Sitting in my office, having just wrapped up with my final client for the night, I was not expecting what happened next to unfold. Typing away at my keyboard, a voice sounds my name behind me.
I whip around to Namjoon standing in my doorway. He looks out of breath, ruffled. His eyes lock on to mine and there's a look there that I can't quite place. Relief? He repeats my name, "Orchid." And this time I can definitely sense relief there. I'm starting to feel a bit worried. Namjoon has never come to my office before.
"Is everything okay? Did something happen to my brother?" This seemed like the logical question for me to be asking since it was my brother's best friend standing in front of me.
"No," he exhales. "Your brother is fine, but I need you to come with me." He glances apprehensively over his shoulder.
"What, why? What's going on? Namjoon... you're kinda scaring me." I notice his eyes flicker to my lips, which are parted in confusion.
"I'm sorry. I just -I don't have time to explain." He moves towards me suddenly, crossing the room while casting a glance back out of my office door. His hand rests lightly at my wrist. "Please Ori," his eyes are pleading. "Trust me, we need to go now."
That's when I hear a light thump from outside, rustling sounds as if someone is moving quietly. Which I find odd given that I know I'm the last in the office this Friday evening. "Is someone here with you?" I turn on Namjoon, flaring with anger. "If this is your and my brother's idea of a practical joke, it's not funny." I wouldn't put it past them. They've been teasing me since I was in 5th grade and they were in 6th. Albeit, it usually didn't feel this sinister.
"They're not here with me," Namjoon states flatly, not even denying that someone is there. I suddenly get the impression that he's shielding me from something. It's very subtle but given his proximity to me and his hand still at my wrist, I notice how his weight shifts just so, positioning himself slightly between me and the door, his body turned more towards the door than me.
Now I'm downright alarmed. I've never seen Namjoon act like this. "Okay. Who are 'they' and what do they want? Are you in some sort of trouble, Joon?"
Without taking his eyes off the door, he nods. My jaw nearly dislocates it drops so fast. "How can I help? Should I call Jin?" Jin is my brother, and seems like an obvious choice to help Namjoon, but Namjoon just shakes his head slowly.
"This isn't his fight right now."
I nearly laugh out loud. "Wait a second. You don't want him in this, but you're cool popping into my work? Shit, I guess I should feel special," I joke, attempting to alleviate the nauseous feeling winding its way through my stomach. It definitely does not work.
"I'm sorry, Orchid." Namjoon turns to look at me now and there's obvious pain in his eyes. He opens his mouth to say something else, but there's a muffled noise again from outside. This time it sounds closer. Namjoon moves in so close to my ear that his breath tickles my neck, whispering. "There are bad people out there and I'm sorry I don't have time to explain more, but I need you to stay here and hide while I deal with them."
"Deal with them? You mean fight them?" This wasn't completely a shock to me, given Namjoon and Jin have studied martial arts since they were eight years old. But this felt like it was escalating rather quickly. "Namjoon, why don't we just lock ourselves in here and call the police?"
"The police can't help us. This goes beyond them..." His voice trailed off and he seemed lost in thought for a moment. He looked over at me and abruptly reached out, brushing a strand of hair behind my shoulder, his fingers trailing down my arm. "I will keep you safe," he promised. I felt my face burn hot, which I vaguely noted, surprised me. Namjoon had never touched me like that. I wasn't sure how I should feel about it. Just as quickly he withdrew his hand and gently began guiding me underneath my corner desk. He gave me a hard look as if to say "stay" and with that he disappeared out my door.
The sounds that followed next were ones I would try very hard to forget. Yelling, bodies smashing together, the sound of things breaking. After what felt like an eternity, one of the unknown assailants walked into my office and time stopped completely. He registered me under the desk and yelled into the next room, "I've got her! She's in here!" Those were his last words. He staggered a step forward and I wasn't sure what was happening until he fell face first and I saw the knife sticking out of the back of his head. I surprised myself when I didn't scream, must've been in shock.
Within seconds another figure appeared in my doorway, charging at my hiding place. "Come here you little bitch," he growled, viciously grabbing my arm and dragging me out from under the desk, my head smacking against a drawer. This time I did scream. I kicked and clawed at the man, but it was no use. His strength matched mine 10 times over. In the back of my head, I cursed myself for not taking fighting lessons with Namjoon and Jin. But no way in hell was I going down without a fight. The man was on top of me, pinning my arms uselessly at my sides with his legs. He looked almost gleeful as his hands wrapped around my throat. I was just gearing up for a really solid knee to the groin when suddenly the man was lifted off of me. I look up to see Namjoon. Disheveled and with a few cuts, but otherwise unharmed. There's fire burning in his eyes as he holds the man in a chokehold. Holds him until he no longer moves. Then let's his lifeless body thud to the floor.
He's breathing heavy, but moves towards me with a calmness. As he kneels down in front of me, I lose it. The sobs come uncontrollably. Namjoon doesn't hesitate as he wraps me in his arms, tucking me under his chin, stroking my back. His face is buried in my hair and he's murmuring "it's okay." I'm not sure how long we stay like that. I know that I never want to leave, never want to face the reality of what just happened here. This was no prank.
I pull back from Namjoon anyway. "You killed them." It wasn't a question or a judgment. Namjoon nods slightly, watching me intently. "Thank you," I breathe.
This response seems to puzzle him. His brow furrows. "I had to kill them. They would have hurt you."
"I know," I state. I saw the look in that man's eyes. My throat is throbbing from the brief moments his hands were wrapped around it. "I understand. I'm not angry. I'm tired, I'm scared, and confused, but not angry." He seems to relax at this.
"Let's get out of here." He stands, offering me his hand. I let him pull me up. He quickly drops my hand and puts some space between us. Suddenly I'm very aware of my own body and the way Namjoon was just holding it.