It was already a week after the first party I ever worked on and everything was doing well, other than the fact that Seven had not confirmed if I would be moving to a different location or if the bomb would be removed. I grew more anxious every minute I spent alone.
Sadly, Seven (as he would not let me call him by his real name, Saeyoung) was at the apartment with me but he still insisted to be left alone.
ZEN: Has anyone heard anything from Seven? We need to know if the bomb will be removed or Ami will relocate.
JAEHEE: I guess we would just have to wait for Luciel's assessment on the situation. However, I hope we do get at least an update. It has already been a week since the party and the situation should be managed before we plan the next party.
AMI: Let's just trust Seven on this one. He seems really pressured right now.
ZEN: He's there?!!?! What is he doing??! And why are you alone with a man?!?!
AMI: He's still working on something. I am not sure what exactly. He won't let me go near but it's fine.
JAEHEE: I can see that you are being understanding, Ami. I'm impressed at how calm you still are.
ZEN: That guy!!! I don't really know what's going on in that guy's mind. >_<
AMI: Let's just support him right now. :) I'll go for now.
The messenger used to be the place where I could talk to this amazing group of people, who I know would have my back. Now, all I could think of was how the Seven I met in that messenger was a whole lot different from the Seven in the apartment with me.
I sat on the sofa with a book in hand and my phone just beside me. I plugged in my earphones and played my favorite playlist as of the moment. I wanted all my worries to melt with every song. I needed to divert my attention to something else because every bit of me was struggling to hold myself together.
"Just leave me in this corner and don't bother me."
"You think you love me but that feeling is useless. Just let me do my work."
"Stop trying to get close to me."
"That guy you met in the messenger is just a façade I put up. That bright Seven is a lie, this is the real me."
"If you didn't download the app for the messenger we wouldn't be here right now. Next time don't download weird apps on your phone."
I did my best to keep myself standing but the loneliness just brought me back to the where I thought I had escaped.
My parents and my older sister blamed me for everything that was wrong in their lives. They always said I was a mistake, that I should not have lived, and that I was a curse that was casted upon them. I grew up thinking that I had evil powers that caused my family misfortune. It was not until I was sixteen when my mother's childless older sister told me the true story—how my parents only wanted one child but I was somehow created and was born a sickly kid. My late maternal grandmother insisted that my parents do everything they can for me to live and they did, which caused them more than what they had. They were obligated to work three jobs just to make ends meet. Upon knowing the truth, I ran away and to my aunt who happily took me in.
Even if I was away from that hellhole I dare not call my home, they haunted me in my dreams.
"You should have died! We wouldn't be like this if you didn't live!"
"This is all your fault! If my mother didn't pity you, I would've left you in an alley to die!"
“I regret slaving just to make sure you live.”
“Our lives would’ve been better if you didn’t come along.”
I spent most of my nights inside the room, crying tears of many emotions—anger, sadness, a bit of relief, confusion, and pain—as I drew dripping red lines on my wrist. That was until I downloaded a phone application which I thought was just a game. I did not want to trust them at first but they were extremely nice and it felt great to feel wanted.
As I curled in my bed, I stared at how many lines I was able to draw that night. I knew I had to wear long sleeves the next day so Seven would not see, as if he would even take a glance at my direction.
When I could not sleep at around two in the morning, I checked the messenger.
707: Ami? You're still awake at this time?
AMI: I was just checking who might still be awake. I'll go.
707: I'm sorry
707: If this is taking so long and if I'm making you uncomfortable. I'll do what I can to make this faster.
AMI: No need to apologize, Luciel. I understand. Good night.
I logged out immediately, hoping I could bring myself to sleep but just could not. I opened the app and was surprised to see a text message from Zen.
ZEN: Is that guy still not talking to you?
I was extremely glad how close Zen and I became as well. At least I found a best friend whom I can turn to when times are tough.
AMI: He does. On the messenger or he would call. :D
AMI: Calm down. I’m fine.
ZEN: How can you be so calm when the person in that apartment with you barely treats you like a human!?! >_<
AMI: I’m fine.
AMI: Zen, calm down. I promise you I’m fine.
ZEN: I’m sorry. I’m just worried. :( Get some rest.
I felt exhausted yet I could not get a decent sleep. I had no idea what else to tell Seven to convince him that what I feel is true. For some reason, he hated me but that was not going to stop me from loving him.
Finally giving up on the idea of getting a blink of sleep for the night, I decided to go to the kitchen for a glass of milk. As I sat on the stool, I checked the messenger.
JAEHEE: I hope Yoosung realizes that there are more things the world can offer other than a computer game.
ZEN: How does he even expect to find a girlfriend when all he does is play???
JAEHEE: I think Ami just logged in.
AMI: Don’t mind me. I’m just enjoying my glass of milk here.
ZEN: Still having trouble falling asleep??
JAEHEE: Do you think you need to get checked? Maybe it is a sleeping disorder. I could research for you.
AMI: Don’t trouble yourself, Jaehee. I know you have lots of work to do.
707: You’re still awake?
ZEN: Isn’t it obvious?! And you won’t even talk to her like an actual human being!!
AMI: Zen it’s not that. There are things that Seven has to fix.
ZEN: Yeah!! Like if you’re going to relocate or stay in that apartment with a bomb!!
Just like that, Seven logged out. Before I could even reply, someone snatched my phone from my grip and by someone, I meant Seven.
“Is that what you have been telling Zen? That I wouldn’t talk to you like a decent human being?” He exclaimed. With every word I felt my heart pound. “You know I have a lot of things to fix. Why do you want to get close to me so much? I told you that you wouldn’t understand all the difficult things that come with me.”
I kept calm in all of this but with what he said, I finally reached my limit. “You keep on saying that as if you’re the only one with a problem!” I saw his eyes suddenly widen, “Do you think this is easy for me? The only good thing all of this has done to me is I get to escape my real life. Do you think I’m treated as a princess where I’m from? The sad part is the way you’re treating me is how my family did. As if I’m a curse that needs to be casted off.” While I still had the courage to speak, I gave him the brief version of my life before I downloaded the messenger.
His eyes switched from ice cold to soft. He probably was fighting between standing his ground and showing vulnerability.
The silence that hung between us was enough for me to realize he did not care about me at all. I sighed deeply. “I love you, Saeyoung. Not just that bright guy in the messenger. Every bit of you I love, even the darkest bits. Believe me or not, I do.”
I rushed to my room, itching to draw more lines on my arm. I sat on the ground, sobbing as I drew and drew and drew.
When my bedroom door burst open, Seven’s eyes grew wide with fury. He immediately snatched the razor from my hand. “What is wrong with you? Why would you that?”
I was not rational anymore. I was overflowing with anger, sadness, and pain. I stood up then attempted to take back the razor. “It’s none of your business! You don’t care, right? All I have to do is leave you alone and everything will be okay, right? I left you alone already. Now, what do you want?”
Shock was evident on his face. He pressed his lips to a straight line, giving me a look that I could only identify as pissed off. He looked like he was going to burst that a part of me was afraid, but rage was on top of it all.
“Look, Seven, I know that no matter what I do, you would never reciprocate these feelings of mine. I also have come to accept that we would just have to be friends or, at least, civil in respect of the RFA. Other than that, I don’t expect anything else. You don’t have to love me. No one has to love me. I’ve been doing good in my life so far even with having a family who doesn’t give a damn.” With ever word, I let my tears drop. My chest tightened and all I could do was stand there, crying like a child.
Seven was about to walk closer to me but I held up my hand to stop him then said, “Don’t. Not out of pity.”
After he left my room, I locked the door and spent the whole night drowning in my own misery.
The next day, I spent most times inside my room. I would silently slip out to get a glass of water when I know that Seven was focused on work.
When I opened the messenger, I did not expect that Seven was also online.
SEVEN: I don’t think relocating Ami is an option.
JAEHEE: How about disabling the bomb?
SEVEN: That I can do but Rika asked for it specifically.
YOOSUNG: But wht abuot Ami?? T_T
JAEHEE: I think she just logged in.
JAEHEE: Have you eaten dinner already?
YOOSUNG: It’s ben a whule snce yoo loged in herr
JAEHEE: Look at all your typographical errors, Yoosung.
SEVEN: Hahaha! He’s probably playing LOLOL again.
JAEHEE: Don’t forget tomorrow’s meeting in the same restaurant.
SEVEN: Yep yep yep
YOOSUNG: We’ll see Ami again.
Just like that, I logged out. I looked at the still bright lines on my arm. If I want to survive tomorrow’s dinner meeting, I have to wear long sleeves.
With the power of make-up and pretending, I managed to look as if I was absolutely fine. It was a bit difficult, considering I was still in a bad spot.
“Are you ready?” Seven asked. I could see that even as he kept his distance, he was waiting for me to say something.
I just nodded in response. I followed him to the car and had a quiet ride to the restaurant. Once in a while, I found myself pulling the fabric away from my skin as it was sticking to the cuts.
When we got to the restaurant, everyone was there already. I made sure to keep my smile plastered on.
The dinner was amazing but the wine made me feel a bit off. I know that I should not have drank but I needed a bit of alcohol in my system, which did not help at all.
“Ami, you’ve been quiet this whole time. Is something bothering you?” Jaehee asked.
I gave a quick glance at Seven before I shook my head with a bright smile on my lips. I pulled on the fabric again.
“I think she feels a little bit hot,” Yoosung said to Jaehee before he turned to me. “You could pull your sleeves up even a bit if you like.”
Seven took a huge gulp of his own wine. He had a faint smirk on when he said, “Yes, Ami, pull your sleeves up a little.”
I did not know what was in his mind, and add up that I was not in the mood. I glared daggers at Seven. “Now, you’re talking to me?”
We were aware that we were with the other RFA members and that we were in a public place, so we tried our best to keep our voices low.
“I was talking to you but you ran off on me.” Seven leaned closer to me. I could smell the wine from his breath.
I shook my head. “What? What will you tell me? To leave you alone? That’s all you can say anyway.”
Jumin cleared his throat but it did not stop Seven from releasing the next words, which I wished he did not.
“I was going to tell you that I love you.”
The whole table fell silent. Everyone did not expect that revelation from Seven, especially me.
“Love is such a strong word, Seven. And you don’t hurt the person you love.” I could feel myself tremble. I knew I was going to cry and it took me every bit of my energy to keep myself steady.
“Then what did you do to yourself?” The moment he said it, I saw the expression the others made. They all wanted to know but it was something I could just show other people, yet I found myself stretching the fabric as I felt it sticking it to the cuts which made me wince.
Zen interrupted, “What is going on?” he looked at me, “Are you okay?”
“Ami, are you sick?” Yoosung asked, looking worried as hell.
Jaehee was calm but I could see in her eyes that she was panicked. “Is there anything I can do for you?”
Jumin, who was usually distant and cold, showed a sliver of worry. “I respect your privacy but maybe there is something I could do to help the situation.”
I looked at each person in that very table and then I realized that this group of people is indeed my new family. I gave them a smile before telling them that a fancy restaurant is not a place for such a story, and so we all headed to Jumin’s place.
As they all sat on the sofa, I found the courage to pull my sleeves up and show them the fresh wounds and scars as well, then I told them my story.
“I don’t love myself that’s why it’s easy to do this. It’s my own form of punishment. Honestly, I don’t deserve you all. You’ve been so welcoming and nice. I don’t deserve it. All I’ve done is mess things up. Even when I was a complete stranger, you all helped me out. Thank you so much.”
After I cut myself open and exposed every bit of me, they still accepted me. There was no doubt anymore that they would never leave my side whenever I would need them.
Before Seven and I left, the members hugged me tight and told me to never forget that they are just a message away. With that, I smiled genuinely.
Upon reaching the apartment, my immediate action was to head straight to my room but I was stopped with someone gripping my wrist.
“Ami...” It was gentle yet cold. It went with the wind and tickled my ears.
“What?” My voice was low and I felt so weak. Every bit of me I exposed to them, to him. I was able to catch his glances on our way home but it felt like it was only out of pity. I, most certainly, do not want him to reciprocate my feelings just because he pitied me.
I was shocked when he pulled me closer to him and then wrapped me in his arms. I could feel his warmth and instead of pushing him away, I let myself feel it.
He rubbed my back to comfort me, which kind of worked because after a while I felt better, somehow. It was a rare moment that Seven was not pushing me away or was walking away. It actually felt nice to have him close.
As I tried to escape from his embrace, he would not let me and would just hold me tighter. I felt myself fade in the darkness but it seemed like a blink. When I finally got a grip on reality, I found myself on my bed already and with Seven. He had his arms wrapped around me as my head was on his chest. I did not move, trying to savor the moment, but after a while I was not able to stop myself from curling a bit more.
The silence that embraced us was comforting. Seven’s breaths were still even and I tried to match his’. For a while, it all seemed perfect and it scared me. With a sigh, I pushed myself up but before I could even slip out of the bed, I felt a warm grip that wrapped my wrist once again. I kept my back towards him.
“Don’t,” he paused, “Don’t leave me.” His voice was gentle yet still had a hint of strength stuck in his words. “I’m sorry if I had been a jerk to you. I judged you just because I thought no one is suffering more than I have.” He gulped as if the next words were a struggle to spill. “I forced myself to be distant, hoping you would hate me so it will be easier.” His voice cracked, which made me turn to him.
“Seven…” was all I could muster at the moment.
“I know it’s difficult to be with someone like me but I love you.” His words hit something inside of me, something that had been untouched for quite a long time. “I love you. I want you. I need you.”
I could not find the words to say. I crawled closer to him then wrapped my arms around him. Slowly, I felt his arms snake around my waist.
“I love you, Saeyoung...Seven...707...Luciel. Whatever name you choose, I will always love you.” I whispered to his ear. As I nuzzled at the curve of his neck, he buried his face on the top of my head.
We stayed that way until we both drifted to sleep. After that day, nothing was really the same. Everything was better and right then, I vowed to never return to the people who did not want me.