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.

The "Something" Series: Season 2

Trying Something New: A Monologue.

At this point, the car is driving me more than I’m driving it. I don’t really recall what I did within the last hour besides frantically trying to find something to wear to the beach. I nearly packed everything for this summer vacation besides the one thing I should’ve brought with me: a swimsuit.

I run upstairs, skipping every other step to reach the top floor faster. I ran towards Shawn’s room, hoping he was still there.

“Ya!” I called out into the room. Shawn jumps up and turns around. He holds his chest; startled.

“Hyung, are you trying to kill me or something?” Shawn said more seriously than I thought he was. I shook my head, trying to catch my breath before I spoke again.

“Do you bring a swimsuit with you here?” I asked. Shawn cocked his eyebrow up; clearly confused at the random question I’m asking.

“Huh?” he said, clearly expressing his confusion in words. “I think so, but why?”

“Is it okay if I borrow them for the day?” I didn’t bother answering his question. I was hoping he would just lend it to me, no questions asked.

“Why? You don’t have one?” he asked.

“I wouldn’t have to ask you if I did,” I said back, annoyed and anxious about the time. Shawn went to his closet and pulled something out of the top shelf. Before he hands them to me, he smirks.

“Why do you all of a sudden need a swimsuit?”

“Because it’s the middle of summer?” I tried to avoid the truth as much as I could. Shawn laughs in an uproar.

“Hyung, are you going to the beach?” Shawn teases. My face begins to feel hot, which means it’s most likely turning red. Shawn laughs at the lack of answer I have. “Are you going out with Grace to the beach all of a sudden?” Shawn hands me the swimsuit and I grab it quickly.

“Thanks,” I said.

“If I knew you were going out with Grace, Skylar and I would’ve done a double date,” Shawn teased some more while exiting his room. He pats me on the shoulder before leaving. “I hope your beach date with Grace is straight out of a summer drama,” he faced me and said. He laughs as he exits his room.

The GPS tells me to take the next exit off of the highway. The sun is out and bright; there’s literally not a cloud in the sky. I’m excited, nervous, and confused as to why all of the people Grace can possibly spend her day with, she calls me. I go through all of the possibilities in my head. Does she feel bad for you or something? Does she feel like she has to make up for the last time we saw each other? Aigoo, did I just agree to a pity hang out? Why do I feel like the charity case for Grace today? I start to sike myself out. I think about telling Grace I’m sick all of a sudden; I can’t imagine her really being upset if I cancel our plans.

You know you want to see her. You don’t know if this will be the last time you’ll get to see her. I don’t turn back. I eventually get to her condo; I feel more nervous than I was the last time seeing her at the bar. Maybe it’s because I had time to prepare myself. Now, I feel like I’m running on pure adrenaline.

I drive up her walkway and park the car out front. I turn the car off and take a deep breath. Ya, you’re going to be fine. I look at myself in the rearview mirror before eventually exiting the car. I walk up to her door, not knowing if I should knock or ring the doorbell. The doorbell felt like the safest way.

Moments later, the front door opens and Grace stands there. She wears a short, flowery dress and her hair is pulled back, away from her face. She smiles.

“Hey,” she greeted. I smiled back.

“Hi,” I was too nervous to say anything else at that point. I think she was too. She lets out a deep sigh and looks at me again.

“Shall we go?” Grace asked. I snap out of my thought and take her beach bag from her as we walk to the car. She enters the passenger’s side as I put her bag in the backseat. Jaemin-ah, just fucking breathe. I enter the car on the driver’s side, about to spend my day with Grace Ashmore.

I figured it was best to take the highway towards the pier. Her hair was blowing in the wind, and I felt bad that she kept tucking strands of her hair behind her ear.

“I could roll up the windows and put the air on,” I insisted. Grace shook her head no.

“The fresh air feels so much better,” Grace answered. I nodded, agreeing with her. “It’s like the perfect summer day.”

“It is,” I answered. “I’m looking forward to going to an American beach,” I honestly said. It was true. I always enjoyed a day at the beach, even though I try my best to not get too dark in the sun. But, something told me today I should just allow myself to get tan. I’ve never been, and everyone in California seems to have one. Shawn and Kevin will pass out if they see tanned skin on me.

“You never been?” Grace asked. I shook my head.

“The city doesn’t have beaches,” I answered.

“But there’s Coney Island,” Grace explained. I look over to her and then quickly back towards the road. I shouldn’t be upset that she doesn’t remember our summers back in New York. At this point, they feel so long ago, so intangible. It’s like they didn’t even happen. “We never got around to going to Coney Island?”

My eyebrows cocked up. She remembers.

“We were both always too busy to take a beach day,” I recalled.

“Well, I hope your first American beach experience is everything you wanted,” Grace sincerely said. I look over to her just in time to catch her smile. It will be.

The "Something" Series: Season 2

Prove Something to Myself: A Monologue.

Weekends are the hardest for me. Maybe it’s because I’m off of work on the weekends, and the days drag until it hits Monday. The weekend gives people like me too much time to be inside their heads and question every life choice and decision we’ve ever made.

I sit on the sofa in the living room, scrolling on my phone with my feet resting on the coffee table in front of me. Skylar walks down the stairs and walks right passed me, pushing my legs off the coffee table. I look at her; she walks to the mirror next to the front door. She looks at herself way longer than she typically does.

“You’re good, Sky?” I asked her from the sofa. She turns around and looks at me. She sighs as if she’s stressed about something.

“No,” she started. “I feel like my hair is wrong and my outfit is wrong and I hate myself.” I couldn’t help but chuckle. Skylar Ashmore doesn’t get insecure, ever.

“Sky,” I begin to say. “You look fine. Your hair is cute, and your outfit looks good.” Skylar looks at me. I know she doesn’t believe me. She turns back around to look at herself, nitpicking everything. I get up from the sofa; I have to stop the self-sabotage before it even begins.

“I just want to look perfect,” Skylar says.

“Since when?” I questioned. It took a while for Skylar to answer. I really didn’t need the answer. I had a feeling why. I sighed before she could answer. “Sky, he’s not gonna care about how you look.”

“But I do! I want to be the only woman he stares at today!” Skylar whined.

“Trust me, if I know anything about Shawn, he will definitely have his eyes glued on you,” I stated. Skylar turned around and looked at me like a lost puppy.

“You think so?” she asked.

“Yes,” I answered. “You’ve never been this way with a guy before. Did he tell you anything that made you feel… I don’t know; insecure like this?”

“No! Oh my god, he would never,” Skylar explained in a panic. “He’s just… worth it.”

Skylar and Shawn have been talking and hanging out almost every day since meeting each other at The Voyage. I could tell Skylar is serious about spending her time with him. She’s not one to apologize for anything, so when she came to me one night to say sorry about leaving me at the bar that night, I knew this one was different.

“You really like him, huh?” I asked, smiling halfway into my question. Skylar’s face lights up. She doesn’t even have to tell me at this point.

“He’s such a gentleman,” she started. “Like, he’s a huge goofball and his English is so tiny and adorable and he’s just so… handsome too.” I nudge her, teasing her as I laugh.

“He’s… definitely a character from I’ve witnessed and heard from Jamie,” I started.

“Seriously, the next time you see Jamie, you need to tell him I said thank you for bringing Shawn with him to The Voyage that night,” Skylar said as she fixes her makeup in the mirror. I looked at her, scrunching my eyebrows.

“What makes you think I’m gonna see him again?” I questioned. Skylar stopped what she was doing. She turns around, scoffs, and then continues to do what she was doing.

“Girl, stop lying. Tell him what I said the next time you see him,” Skylar says. Skylar’s confidence about this bothers me. It’s like she has no care in the world about how I might be feeling or how Jamie may be feeling. Skylar only knows so much about Jamie and I’s past. She thinks it’s easier said than done to just “see” Jamie again. It’s not. I don’t think it ever will be.

“Who said I was lying?” I said, in a more serious tone. I walk back to the sofa as Skylar turns around to finally face me.

“Grace, come on. We’re talking about Jamie,” she pleaded.

“And?” I responded; nonchalant.

“I don’t know why you keep torturing yourself by believing things you even know aren’t true,” Skylar admitted. I crossed my arms, getting annoyed with Skylar and this conversation. Of course, she doesn’t let up. “If you didn’t want to see Jamie, you wouldn’t have gotten out that night.”

“Yeah, the night that you dragged me out for,” I debated back. “Plus, I didn’t call his number; you did.”

“And you’re the one that kept his number,” she spat back.

“Yeah, on my nightstand where you shouldn’t have been snooping in the first place,” I said back, now feeling more annoyed than before. Skylar rolled her eyes at me.

“We’re getting off-topic,” Skylar stated. “I’m just saying that you have to let go of whatever happened in your past with him. It’s in the past for a reason.”

“Yeah, well it’s not as easy as you think, Sky,” I bickered back at Skylar. “Jamie and I have a… long and complicated past. It’s just not as easy as picking up the phone and asking to hang out.”

“No, it actually is,” Skylar responded. She’s definitely trying to make something out of nothing. “If it was as messy and difficult as you think it was, Jamie wouldn’t have agreed to come and meet you that night. He also wouldn’t have given you his number, Grace!”

I sit on the sofa, not really knowing what to say next. Skylar is right; why would Jamie agree to go out that night if our past was just full of bad memories and heartbreak? Does Jamie see it differently? What is his motive in the long run? Does he even care about the past anymore?

“It sounds like you’re the only one torturing yourself with your past,” Skylar concluded. She walked over to where I was sitting, and hands me my phone that was on the coffee table in front of me. “Call him. See what he’s up to. If you really want to see things through with him, you should make your move. Don’t make him be the one always making them. It’s your turn now.”

Skylar looks at the time on her phone and quickly grabs her bag and keys near the front door.

“I gotta go! Wish me luck!” Skylar waved back as she left the house. I look down at my phone, not really knowing what to do at this point. Skylar is right. He has shown time and time again that he just wants us to be cordial. I open my contact list in where Jamie’s name and number is located. What if he’s busy? He literally is on a vacation with two of his friends. I took a deep breath and backed out from my contacts. But Skylar literally is going out with Shawn, and Kevin is… well Kevin. Plus, Jamie did mention he has a serious girlfriend he’s always calling and chatting with…

“For fuck’s sake, Grace, it’s not the end of the world if you ask him to hang out,” I tell myself out loud. Asking is okay; it’s just an invitation and if the person declines, at least I tried, right? But fuck, it will hurt if he doesn’t want to hang out. Jamie has always been good company, and life in California where I don’t really know anyone besides the cousin that literally is out every single day of the week. My life was back in NYC, and California is sometimes too quiet for my brain to handle. Jamie will always be good company to have.

“Fuck it,” I said as I go back into my contacts. Without hesitating, I clicked Jamie’s name and the phone began to ring. I panicked. I begin siking myself out. I can’t do this, what the fuck was I thinking? I get ready to hang up the phone before he answers it.

The phone stops ringing.

“Hello?” Jamie’s voice comes from my phone.