Chapter 4 | Nightmare

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[Jonghyun's nightmare]

"Here" Jonghyun mumbled coldly and handed the paper back to Taemin before he stood up and walked away. Taemin was confused at the coincidental encounter whereas Jonghyun was left shaken up when he realized he had bumped into the same younger boy he had bumped into a year ago, the drawing of a white rose catching him off guard just as how he was taken aback last year as well.

"What is up with that boy with roses and out of all why does he have to bump into me?" The sight of seeing his favorite red rose next to a white rose had Jonghyun shaken up. The topic of roses was something very fragile to Jonghyun's heart. It was something he loved yet hated at the same time, and knowing that this unknown boy out here had a specific interest in the types of rose he hated and loved had him growing more and more curious and afraid by the passing second.

Jonghyun stopped at the entrance of the boy's locker room and tried to shoo the haunting thoughts away but couldn't, even his coach complained about how he didn't seem to have given his best at practice, which honestly the older boy didn't care about because he clearly had stuff of his own to deal with

On the way back home Jonghyun didn't talk much and Jinki tried to get the boy to speak but failed in doing so. Jinki gave up and just decided to be of some support and let the boy be on his own for a while. They bid their goodbyes and parted ways.

Jonghyun thought maybe sleep could be of some help so he threw himself on his bed and let sleep take over.

-

"Jonghyun!" Upon hearing his favorite voice ring through the echoes of the house Jonghyun prompted himself off the bed and ran downstairs to greet his father.

"Appa!" Jonghyun cheered as his father lifted his young boy into his arms. "My baby" Jonghyun's Appa smiled and kissed the young boy's head before setting him down and leveling down to the young kid's height .

"You're forgetting something!" Jonghyun eyed his father mischievously as he extended his hand forward, indirectly demanding his father to pass down his present to him

"Aish I forgot!" Jonghyun's appa smacked his forehead to which the young boy retreated his hands back in hurt. It was the first time his father had forgotten such a thing, a routine the two - mostly Jonghyun's Appa - had created to show his love towards his son.

"Oh" The 8 year old boy hummed and turned around with his hands locked behind his back to head back to his room, but his father's grip on his shoulder halted him.

"I never forget my son" Jonghyun's Appa assured and pulled out a white rose from behind and brought it in front of Jonghyun. Jonghyun's eyes lit up with happiness as he grabbed the rose and clung onto his father for a hug. Jonghyun's father smiled and ruffled the boy's hair

"I love you Appa."

"I love you too Jonghyun"

Things only seemed perfect for a few more days. Suddenly things started to change at home. Jonghyun's father wasn't Jonghyun's father anymore. Jonghyun wasn't Jonghyun anymore. His happy family wasn't happy anymore. Things all started going downhill.

It all started with a change in his father.

His father started coming home from work infuriated and riled up. He stopped showing any signs of love. He had grown aggressive and abusive.

It started off with Jonghyun's father showing his first signs of aggression on his wife and his daughter. Verbally abusing them had become an everyday routine but, unfortunately, it didn't stop there. What Jonghyun had feared became a true reality real soon. The abuse moved down from Jonghyun's mother and sister to him.

Jonghyun's appa started to hate Jonghyun.

The words 'you are a mistake' was something Jonghyun was growing more and more used to day by day and there was nothing he could do to make it alright; not even his vulnerable mother and sister's counter statements to make it seem like Jonghyun was indeed loved and wanted were of use.

In his life, hate was dominating.

"Jonghyun..." Jonghyun's Appa softly whispered and despite his father being hidden to his eyes, Jonghyun didn't fail to sense the wicked smile lacing his father's lips. Every day Jonghyun found only one spot to hide but soon his father found out

"Got you" Jonghyun jumped up in fear upon seeing his father's face and a whimper escaped his lips.

"Appa no" Jonghyun pleaded but it was avail. His father harshly jerked him from underneath the table, Jonghyun wincing at his father's insensitive touch over his scarred arm. Jonghyun's appa sat Jonghyun on a chair and gripped only his forearm harshly

"Why do you hide from me every day?" Jonghyun's appa asked with sadness

"I— I don't hide" Jonghyun hiccuped

"You do, my son" Jonghyun kept his gaze firm on the ground not knowing what to say, letting his tears fall freely from his eyes

"Why are you crying?" Jonghyun's father asked with utmost concern while on the contrary he gripped more harshly onto Jonghyun's arm, not failing to indirectly scare the little boy off

"N-n-nothing" was all Jonghyun managed to say

"Don't cry, see I brought you a gift" Jonghyun dared to meet eyes with his father because as it has been going on for ages, Jonghyun's appa would bring him his daily gift and god forbid Jonghyun ever tried to deny the gift, he would have faced wrath that left him physically scarred as well

"Really?" Jonghyun softly asked faking excitement through his tears eyes and hoarse throat

"Really" Jonghyun's appa smiled and gently pulled out a white rose from his back pocket

-

Jonghyun gasped and woke up with a jerk. His forehead and body had grown sweaty at the replay of his past that haunted him tonight in the form of a nightmare. He heaved our heavy sighs of breaths and gripped his blanket in fear. Tears laced his eyes but he held them back while he rummaged through his bag for his comfort.

His sister's rose pendant.

He gripped onto it tightly and recalled his sister's words: "Jonghyun, whenever you feel like you're alone or in pain just close your eyes and hold this in your hand. Think of it as if I'm right next to you, comforting you, okay?"

Jonghyun let a tear slip his eye as his mind immediately flashed back to the drawing of a white rose he had come across today. His mind grew curious of the artist and his drawing, though he mentally cursed the encounter for bringing old and unwanted memories back which Jonghyun tried to bury all these years.

Jonghyun tried to push his thoughts aside and fall back asleep. Time went by and he didn't realize when he fell asleep amidst the lonely darkness while he gripped tightly onto his sister's pendant.

I know, sort of intense, but don't worry, brighter days are coming up!

Also, happy birthday to Taemin!! I'm so happy for him and so proud of him. His accomplishments and improvements are so inspirational. What a 25 year old baby. The sweetest boy ever. Happy birthday to that dork ❤️❤️

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