The number you have dialed is unavailable.
Pressing the green button, Kyle channeled the call once again, for the tenth time.
The number you--
The phone was slammed onto the bed.
Where is Clover, Danise? he asked, burying his face into his cotton pillow.
His room was in a total mess. Crumpled scribbles, music sheets were scattered on the floor, worn shirts were jumbled, leaving a really sour scent in the air. Even the shirt on him had been the same since the past few days, disappearing his mint smell. He looked like he aged a lot after the press conference. Scandal news might be settled but things weren’t turning out well for him. He couldn’t come up with good tracks, couldn’t produce any good lyrics.
He was stuck, between losing his reputation...
and losing her.
Lying his back, it was hard to not let the tears slipped. “Since when did I get so attached to you?” he moaned, turning to the side.
Everything in the house had pieces of her attached. Not many. Not none. But it was little enough for him to not forget.
A familiar vibration approached him as he was staring blankly at the ceiling, devastating. He didn’t inch despite the buzzes. He had a feeling it wasn’t from anyone that he needed at the moment. But when the jerky sensation went on and on, he extended his hand frustratedly to where he dumped his phone. The Oppo S11 was still shaking in his hands. Flipping it over, a tired sigh was breathed out through his nose - Stella.
“Brandon said you aren’t getting outta your room.” he laid the gadget flat untouched on his ear, not making a single noise.
“Kyle!” Stella yelled over the phone, swaying his cheeks when all she received was his cold response. “Can you like stop being so UN-KYLE?!”
Dut. He shut the line.
Un-Kyle? he smirked painfully. Stella had just hit the bullseye.
He sat up on the bed, glancing around. Indeed, it didn’t look like his. He hated dirty, hated messy. Yet right now these two terms described him the best. So un-Kyle.
The pinky toe of his tingled at the touch of the cold lonely piece of mosaic puzzle dropped from the whole. His gaze softened at the sight and a sense of gratitude rushed into him, pulling him away from his state of loss. The glossy surface was reflecting the thin rays escaped through the curtains, into his eyes. As if it was yearning for his touch, to be fixed to its original spot. Kyle tilted his head a little to figure out part of him the puzzle was supposed to form. Wiggling with his toe, he guessed and guessed again. And he finally had it as he held.
It was his signature smile.
“Kyle?” Brandon pushed his knuckles onto the door repetitively, though they sounded hesitant. “You can’t be in there 24/7. Come on! You have tons of schedules to follow up!”
“Where is Clover?” his voice was sad. “Where did Danise bring her?”
“Kyle...Even I can’t reach him! Can you please stop being so stubborn?!!”
“But it was you who told him to bring Clover away.”
“W-what.. Ha..-” Brandon stumbled a few steps back, as if the words he said stabbed him right on his chest. “I did that for your sake and now... you’re blaming me? "
“I miss her... Brandon.” Soft enough to pierce through the obstacle.
“You have come this far, Kyle. Those sweat and tears, bashes nor love, did you really forget them all? Well, if you did. I can remind them for you. One by one. First, you gave up the chance to be with your family for this dream. Second, the struggles that you faced, those narrow eyes you received when stardom didn’t hit you. Third, the countless hours you stayed in your studio just to produce a good piece of song,” he banged the door, “now you telling me you gonna give up on your dream you worked so hard for because of a girl? Kyle! Can you f***ing get back to your senses?!”
He heard his manager’s soft sigh. And the clicks, turnings of the doorknob followed few seconds after. Kyle dragged his heavy feet towards the door, leaning his back against it. He slid down, dropping himself on the tiles. He wasn’t worried about his door getting pushed open. It was locked anyway. He just wanted to feel closer to the world outside.
“...Can I meet her again?” he mumbled with a heavy tone.
“How?” There was a slight rise in his note.
“By living your life just like how you lived before this. Make it better,” Brandon’s eyes buried the shades of love, concern he had towards the star he watched him grew, “I’m sure you will see her again,” he whispered.
She walked out the hall in a fast pace. Fanmeeting completed. Fanservice given. Her self-composed song was still being played in the background. She was in a rush though. To save her love from drowning in the sea of troubles, depression. The tapping of her heels echoed along the corridor on her way out. Lines of her collarbones gained the attention as she slipped off the black jean rock and roll jacket. Sweats could be seen drenching down her seductive neck. Pink dangling feathery earrings were removed and dunk into her handbag like it was nothing but a worthless belonging.
At the far end, Kenny was waiting for her, ready with the car door opened. Cameras were focused on her leave. Being in a rush was not an excuse to be rude. Part of the crowd of her fans was already outside, waiting to send their goodbyes to her. She stepped closer to the border, seeing them trying so hard to shorten the distance in between. Underneath the soft rays of the natural light, she sent her charms, like an angel descended from Heaven. Roses, jasmines, were being showered to her. Hundreds of hands were in queue to have hers in theirs. Hugging those florals close to her chest, she cupped a few at once, shook them couple times and let them off.
She didn’t have time to do for all.
Stopping in the middle for another mere few seconds, letting her photos be snapped, she then waved her goodbye with a sweet girly smile. And with the loudest screams, wildest smiles, her fans sent her away.
“Going to Kyle?” he asked as she approached the car.
She nodded. And it was enough to know.
He climbed into his seat immediately. Pulling the seatbelt across his chest, shifting the gear to the ‘Reverse’ sign, he clicked down the handbrake, moving out of the parking spot. He was looking at the reflection of the road behind when Stella’s angelic face turned frustrated. Biting her lips, her phone was put up and back down on her lap several times. Her calls were rejected. Stella Kim, the international celebrity’s attempted calls were rejected. In the public she might have the fame. But it wasn’t the same with him.
She knew it very well.
Seeing her in such a mode, a smirk was formed on his face. Kenny knew that this was his chance.
His chance to satisfy his boss.
“Stella...” he called, turning the car to the left at a T-junction. The traffic was surprisingly free.
Through the reflective mirror in front, Stella rose her eyebrow. “Hmm?”
Clearing his throat, he acted to sound hesitant. “You know... erm... Actually...”
“What? Spit it out Kenny. I don’t have time to play guessing with you.”
“You know that day in Guilin...” he paused. “I overheard the conversation between Clover and Kyle... about...you...”
“Kyle spoke about me?” she high-pitched her voice, excited to hear his name and hers together in a sentence.
“Erm... It was Clover who spoke about you. To Kyle.”
Her expression changed instantly, shoulders dropped down, “What did she say?” She shot him a dark, scary glance.
He danced his eyeballs, creating the tension on purpose. “Something... rather painful to the ears..”
Rolling her eyes, she breathed off the strings of fringe hanging down her face. “I knew that piece wasn’t a good thing,” but Stella didn’t sound pissed. Rather calm instead.
“You’re not angry?” Kenny asked, pouring oil into the fire that was about to get extinguished.
“I don’t think there’s a need for me to waste my emotions on a girl that is already gone?” she answered coolly with another question, eyes back on her phone, faltering to press the green button again.
Words got stuck in his throat. Unless Clover showed up again, Stella would never be shaken by her ‘virtual’ presence. Unable to ignite the fight at the moment, Kenny had no choice but to swallowed back his words and focused on his driving.
The road to Kyle’s house seemed further than the last time she went there. And it was emptier at the sides, giving the greens behind a wider exposure. His road banners, advertisements, promoting the brands of various products were down. Not all. But there were a few where they used to be his face. Now they were gone. The scandal issue did affect you, Kyle, she spoke in her mind. Those were the spots you worked so hard for.
Upon reaching, her little heart was thumping in an unusual rhythm. All this while, there was only excitement she felt when she went to his place. But this time, it was different. Her hands were cold. She stuck them under her laps, hiding the shudders from Kenny. Deep down, she was afraid she would be rejected just like her calls.
Sky is blue, trees are green.
The only black and white would probably be the way you look at me.
“We are here,” he said, stepping the brake pedal, snapping her awake from her thoughts.
Adrenaline spiked up, seeing his residence right standing tall in front. Numbing sensation was sent along her legs as if they were already in standby mode before this. Her breaths were getting unsteady. Patches of makeup powder were stamped on her face, lipstick was stained on her lips, disguising her paleness. Staring at the wide open gate, she was still hesitating if she should enter. All she wanted to do was just stay with him through thick and thin. Though she wasn’t the one he needed the most.
After multiple considerations, she hopped down the car, “You might hate me. But I just wanna make sure you’re alright,” she muttered, pulling down her fancy skirt to its original level, stepping into the porch.
Brandon was by the car, with the engine on. He pushed up his sunglasses, eyes fully drawn into the news on his phone. He didn’t notice Stella even though the noises from her heels were strong to notify her presence. She was about to give him a little shock when his gadget rang, drawing away her guts to do so. It was so sudden she didn’t know how to show herself. Should she appear like how she normally did? Or should she be a little formal since things were different lately? She was clueless. Messing on her steps, she retreated and hid behind the car.
“Danise?” She heard him said on the phone. It was a whisper.
A suspicious whisper.
“Is Clover alright?”
Shivers ran down her spines the moment she heard her name. C..Clover? Her hand tensed on the tinted window at the back, staining it with her overflowing cold sweats from her palm.
“No. Kyle doesn’t know. I didn’t tell him yet,” he continued mumbling under his breath, not realizing the conversation was being eavesdropped.
His voice was turning loud. It sounded like he was in a fight with Danise. “What do you mean by not to tell Kyle? Kyle is dying to meet her!”
Stella pressed her ears closer, brows furrowed. “I can’t lie to him. You know it.”
“B- but.. Argh! Damn it!” Brandon cursed over the phone.
And that was it.
Clover is with Danise.
Stelle froze. The balance of her heels betrayed her, tumbling her hard on the ground. But it wasn’t what got Brandon’s focus. It was her noisy sling bag. It screeched as she tried to remove them from staying under her butt.
Oppsss...a little too loud.
Brandon jerked up from his phone, eyes looking everywhere to sense the unknown danger. Somebody is here. Scanning for a weapon-like object, his hand automatically reached for a long wooden stick. And slowly, just like how a cop would handle a risky scene, he walked carefully towards the targetted direction.
Cupping her hand over her mouth to cover her gasps, Stella pulled her legs closer to her, wrapping in like a circle. Brandon was nearing, and there she was, shaking in the fear of getting busted for barging in without their consents.
Reaching the spot, Brandon stomped his foot heavily. “WHO ARE Y---” but the face that came into his view stopped him from his attempted attack, “... S...stella? What are you doing... hiding behind the car?” The weapon in his grip was then dropped instantly.
Standing up awkwardly, patting the dust off her back,“Ohh..” she faked a chuckle, hand running through her hair, “... I.. I just finished my fan meeting a while ago. Around here...” she pointed her index finger to somewhere out of the house.
Brandon didn’t look convinced. “Really? What’s with the hiding though? I thought Kyle and I were about to be hit.”
She didn’t answer his question. Or to be exact, she didn’t have any answers. Folding her quivering lips, “How’s.. Kyle?” she asked, changing the topic.
Seeing the panic on her face, Brandon didn’t question much further. He just smiled, though a part of him knew she was lying about the fan meeting. She was here to meet him. “He’s getting ready for his photo shoot in Shenzhen,” he said.
Photoshoot? “You mean...Our Kyle is back?“Stella bugged her eyes, unable to believe what Brandon had just said.
“Yes,” he winked, making a clicking sound with his mouth. “Our Kyle is back.”