Misc., The "Something" Series: Season 2

Something Like What We Used to Be: A Monologue.

When I first moved in with my mother my freshman year of college, I didn’t know how well we would get along. My dad was still in Virginia, and he had no idea that I wasn’t actually living in the dorms. I lied to both my parents just so I could get the opportunity to live with my mother after not knowing her for the first 17 years of my life.

It was a hot afternoon in New York, and my mom came back from the pizzeria to get us some Italian Ices. I was convinced maybe we just shared the same taste in foods, but her coming back with a Rainbow-flavored Ice shocked me. It was my absolute favorite flavor of Ice.

We sat across the small table in the living room/kitchen area of my mother’s apartment. I looked at her as she scraped the surface of her Ice, scrolling through her cell phone.

“Mollie?” I called out for my mom. I was still uncomfortable calling her mom; I was thankful she didn’t force me to call her mom right away. She looked up from her Ice at me. I didn’t know how to phrase this right, but it was something I’ve wanted to know ever since I met my mom for the first time, back in her dance class at Waverly High.

“When did you know that you were in love with dad?” I asked. It took her a while to answer. She was deep in thought like she was going through all the years over in her head that she knew my dad. My mom, no doubt was my dad’s soulmate. He never had a girlfriend while I was growing up; it’s like he couldn’t love anyone else besides her, and from the looks of my mom’s apartment, it seems like the same goes for her.

“The moment I knew I was in love with your father was the night we slept together, back in high school,” she recalled. “Not because of, you know,” She was getting flustered and even though I felt some vomit rise up behind my throat, I knew what she meant by that. “The moment I knew I loved your father was seeing how happy he was when I told him I was pregnant with you.”

“You have some nerve coming here,” I said as I watched Jamie walk towards the cafe.

“Can we talk? It’s important that I talk to you,” Jamie stated. I look at the time on my phone and sighed.

“Well, it’s bad timing. My break is ending and I get out in about an hour,” I said. Jamie nodded his head and looked at me. I felt uneasy whenever he looked directly at me; he was the only person that ever looked at me like that.

“I can wait,” he said. Jamie was always a patient man, and I never understood how or why he was with me. He has no reason to sit around and wait to talk to me, yet he does. Throughout the rest of my shift, he sits on the boardwalk bench looking out towards the water. It wasn’t long until I clocked out for the day and left the cafe.

I slowly walk towards him at the end of the pier, sitting next to him. He looks up at me and scoots over to give me some room on the bench to sit next to him.

“Well, you sure stick to your word,” I say to break the silence. I don’t look at him, but I can feel him looking at me. I always knew when he was even when I wasn’t looking at him. It’s like my body can sense it, because every time he did, my body got warm.

“I’m assuming you know about what happened between Shawn and Skylar,” he began.

“You think? You know, that was really shitty of him to just break up with her without a real reason,” I began to vent. I wasn’t angry at anyone else besides myself. I feel solely responsible for Skylar falling in love with Shawn and getting her heart broken in the process. I shouldn’t have left Jamie’s number on my nightstand; I should’ve known better and threw it out as soon as I got it that day. Maybe then she wouldn’t have called Jamie. Maybe Jamie wouldn’t have felt like he needed to bring Shawn along with him to the Voyage that night. Maybe Skylar wouldn’t have met Shawn. Maybe Skylar wouldn’t be absolutely crushed if I never moved into her condo when I got to California.

“That’s why I came here to talk to you,” he simply said. “Shawn… has his reasons in why he did that,” I couldn’t help but scoff.

“Why am I not surprised that you were taking his side? I mean, I get it; you’re his best friend. You have to,” I shook my head and looked out towards the ocean.

“Shawn is on a group visa,” Jamie said.

“What the fuck does that have to do with Shawn being an asshole to Skylar?” I kept interrupting Jamie. I just didn’t want to hear the excuses.

“Aigoo, Grace can you just let me talk?” Jamie demanded. I looked at Jamie, not saying a word. “Kevin’s girlfriend in Korea, JooAh; she’s pregnant. He has to go back to Korea to be with her. Shawn, Kevin, and I are on a group visa. If one of us leaves, we all have to go too.”

My stomach knots itself up when I hear Jamie speak. All I can remember is Skylar asking me how was I able to go through this with Jamie throughout the years I’ve known him. “Love him, and then watch him leave over and over again.” I’ve watched Jamie leave more times than anyone else in my life. The first time it nearly destroyed me; it was like I was experiencing what it must’ve felt like for my dad when my mom left him when I was a baby. It was like I was experiencing how it must’ve felt for Max when I left him with our baby. I thought I deserved it, like this was life’s way of telling me that I needed to know what it was like to have someone you love just up and leave your life out of the blue. Needless to say, the first time was the toughest. The second time stung a little. The third, time I became numb to it. The fourth time I left, hoping it was the last time I saw him.

I scrunched my eyebrows, getting angry as Jamie spoke, excusing Shawn and what he did to Skylar. She didn’t deserve that. She didn’t know the consequences that came with dating and falling in love with a man that literally could leave at any given moment. I should have warned her. I should have told her soulmates, or whatever the fuck Skylar called Shawn, weren’t real.

“Funny how it’s not the first time hearing you say this,” I spat back. Jamie looked at me, annoyed with my response.

“That was really uncalled for, Grace,” Jamie responded. “I just wanted to tell you that I was leaving to go back to Korea, and why Shawn had to do what he did.”

“Why even tell me you were leaving? You’ve done it in the past,” I began to talk just to talk. I felt like I never explained to Jamie why it was always so hard to trust him after the first time he left. He would come back, and I would fall into him deeper and deeper each time we saw each other, and then he would leave again. It was our tradition; for him to make my life feel like rainbows and butterflies, until he took that shit back with him on a 14-hour flight to South Korea.

“I can’t say the same for you,” Jamie snapped back.

“What the fuck is that supposed to mean?” I asked viciously. This was the first time Jamie was facing me, but not looking at me. He was angry, and he had some shit to vent out before he left again for good. What the fuck was the point of him even ever agreeing to hang out with me whenever I called him? Was he just trying to see if he still had that hold on me, wrapped around his finger, just living his American dream until he left it behind to go back home for months on end? What the fuck did Jamie want from me?

“You literally left New York without telling me, Grace!” Jamie finally admitted. I still remember the day I left New York almost 7 months ago. Ari told me to tell Jamie I was leaving and to have one last conversation to end this chapter of our lives for good.

“You need to have this conversation with him, girl,” Ari said as she poured hot water into the kettle and threw a couple of tea bags into the hot water. “He deserves to know why you went and did what you did.”

“What is the point?” I said, watching Ari set the coffee table up in the living room. “He’s gonna leave New York anyway.”

“Yeah, but that was his child too,” Ari said, annoyed. “Just because you don’t live with Willow, you still are allowed to know about her whereabouts and shit because she is your child. How would you feel if Max made decisions about WIllow without consulting with you just because you don’t live with her?”

“Max and I live in the same fucking state, Ari; it’s different,” I spat back.

“Yeah well, you’re both here in New York and are eventually leaving it so, how much of a difference is it really?” Ari questioned.

“I didn’t have to tell you anything! We weren’t together!” I emphasized to Jamie.

“You had admitted just weeks prior to you leaving that you had an abortion, Grace! How the fuck was I suppose to feel not ever having that conversation with you?” Jamie raised his voice. His voice always echoed when he was angry; probably because it didn’t happen that often. But when it did, it was more than just anger. It’s bottled-up shit that he hasn’t expressed or spoken to anyone about because he always tried to deal with it on his own. I didn’t say anything back, not because I didn’t have anything to say but because I wasn’t expecting Jamie to bring this situation up. Not now, not ever.

“You left me in your apartment and had Ari get me the next morning like I was some fucking garbage that needed to be gone!” I was angry. I remember being so fucking angry and heartbroken not seeing him in his apartment the morning after I told him about the abortion. “Jamie, you are so fucking good at leaving; did it ever occur to you that maybe every single time you did that shit, it affected me?”

“So you go ahead and get rid of our baby without ever fucking telling me it existed?!” Jamie screamed as the veins on his neck began to pop out. “Why didn’t you tell me?!”

I began to feel the tears run down my face. I wasn’t sad but frustrated. Defeated. Exhausted. There’s simply no more fight left in my voice, and no expression left to express on my face.

“Would it have really mattered if I did?” I said softly as my voice became hoarse from yelling before. “You were in Korea at that point. I didn’t know when you were going to be back or if you were ever coming back…”

“I would’ve come back, Grace,” Jamie said, more regretful than confident.

“Yeah, and then what? Watch you be the man I always hoped you’ll be for me and then see you leave me alone in New York again; this time with a child?” At this point, this was the most honest I’ve been with Jamie since being in New York. Maybe I should’ve reached out to have this conversation sooner; maybe then all the time we spent together here wouldn’t have felt the way that it did. Maybe our motives would’ve felt more pure and real.

“People like us are not meant to stay together. We are not meant to carry lifelong commitments and bring them into this world just because one of us wanted to. I always thought I could change that and make people want to stay with me. But in the end, I was always left fucking alone; my mom left me alone, Max left me alone, and you left me here alone. And I refuse to let a child come into this world feeling alone, Jamie. I refuse to lie to myself and say this time would be different; that I would be the mother I always wanted to be for a child. But I’m not. I left my child the same way my mom left me, and I’m still trying to make it up to Willow before she learns to resent me for not being there for her. I refuse to be like my mother. I refuse to bring a child into this world just because the person I am in love with wants me to have the baby.” At that point, I couldn’t look at Jamie, and I couldn’t feel if he was looking at me back. It’s like I pulled all the power out of us and it’s not a blackout. We are both just searching for some light in the darkness, not realizing that everything around us is also surrounded by darkness.

Jamie didn’t say anything and I didn’t expect him to. So I sighed, and shifted my body on the ground of the pier; closing off Jamie for good.

“Not that it matters but I’m also leaving California. I’m going back to New York to see my daughter,” I admitted. “Because I owe her that at least, as her biological mother.” I began to get up from the ground of the pier; Jamie still sat there. It was like he was frozen in place. I know it took a lot to take it, but I know Jamie Kim. Jamie always deserved to know the truth, because he strived in knowing the truth in everything in his life.

“Have a safe flight back to Korea, Jamie,” I said half-heartedly, not wanting to continue this conversation. I felt naked, and I felt exposed. I felt like I just confessed my biggest secret out into the world, but I still don’t feel free. I begin to walk away from the pier, fro Jamie, and from this life that I so desperately wish I could have, but know I won’t ever get.

Because people like Jamie and I don’t stay together. Soulmates aren’t fucking real because they are so impossible to obtain or grasp. It’s like a piece of fiction.

The love I have for Jamie just feels like fiction; not real.

The "Something" Series: Season 2

Something For Me, Myself, & I: A Monologue.

Skylar went to the Bay Area to stay with my uncle Mason for a bit. I told her it was best to be around her family during this time, in which she reminded me that I was also family. A part of me felt really guilty though. Skylar only knew Shawn because of Jamie, and Jamie only came out that night because of me. In a way, I feel responsible for Skylar’s broken heart. I didn’t deserve to comfort her. Skylar was perfectly fine living on her own and living the life that was best for her. She had her heart guarded, and as soon as I move in and introduce her to a man affiliated with someone in my past, she got her heart broken. I broke my little cousin, and I feel absolutely shitty for it.

I left to go to the studio earlier than usual this morning. Eduardo of course mentioned it to me, and I tried my hardest to not show him that I was dealing with a lot on my plate. I guess he bought it and was able to get into the studio for the time being. It wasn’t until shortly after the studio door opened again; this time it was Morgan.

“Grace?” Morgan asked. She looked confused, looking at the schedule posted on the wall. “There’s no practice today; what are you doing here?” I turned around and stopped what I was doing. I turn the music off on my phone and take a break.

“Hey, Morgan,” I greeted.

“What are you doing here on a Sunday morning?” she asked again. I’ve known Morgan through my mother. My mom told me that she knew someone in California that ran an academy if I still wanted to dance while I was here. Once I came into the studio that first time, Morgan immediately said I was literally a copy of my mother. Sometimes that bothers me, considering sometimes I feel like the decisions I make are very similar to the ones she made when she was my age.

And this time was no different.

“I was looking for the application for that audition in New York,” I stated. Morgan cocked up her eyebrows as if she was shocked that I was asking about something I was strongly against doing about just a couple of weeks ago. “Are they still holding auditions for the team?”

“They are,” Morgan finally answered. “They start at the end of August.” She shakes her head in confusion. “Why the change of heart?”

“I’m going back to New York to see my daughter,” I began. “Might as well kill two birds with one stone and just audition for the thing.”

“You do know that even auditioning is a high commitment?” Morgan crossed her arms along her chest. “You get invited to audition because it’s most likely they can choose you.”

“And if they do, it’s still my decision whether or not I want to do it,” I answered back. Morgan looked unsure, which isn’t like Morgan at all. She was always coming back with things to say, and I can honestly say this is the first time I ever saw her speechless. I sighed to ease up the tension. “Morgan, I… I really want to try it out. I gotta do something for myself, y’know?”

“I know,” Morgan quickly answered. “But make sure you’re doing this for the right reasons; not because you’re trying to escape something you can’t currently handle.” She walks toward her office and comes back with the paperwork in her hands. She hands it up to me, which I take.

“Good luck, Grace,” Morgan simply said. I nodded as I placed the paperwork near my gym bag and continued to practice in the studio on my own.

“Yeah, mommy’s going to be in New York for a few,” I said on the phone as I sat outside of the cafe on my lunch break. The weather wasn’t too hot today; there was actually a nice breeze coming from the ocean currents that cooled things down.

“Can we go to the park and see the flower garden?” Willow asked. I couldn’t help but smile. I’m making plans to finally see my daughter after 6 months of video chats.

“Of course, we can, sweetie,” I said. “Put your papa on the phone for me. I love you,” I said to Willow.

“I love you too, mommy!” Willow happily said. It’s like a wind of warm air hit my face hearing her say it so confidently. A couple of minutes later, Max speaks on the phone.

“She’s excited you’re coming back,” Max started out. “Are you staying with your parents while you find a place to live when you get back?” The thought didn’t even cross my mind. He thinks I’m going back for good.

“I’m staying with Ari until the audition is over,” I corrected him.

“Audition?” Max seemed completely confused. This was the hardest part about going back to New York: having everyone think you’re coming back for good. I can’t go back for good.

“I’m coming back to New York for this dance audition,” I started to say. “Once that audition is over, I’m coming back to California.”

“But there’s no one in California, Grace,” Max stated.

“My cousin Skylar? Sheesh Max, where do you think I’ve been living for the last 6 months?” I was growing annoyed with him.

“Skylar is an adult, she was fine living on her own before you went there,” Max was trying to fight me on this like he always had. “You really should be here in New York for your daughter,”

“My daughter is completely fine with or without me being in New York; clearly,” I spat.

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” Max asked, now mad. Max always got mad at me for the littlest things. When we were together, he could never understand why I did the things I did because he couldn’t imagine himself making those decisions for himself. He quit the law firm once Willow was born; I decided to stay. He put his dreams and himself second once Willow was born; I didn’t. Despite him leaving England and staying in New York for the sake of his daughter, here I was; traveling across the country to California just because New York was too much for me.

“It means she’s doing fine with you and Miriam playing house,” I answered. I was angry at this point. I was coming to New York for this audition and to see my daughter. It shouldn’t matter to Max what the fuck I decide to do with my life; as long as I was still a mother to our daughter, that’s all he should care about.

“You’re her mother for God’s sake,” Max responded. “Do you know how heartbroken she’s going to be when you have to go back? She starts Kindergarten in September–“

“I know she is, Max!” I yelled back. “You don’t think I know that?”

“This is her first time she will be in school for a full day, Grace,” Max emphasized. “She’s going to want the comfort of her mother there when she’s crying and wanting to go home!”

“I’ll be there for when she starts school, Max. The audition doesn’t start until the end of August anyway,” I explained to Max. That was one thing I wasn’t going to allow Max to do: make me feel bad for parenting in a way I feel is best for Willow. I look at the time on my phone before pressing it against my ear again. “Look Max, I have to go; my lunch break is ending soon. I’ll talk to you later; tell Willow I love her.” I look at the boardwalk to see a familiar person walking toward the direction of the cafe. I immediately hung up the phone and kept looking at the person. They stopped once they saw me watching them walk close toward the cafe.

“You have a lot of nerve coming here, Jamie,” I said, not impressed with Jamie’s appearance here at the boardwalk. He sighed, which wasn’t uncommon for him to do, but he also didn’t look like himself. Is this what he sees whenever I’m not feeling myself? To be quite honest, it’s crazy just how much Jamie and I know each other.

“Can we talk? It’s important that I talk to you, “Jamie said.

The "Something" Series: Season 2

Something Too Close to Home: A Monologue.

It was snowing the night Grace told me she was once pregnant with our child. Once.

She couldn’t stop crying. As confused and upset and sick as the thought of Grace keeping something like that from me made me, I was worried about her. She was just bones; it looked like she hadn’t eaten in days. She was wasting away, keeping this inside her soul which then began to eat away at her. Shawn and Kevin have found her at the bar that night, drunk and close to completely blacking out. Grace and I weren’t even together at the time, yet for some reason, they knew that I would take care of her that night. She said was supposed to go out that night with Ari and Dean. Maybe she lied about that. Maybe she was just lonely with her thoughts. She was lonely with just her thoughts.

I regret leaving her in New York alone with nothing but her thoughts.

I didn’t know it could rain so heavily in California, but it started to pour as the hours passed during the night. I told Shawn to go up to his room to calm down; his yelling and anger were not helping the situation. Shawn couldn’t understand the wave of emotions that Kevin was possibly feeling at this moment, yet Kevin couldn’t understand the wave of emotions Shawn was possibly feeling at this moment.

I understand Shawn. He fell in love with an American woman knowing that it would be complicated once things got difficult. He knew he would have to return to Korea once the visa was up. He knew he couldn’t ask Skylar to drop her entire life here in California to be with him in a foreign country. He knew that he couldn’t help himself when he began to fall in love with Skylar. Love happens quickly; it waits for no one to figure things out. Once you feel just a tiny amount of love for someone; someone that you see spending your life with, someone that makes you instantly smile just by seeing them… that’s it. There’s no turning back from unloving a person; it can never be undone.

I understand Kevin. He fell in love with a woman back in Korea and he isn’t there to comfort her or be with her during a time when she’s probably terrified and unsure about what to do next. Korean women that get pregnant before marriage instantly feel like impure women; it’s why my sister Mina got married to her husband three months after finding out she was pregnant with my first niece. JooAh is no exception, and Kevin knows this. But I didn’t relate to Kevin because he got a Korean woman pregnant; Kevin can always go back home and be with the mother of his unborn child if he wanted to. That’s what he wanted to do, and I don’t blame him for doing just that. If life was that easy for Grace and me at the time, I would’ve went back to America to be with her. But Grace and I were never conventional.

I sat across from Kevin, looking at him as he rubbed his eyes. This was the most movement he’s made in the past hour. He was clearly trying to piece everything together in his head.

“I-I don’t know how it happened,” Kevin said erratically. “I mean, I know how it happened, but… we were careful. We always were, and–“

“You don’t have to explain yourself, Kevin,” I interrupted. Quite frankly, I didn’t care that he got his girlfriend pregnant. Kevin loves JooAh, and I think if Kevin was back in Korea and he found this out, he’d be the happiest man alive. But he’s not; he’s here in America about 16 hours behind just wanting to be with JooAh. I get it.

“Shawn is so mad at me, hyung,” Kevin stated. “I don’t know if he’ll ever talk to me again.”

“I don’t understand, why did he break up with Skylar? Did you tell him he had to or something?” I asked. I was still trying to piece everything together, hoping it would make sense.

“When I told him I had to go back to Korea because of JooAh, he panicked,” Kevin began explaining. “He wanted to stay for Skylar.”

“Again, I don’t understand how you having to go back home affects Shawn,” I emphasized. Kevin finally looked at me.

“Hyung,” Kevin started out. “The group visa. We all have to go together.”

Fuck. We never thought about getting a group visa would have its consequences. We were just a couple of friends coming here on a group visa for the summer; nothing more or nothing less. It was a lot easier to apply for the group visa because it required less time to get it. We have never traveled outside of the country together if it wasn’t for business, so getting the individual visas would’ve taken some time to get. But who fucking knew life would be like this? Kevin becoming a father. Shawn falling in love with a woman in California.

Me reuniting with Grace. Fuck… Grace.

“I’m so sorry for ruining this trip,” Kevin began to shake his head, looking down to the floor. “This wouldn’t have happened; this shouldn’t have happened, I–“

I was leaving Grace again. She had just opened up to me tonight and here I am, leaving her like I always did when we were together. Leaving her in California with nothing but her thoughts.

“You have to do what you have to do as a man,” I said to Kevin. Maybe I was more so saying this to myself; I wish I had said it to myself when the time mattered. “You have to be there for JooAh and the only way you can do that is to be there with her.” Kevin didn’t say anything, so I got up and began walking to the staircase. It was nearing 4AM and I was exhausted. It doesn’t even feel like I was happy with Grace just a couple of hours ago.

“Hyung,” Kevin called out. I turned around to face him. He was still sitting at the same spot on the sofa. “I’m so sorry.” I wonder if he’s sorry because he senses leaving Grace again will take a toll on me again.

“Get some rest, Kevin,” I answered. I turned back toward the staircase and walked up the stairs; exhausted and defeated.

The "Something" Series: Season 2

Temporarily High off of Something: Two Monologues.

I closed the front door once I entered it. I immediately took off my shoes and walked more into the condo. Looking at the time on my phone, it was about 1 in the morning. Jamie had dropped me off by the gate; he insisted on driving me to the front of the condo since it was so late, but I told him I was fine I needed those extra 5 minutes to be completely by myself; just me and my thoughts.

I threw my bag on the living room couch when I see a dim light on in the kitchen. I rolled my eyes, thinking Skylar left it on before she went to sleep. She didn’t, because when I walked into the kitchen to turn it off, she was sitting at the kitchen table with a mug of coffee.

“Hey,” I said to Skylar. She didn’t say anything back. I walked toward Skylar and sat next to her. She finally looks in my direction. It looks like she’d been crying. “Are you okay?”

Skylar didn’t say anything, but the tears began to silently run down her face. She sniffles and then takes a deep breath in and lets it out. “I swear our family is cursed,” she finally said. I couldn’t help but laugh at the response; it was so completely random, yet very much like Skylar.

“Sky, what are you talking about?” I asked gently. She wipes the tears from her face, even though they keep running down her cheeks. I was now concerned. “Skylar?”

“How did you do this with Jamie for years, Grace?” Skylar finally said. I had no idea what she was talking about. What did I do with Jamie for years? Fuck, has it really been years since I’ve known Jamie?

“Did what with Jamie?” I asked.

“Love him,” Skylar began. “And watch him leave over and over again.” I was so confused about where she was going with this until it finally began to click inside my head. This is the first time I ever heard Skylar talk like this; so serious.

“Sky,” I began. I wanted to know the answer without scaring Skylar off. I guess it was an Ashmore women thing in my family; we always tend to run off whenever we are scared of the truth. “Do you love Shawn?”

Skylar’s tears fall faster on her face. Her sniffles get louder and she takes a deep breath.

“It fucking sucks, to say the least,” Skylar teased. I faintly smiled; Skylar always tried to make a joke out of anything just so that the attention wasn’t on her in a negative way. “I fell in love; fuck, I love a man that was too good to be true.”

“What happened between you two?” I asked. I guess I knew for the longest time that Skylar was falling in love with Shawn. She spent almost all of her time with him; it felt like Shawn was even living here at one point. Skylar was not one to fall in love; she was young and wild and she wanted nothing more to live her life that way; I guess I could relate in a way. Her mom and my uncle Mason divorced when she was young; I had to have been at least 10 years old when that happened. I remember listening to my dad and Uncle Mason talk downstairs from the hallway upstairs in my childhood home back in Virginia. Skylar was sound asleep on the sofa in the living room, not knowing what happened. I guess as she got older, she was able to understand it better; her mother wanted nothing to do with her or my Uncle Mason. I guess I knew how that felt because I grew up believing the same things about my own mom. But I was lucky to get her back in my life and for my dad to have her back in his life too. Skylar’s mom never came back. She killed herself a couple of years after the divorce; Skylar was just turning 13.

Skylar took a deep breath before she spoke. “Shawn has been the best thing to happen to me, Grace. I felt like I met my soulmate, and…” She couldn’t finish her sentence without sniffling. “I feel stupid for loving a person that can’t be here with me.”

“I feel stupid for loving a person that can’t be here with me,” I said as I sat on the chair across from Chelsea. She wrote notes down in a notebook as I spoke.

“Is that why you decided to terminate your pregnancy?” Chelsea asked me softly. Tears came down my face. I didn’t say anything back.

“You’re not stupid for loving him, Sky,” I reassured. Skylar looked at me, annoyed that I could say such a thing. “What?” I finally questioned.

“Someone who loves you back wouldn’t nonchalantly break up with you and not give you a good enough reason to do so,” Skylar spat out. I cocked my eyebrows up; he broke up with Skylar? I don’t know Shawn that well, but if he’s one of Jamie’s closest friends, then he should be a good guy.

“He broke up with you and didn’t say why?” I asked. Skylar shook her head as she wiped the tears falling on her face.

“This fucking hurts, Grace,” Skylar said and began to heave on my shoulder. I tried to comfort Skylar as best as I could. Nothing was making sense. I saw how Shawn looked at her. He would look at her like Skylar was the most expensive fucking diamond to exist. He was always attentive to Skylar; what she did, when she spoke… Shawn loves Skylar, and I didn’t understand what changed. Something happened that he’s not telling her.

If he’s not telling her what happened, then Jamie is also not telling me something.

“All he said was that he’s sorry. He didn’t want to hurt me but, y’know, it was too fucking late for that,” Skylar said as she blew her nose into a napkin. What the fuck is going on with them?

Then it hits me. “How did you do this with Jamie for years, Grace? Love him, and then watch him leave over and over again.”

“Did Shawn say he was leaving?” I asked. Skylar just cried out more.

I didn’t realize both Shawn and Kevin were sitting on the living room sofa, sharing nothing but the silence between them. I closed the front door and took off my shoes as I walked in into the living room.

“It’s nearly 2 in the morning; why are you both still awake?” I asked as I sat on one of the seats in the living room. They didn’t respond, it was very unlikely to see them so serious like this. Something was wrong. “Shawn? Kevin?”

They both shifted in their seats. Shawn visibly looked angry when looking at Kevin. The only other time I saw Shawn this angry was when we had our argument about the Voyage night trip with Skylar and Grace. Shawn only felt strongly about things he was passionate about; it was when I knew he felt so passionate about Skylar. Did something happen between him and Skylar?

Kevin, on the other hand, didn’t bother looking up at me. It wasn’t like Kevin to open up and say what was going on; he was typically the first one to do so. Both of their behaviors right now are making me nervous. What did they do while I was out with Grace tonight? I was growing impatient.

“Someone better tell me what’s going on, now,” I sternly said to both of them. Shawn crosses his arms and leans back at the chair, still looking at Kevin.

“Yeah, Kevin; tell Jamie hyung what’s going on,” Shawn aggressively demanded. Kevin didn’t say anything back, and I swear this all feels so foreign. Shawn never spoke to Kevin this way, and Kevin never allowed Shawn to talk to him like that either. I looked at Kevin, wishing he would speak up already and say what happened.

“Kevin?” I asked him. Kevin slowly looked up at me. His face was pale; ill even. I was worried for Kevin. What happened? Why is Shawn so angry at Kevin? What the hell is going on?

Kevin shifted in his seat and parted his mouth, ready to speak. “I,” Kevin began, but Shawn immediately interrupted.

“How can you do this to me, Kevin? You know how much I fucking love Skylar?” Shawn spat. I watched Shwan speak, not realizing that he had just admitted to being in love with Skylar. Shawn has never been in love with a woman before, yet he said it so comfortably; it’s like he knew he’s loved her for weeks already.

“I…” Kevin began before he let out a deep sigh. “I’m leaving to go back to Korea tomorrow night.”

I scrunched my eyebrows, not understanding where this was coming from. I mean, sure, he probably misses JooAh and wants to be with her, but still… why is Shawn so angry?

“Did JooAh ask you to go back home?” I asked Kevin. He didn’t answer, which made Shawn become in raged. He gets up from his seat and points at Kevin before yelling.

“I had to break up with Skylar because of your careless decisions!” Shawn spat. I had to step in and be the moderator in this situation.

“Everyone just, calm down!” I stood up and said sternly. I looked over at Kevin, wanting to know why was he leaving America all of a sudden. We had only been here for about 6 weeks; we had another 6 weeks before our visas expire and our trip would be over. “Kevin, why are you going back to Korea so soon?” I gently asked. Kevin looked back up at me, still nervous to say anything. I was growing impatient with Kevin, but this just wasn’t like him to be so… small.

“Just fucking say it!” Shawn shouted. I turned my head toward Shawn.

“Ya!” I tried to calm down Shawn and keep him quiet to let Kevin speak. I turned back toward Kevin. “Why are you leaving so soon?”

“JooAh’s pregnant,” Kevin confessed.

The "Something" Series: Season 2

Something Out of the Blue: A Monologue.

Nothing but the radio and GPS play inside the car. I don’t know how car rides with Grace became a space where we share silence, but I guess we were always like that. Maybe that happened the night when Grace drove me back to my temporary apartment in New York; the night I was supposed to go back to Korea for the first time. I wish I spoke to her during that ride; I know she probably had a lot to say and instead, I avoided it just so I didn’t have to deal with Grace being hurt by my actions.

But I remember her face pretty well that night. She barely turned her head to look at me, and I learned early on in knowing Grace that she hates looking at people when she’s upset. She was a crybaby; I knew that since the very beginning of getting to know her, yet she didn’t want anyone to realize that she wasn’t always this strong, independent woman that she wanted to be. She was vulnerable when it came to the things that she cared about. I saw that as soon as I saw her with little bean; her daughter, Willow. It must hurt her knowing she’s 3,000 miles away from Willow.

I looked at Grace and all she did was look out the window, without saying anything.

“You know,” I started to say. Grace still didn’t turn her head. “You can always come to me if you ever need to talk things out or vent.”

“What makes you say that?” Grace said. I could see that she turned her head to face me from the corner of my eye.

“You seem like you have some stuff on your mind,” I answered. “I noticed back at the karaoke room and on the boardwalk. I didn’t want to say anything to ruin your night–“

“Everything’s fine, Jamie,” Grace said. She looked back towards the window. I looked at her briefly before I continued looking forward, driving.

“Nice try,” I answered back, throwing what she said to me on the boardwalk back to her. it’s finally when both Grace and I look at each other for the first time since getting into the car. “So what are you really thinking about?” Grace doesn’t say anything right away, and I didn’t expect her to say anything. Grace never did anything she didn’t want to do, and this time was no exception.

“Do you ever miss home when you’re away?” Grace randomly asked. I didn’t know what to think of it, and to be honest I didn’t know how to answer. Honestly? Truthfully?

“Home is what you make it,” I answered. “It’s how I see it whenever I’m away from Korea. Of course, Korea is where my home is, but wherever I am, I also make it my home. I guess it makes it easier.”

“Did you always feel that way or did that come with time?” Grace asked, now with her complete body facing me. I looked over at her briefly and back toward the road.

“It came with time,” I answered. I didn’t realize that it came with time, to be honest; I haven’t put much thought into it. Sure, the first time I left Korea with my Korean-English dictionary to vacation in California I was immensely homesick, and I don’t know how that changed so quickly by the time I was in America on business. It changed with time; knowing New York and being with Grace… it made it easier to make that out of a home.

It was my favorite home, to say the least. It’s the home where I experience being homesick the most.

Grace sighed and looked forward toward the road before we spoke.

“I miss my daughter,” Grace confessed. I didn’t say anything right away. This felt like a moment where Grace wasn’t just speaking to me and being honest; she was confessing to the universe, to herself. “Every day I feel like a terrible mother for leaving her in New York. She’s getting older and… she’s going to remember this; how her mom wasn’t there with her as she was.” I looked over to Grace; she still hasn’t moved her head away.

“Have you been back since being in California?” I gently asked. She softly shook her head no.

“I’m too scared to go back to New York. I don’t know if I ever will.” Grace admitted. A part of me feels extremely guilty for the way Grace feels. A part of me blames myself; how did I fuck up someone’s home to the point they are scared to return to it? I can’t help but feel so sad for Grace. At least I can go back to Korea without anything holding me back. Grace doesn’t have that.

Grace looks at me and faintly smiles; even when she’s going through a hard time, she always tries to be strong to those around her. At the red light, I stop and finally get a good look at Grace. I finally noticed the dry tears on her face. Aigoo.

“You don’t always have to be strong, Grace,” I said softly. “You’re allowed to be sad and scared and… vulnerable. You don’t need to put on a fake smile for anyone.” Grace’s smile immediately fades; it’s like she was holding all of this in for hours, days or months even. Because she starts to cry; the tears on her face roll down her cheeks immediately.

“I feel so lonely here, Jamie,” Grace spits out. “Skylar is never around and I literally have no one else here. So why am I here? Why am I trying so hard to make this city my home if I don’t feel like I have anything to make this my home?” The light turns green, but I don’t continue driving forward. I take a right turn into a gas station parking lot; it didn’t feel right driving and not giving Grace my undivided attention. I always stopped what I was doing for her.

I don’t say anything. I allow Grace to just talk because who’s to say she hasn’t kept this inside her soul for the time she’s been in California? She deserves someone to listen to her and comfort her. She deserves the entire fucking world.

“Why are you scared to go back to New York?” I finally answered once she stops speaking. She doesn’t answer right away; she wipes falling tears off of her face. I was scared to know the answer myself knowing it could possibly confirm why I feel like absolute shit.

“I’m afraid everyone has moved on. Like no one ever needed me,” Grace explained. I couldn’t help but scrunch my eyebrows together. Grace Ashmore, the woman that I met in New York, feels like her friends and family back home don’t need her anymore.

“I mean, I needed you,” I admitted. What are you doing, Jaemin-ah? “You’ve helped me get around the city my first time there, and,” I began to trail off. “Willow will always need you. You’re her mother no matter how far you are.” Grace looks down at her hands; she does that when she’s nervous and she rips her cuticles from her fingers as a distraction.

“Hey?” I called out for her. Grace finally looks back up at me. I don’t know where I was going with this, but all I wanted was for Grace to know she is always welcomed no matter where she goes. She’s allowed to go back home and not feel like she doesn’t belong anymore. “You should go and make a visit to New York. Seeing Willow in person will make you feel so much better. You shouldn’t be scared to go back.”

Grace faintly smiles and wipes the tears off her face with the palm of her hand. I reached into the glove department and handed Grace the tissues. She accepts the offer and cleans her face with the tissues. Before I restart the car to take Grace home, she speaks out loud again, something that I think she meant to ask herself instead of me.

“You never answered my question,” Grace says to me. I looked at her and leaned back into the seat. She blinked slowly before she spoke. “Do you ever miss home when you’re away?”

Korea; no. New York; every single goddamn day.

The "Something" Series: Season 2

Something To Keep You Going: A Monologue.

I forgot what it was like to be in a noraebang– I mean, a karaoke room.

The last time was for Grace’s 26th birthday. It was my first time being in New York, and I had only known Grace for a couple of months at the time. It was also my first time ever wearing something so casual; she specifically requested for me to wear something that wasn’t something along the lines of “slacks and a button-down shirt”. To come and think of it, I’ve had many firsts back in New York with Grace.

I wonder if any of her firsts were also with me, back in New York.

“Jamie?” Grace snapped her fingers in my face. I looked down at her, immediately coming back to the present, gathering my surroundings. Grace was standing there with her hair tied up in a bun, wearing a floral, red summer dress.

“Huh? Sorry, what was that?” I asked. Grace rolled her eyes at me.

“1 hour or 2 hours for the karaoke room?” Grace asked. I couldn’t pinpoint what was bothering Grace, but Grace felt a little lost in thought tonight. I don’t know if coming out tonight was the best decision to make.

“1 hour is fine,” I answered. “We can grab something to eat afterward if you’re hungry.” Grace nodded her head and let the person in the front counter. The woman looked up from the computer to look at us both.

“Would you like a room with the mini-bar in it?” the woman asked. “It’s quite popular these days when people come to the karaoke room–“

“No alcohol please,” I quickly answered. “Uhm, a regular room is fine.” The woman nodded her head and gave us one of the keys to the karaoke room. I felt my face getting red. We thanked the woman and proceeded to walk to our karaoke room.

Once we got into the room, the LED lights were blinking and shining all throughout the little space. It reminded me so much of noraebang and how the guys and I would drink rounds of soju before coming to one of these rooms. It’s times like this when I get sort of homesick.

But then Grace turns around and smiles; all teeth and gums. I can’t help but smile back. She picked up one of the microphones on the table and held it up in the air.

“Okay, I’m ready,” Grace confidently said. I grabbed the tablet from the table and started looking through the song selections.

“Okay, so… whistle notes and high notes?” I teased. Grace widened her eyes and laughed.

“Jamie,” Grace called out my name. This time, the way she called out my name felt like comfort. It was the way she would emphasize the ‘e’ in my name, like a little child not getting what they wanted. But she knew that when she said my name like that, she always would win. She knew she had that affect on me, even if she didn’t realize it.

“Okay, okay!” I caved in. Aigoo. I looked through the song selections and come across a song I was actually familiar with. I pressed play, and the screen went black. Grace looked at the screen until the title of the song came up. She immediately laughed.

“Dreams by Fleetwood Mac?” Grace turned around and asked.

“It’s the only song I recognized,” I answered. Grace started laughing, but immediately turned around to start singing the song. Her voice is soft; completely different from her actual speaking voice. It was sweet and gentle; traits of Grace that I wished she was more comfortable in showing to the world.

Grace is wearing a “Birthday Girl” sash and crown on her head, singing the lyrics and dancing around the small karaoke room.

“Oh, thunder only happens when it’s raining!” Grace sang into the microphone. I clap along to the beat, with a huge smile on my face. Grace turns to me and grabs my arm to stand up and dance along with her.

“Players only love you when they’re playing!” we both sing into our microphones, completely off the original key. The lights circled around us all night.

“Thunder only happens when it’s raining,” Grace sways side-to-side as she sings, concentrating on the lyrics on the screen. I grab the other microphone from the table and stand up, grabbing Grace’s arm to make her dance. She looks at me, first confused at what I’m doing.

“Players only love you when they’re playing!” I sing, completely off-key, which makes Grace laugh.

“What are you–” I pointed towards the screen and cut her off.

“The lyrics!” I said, in which Grace faced forward and continued to singing the song. I watched her sing the song; I couldn’t stop staring at her like it’s something– the only thing– that’ll keep me going.

“That was really fun,” Grace said as she took a sip of her cola on the boardwalk bench. I smiled at her.

“Sorry we couldn’t find something to eat earlier,” I said, in which Grace shook her head.

“That’s what the boardwalk’s for; you can find anything open on the boardwalk,” Grace reassured. I don’t say anything back, I just watch Grace eat a slice of pizza with a can of cola. I don’t remember the last time I saw Grace eat as much as I have the last couple of times we’ve spent time together. It’s relieving, to say the least, that I don’t have to worry if Grace is starving herself and lying about it. I instantly become sad thinking about that time in our lives, and I guess Grace notices it as she turns around. I immediately throw a smile on my face.

“Whatcha thinking about?” Grace asked. Grace knew I couldn’t hide anything from her, yet alone lie to her. But I had to, just this time, because this is the most time I’ve spent with Grace since she left New York, and I don’t want to scare her away. Not again.

“How beautiful the water looks at night,” I pointed out towards the beach. The moon was reflecting on the water, making the dark water almost look like a deep, dark purple. Grace looks out towards the water, taking a moment to see it.

“It’s beautiful, but nice try,” Grace said as she turns her head back towards me. “Tell me what’s really on your mind.”

“Dreams,” I answered. “The song from the karaoke room. I remember the song from the last time we went to karaoke, back in New York.”

“Really?” Grace seemed genuinely shocked that I remembered. I was sort of shocked that she didn’t remember. I nodded my head to answer her. Grace laughed and took a sip of her cola once more.

“You are the only person I know that remembers the little things,” Grace stated. “I can’t even remember what I had for dinner last night.”

I laughed and looked at her while she looked out towards the ocean again. I only remember the little things because they are important to me, and sometimes it’s those things that keep me going.

The "Something" Series: Season 2

Something Back in New York: A Scene.

Jamie takes a sip of water from his water bottle as Grace flips through a book of songs. LED lights flicker around the dark room with only the light of the TV screen making things visible to them. Jamie picks up one of the microphones from the table and walks toward Grace.

Jamie: Did you pick a song yet?

Grace: I’m trying to pick a good one…

Jamie: *sighs* Grace, it’s not that hard to pick a song.

Grace: It is when you’re picking the song for another person!

Jamie laughs and rubs the nap of his neck; nervous.

Jamie: I feel like I’m auditioning or something.

Grace: You are; for me!

Jamie shakes his head and looks at the screen light up. He reads the song on the TV and his widen instantly widen.

Jamie: Grace, this is a song made for a woman to sing!

Grace: Just sing it!

The song starts to play and Jamie instantly starts to sing the song. Grace claps her hands along to the beat. Jamie tries his hardest to hit the high notes in the same octave as the original artist. He cracks here and there, which makes Grace laugh. Jamie doesn’t mind; he laughs with her.

Shawn: Did you pick a day yet?

Jamie closes the fridge and walks toward the island. He looks at Shawn.

Jamie: A day for what?

Shawn: A double date? Skylar wants to do something with the four of us.

Jamie tilts his head; unsure.

Jamie: It can’t be a double date if two of the people aren’t dating. Besides, you and Skylar should spend more time together; just you two.

Shawn rolls his eyes as Kevin walks into the kitchen. He looks distraught, which Jamie notices right away.

Jamie: You’re okay, Kevin?

He doesn’t answer right away.

Jamie: Kevin?

Kevin: Huh? Yeah, I’m fine.

Kevin grabs a water bottle from the fridge and walks out of the kitchen. Nothing is said between Jamie and Shawn.

Shawn: Come on, Jamie; you know you want to see Grace again.

Jamie doesn’t answer, he simply scrolls through his phone. His eyebrows scrunch together when he sees what’s on his phone. He shows his phone to Shawn.

Jamie: Did you see this?

Shawn looks at the screen, and then back at Jamie.

Grace wipes the sweat from her forehead with her arm; it’s particularly hot this afternoon. She stops what she’s doing to tie up her hair. The other dancers in the studio take a break during their practice. Grace sits in front of the mirror and looks at herself; little strands of curly hair stick out from her ponytail. Grace attempts to tie it up once again.

Morgan, the dance instructor, walks toward Grace.

Morgan: Hey, can I speak to you for a moment?

Grace looks at the instructor through the mirror and nods her head. The instructor walks away towards another room outside of the dance studio room. Grace sighs before she gets up from the floor.

Grace walks into the common room of the studio where her instructor is talking to one of the other choreographers. Once Morgan notices grace, she excuses herself to speak to Grace. They both walk into Morgan’s office.

Grace: Everything alright?

Morgan doesn’t say anything until she sits at her desk.

Morgan: How are you holding up? Everything’s okay?

Grace: *confused* Uhm, yeah; everything’s okay…

Morgan: That’s good!

Morgan shuffles through some of the papers on her desk until she finds the folder she was looking for. She takes it and then looks at Grace.

Morgan: So, you know the showcase is coming up, and typically a showcase here is more for our dancers potentially getting scouted for job opportunities.

Grace: I know.

Morgan: Are you looking forward to it?

Grace: *laughs* I’m simply here to dance, Morgan. With all due respect, there are other dancers in that studio who want it more than me–

Morgan: But none of them dance like you.

Grace doesn’t say anything. Morgan leans forward on her desk.

Morgan: I know this industry looks for younger dancers, but you are definitely the type of exception many people make in the business. You simply can’t dance the way you do just “to dance”.

Morgan flips through some papers and hands Grace a flyer.

Morgan: They are looking for dancers for their overseas competition. They are currently scouting dancers around the country to put together their US team. The competition is held in Ulsan, believe that’s in–

Grace: *shocked* South Korea?

Morgan: Yeah. Have you been there?

Grace shakes her head and shuts her eyes before speaking.

Grace: Why are you telling me this?

Morgan: Because I think you’d be the perfect fit for their team. Candice, the woman that scouts the team together… we studied in the same academy for years. We keep in touch and she had asked me if I had anyone in the academy that ticked off these tiny little boxes in what she was looking for in a dancer and, well, you came to mind. I don’t have to tell you this– I think a part of you already believes this– but, you’re no doubt one of the best dancers in the academy.

Grace takes in what Morgan is telling her. She doesn’t say anything back. Morgan sighs and looks at Grace.

Morgan: The audition is in New York, and–

Grace’s eyes widen and immediately shakes her head.

Grace: No. No! I-I can’t go to New York, I–

Morgan: Grace. If I didn’t think you could do this, I wouldn’t have brought it up.

Grace: Morgan, you’re asking me to go back to New York for some dumb audition that I might not even get? My life is here in California–

Morgan: Is it really?

Grace doesn’t say anything.

Morgan: I’ve known you for about six months now. I remember the day you walked through that front door with literally nothing but a tiny gym bag and some ballet shoes. You spend hours at the studio, even after practice is over and everyone has gone home for the night. I don’t know much about your personal life, but something tells me you came to Cali as an escape.

Grace gets annoyed by Morgan’s comment.

Grace: You’re right.

Grace gets up from the chair.

Grace: You don’t know me.

Grace begins to walk out of the office and heads for the door.

Morgan: Think about what I said, Grace.

The door closes behind Grace.

A cell phone rings on a coffee table. Someone is heard walking toward the table and picks up the phone from the table.

Jamie: Hello?

Grace: Hey, Jamie.

Jamie’s eyes widen and looks at the phone. He puts it back toward his ear.

Jamie: Hey, Grace. Everything alright?

Grace: Yeah, everything’s great! Uhm…

Jamie doesn’t say anything, but he senses something is wrong.

Jamie: I’ve been meaning to ask you when are you available for karaoke.

There is a moment of silence.

Grace: Oh! I was just about to ask you the same thing… Is tonight okay with you?

Jamie: Yeah. Tonight works.

The "Something" Series: Season 2

A Little Something Crispy: A Scene.

Jamie stands in front of the bathroom mirror and looks at his red, sunburnt skin. He winces every time he touches it to apply aloe vera gel on it. Shawn walks past the bathroom and returns to see what Jamie is doing.

Shawn: *confused* Hyung?

Jamie looks at Shawn through the mirror.

Jamie: What?

Shawn: What happened to your skin? You look like a tomato!

Jamie turns around to physically face Shawn, who is now laughing at Jamie’s appearance. Jamie takes the aloe gel and exits the bathroom door. Shawn follows Jamie to his room.

Shawn: Seriously; what happened to you?

Jamie: I went to the beach and… didn’t apply enough sunblock on.

Shawn: Are you sure you put any on?

Jamie rolls his eyes and proceeds to apply the gel to his skin.

Jamie: I wanted to experience what it was like to get a tan–

Shawn: *laughs* Hyung, that is not a tan!

Jamie: Listen, it will! Grace told me it will eventually…

Shawn’s eyes widen as he crosses his arms, leaning on the doorframe.

Shawn: Grace, huh? So you went to the beach today with Grace?

Jamie: Ya, it’s not even like that. You took her cousin away from her today; I guess she was bored and I was the last best thing…

Shawn: More like the first best thing. *teases* So you’re trying to impress her with a tan?

Jamie sighs as Shawn is heard laughing at his own jokes. Jamie tries to get the conversation off of him.

Jamie: What did you and Skylar do today?

Shawn: We went to the Promenade and explored the shops before we ate at a Japanese restaurant.

Jamie: *confused* Japanese?

Shawn nodded as he began to read the words on the aloe gel bottle. Jamie chuckled.

Jamie: Skylar knows you’re Korean, right?

Shawn: *confused* Why wouldn’t she?

Jamie shakes his head and proceeds to put a tank top on.

Jamie: You and Skylar should try a margarita when you go out again. Apparently, it’s a fruit-like alcohol beverage.

Shawn: How is it?

Jamie: I don’t know; I didn’t try it.

Shawn hands Jamie back to aloe gel bottle.

Shawn: Then how do you know about it?

Jamie: I saw it on this menu and it sounds good, but I didn’t get one because Gr– I had to drive Grace back home.

Shawn: *laughs* I bet you Grace had one then!

Jamie doesn’t answer. Both Jamie and Shawn hear the front door open downstairs. They both look down toward the front door and see Kevin walk in. Kevin is seen dropping all of his equipment near the door; out of control.

Shawn: Did you die on your hike?

Kevin looks up at Shawn. He rolls his eyes.

Kevin: I can’t feel my legs; I need to soak in a bath…

Kevin walks up the stairs and stops at the sight of Jamie.

Kevin: Hyung, what the hell happened to your skin?

Shawn starts to laugh all over again.

Jamie: Nothing, Kevin. I went to the beach today–

Kevin: Did you apply cooking oil on your skin instead of sunblock? Really though, you look like crispy fried chicken–

Shawn laughs hard enough to the point he begins to cough.

Jamie: Ya~ that’s enough.

Shawn: He went to the beach with Grace today…

Kevin: *shocked* Why did you go to the beach with Grace?

Jamie: Because Shawn was with Skylar and she was probably bored. I didn’t have anything to do, so I just went.

Kevin: And that’s all you went for? Just to keep her company?

Jamie nodded his head. Shawn watches the interaction. Kevin walks past the two men to go toward the bathroom.

Kevin: I mean I guess that’s okay since Shawn was out with her cousin.

Once Kevin closes the bathroom door behind him, Shawn slaps Jamie on his arm, causing Jamie to wince in pain.

Jamie: Ya! What was that for?

Shawn: Why are you lying to Kevin? You know you wanted to go and see Grace again.

Jamie: *annoyed* You don’t know that. I went to keep her company, and that’s all I did.

Shawn: Keep telling yourself that. Isn’t that how you first fell in love with her back in New York?

Jamie walks toward his bedroom, wanting to end the conversation.

Jamie: This time is different.

Shawn: Again, keep telling yourself that!

Jamie’s bedroom door closes shut. Jamie takes in a deep breath and sits on the edge of his bed. He hears his phone vibrate on the nightstand next to his bed. He looks back at it and reaches for it. He reads the notification on his lock screen.

Grace: You still owe me kpop idol jamie in a karaoke bar! >:]

Jamie smiles at the message. He unlocks his screen and responds back to her.

Jamie: Just pick the time and place, jagiya--

Jamie quickly backspaces the message and corrects himself.

Jamie: Just pick the time and place, Grace 🙂

The "Something" Series: Season 2

Somewhere Sunny, Something Tasty: A Scene.

Grace: *laughs* Are you okay?

Jamie winces in pain as he slowly sits in the chair at a boardwalk restaurant. He looks up when he finally sits down.

Jamie: This is nothing!

Grace pokes Jamie’s arm, where his skin is so pink from the sun, Grace’s input turns that one spot white. Jamie reacts to the touch.

Jamie: Aigoo, okay you’ve proven your point.

Grace laughs; Jamie smiles at the sound. They both flip open the menus in front of them.

Grace: The food is to die for here; I’m even lucky if I could grab something during my breaks at work.

Jamie: Really?

Grace nods her head. They continue to look at their menus, deciding what to eat.

Jamie: *points at a page* We can start drinks if you’d like.

Grace: What did you have in mind?

Jamie: *scans menu page* Well, if you’re up for a… *looks at menu closer* mal-ga-li-ta”—wow, that looks good— we can have that.

Grace: *laughs* It’s a margarita, and it has alcohol in it.

Jamie’s eyes widen.

Jamie: Oh! I mean, if you’d like one, you can order it. I’m driving you back home, so–

Grace shakes her head to interrupt Jamie’s sentence.

Grace: No no, it’s okay…

Grace fidgets in her seat for a moment. Jamie notices and looks up at Grace. She also takes notice of him looking at her.

Grace: I’m… actually sober.

Jamie: Oh! I’m sorry! I shouldn’t have assumed you did!

Grace: It’s completely fine, Jamie, really… If you want a drink, it’s cool; I can drive us back if you want.

Jamie: *shakes head* No, it’s alright; I don’t wanna… drink with… you.

Grace tilts her head to the side; Jamie gets flustered.

Jamie: I don’t mean it like that! I just don’t want to drink while you are sober, and–

Grace giggles at Jamie’s flushed appearance.

Grace: It’s okay, Jamie. You can still enjoy a drink around me if you want it.

Jamie nods, taking note. Before switching the subject, Grace begins to speak.

Grace: I haven’t had alcohol in about 4 months now. It’ll be 5 on June 26th.

Jamie: That’s great, Grace. Congratulations on your sobriety.

Grace: Thanks, Jamie.

Jamie: *without any self-aware* So what made you quit altogether?

Grace looks at Jamie with slight annoyance. He quickly picks it up and backtracks.

Jamie: That was inappropriate of me. I’m sorry–

Grace: *stern* I was an alcoholic. I needed to stop drinking, so I did.

Jamie’s face flashes red in embarrassment. He’s relieved when the waitress comes by to get their choice of food and drinks. Jamie ends up ordering an Iced Americano as a drink; Grace ends up getting a cola.

When the waitress walks away from the table, Grace notices Jamie lost in thought. She bites the inner corner of her cheek and sighs.

Grace: It’s okay, Jamie. You didn’t know, and I didn’t expect you to know.

Grace crosses her arms and leans on the tabletop.

Grace: Just how I should’ve expected you ordering an Iced Americano. Still drinking that nasty expresso coffee?

Jamie laughs, looking more comfortable than before.

Jamie: Iced Americanos are what get me through the day.

Grace: It’s 1:30 in the afternoon.

Jamie: *confused* You say that as if it’s a bad thing.

Grace shakes her head and laughs. The tension that was between them vanishes. Jamie smiles, then sighs when the silence gets to be too much for him.

Jamie: You mentioned that you’re still dancing; how’s it going?

Grace: Good! Next weekend I have intense practices for an event that’s coming up.

Jamie: Your company is having an event?

Grace: No, no; the studio I dance for is having an event. Well, a showcase… some of the dancers in that academy are looking to get scouted, so the company has this showcase every season to either scout new dancers or send their dancers off for professional jobs.

Jamie raises his eyebrows in shock; he’s curious about the dancer side of Grace.

Jamie: Are you looking to get picked for a professional job?

Grace: As great as that is, I’m already “too old” to be considered for a professional job. I’m just in the academy to dance, stay local; y’know?

Jamie: Too old? Aren’t you turning 30 in October?

Grace looks at Jamie. She surprised that Jamie still remembers minor details such as her age and birthday.

Grace: I am.

Jamie: Is that not ideal for a dancer?

Grace: The younger, the better. in the division I dance for, 21 to 24 is the age most professional dancers are. *laughs* I was too busy in college and law school at that age.

Jamie: You were simply fulfilling another passion of yours.

Grace scoffs, then sighs. The drinks are served with their food, and Jamie immediately takes a sip of his Iced Americano.

Grace: Did you want to do anything else beside be a lawyer when you were younger?

Jamie’s face turns red; it grabs Grace’s attention.

Grace: Oh God, is it embarrassing?

Jamie: No, no… it’s just that it’s silly thinking back at it now…

Grace: *eager* Oh my God, what was it?

Jamie: *sighs* I wanted to be an idol in Korea.

Grace laughs out loud, but immediately stops to maintain her composure.

Grace: Oh, wow, that’s…

Jamie: Silly?

Grace: No! It’s… something I wouldn’t guess you out of all people would want to become.

Jamie: There’s a lot you don’t know about me yet.

Grace and Jamie look at each other; nothing is said between them. They continue to enjoy the meal in silence until Jamie looks up at Grace. She doesn’t notice he’s looking at her.

Jamie: How about we go to a karaoke bar the next time?

Grace looks up from her plate.

Grace: Karaoke?

Jamie: Yeah! So I can show you that I really could sing… a little.

Grace: You want to go to a karaoke bar? With me?

Jamie: Why not? We did it years ago back in New York. I just didn’t sing the last time we did.

Grace: *recalls* Oh, right! For my birthday! Holy shit, that had to have been like… 3, 4 years ago?!

Jamie nods; Grace is visibly still in shock.

Jamie: So, are you up for it the next time we hang out?

Grace is taken back by the assertiveness. She didn’t know there would ever be a next time, but smiles at the thought of there being one.

Grace: We can do that.

Jamie smiles and Grace returns one back.

The "Something" Series: Season 2

Something in the Water: A Scene.

Grace and Jamie step on the sand and walk along the path to find a spot to settle at. Jamie is holding the beach umbrella in one arm and Grace’s bag in the other. Grace turns around to look at Jamie, who is clearly struggling.

Grace: Are you sure you don’t need any help?

Jamie: *struggling* Nope! I’m okay.

Grace and Jamie find a spot in which Jamie places Grace’s bag on the sand gently, but chucks everything else on the ground. He crouches down by putting his hands on his knees; attempts to catch his breath. Grace goes into the mini cooler and takes out a water bottle for Jamie. He looks up at Grace and kindly accepts the water bottle.

Jamie: Thank you.

Grace: Of course! You look like you’re about to die on the sand.

Jamie rolls his eyes.

Jamie: Ya, it was just heavy.

Grace: *laughs* I offered to help! You wanted to show off your *mimics superman pose* manly-man side!

Jamie laughs at Grace and shakes his head as he picks up the umbrella to set it up.

Jamie: A man, no matter how weak or tired he may be, should always take care of the heavy things for a woman present.

Grace is taken by surprise. She watches Jamie set up the umbrella.

Grace: You know some women would literally kick you in the balls for not letting them to do the work equally, right?

Jamie: Let’s not hope you’re one of those women; I would like to be laying in the sand peacefully, not painfully.

Grace giggles and sets up the blanket in the sand under the umbrella. She takes off her dress and reveals a navy blue bikini with white anchors on them. Jamie’s face flashes red as he sees her bare skin. He quickly puts his sunglasses on to hide his blushing face. He glances at Grace putting sunblock lotion on her skin.

Grace: You could put your shirt in my bag if you don’t sand getting into it.

Jamie looks down at his shirt.

Jamie: It’s a swim shirt.

Grace: Oh! I thought… you, uhm…

Grace gestures removing her shirt from over her head.

Grace: Take it off at the beach.

Jamie: *teases* Are you asking me to take off my shirt?

Grace’s face flashes red. She shakes her head nervously.

Grace: Only if you want to! I mean, I don’t know how comfortable you are wearing a shirt at the beach but if you want to wear it, you can I was just–

Jamie: *laughs* I wear it to protect my skin. I don’t get tanned skin when I come to the beach.

Grace: You don’t like the sun?

Jamie: It’s not common for Koreans to have tanned skin, but I can see that it’s different in America.

Grace: Oh! Yeah, the tanner you are, the more it looks like you’re living your summer dream here really. Would you ever try tanning?

Jamie ponders on the thought. He slowly takes off his shirt, which Grace finds herself staring. She clears her throat and looks ahead towards the water.

Jamie: Grace?

Grace turns her head to face Jamie without even dealing he is now shirtless, sporting a tiny 6-pack and toned arms.

Jamie: May I borrow your sunblock lotion?

Grace: Oh! Yeah, here…

She watches Jamie put the lotion on his skin. She reaches for the mini cooler and takes out a bottle of water. The two sit in silence, yet it is not awkward; just mutual.

After a while, Jamie looks over to Grace, who is sunbathing. Jamie clears his throat before saying anything.

Jamie: I can see why you came to California; it’s very peaceful.

Grace looks over at Jamie, who is now looking out to the water. Grace doesn’t answer right away. Jamie looks at Grace and catches her looking at him.

Grace: Yeah…

Grace’s smile starts to fade. Jamie notices.

Jamie: Do you not like it here?

Grace: No, no; I do. It’s just… different. My family and friends are back in New York so, things just feel different here.

Jamie nods his head, listening to Grace speak.

Jamie: I understand.

Grace: And now Skylar spends most of her time with Shawn, which is fine; I’m glad someone was actually able to entertain her for longer than a night.

Jamie: Shawn is quite the entertainer.

Grace giggles. Jamie smiles, happy to see her smiling again.

Grace: Thanks again for agreeing to come to the beach with me.

Jamie: Thank you again for inviting me.

Grace smiles at Jamie and then closes her eyes to sunbathe. Jamie gets up from under the umbrella and stands over Grace with his arm extended out to her.

Jamie: Come on.

Grace: *confused* What?

Jamie: Come to the water with me.

Grace: *skeptical* Jamie, the water is…

Jamie: Just water that will cool us off.

Grace leans back down and closes her eyes.

Grace: You go.

Jamie huffs.

Jamie: Come with me in the water.

Grace takes off her sunglasses to look at Jamie directly head-on.

Grace: I don’t want to go into the water. The saltwater and my hair do not mix.

Jamie: What’s the point of going to the beach if you aren’t going to swim?

Grace: Jamie.

Jamie: *mocks* Jamie.

Grace scrunches her eyebrows; lost for words.

Grace: You’re not getting me in that water.

Jamie: You’re getting in the water with me.

Grace: I would love to see you try.

Jamie looks around the beach and quickly lifts Grace off of the blanket without letting Grace react.

Grace: Jamie!

Jamie carries Grace and runs toward the water; she shouts and tries to get free from Jamie’s hold on her.

Grace: Jamie Kim I swear to God if you drop me in the water–

It was too late; Jamie was now in the water and he tosses Grace into the ocean. Grace screams as she falls into the water. She quickly resurfaces and wipes the water from her face. Jamie laughs out loud. As revenge, Grace splashes Jamie, which catches him off-guard. When she finds her opportunity, she runs toward Jamie and dunks his head into the water. He quickly pops back up, coughing.

Grace: You see how it feels?

Jamie doesn’t stop coughing, which immediately worries Grace.

Grace: Jamie?

She walks toward Jamie to check on him, in which he quickly stops coughing and lifts Grace’s body from the water. Grace screams, but Jamie tosses her into the water once again. This time, Grace comes back up laughing, splashing Jamie in the direction he stands. They both play fight in the ocean water, laughing and yelling like little kids.