Damaged, Twenty Seven

Title: Damaged
Author: aquariuslover
Pairing: Yunjae
Rating: R
Genre: Future AU, Drama, Angst

Summary: On a cold winter’s day he cast their love away for the sake of his family. The following autumn an act of vengeance left their love beyond the reaches of forgiveness. Two summers later a fan’s anger and the ultimate act of self-sacrifice would redefine everything they knew about love, pride, selfishness, and forgiveness.

Huge thanks to Amy (for her wise council) and Kinmotsu for their years of friendship and support! Also a million thanks to all the kind souls who take the time to leave a comment! It is greatly appreciated and it’s the reason why I share this story.

Previous Chapters

“I know…I know…I’m sorry,” Jae who was sitting in a chair in Yunho’s hospital room said into his phone. Jae looked like he was being slowly tortured as he spoke to his adoptive mother who was not happy with him. “I know. I missed Christmas but I couldn’t leave him…Mom. Yunho was determined to visit every sick kid in the hospital I…”

Yunho, who was sitting up at the side of the bed, cringed. “He didn’t.”

“He did,” Changmin said, smiling cruelly at Jae who was holding the phone away from his ear as the sound of his mother yelling could be heard throughout the room.

Jae shot Yunho and Changmin dirty looks as he put the phone back up to his ear. “Mom…I know…yes, yes, yes, your only son…I know you want grandchildren…I can’t help it if I don’t like women…I know you said I didn’t have to marry, but still…it isn’t Yunho’s fault.”

“So not my fault!” Yunho said, nodding his head in agreement.

“It’s so your fault,” Changmin smirked and told Yunho.

“He was gay before I met him…he just hadn’t done anything about it!” Yunho told Changmin, offended.

Jae reached over and grabbed two apples from a fruit basket that somebody had brought Yunho and threw one at each of them. Changmin caught the apple aimed at him and started eating it. Yunho just sat his on the bedside table as he continued to eavesdrop. “I am sorry, Mom…I am listening to you…we are just friends…his wishes, not mine… a good woman will not fix me...I am not attracted to them…I know…I will visit more….when I get back…I really will…I know I have been horrible…Yunho is getting lots better…yes, his stitches are coming out tomorrow.”

“When you say stitches…it sounds like you are talking about a little piece of string. It isn’t string its great big staples all up and down my stomach. Stitches aren’t anything at all. This is like somebody went crazy with a giant stapler,” Yunho complained.

“You want me to take a picture of them before they take them out?” Changmin offered, getting up from the couch. Even he was impressed with the size of Yunho’s scar.

“Yeah!” Yunho said, excited as he stood up at the side of the bed.

“Yunho! Use your cane!” Jae snapped, as he pulled the phone away from his face.

“I don’t need a cane for this…plus it’s not a real cane. It’s a quad cane. I want a wood cane with cool designs on it,” Yunho said, as he pulled up his pyjama shirt. Changmin bent down and focused the camera in on the scar.

“Mom, I have to go…Yunho is going to cause me to stroke before I even make it to America…yeah I love you too,” Jae said, hanging up and heading toward Yunho.

“I should have taken a picture of your head when you were in the hospital before,” Changmin said, as he took a picture of Yunho’s scar.

“You should have,” Yunho agreed, as Jae wrapped an arm around him and pushed him back on the bed.

“You guys are sick!” Jae told them giving them both disapproving looks.

“It’s just a soft spot now. My hair has it completely covered now so you can’t even see the scar,” Yunho said, reaching up and touching his head.

“Really, it’s soft? I want to feel,” Changmin said, reaching up and touching the spot on Yunho’s head. “That’s so weird.”

“It’s like you can almost feel my brains.”

“You know if our next comeback fails we could always charge people to rub your head. Say it is for good luck,” Changmin said, reaching up to feel Yunho’s soft spot again.

“I don’t think you should be touching it,” Jae said, pulling Changmin’s hand away. “You two are like children. I will cancel my trip don’t think I won’t! I don’t give a shit about the next English album,” Jae informed them as he sat down on the bed bedside Yunho.

“You just don’t like your English albums because you barely get to sing due to your lousy English,” Changmin told Jae with an evil smirk.

“Then it’s agreed I will just stay here,” Jae snapped back at Changmin.

“You are not!” Yunho told him, bumping into Jae’s arm. “I don’t even know how you have any fans left.”

“It’s because he uses you as an excuse to neglect his duties or he tells them he is sick. He will leave them some melodramatic message and they will be all ‘poor Jae’ and totally forget that he’s negligent of his celebrity duties,” Changmin who was standing in front of them told Yunho, loving to harass Jae.

“Whatever works,” Jae cockily replied, leaning into Yunho.

“You shouldn’t mention me though…it’s weird and then it leads to more weirdness. I don’t like it when they ask Yoochun or Junsu about me,” Yunho said, leaning his head against Jae.

“Oh, you mean when they lie like dogs. How can they sit there on television and act like they have seen and talked to Yunho…aren’t they afraid of karma?” Changmin said, scrunching up his face in dislike.

“Honestly? What can they say? Oh, he hates us and his people won’t let us anywhere near him but Jae keeps us updated,” Jae said in their defence. “I mean really what do you expect from them? They have only said encouraging words.”

“It’s lies, Jae. Even if it is pretty and nicely wrapped up it’s still lies. You three decided to leave, and we could have still loved you for that but what you did three did to…”

“Changmin! Don’t get into this now!” Yunho said, straightening back up.

“You forgave me. You can forgive them too!” Jae told the taller man standing in front of him.

“I did not forgive you…I tolerate you,” Changmin hissed back at him. “Yunho would have never forgiven you either if he hadn’t been in a weakened condition.”

“Thank goodness for my weakened condition then. I am happy now. I am glad Jae is back in my life. I missed his craziness,” Yunho said, taking Jae’s hand and entwining their fingers together causing Jae to smile triumphantly at Changmin.

“Well you did have a serious brain injury,” Changmin told them both snidely, causing Jae to laugh.

“Changmin, don’t act like you hate Jae because it’s obvious that you two are falling back into your old love/hate routine,” Yunho told him with a knowing smile.

Before Changmin could deny the truth of Yunho’s statement, Jae bounced off the bed. “I have an appointment with my stylist. I have to do something with my hair before I leave for America tomorrow. I am thinking about going blonde again.”

“No!” Yunho replied quickly with a frown. “Why can’t you just leave it black?”

“Because black is boring,” Jae said, walking over and grabbing his jacket and car keys.

“Maybe his boyfriends in America like his hair blond,” Changmin said, taunting Jae purposely as he sat down next to Yunho.

“They weren’t boyfriends, they were just fuck buddies,” Jae snapped back at Changmin and walked over to stand in front of Yunho. “They don’t get a vote when it comes to my hair and sadly My Love since we are just friends you don’t either.”

“That’s okay. I am thinking of shaving mine. So everybody can see the scar,” Yunho informed Jae with a serious face.

Jae eyes opened wide, his mouth fell open and his expression was one of such horror that Changmin bent over laughing and clapping his hands. “We will talk about this when I get back.”

“What do you mean? We are just friends, we don’t have votes when it comes to each other’s hair choices,” Yunho told Jae as the other man headed for the door.

“I have a vote!” Was the last thing Yunho heard as Jae hurried out the door.

“Hyung, you should totally do it.”

“I totally should.”

“It would be so shocking and think of all the sympathy…” Changmin stopped when he noticed the head neurologist in charge of Yunho’s care Dr. Gwak had walked into the room.

“Doctor, you ready to send me home?” Yunho asked the doctor immediately. It was the same question that Yunho has been greeting him with for weeks.

“My miracle patient is always so eager to leave,” Dr. Gwak grinned and told him.

“I feel great. I get my staples out tomorrow. I don’t have an IV anymore. I am using a cane. I am so ready to go home,” Yunho said with a hopeful smile.

“You are progressing quicker than anybody could have hoped for, but we have kept you here longer so we can monitor you on your new medications,” the doctor told him, as he pulled up a chair and sat across from Yunho.

“I’m on new medicines?” Yunho asked with a confused look on his face.

“Yes, and that’s what I am here to talk with you about. I am going to discuss a private matter…you might want your friend to leave,” the doctor suggested, looking at Changmin.

“It’s fine with me if he stays. He knows everything about me,” Yunho told Dr. Gwak, and Changmin nodded his head in agreement.

“You are a young, good looking male and the combination of medications they had you on before basically left you neutered. I know you can’t be happy with this.”

“What do you mean exactly? Like he’s impotent?” Changmin asked the doctor when Yunho didn’t say anything.

“Basically he was impotent. They were frequently adjusting your medications so I am sure there might have been moments of…arousal, but I doubt anything could have been maintained.”

Yunho moaned and leaned back on the bed, “I just didn’t feel anything period…no desires most of the time.”

“That is perfectly normal with the combination of medications they were using, and also after a traumatic brain injury sometimes it leaves a person impotent,” the doctor explained to him.

“I am not impotent,” Yunho assured him.

“How do you know? If you haven’t had any desire?” Changmin questioned uncomfortably.

“I said no desire most of the time. During the last couple of weeks before my injury…there were times I felt something and I even was able to…you know,” Yunho explained, blushing.

Changmin frowned and the doctor concluded, “They were shuffling your medication around a lot at the end. They were trying to get you off such high doses.”

“So he either has to be impotent or live with seizures?” Changmin asked in shock then turned to Yunho looking worried.

“That isn’t what I said. We have him on new medications now that should not inhibit him in any way, but it does require a couple more days in the hospital and a few more tests before we let him go home on them.”

“Just a couple more days?” Yunho said, brightening instantly.

The doctor smiled. “Yes but I want you to take it easy for a couple of weeks…no working. Just get used to living again outside the hospital walls. Also I can not stress enough…no alcohol. None at all. You have to take your medicine regularly or you will be right back in here.”

“So he will always have seizures?” Changmin asked, not liking the sound of that.

“Seizures will always be a high possibility if not a certainty with the kind of brain injury he had. Also his speech impairment will never go away completely. It will continue to show itself but only in stressful situations or with excessive tiredness. He may go months without any speech impairment but it will never be completely gone. There is also your right side to take into account, it might weaken at times depending on your control. You probably do not even realize how much effort it takes to maintain your right side now. With the lack of proper rest this control will falter. You have been cared for ever since you woke up. If you didn’t get enough sleep you still got rest. You have to be very careful not to push yourself…your body is remarkably resilient but it will never be the same as it was before.”

“So even if I do everything right I still might have a seizure?” Yunho asked in dread.

“Yes, and this is why you can never drive a vehicle again. Not only for your safety but for everybody else on the road,” The Dr. Gwak explained. “I want you to be fully aware of your limitat…” The Doctor stopped explaining when his beeper went off. Then Dr. Gwak looked at his beeper and immediately stood up. “I have to go. We will talk more in the next couple of days.”

“I can’t drive and I can’t drink,” Yunho said, as the doctor walked out of the room.

“I will chauffer you around when we don’t have a driver. You never drank that much anyway…well when you weren’t depressed and I don’t drink anymore either so we can be sober together,” Changmin admitted.

Yunho turned to Changmin, surprised. “You don’t drink anymore?”

Changmin stared up at the ceiling avoiding Yunho’s gaze. “It got where it was no good for me.”

Yunho immediately knew something was wrong. “Changmin, did something happen…”

“So I guess your medicine explains why Jae doesn’t do anything for you anymore? Huh?” Changmin said, changing the topic fast.

Yunho knew he was being distracted purposely but he allowed it…for now. “Thank God he went to get his hair done. Can you imagine his response to this news?”

“He would have physically thrown Dr. Gwak and me from the room and had his way with you,” Changmin said cringing. “Are you going to tell him?”

“No!” Yunho answered quickly.

“You think you can hide this from him? How can you when you two are all over each other and proclaiming your love daily?”

“I have hid it from him before. Like I said the last couple of weeks at Clear Creek it was starting to work again, but luckily by then I was dressing myself and he was sleeping on the floor. We had boundaries then…boundaries that I have completely obliterated since my seizure.”

Changmin darted his eyes around the room. “So you have no intention of getting involved with him again.”

“I love him but this is for the best. The world we live in now is no different from the world we lived in before I got shot. He made it very clear to my mother that he wasn’t willing to sacrifice his career…and in order for us to really be together we would have to do just that,” Yunho explained to Changmin.

Changmin shook his head, disagreeing. “I don’t believe he knew what he was saying because I think if it came down to you and…anything else in the world he would always pick you. He’s crazy when it comes to you…nothing comes close to matching his love for you.”

Yunho sighed, “There are more kinds of love than romantic love. I love you. I want you to always be in my life. We are perfectly brotherly. I need to find something pure like that with Jae.”

Changmin snorted, “You are fooling yourself if you think you can ever be brotherly with Jae…it is sick and incestuous to even think it. You two are not brotherly.”

Yunho frowned. “Well we can be friendly then, because even if I am firing on all cylinders…I don’t want to have sex with him.”

Changmin looked at Yunho doubtfully. “Are you perhaps lying to yourself?”

“Whenever I get intimate with Jae…it’s like all my embarrassment, disappointment, and anger come racing back at me. There is an invisible barrier between us and I just get this sick feeling,” Yunho confessed to Changmin.

“I agree with it being sick, but…”

“And then there are the tattoos. How can you be intimate with somebody when their body is this huge turn off? The Junsu and Micky tattoos on his backside just mock me,” Yunho interrupted Changmin to add and his face showed his hatred for the tattoos in question.

“I can totally see where that would be distasteful. I am surprised he hasn’t had them scrapped off knowing how you feel,” Changmin said, only slightly joking.

“Oh, he has no clue how I feel about them.”

“He doesn’t?”

“Not a clue. I once went insane on him after seeing them…but still he never figured out what set me off,” Yunho admitted. “I was very awful to him and it is not my proudest moment.”

“I am sure he deserved it.”

“No, he didn’t. It was bad. I just felt…”

“Left out?”

“Yes, but also rage and jealously. I don’t know why he puts up with me.”

“The same reason you put up with him and all his flaws,” Changmin said, rolling his eyes. “So Jae doesn’t know you hate his tattoos or that you are back in working order. Is there any other lies you would like me to keep for you?”

“He can’t know I am going home in a couple days. He needs to go to America and work. If he finds out I am leaving he is just going to freak and find some way to get out of going.”

Changmin turned to Yunho and asked, “You do know he thinks you are going back to Clear Creek right?”

“I know that. It’s better for him to think that instead of knowing the truth,” Yunho explained. “He sees Clear Creek as some special place for us. If he finds out I am going to Dads…it won’t be good.”

“I can see why you wouldn’t want him to know that,” Changmin agreed, nodding his head.

“My mom and sister will be there too, and even though they don’t hate on him…he will still feel paranoid. It’s going to be weird to see my parents in the same house and not married. I might need you to come and rescue me.”

“Surely they won’t fight, but if they do just call and I’ll come to the rescue.”

“My hero,” Yunho said with a grin.

“I doubt it will come to that though. There is no way Jae is going to be away from you for two weeks…and than it can be your parents, your sister, Jae, and you all staying together it can be one big happy family,” Changmin said, smirking. “I wonder who will win in the death match between your father and Jae. I am going to vote for Jae…he has crazy on his side.”

“That isn’t…” Yunho was interrupted when his phone started ringing. Yunho answered, “Hello…if your black hair is gone I am going to ask a nurse for a razor…Changmin will do it for me…I am serious…you will see…good question…I think I am craving chicken tonight…Changmin is leaving…he has to go see Minho…what time do you leave in the morning…Okay…see you soon…love you too.”

“You gotta stop with the love you at the end!” Changmin said, looking grossed out.

“I think I am just going to start adding it to all my conversations. Life is too short not to tell people how much you love them, so when you call me get ready. I love you, Changmin,” Yunho warned, enjoying the annoyance in Changmin’s eyes.

“You just…sometimes I have to remind myself that you have had a serious brain injury,” Changmin said, trying to look fierce but ended up laughing. “So I am leaving? I have to go see Minho? That’s so nice to know because I thought Minho was in Japan.”

“Well at least it’s a plane ride you are used to and won’t Minho be surprised.”

“I think I shall go see Kyuhyun and Ryeowook instead.” Changmin said, watching Yunho’s expression closely. “I haven’t really seen them since the press conference.”

“You should totally go and see them. If you see Heechul tell him I love him,” Yunho said, loving to aggravate the younger man.

“I will not.”

“Who couldn’t love Heechul?”

“Men should not go around proclaiming...” Changmin stopped when he realized Yunho was messing with him. “So you are going to soften Jae up, so when he finds out you left the hospital earlier than he thought and bypassed Clear Creek he won’t go psychotic on you?” Changmin said knowingly.

“Yes, but I am also thinking of what’s best for him. He has to be at the airport at 5am. You two don’t need to be fighting over the couch tonight. Plus you know how much I will miss him,” Yunho explained to the man sitting beside him.

“And you don’t want to share your chicken with me,” Changmin told him as he reached over and patted Yunho on the back.

“And I don’t want to share my chicken.”


Five days later, Jae walked back into the room that he had lived in with Yunho for so long and came to a dead stop as his heart skipped a beat. The room was completely empty and all signs that Yunho had ever been in the room were erased.

He stood there in absolute silence unable to move. He had no idea how long he stood there and stared at the bed that he had shared, but really never shared with Yunho.

“Jae…” Hana questioned softly from behind him disturbing him from his torturous thoughts.

Jae jumped and turned around his face full of venom. “You still have your job? How exactly did you manage that?”

Hana blinked. “I didn’t do anything wrong.”

“Yunho almost died because of you. If you had not lied to me on the phone…none of this would have happened? How can you stand there and tell me you did nothing wrong?” Jae spit out at her, clenching his hands in fists trying his best to not strike out at her.

Hana swallowed. “Okay I did do things wrong, but taking him to the waiting room wasn’t wrong. Answering your phone call was wrong. I shouldn’t have done that.”

“You bitch.”

“He had just ignored your phone call, but he had said that it would be better if you thought he was playing cards so when you called I just told you what he would have told you if…”

“If he were a liar like you?”

“Yes, I lied. I shouldn’t have but I never dreamed the doors were malfunctioning and he was going to a stroll out in the middle of the snow,” Hana hurried to explain.

“You were in our business constantly you should have known I had my reasons!” Jae yelled at her, wanting so badly to slap her.

“I didn’t know the Awards were going to upset him…how could I? He seemed so much better the last month. You two had stopped fighting and he was so close to going home…but you are right I was too much into your business,” Hana said in her defense as she took a step back away from an infuriated Jae.

“You used to be a fan of us being together, when did that all change? When did you decide you wanted Yunho for yourself?” Jae said moving closer to her, his rage becoming unleashed.

“I never wanted him for myself, but after what you, Yoochun and Junsu did to him I didn’t want you to have him either.”

“What?” Jae said, stopping in his tracks instantly not expecting that response.

“For so long he was helpless and like this perfect dream that was destroyed and you were so dedicated to him. The first word out of his mouth that was understandable was your name. It was like a wonderful Yunjae dream come true…it was like proof that all of us Yunjae fans weren’t completely insane after all. I always wanted you together until…” Hana stopped.

“Until when?” Jae said, suddenly feeling very nauseated.

“The day Yoochun visited I was in the bathroom…cleaning. I should have left but I didn’t. I heard things that no fan should ever hear.”

“What were you cleaning?” Jae asked, his legs suddenly weak and his voice barely above a whisper.

“Yunho. He…had made a mess. We had taken the catheter out earlier that morning and he hadn’t been able to control his bladder. He was so embarrassed. I promised him I wouldn’t tell anyone that he had wet himself. We were in the bathroom when you and Yoochun came into the room.”

“No,” Jae said, sitting on the floor.

“After watching him listen to you two fighting…seeing his face and all that pain. I just never felt the same for you…not after knowing how you could hurt him so viciously. You had always been my bias before, but after all those months of nursing him, watching him overcome insurmountable odds, I just felt too protective of him. So many of the fans blamed him, turned on him, hated him and they have no idea about what really happened. It just…”

“I don’t owe you an explanation!” Jae told her harshly. He wasn’t going to defend himself to her.

“I know you don’t. I know the whole truth is probably much more complicated than I can imagine. I just want you to know I am sorry.”

“Just go,” Jae told her without even looking at her. Yunho had overheard his fight with Yoochun…that was the same day as the terrible headache. Did Jae inflict that pain on him too? Jae hugged himself when an almost physical pain hit him as he thought of how embarrassed Yunho must had already been and then to overhear the fight.

What else had Yunho kept from him? Jae couldn’t help but wonder as he looked around the empty room now. He hadn’t even heard Hana walk off. Of course Yunho had no idea that Jae was back in Korea…his plan to surprise Yunho had gone terribly wrong.

It was early morning but that didn’t stop Jae from pulling out his phone and calling Yunho. It didn’t take long for a groggy sounding Yunho to pick up. “What secrets are you keeping from me…just answer me…it doesn’t matter where I am…I need to know where you are…your dads…” Jae felt as if the air had suddenly been sucked out of his lungs. “No…why the hell did you not tell me…well you failed…it doesn’t matter now…I thought we had more time…we were supposed to have more time before Christmas and then you went and ruined everything…you robbed me of more time…I am not ready to live separate lives…I never will be ready…I have to go…I can’t do this anymore…don’t call me back.” Jae told him as he turned his phone off struggling to control his emotions.

Jae covered his face with his hands and tried to control his body that was beginning to shake as the reality of the situation hit him. Yunho was not his and he would never allow himself to be Jae’s again. Yunho loved him but he would never completely trust him. Their time together had come to an end. Jae was very close to breaking down and sobbing when a familiar old, gruff, voice broke the silence.

“I never liked you.”

Jae jerked his head up and stared at Maggie in shock, surprised at her words. “Why? Do you still blame me for spilling the urine? I didn’t mean to. It was an accident.”

“I didn’t like you before that,” the elderly lady told him without a second’s hesitation. “I didn’t like you because you reminded me of myself.”

Jae mouth dropped open, not expecting that admission. She was an elderly housekeeper and he was an idol beloved by millions. How could they ever resemble each other?

“I was once young, madly and obsessively in love…just like you are.”

“Then I feel sorry for you.”

“I was a dancer on a cruise ship when I met him. Two days later I was in his bed knowing I would love him forever,” she told Jae as she clung to the broom in her hand as she thought back on decades past.

“Umm…” Jae was unable to manage anything else to escape his mouth. He really had no desire to hear about this old woman’s sex escapades from years past.

“He was Korean and extremely successful. He made a fortune during the war. He wanted me as much as I wanted him. He was fluent in English so there wasn’t any communication barrier between us. We were very taboo back then - an Asian man and a black woman, but we were determined to be together.”

“That’s how you ended up in Korea?” Jae asked, now more interested in her story. He had always been curious as to how Maggie had ended up in Korea.

“Yes, he took me back home with him…so I could be the maid to his pregnant wife.” She stopped as she watched Jae’s eyes widen in shock. “I was to be the maid during the day and his lover every opportunity the night rewarded us. Our love was passionate, all consuming, and a very selfish love. He was all that I cared about…nothing else mattered and that’s why you remind me of my old self.”

“I wouldn’t…” Then Jae stopped because she was right. If Yunho ever married and then decided he wanted Jae…Jae would be more than willing and to hell with Yunho’s wife. She hadn’t confessed to anything…he himself wouldn’t do if it meant being with Yunho.

“You would. You have that same maddening love that I had, but Handsome would never do such horrible things would he?”

“No, he wouldn’t. He could never throw everything away just to be with me. No matter how much I love him…it’s never enough!” Jae said, slamming his hands down on the floor suddenly unreasonable angry not even bothering to deny his love for Yunho.

“I believe there is a price for being loved so completely…and Handsome has already paid that price hasn’t he?”

“What do you mean?” Jae asked suddenly on guard. What exactly was she talking about?

“I think you can love somebody too much…that the Gods become jealous,” she explained, as she walked away from Jae and toward the window.

“I have been called a God for years, so forgive me if I scoff at such notions,” Jae told her, his eyes hardening as he watched her look out the window.

“Scoff if you want. I just know the history of my life. I had only been in Korea a few months and I was sitting on the front porch with his very pregnant wife one stormy, spring evening when I watched him walk up the hillside toward us. He was soaking wet but he still smiled at us and waved…I can see it so plainly even now, and then lightening came from the sky and struck the tree he was walking under. The tree split and part of it fell crushing him…he was dead immediately.”

Jae stood up totally speechless…what could he say?

“He was gone. The shock of it all sent her into early labor right there on the porch. I was frozen. I couldn’t think but I slowly came to my senses and I helped her deliver a dead baby.”

“Why are you telling me this?” Jae demanded, feeling extremely uncomfortable and feeling the urge to flee the old lady and her tragic tale.

Maggie continued, not fazed by Jae’s demand. “I was a black woman stuck in a strange country with the woman whose husband I had bedded repeatedly. She took me in…although for all the decades we spent together she never stopped hating me. Neither of us married and we lived in that same house on the hillside till she had stroke and came here.”

“Is she still here?”

“No, she died a long time ago and left me the house on the hillside.”

“Why are you telling me this?” Jae repeated.

Maggie turned around and gave Jae a look of almost fondness, “I can’t live at the house any longer, but I have never been able to sell it. I rent it out at times. People pay good money to stay in it. It’s in a secluded area…no one would bother you there.”

“What?” Jae asked more confused.

Maggie walked up to him and placed house keys in his hand. “I know what it is to be robbed of time.”
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