“Well…” she said, glancing up at Andrew with hesitation, “… he believes that anyone who dates him will end up dead; that he’s the one who murdered them.”
Andrew stared at her; his straw stuck to his bottom lip. What? How was it his fault that this… Eliza person died? The editor thought back to Caden’s conversation with his date from earlier… Was that why he said he would eventually murder her? He gazed at his new boss, confused as to why Caden thought that way.
“But why?” he blurted out, yanking the straw away from him, sloshing his drink around.
“Er… well… To be honest, I’m not exactly sure of the reason why, either. It’s something my wife said in passing. No matter how much I ask her, she never tells me anything about it.” Sharon said with a shrug, a bit taken aback with Andrew’s eagerness.
“… I-I see…”
“I only told you this so that you’ll know of Caden’s triggers. Ha… Let me tell you some rules you must absolutely follow if you don’t want to face his nasty wrath. I suggest that you write this down, so you don’t forget.”
Andrew pulled out his phone, ready to type down anything Sharon was going to inform him of.
“First, make sure to never, ever mention anything related to dating or Eliza. He detests topics that relate to his love life.” Andrew nodded, scoffing in his mind. That was fine by him; he wasn’t planning on asking anyway.
“Second, don’t let anyone outside his circle refer to him as Caden; he wants to keep his professional life as a writer and his personal one separate. If anyone does call him by his legal name, just kindly remind them that his name is Yohan Yoo.”
Andrew raised an eyebrow but said nothing as he jotted that down as well.
“Lastly,” Sharon said as she glanced at Andrew’s sweet drink, “please don’t get him anything overly sweet as snacks. He hates sweets but you should be good with a bittersweet dessert. Oh, if you ever want to become good friends with him, you should get him some bitter nama chocolate from Roycee— the kid’s a sucker for those.”
Sharon winked at him as Andrew felt his ears burn from embarrassment. Did she see him moping around earlier?! He inwardly groaned as he cursed himself. He had thought he did a good job of hiding his feelings! Sharon giggled. She was right—Andrew would be a great friend to her lonely brother-in-law.
“Well, that’s it for now! I’ll send you his address and phone number later via text. You must be exhausted from your flight! Rest up and I’ll see you next week Monday! Take your time exploring the area~ And if you want, you can invite Yohan to hang out with you!”
“Er… I think I’ll pass on that thought…” Andrew nervously laughed as he averted his gaze to his drink.
“Hmm. Well, I give you full permission to boss him around!”
Andrew forced a grin. Yeah, nope; I’m not gonna do that, he thought as they stood up from their seats. With a wave of her hand, she left Andrew at the front of the hotel as May waved goodbye from inside Sharon’s car. Andrew bowed to them both as they pulled away from the loading zone. He sighed as he trudged back inside, feeling exhausted. He had felt so happy when he saw Caden again, but after listening to the reason for Caden’s disappearance in the literary world, Andrew couldn’t help but feel dejected.
Sighing, he entered his hotel room, placing the key card onto the desk nearby as he flopped onto the comfy bed after taking off his shoes. He was about to lay down when he bolted upwards. Looking down at his phone, Andrew texted his boyfriend (or ex?) one last time, letting him know that if he didn’t answer him yet again, he would take it that they have officially broken things off.
His phone buzzed a few minutes later, with a new message. Opening it, Andrew stared at the message, before tossing it next to him on the bed. Wow… Well, that was a wasted one month, he thought, slowly falling asleep, as the message continued to stay open:
“I’ve already found someone else.”
Yohan paced around his townhouse, irritated that Sharon hadn’t been lying about a new editor. He groaned and sighed as regret came washing over him at the harsh words he had directed towards the young man. In his angry outburst with his family, Yohan had redirected his rage to a complete stranger. He bit his lip as he sat on his couch, rubbing his fluffy, bleached hair. Yohan needed to apologize, but how? The three years he had been absent in society had rendered him useless when it came to socializing.
Yohan rubbed his hands together, not knowing what to do, when his doorbell rang. He sat there, frozen, terrified to go out and deal with whoever was outside his door. Pretending to not be home, Yohan didn’t move a muscle as he swallowed hard, hoping that the unexpected visitor would go away. As he sat there, wondering if the person at his door was gone, he received a text message from his friend, Eddie Park.
“Yo. It’s me, open up.”
With a relieved sigh, Yohan hopped off of his seat and walked over to the front entrance, opening the door for his best friend since childhood. Eddie was also the “idiot” who would periodically clean up after Yohan. Eddie sighed, annoyed that Yohan was acting like a recluse; what had happened to his outgoing friend?! He shoved his way in as he set down a plastic bag full of Chinese takeout. Yohan smiled, closing the door behind him. He didn’t think Eddie would come hang out this weekend!
“What’s up? Why’re you here?”
“Your sis asked me to check up on you.”
“So? What happened? … Well, I think I can already guess what happened.” Eddie answered his own question as he glanced at Yohan’s outfit. The novelist had failed to change out of his clothes after arriving back to his place and was still wearing the navy suit from before.
“Yeah well… Whatever.” Yohan replied begrudgingly, flopping onto the couch and grabbing one of the containers and a pair of chopsticks from the bag.
“No, it’s not ‘whatever’. Why’d you lash out at May noona? She and her wife are your only family now. You should be grateful that they’re even considering looking after their unemployed family member.” Eddie scolded while digging into some chow mein.
“Seriously? Do you still have feelings for my sister or something? ‘Cause, she’s married and all…”
“I know, you idiot! Stop reminding me!” Eddie smacked Yohan on the back, causing the writer to choke mid-swallow.
“Woops, sorry dude.”
“Sorry, my ass! Besides, how am I unemployed?! I worked for the past three years and now I’m back to my original career!” Yohan huffed, glaring at Eddie who was now sprawled out on his sofa, his stinky feet in Yohan’s face. The writer grimaced, moving away from him.
“Right… Anyways… What else did you do?”
“…? What do you mean?”
“I know that look. You look guilty about something. What else did you do?”
“… I… Well. I might have told my new editor that I didn’t want to work with him… Haha…?”
“Ha… Is that how I raised you?! Did you at least apologize?”
“If anyone heard, they’d think you really did raise me,” Yohan rolled his eyes as he scratched the back of his head, “and well… I haven’t actually… I don’t know how.”
“What do you mean you don’t know how?! Bro, just go and apologize, it’s not that hard!”
“For you! I’m not extroverted like you!”
“Right… says the guy who used to do interviews and book signings on a daily basis. Just go and talk to him. You can’t avoid him forever; you guys are going to be working together!”
“I can’t… Woah, dude what the hell? What???” Yohan asked, confused, as his friend head-locked him in his arms before dragging him outside.
“Let’s go. I’ll take you to him so you can apologize in person.”
“No! Do you even know where he’s at?”
“Probably at the hotel you just escaped?”
“Sharon put you up to do this, didn’t she?!” Yohan screamed, hugging onto his front gate for the second time that day. His neighbor across the street (who was the same neighbor from earlier who witnessed his embarrassing tantrum) stared at him again.
“You’re embarrassing yourself, dude. Come on!” Eddie reprimanded him as he pulled Yohan off of his gate.
**NOTE: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.**