“There he goes again, whining all the way into the night…”
The little wingless being floated outside Jaejoong’s room in the darkness of the night. She will always be there for every night of every day of every week. She observed him attentively, following his every step as he moved around his room, composing songs, singing and humming wonderful tunes, or dancing to the beat of his song. She never got tired of this habit.
But lately, he had been restless due to something that she didn’t know of. She can’t read
minds, but she can understand human behavior. Jaejoong always paces around his room, no longer humming any tunes and started to mumble to himself. She began to worry.
“Hm… maybe I should move closer…” She wanted to hear what Jaejoong was mumbling about.
The little angel glided closer to the window of Jaejoong’s room. She came too close to the window panes and a loud thud was heard. Jaejoong turned sideways and his eyes fell on her.
“Who are you?” He asked.
He moved to his window and opened it. The little angel moved a few steps backwards away from him.
“No! Don’t be afraid… I won’t hurt you…” He said, while holding out a pair of warm hands to get her out of the winter cold.
The cute being didn’t move. She looked scared and confused.
“Come, you’ll catch a cold if you stay like that. I’ll make you a cup of hot chocolate, how about that?? Come on in…”
The pair of gentle hands reached out even more, as if begging to be reached. With shivering hands, the little angel grabbed them tightly and went into the room. Jaejoong placed her on his bed, and covered her with his blanket so that she’ll be warm from the cold snow. After making sure that she’s comfortable, he asked,
“What’s your name?”
Jaejoong nodded, waiting for her answer.
“My name… is… Hyun Ae…“
“Ah… Just like an angel… Wait for a bit, okay? I’ll make you a mug of hot chocolate.”
Then, he disappeared into the kitchen.
“Hot… chocolate…?” Hyun Ae had never tasted it before. But as the warm, milky liquid flowed through her body, she fell in love with it.
“You liked it? Good.” Jaejoong smiled. He pulled his chair and sat right in front of her.
“So, where do you live? How can I contact your parents?”
“I… live? Pa…rents?”
She was shocked. Even without the shock, she could never answer those questions. She wasn’t living, and she had no parents. She had always been alone.
Seeing that she wasn’t going to answer, he guessed that maybe she was an orphan. He felt pity for her.
“It’s okay… you can stay here as long as you want.” He smiled encouragingly. “Wait, I’ll tell the others.”
He went out of the room and entered the living room.
“Hey guys, I have a little girl in my room, and can she stay? I think she’s an orphan, and she has nowhere else to go…”
“A little girl?? I didn’t know you have interest in them…” Yoochun chuckled.
*BAM!* A newspaper hit on the back of Yoochun’s head. Hard.
“I was just joking!!! J-O-K-E!!”
“Deserves you right.” Turning to face Jaejoong, Yunho said, “How did she get there?”
“I don’t know… she was right on my balcony, and I saw that she was freezing. So I got
her inside to warm herself up. I asked about her parents, but…” Explained Jaejoong.
“Oh….” Changmin nodded in understanding.
“So…” Jaejoong was still waiting for their answer.
“Why don’t we give her in to the police? Surely they can take care of her.” Suggested Junsu.
“No… I don’t think she’ll like that…” Said Jaejoong.
“Then what’s your plan?? Keeping her here? Surely the manager won’t let us… only the employees of SME can come in here, let alone LIVING…” Yunho pointed out. He looked straight into Jaejoong’s eyes, urging him to think about it.
“Yeah, I know… but…”
“She can stay, if she works for us…. Right?” Suggested Changmin.
“Yeah, and what?? What can she do? Be our maid or something??? Come on, she’s barely 12!!! She should be in school!!” Yunho became uneasy with the suggestion. They already had enough on their hands right now, let alone taking in an orphaned girl into their home…
Suddenly, the girl walked into the living room on her way to the kitchen. She wanted to clean her mug, after finishing the hot chocolate. She saw the five handsome young men, and bowed politely to them. She gave them her sweetest smile, which melted away Yunho’s argument.
“She’s… so cute!!! I wish she was my sister!!!” Said Yunho.
“Hey… Your REAL sister will be heartbroken if she hears that, you know…” Yoochun giggled. They all knew that Yunho had changed his mind.
“Okay, I’ll ask the manager about this first thing in the morning tomorrow.” Yunho gave in.
“But where will she sleep tonight?” Asked Junsu.
“She’ll take my room… I’ll be taking the couch tonight. Later we can prepare her room, replacing the unused guest room right beside mine.” Suggested Jaejoong.
“It’s settled then.”
“Guys!!! The food is ready!!!”
Hurry came Changmin, followed by four other hungry stomachs. They sat around the table, and indulged into the delicious dinner that night. Hyun Ae observed them happily, and ate her food slowly.
“Burp!!” Changmin quickly covered his mouth in the presence of Hyun Ae. She laughed while clearing the table.
“How long has it been? 5 years?? For 5 years I had the opportunity to eat delicious food… Ah… I’m blessed…” Stated Changmin while relaxing on the sofa.
“Haha… you, your stomach and your food…” Laughed Yoochun without turning his gaze from the television screen. They all relaxed in front of the television after every meal. Tonight, Hyun Ae busied herself with knitting something that looked like a blue scarf.
“Wow… You’re so talented… You can do everything, from cooking to cleaning, knitting stuff… Where did you learn all this??”
Hyun Ae did not know how to answer. As an angel of time, she can choose either to grow up or to stay young, she can turn back time to be a little kid again… For the past thousand years, she had learned all this… Can she say it like that to them??
Of course not.
“Maybe it’s in the genes. Who knows, maybe your mother was as talented as you are.” Jaejoong smiled.
“Maybe.” She returned it, a hundred times sweeter. Changmin saw it and quickly became somber.
“I think I’ll go to bed first. Not feeling very well.” Then, he disappeared into his own room.
“Looking by the way he ate just know, no wonder he’s sick…” Laughed Junsu.
By midnight, everybody had gone to sleep except for Jaejoong and Hyun Ae. She was still knitting, while he was watching the television.
“Aren’t you tired? You have to wake up early tomorrow for school, you know.” Jaejoong turned off the television and turned towards Hyun Ae.
“It’s okay. I already done all my homework. Besides, this scarf must be completed before winter comes… I’m already late…”
“You can buy them… You don’t have to make it yourself…” Pitied Jaejoong.
“No, it’s okay. I love knitting. I wanted to make my own. Besides, I don’t want to waste any money…”
“It’s not wasting, Hyun Ae. You need it. It’s a necessity.”
Hyun Ae did not reply. She kept on knitting while biting her lips. Jaejoong knew that he will not win this argument.
Jaejoong became alarmed. He quickly grabbed Hyun Ae’s right hand and observed it. Red fluid can be seen flowing from its tip, where Hyun Ae had hurt herself.
“It’s okay. I’ll go and get the plaster.” Stated Hyun Ae.
“No! Stay here. I’ll go and get the plaster.” Jaejoong said, as he ran to the kitchen to grab the first aid kit.
After a while, Jaejoong came back with a bundle of plasters and a big bottle of iodine. Without any experience, he struggled with all of them while trying to treat Hyun Ae. At last, she became a mess.
“You should have let me do it.” Said Hyun Ae.
“But… you were injured…. I should…”
“No… it’s okay… I was just joking… It looks good. It’ll heal in no time…” Hyun Ae smiled.
Jaejoong pulled her injured finger and kissed them lovingly. Hyun Ae was so shocked that all her breath was knocked out from her lungs. She looked at his face without blinking.
“Now, it will surely heal faster.” He laughed lightly and pulled up his face. Seeing Hyun Ae’s shocked eyes, he quickly let go of her hand. He coughed lightly before he retreated to his own room.
“Goodnight, Hyun Ae. Study hard tomorrow.”
Hyun Ae still hadn’t recovered from her shock the next morning. She stayed in a dreamy
state all day long. Changmin became curious.
What happened? Did something happen yesterday? I saw hyung came into his room also in a dreamy state… Did the two of them…?
He resolved that he shouldn’t wait any longer. He must let the song of his heart be clear to the only love of his life. He must tell Hyun Ae how he felt.
Hyun Ae was busy preparing the feast for Christmas Eve, when suddenly she saw something sparkling on the kitchen counter. She thought that it must’ve been Jaejoong’s stuff, as he had always left them there before. But it was Junsu who pointed out that it was hers.
“Hey, it’s for you, Hyun Ae.” Said Junsu.
“Really?” Hyun Ae washed her hands and went beside Junsu who was trying to read the card that was put together with the beautifully decorated golden box, her favourite colour.
“Hey! It’s not right to read someone else’s card, you know!!” Hyun Ae tried to reach for the card, but Junsu ran away with it in his hands. Hyun Ae chased him all around the kitchen, until Junsu bumped into Yunho.
“What’s this?” Asked Yunho.
“Junsu took my card which I myself hadn’t read…” Pouted Hyun Ae. Tears can be seen forming in the corner of her eyes.
Yunho took the card from Junsu, and passed it to Hyun Ae. “There you go. Don’t let him bully you anymore, okay? Just tell me whenever he does so, and I’ll deal with him later.”
“Aww, hyung….” This time Junsu was the one who pouted.
“Enough. Didn’t I ask you to help the others decorate the Christmas tree??” Stated Yunho.
“Okay…” Junsu retreated to the living room with Yunho.
As she was left alone with the present and the card, she took the time to read it.
Dear sweet Hyun Ae… You are the one and only girl that knocked on the door of my heart and unlocked it without any force. You made me smile, you made me laugh… I am so happy and blessed to be by your side. Now, I want to make my feelings clear for you. Please wait for me in the nearby park after the feast tonight. I’ll be waiting, whether you come or not…
The card was not signed by its sender. Hyun Ae couldn’t guess who it was, as the card was printed, not handwritten. Her gaze turned towards the present. She opened the box slowly, and as she saw the content of the box, she gasped. It was exactly the most beautiful and the most expensive bracelet that she wanted to buy herself as soon as she could save up enough money for it. She reached for it slowly, and held it gently in her hands. A tear of thankfulness fell onto her cheeks.
Suddenly Jaejoong came into the kitchen to wash his hands. Hyun Ae quickly shoved the present away from sight and resumed her work. Jaejoong looked at her intently and seemed like he wanted to say something, but he left without saying anything.
**After the feast**
“Where are you going?” Asked Yunho. He was concerned that his little ‘sister’ was going out alone on Christmas Eve. He was worried, and curious.
“Oh… I just wanted to meet up with some friends… We promised to gather tonight…” Explained Hyun Ae. She smiled, in hope that he will let her go out to the park tonight. She needed to thank the sender of the gift, and maybe… to return his feelings with her own…
Yunho nodded, giving her the permission to go out. Not long after that, Jaejoong grabbed his coat and went out.
“Now, where is HE going?” Asked Yunho. He wanted for all of them to stay together, at least on Christmaas Eve, but it seemed that everyone wanted to go out and left him all alone.
“I don’t know, but I’m going out too.” Stated Changmin. Before Yunho could say anything, Changmin disappeared into the darkness outside.
Jaejoong sighed heavily while kicking away the snow in the park. From time to time, he peeked at his watch to check the time.
Again, he sighed.
His mind replayed what had happened 3 hours ago, in the kitchen.
He wanted to put the little package on the kitchen counter, but he was out run by Changmin. His gift was already there, elegant and extravagant. When Changmin walked pass him, he quickly hid away his little package. He backed out from the kitchen, and into his room, to put the gift back into his closet, where he had kept the present since before he could remember. Suddenly, a knock was heard on the door to his bedroom.
Without any invitation, Changmin came into his room and sat on his bed.
“Sorry hyung, I will not let her go. I’ve wanted to tell her how I felt for so long, and now was the perfect time to do so. You had your chance, but you missed it. Now it’s mine.
Without turning around to face Changmin, Jaejoong answered.
“It’s okay… I know I had missed it… Just… promise me… take care of her real hard, okay? Just… that…”
“I will.” Then Changmin went out from Jaejoong’s room.
A heartbroken tear fell onto the cheeks of Jaejoong. He looked up into the dark, starless sky. How he wished he could turn back time.
Suddenly, he heard voices from between the trees behind him. He moved closer, and his sharp ears caught what the pair of lovers was saying.
“Thank you so much… for the present…” Said Hyun Ae.
“It’s no big deal…” Changmin smiled.
Hyun Ae kept silent. Actually, Hyun Ae was not so comfortable being there with him. At first, she thought that it was Jaejoong who gave her the present. She was disappointed when she knew that it was actually Changmin.
He moved closer and caressed her soft cheeks.
Before he could continue, Hyun Ae cut in.
“Sorry, Changmin… I… cannot return your feelings…” She apologized.
“But…” Changmin’s face turned sour. He really wanted her to be his girlfriend.
“I… My heart is with someone else. It does not matter how hard I try to pull it away, unconsciously he will pull it back. I cannot imagine being with someone else besides him, I cannot live without him… I’m sorry Changmin….”
As soon as he heard those words, his breathing became uneven. His face reddens, as he shouted.
“NO! You are mine!!! Jaejoong hyung had been wasting his time, and it was his loss!!! Forget him! FORGET HIM!!!!” Like a little child, he begged.
Hyun Ae shook her head, and reached for his hands. She slipped in the bracelet into his hands, kissed him on his forehead, and walked away. Changmin fell on his knees, as pearl of tears escaped his eyes.
Jaejoong was speechless. He realized that he still got this one last chance, but he was afraid. Should he ran after her? Or should he wait a bit more? Maybe next year’s Valentine? Suddenly a shout was heard.
“Hyun Ae!! He gave you up for me!!!! He GAVE you to me!!! You’re MINE!!!!”
Hyun Ae turned around to face Changmin who was now standing firmly under the falling snow.
Changmin moved closer and repeated, “He gave you up for me. He said I can have you. You’re mine.”
Hyun Ae could not believe her ears. Did he really say that? Or Changmin was just bluffing??
Jaejoong quickly came out from his hide out and told her the truth. He wanted to grab his chance before it flew away, like the last time.
“Yes, I did say it like that. But now I know it’s wrong. I can’t let you go. I don’t WANT to. Hyun Ae, forgive me… I had always loved you since the first time we met, on Christmas Eve 5 years ago. You were so small and harmless. As I watched you grow up, I cannot help myself from falling for you… I’m sorry…”
He tried to reach out for her, but instead, she backed away, miles away.
“You… cannot be trusted. Who do you think I am? A doll? That you can give to anyone that you like? I’m also like you, deserve only the best. Not to be treated like this! I have feelings too, you know!” Her pearls of tears fell, as she continued, “Sorry… You gave me up once, and you’ll lose me forever…”
“Hyun Ae!!!” Jaejoong called out.
“It’s true that I have feelings for you too, but I cannot forgive you. You broke my heart, Jaejoong. I thought you were better than this. But clearly you aren’t. You don’t deserve me.”
Suddenly a strong wind blew, sending snowflakes everywhere, blurring their vision. Between his closed eyes, Jaejoong saw something that was out of his mind.
Hyun Ae returned to her small form, and walked closer towards Jaejoong. She smiled.
“Don’t worry. I’ll turn back time to when you did not even meet me. You’ll find another girl, another love… Please, cherish her… Don’t repeat the same mistake as you had done to me. Don’t worry, I will always be near you, but to be yours, I cannot.”
She kissed him lightly, and disappeared.
As soon as Jaejoong opened his eyes, it was Christmas Eve, 5 years ago. He felt like he had forgotten something so important, but he failed to recall it. Feeling useless, he went out from his room to help the others with the night’s feast.
From afar, Hyun Ae watched on him closely, every time with tears in her eyes, wishing that what she did was the right thing.
“Merry Christmas, Jaejoong.”