Pairing: Changmin/Jaejoong, Changmin/FC
Idea: StarCandy 50 Words Challenge Prompt #29: Late
Warning: Un-beta'd, Implied character death
Summary: Every year for the past nine years, he never missed the chance to be on time. But this year, Changmin wonders why he has forgotten.
A/N: I know this is a cliche plot line and most people don't like reading them, but this was inspired by a recent plane crash that took the lives of two Chinese students. Or so my memory tells me.
Beep. Beep. Beep.
Changmin knew that he had the day off from work. So why was the alarm clock ringing?
"Babe. Babe, turn it off."
Changmin groaned into his wife's neck and tightened his arm around her waist, "I don't want to."
But a soft jab into his stomach had him reluctantly pulling away to turn off the alarm clock on the bedside table. He sat up, blinking wearily at the clock before turning to his wife,
"Did you set it? Is there something big going on later today?"
His wife was an event planner and she had to deal with demanding customers every day, so he assumed that she was the one who had set the clock. But one look at her confused face and he knew that she didn't set it.
"You don't remember setting the alarm last night?" His wife asked. Changmin cocked his head to the side trying to remember if he did or not,
"But today's my day off."
Before he could think more of the issue, the door to their bedroom burst open and two children, a boy and a girl, rushed in.
Changmin immediately pulled his 7-year old daughter into his lap,
"Oof, you've gotten heavier, Hyerin."
The girl pouted up at her father, "But I haven't had breakfast yet."
Changmin chuckled and reached over to where his wife had their son in her arms and ruffle his son's hair, "Well, if you leave your mom and I for a while, she'll go down and make you guys some breakfast. Okay?"
The two children seem to think about it before jumping off the bed and running back out of the room. Changmin pulled his wife close,
"So, do you want to sleep a little bit more? I don't think leaving our kids hungry for 30 minutes will be a bad thing."
His wife nudged him in the shoulders with a laugh, "Tempting as that may be, but you lost my interest when you suggested in starving our kids. Now get up."
Changmin frowned, watching his wife get out of bed, "But I didn't mean it."
His wife smiled, "I know. Just get up, I'll make your favorite omurice."
Changmin's face softened, "I don't know how I can live without you."
He gave his wife a short kiss before letting her go. At that moment, his cellphone alerted him of a text. He rolled over in bed and laid on his stomach as he tapped the screen and found that it wasn't a text. His phone had alerted him of something that he had input into his calendar in case he forgot.
May 26, 2013. 8:00am. Anniversary, JJ.
"Anniversary --" Changmin felt his world stop for a few seconds. He had forgot. How could he have forgotten something so important?
A tear fell onto his phone, "I forgot . . ."
He quickly got out of bed. So that's what the alarm clock was for.
"I'm so stupid!" Changmin hissed, looking at the clock to see that it was ten minutes until 8 'O clock. He rushed to get dress, not minding the fact that he didn't shower or brushed his teeth. He couldn't be late.
Changmin walked quickly out of the room and down the hallway to the kitchen where he popped his head in. He wanted to tell his family that he was going to skip out on breakfast, but the sight of them chatting happily around the kitchen counter, made him guilty of his torn feelings.
"Changmin? Come and sit down," his wife said when she spotted him standing in the doorway of the kitchen. Changmin shook his head,
"I . . . I can't. I forgot that I had to be somewhere."
He winced at the fact that he did forget. Why couldn't he remember? The date used to be so important to him long ago. But now, here he was, forgetting like it meant nothing to him.
"Oh . . . Will you be back? I can save some food for you?" his wife wondered but Changmin smiled a little, wondering if it was to reassure his wife or himself,
"There's no need. I'll get breakfast while I'm out."
"I'll walk you out," his wife offered but Changmin shook his head,
He placed a kiss on each of his children's head before turning around and leaving towards his car. He got into the driver's side and let the engine run for a while.
"It's already 8 O'clock . . . But he wouldn't mind if I'm a little late," Changmin bit his lip and pulled out of the driveway, making his way onto the main street. If only he could be forgiven for that day.
"You said that you were going to come back today," Changmin said, drumming his fingers in irritation on the steering wheel at a stop light.
"I'm sorry, Minnie-ah. But the photoshoot got held back and won't be done until early the next morning," the voice on the other line said and Changmin could tell that his lover was sorry, but he was angry that he had to wake up at six in the morning to pick up the other man at the airport, only to receive a call that he wasn't arriving that day.
"Whatever, so you're coming back tomorrow then? For sure?" Changmin confirmed, letting go of the brake pedal as the light turned green.
"But, maybe I can try to get a flight out tonight . . ." the voice said unsure. Changmin sighed in irritation,
"There's no need."
"But our anniversary --"
Changmin gripped the steering wheel tightly, "That's okay. We can celebrate it when you come back tomorrow."
He heard shouting in the background on the other line and then his lover spoke up again,
"I'm sorry I can't be there with you today, Changmin-ah. Happy anniversary."
Then the line went dead. Changmin tossed his phone into the passenger's seat where a bouquet of white lilies and a small, velvet, jewelry box sat. He glanced at the items with a cross between a frown and a scowl,
Changmin carried a bouquet of white lilies from the flower shop and placed them neatly in the passenger's seat. He walked around the front of his car and sat in the driver's seat before pulling away from the curb. It was already 15 minutes past eight.
"Changmin, you asshole! Open up!"
Changmin groaned, hearing the pounding on his apartment door.
"Why is he bothering me at . . ." Changmin checked his clock and growled in anger when he noticed the time. He flung the blanket from his body and walked over to where the man was still pounding on his door.
"Stop! You're going to break it!"
The door was pulled open and the man on the other side stared heatedly at him.
"Why didn't you pick up your phone?! I called at least a billion times!"
Changmin leaned against the door and stared at the man, "Stop being dramatic. Now, tell me what you're doing up at 11 and bothering my neighbors no less?"
"If you had picked up my call earlier, you would've known!" the man shouted, "It's about Jaejoong!"
Changmin parked his car in the parking lot of the cemetery grounds and got out with the bouquet of flowers in his arms. Locking his car, Changmin walked up the steps to a particular site.
". . . He wanted to surprise you . . . Told me not to tell you . . ."
The world around him seem to fade in and out as he heard bits of what Yoochun, Jaejoong's best friend was saying and listening to how his heartbeat was beating louder and louder with each second.
"Why? . . . I thought he was coming back tomorrow?" Changmin whispered, sliding down against the door to kneel on the floor. Yoochun sniffed, wiping away the tears with the sleeves of his shirt,
"It's because of you, idiot! He felt guilty that he couldn't spend your guys' anniversary together, so he did his best to finish his photoshoot early. Then he booked a flight that was going out that night on his side, just so he could make it back in time . . . But . . ."
Yoochun couldn't finish as he sobbed again.
"So, it's all my fault?" Changmin whispered. All he wanted was to have Jaejoong back by his side. Was that so wrong?
"Here, your favorite flowers," Changmin said as he placed the flowers on the neatly made grave. It had been nine years since the grave was made, but the area still looked new as ever. Another bouquet of flowers caught his eye and he smirked,
"Looks like Yoochun arrived before I did."
He sat down in front of the grave with a sigh, "I know I'm late. But at least I remembered, right?"
The wind blew harshly around him and he lowered his head, chuckling sadly,
"Okay, I lied. I . . . forgot. I forgot about you, Jaejoong. I didn't mean to, I swear. It's just, lately, my body is the only one that remembers. My wife saw me set the alarm last night, but this morning I didn't even remember. Does this mean that I'm moving on without you? Is this a sign that tells me that your death no longer affects me?"
Changmin stared at the headstone for a while before reaching out to trace the carved name of his ex-lover,
"If I don't make it back next year, please don't be mad at me."
A bird landed on the next headstone and chirped. He lifted his lips in a small smile and stared at the animal, "Does that mean you'll forgive me if I forget?"
At the end of the question, the bird flew off. Changmin took it as a sign that yes, Jaejoong would forgive him. He stood up and brushed the grass and dirt off his pants,
"Happy anniversary, Jaejoong."
And it was the last time he ever came back.