostly she talked and I listened, the whole time I waited for Mark to come get me. Anna was her name, was a graduate student from America. The door of the café opened, the soft jingle resonating throughout the small space.
“I think your ride is here,” Anna said pointing at the stranger who had just come through door. Sure enough, Mark was there, looking around for me. He was covered by a hat and face mask to conceal his identity. I had completely forgotten the fact that he couldn’t just show his face in public. He was an idol. “You sure as hell better not let that one go. He is mighty fine girl. I would snatch him up right now if I could, but he’s yours, and I respect the girl code,” she said, throwing her hands up in a mini surrender. I chuckled at her antics. His eyes finally met mine, and he quickly made his way towards our table. I stood up and turned to Anna when he got to the us.
“Thank you so much for helping me. I probably would’ve been stuck out there the whole night if you hadn’t let me use your phone,” I said, bowing in thanks. “I really owe you.”
“Don’t think one thing about sweetheart. I was just answering the call I was given from above.” She turned to Mark. “Now you have got some nerve lettin your girl run out of the house like that. No phone, no shoes, no money. But I’ll let it slide today because you are one fine lookin man. Next time I catch her outside like this, I’ll be comin for ya.” I stifled a laugh, as fear grew in Mark’s eyes. Anna was not a woman you wanted to cross, day or night.
“Come on Jagi,” I whispered, taking his hand in mind. I waved goodbye to Anna after thanking her once more, and we headed out of the café to the car. He opened the door and waited for me to get inside, before shutting it and making his way to the passenger seat. We sat in silence for a minute, and I became lost in my thoughts.
“There’s no need to hide it anymore Jagiya. I know what happened. You don’t need to hold it in anymore.” His voice shook me out of my thoughts, and I turned to him. Concern and guilt flooded in his eyes. “We’ll get through this together. He’s still a member of my group, and there’s nothing I can do about that. I know it won’t mean anything, but what he did to you is the one thing he regrets the most in his life. He’s still haunted by it today.” I looked away. How was I supposed to forgive someone who did that to me? “You don’t have to forgive him Jagi.” My eyes snapped back to him. Was he a mind reader now? “But you’ll have to accept that I’ll be around him almost every day.”
“I’ll hear him out,” I mumbled. “But that doesn’t mean I’m forgiving him.” He gave me a warm smile. The smile that still melted my heart after all these years. He pulled me into a hug, and his scent filled my nose, soothing me.
“That’s more than I could ever ask for Jagi,” he whispered.
“I love you Mark. So much.”
“I love you too Mina.”
Who remembers the teaser I released for this a million years ago? Yeah I didn't either. No on did so it's ok! But i'm finally fulfilling my promise to write, and I hope you guys liked it!