A small shrug shook his shoulders. ”I don’t know, I guess I just didn’t find the time to-” he cut himself off when ne noticed the way Eunsook looked at him. It was obvious she already knew what Jonghyun had told him, maybe even more than that. There was no doubt, she was just threading carefully so she wouldn’t reveal too much to him. She was still hiding it from him after all this time.
”No Eunsook, why didn’t you tell me anything?” He said, a frown replacing the blank expression on his face. ”Why didn’t you warn me there would be a fucking demon or whatever knocking at the door every now and then?” He didn’t mean to turn on her, but at the time he demanded an explaination.
”He walked right through the wall! His fucking hand caught on fire and it didn’t seem to bother him the least! He just suddenly appeared right behind me! I didn’t even hear or see him coming he was just suddenly there! And then he fucking attacks me! You could’ve warned me, you know, of your friend who just spontaneously catches on fire and has the rage of a fucking volcano!” His voice was growing more desperate and demanding by the minute. He needed her to tell him everything she knew, he needed to understand.
"How was I ever meant to know that he would harm you?" she exclaimed in disbelief, looking at him with wide eyes as she shrunk back from him a little. She had hinted there was more, she never implied there was nothing different about Jonghyun, but there was only so much she could say. Jongyun trusted her, he had to keep those around him safe…he was so scared of humans but at the same time so willing to try with them again. What right did she have to mess around with that?
"I didn’t know what he would do, I didn’t know!…If he were to do anything I guessed it would be talk to you, even though I told him that none of this was your fault, that you were a victim too" She bit her lip, looking away from him. He was being so loud, everything she she was wrong to him. She kept on telling him there was more to Jonghyun, she had insisted friendship as she knew that Jonghyun could protect him too. Why didn’t Minho understand that she was stuck in the middle?
"How could say anything? Imagine if one day I say you down and said ‘Hey, you know my bestie? Yeah…he isn’t quite human but, you know, he can do some crazy stuff with fire and his wings are awesome’?"
She rubbed at her eyes, thinking int he back of her mind that it was lucky she didn’t wear makeup that day. It would have been so messy by now “It wasn’t my place to say to begin with, I couldn’t betray him like that. I trust you, there is no doubt in that, but Jonghyun has a lot of trust to regain in humans…humans had messed him up so much, they…we…seem like a constant threat. How the hell could I go telling people around me about these things? It’s his things to say, not mine…for the comfort of him and his family, it seemed right to me”
She looked down at her hands before closing her eyes for amoment. She always messed things up. If she had looked out for herself better she would have never been taken, if she told Minho about Jonghyun she could have prevented injury. She saw other sides of situationsand they were wrong for everyone.
He watched her as she stood and walked over to the shelves, his eyes following her protectively in case she were to fall.
The girl’s explaination didn’t do much when it came to clearing his mind. For a second he had thought that he would somehow understand whatever had been clouding his mind with confusion when he just learnt what Jonghyun had meant. But then again, he didn’t even understand completely what the man had called himself, what he had done right in front of Minho’s eyes, so it had been stupid to think it would help.
”Why?” He repeated, looking away again as his eyes regained the same clouded and blank look. ”I guess… because I’m afraid.”
He lowered his head a little, fiddling with the tips of his fingers. ”That firend of yours, Jonghyun, he came by the other day.” He began, his voice hesitant and slow. ”He… I don’t know. At first he was really angry, throwing me against the wall and yelling at me and all,” He paused and pulled up the sleeve of his t-shirt where the demon’s fingertips had created dark bruises on Minho’s arm. ”I did manage to calm him down quickly enough though, but… then he began saying and doing some really weird stuff. I… I don’t really- it scared me. It still does.”
Minho shook his head and reached up to rub at his forehead. He honestly didn’t know how to explain what had happened to the girl. He had believed she must’ve known about the demon’s so called powers when they were so close, but he was beginning to doubt that. If she had known she would’ve been too scared, right? Yeah, she had to be.
"He did what?" She asked, obvious disbeleif in her voice as she moved to sit down with Minho again. She knew that the chances of Jonghyun acting in her defence was high, no matter what she said or did, but she had never expected anything like this. She couldn’t believe it, she knew that the demon’s temper could flare considerably but how could he do this before understanding completely?
She reached over and gently took Minho’s hand, looking at his bruised arm as she tried to figure out what to say. She needed to talk to Jonghyun, she knew that, but she also wanted to try to get Minho to understand. She understood more about what Jonghyun could be like, she had experienced a lot of his behavior first hand, but she had never been hurt like this..maybe because she was a woman? Or even because of how she was seen by his daughter.
"I…why didn’t you tell me anything? Minho…you should have said something-" she cut off with a shake of her head. The bruises had faded, suggesting that they were from a few days before. Why didn’t he say anything!? Weren’t they meant to be a couple? Weren’t they meant to trust one another with such things.
"Jonghyun…his temper can he rather hot." She used that word because she knew that if Minho knew more about the other man then that would tip him to say it. She was guessing by this point that he knew about Luca, from relating Sirens to Jonghyun, but she still didn’t know how much Minho knew and it wasn’t her place to reveal things.
"He can act before he things…but he isn’t one to lack reason, which is why you were able to calm him down. I just-" she bit her lip, shaking her head a little "I’m not saying what Jonghyun did was right, he has gone about this so wrong…but he his just very defensive when it comes to his close friends, to his family, and it can make him act out of line. He’s never seen me like he saw me then…he must have just not thought"
She was going to have to discuss this with Jonghyun, it wasn’t right. The thought of Jonghyun hutrting Minho made her stomach twist…she just wanted them to be friends.
"What do you know?" she asked "about Jonghyun…what do you know?"
”Hmm?” He hummed out absentmindedly as he sat down in the sofa next to her. It took him a while to return to reality and actualyl grasp what she had asked him, but even then he didn’t respond straight away.
It would’ve been so easy to say that it was nothing, that he just needed a moment, but that would just make everything worse. He knew that, he couldn’t do that to her. She must’ve noticed how Minho had been acting ever since Jonghyun so suddenly came to comfront him about what had happened. Yeah… that was it. He was still so shocked, confused and scared of what he had seen, he hadn’t gotten over it at all and it had caused him to turn silent and want nothing more but have time to his own thoughts. He wanted to try and figure it all out on his own, to make sense of it, but he knew that was no good. Surely Eunsook had to know already, seeing how cclose she was to the man who called himself a demon.
He huffed a little as he looked up at the wall oposite of them, trying to think of where to start. It was so hard for him to map out where his thoughts and concerns were coming from, just which part was most difficult to take in.
Suddenly, it struck him. ”Eunsook.” He said slowly. ”What’s a siren?”
"A Siren?" she asked, not fully understanding what they had to do with anything they were talking about. Where did such a question come from, she didn’t understand, but if it helped her better understand then she would answer.
"Um…" she put her tea down and got up out of her seat, walking with the smallest of limps to pull one of the books out from the shelves before bringing it back over. She opened the book, flipping through a few pages to find the right chapter before scanning through it.
She knew what Siren’s were, she had known before even meeting one in person, but if she were to explain one to him she thought that actual definitions would be better than her own fumbling explanations.
"Siren’s are mythical creatures that live in the sea" she said softly, her fingers lightly pressing against the page "they are known as beautiful women at sea who lure in male sailors with their looks and singing voices"
She bit her lip lightly, knowing that there was more to a Siren than just that, but it was what the book said. Where did such a thing come from though, why was he asking? Someone at work my have mentioned them, as he lived around sealife of course. But she couldn’t help but be curious. hearing the word made her instantly think of Luca, of her innocence and her safety. If Minho were to know then it would mean that Jonghyun had told him, which was fine, but she didn’t know whether he knew or not.
"Why?…why do you want to know?" she asked, curiosity and concern in her voice.
The man let go of her as soon as he noticed her reaction, pulling back a step or two as he gasped an apoligy. He should’ve known she would get scared, he should’ve made a noice or said something before touching her.
He nodded some at what she said about her ankle, remembering that she had ceomplained about that being the worst of her injuries. ”Did you fall down?” He asked, though he was obviously pulled back into hiw own little world so it was more for the sake of saying something. Of course he was still worried, but the girl’s reaction hadn’t done him well.
Careully he reahed out to take her hand, making sure she was in a good enough condition to walk before he helped her go and sit on the sofa.
”I’ll- eh… I’ll go and make you some tea.” He mumbled once he had made sure she was sitting comfortably, pointing towards the backroom of the shop before walking off.
Once again he switched to autopilot as he made the tea he knew Eunsook liked. What was on his mind he couldn’t tell. Everything was a chaos of thoughts all surfacing on the same time, but he still somehow managed to stay calm on the outside. He didn’t feel bad or anything, he just had a lot to think about.
She wanted to tell him that it was okay, that it wasn’t her fault, but she didn’t get the chance to before he continued. It seemed to be like this rather often in recent days, he would change the subject or even walk away before she could speak, and it was happened far too much to just be a coincidence.
"I, um, my ankle just gave way" she xplained lightly, watching him with her eyes. Everytime it happened she felt herself fall apart that little bit further. She was scared, so very scared. It was like Taemin all over again, he was growing distant. This was how it started with Taemin, he became more and more distant before leaving completely…leaving her heartbroken and torn apart. She couldn’t take that again, it would be the end of her.
She didn’t speak though, not at first. She was scared that asking about it would just push Minho away further. When she had tried to ask Taemin he had vanished for good, she couldn’t let Minho vanish too.
It reached a point though where she had to, she needed some sort of reassurance, and so she bit her lip as she watched Minho walk back into the room. She was gripping onto the edge of the sofa, her nails digging into the material, and she looked at him with wide eyes as she carefully took the tea from him and thanked him.
"Minho…" she started slowly, sounding quieter and more fragile than she had in a long time "What’s wrong? What’s going on?"
Minho hated himself a little for admitting it, but it did feel nice to get out of the house after weeks of recovering to go to work. It felt good to be able to distract himself, to be busy and only think about the well being of the animals instead of his own. The porblem wasn’t Eunsook or anything, not that he could really think of a problem at all; he didn’t mind being at home and taking care of his girlfriend who had been recovering so much recently, it was just that he didn’t have to think of anything while working. He could slip into his own world and work on auto pilot completely absenmindedly while he tried to wrap his head around everything that had happened lately.
He did that when he was walking home as well, and before he knew it he was right outside the bookshop that had become a second home to him.
He noticed liht coming from through the windows, realizing it meant that Eunsook was working again. He was glad she finally felt strong enough to do it. He opened the door and called out to her when he didn’t see her behind the counter, but as he crossed one of the shelves and his eyes landed on the girl, his eyes widened a little.
”Are you okay?” He exclaimed worriedly as he walked up to her and wrapped his arms around her to help her up, obviously worried about the pained expression on her face.
She didn’t hear the bell above the door ring,her mind distracted by the pain running through her. It wasn’t as bad as it was, as it had been, but it still hurt and she knew she had a lot of recovering left to go. She could walk, she was up on her feet again, but she problem came about in moments like this. She guessed that she had to accept it though, her ankle wasn’t going to be the same again.
She was so much in her own world that she didn’t hear Minho coming so, when she felt an arm wrap aroud her, she gasped and screwed her eyes shut as she clung onto the ladder. Oh god, oh god, not again!
Her mind couldn’t help but flash back to then, to being thrown about and used as bait. That was what she was, something to be used…she was just a convenient option, easier to deal with than someone else.
She had tensed up considerably, her nails digging into the wood of the ladder, but she relaxed as soon as she heard Minho’s voice. It was only Minho, she wasn’t in danger. She felt so bad for reacting like she did.
"I’m fine" she breathed out, her eyes slowly opening as she stood back up on her two feet "My ankle is just a little weak still…that’s all"
Eunsook’s condition had improved considerably during the past couple of weeks. A lot of her brusing had faded, though some on her face still needed to be covered with make up, and she no longer needed to use her crutches either. Her ankle was still weak, it wasn’t completely healed, and she knew it would never be quite the same again, but she did know that it was okay enough to at least get some work done and so she found herself back in her shop even if her opening times were a little shorter than normal to prevent overworking herself.
She was humming lightly to herself as she climbed the ladder to get up the shelves, slipping some books into their place, before she carefully started to climb down. She got to the bottom step and hopped off, like she always did, but she landed on her bad ankle first and it gave way.
Her whole leg gave way from under her, making her fall, but she managed to grip on the ladder to stop herself from reaching the floor. Her knee smacked against the ladder hard though, making her hiss in pain as some unhealed bruising under her jeans was struck.
God, that hurt, and she rested her head against the ladder as she whimpered and her grip tightened on the ladder.