Well, it seems it's time to show you more of that loose end I would've liked they covered more in Orange Marmalade, which is of course about Shi Hoo. I'd like to hear what you think about it!

Marathon Orange Marmalade Now:

Previously on Orange Marmalade: Look At Me

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12

Orange Marmalade: Look At Me
Chapter 13: Found Out

When I told Ma Ri I would hold her to her word I didn’t think it would happen that soon. I honestly didn’t believe I would need her help and support so soon, and for something I don’t even understand.

I guess the problem didn’t come out overnight, the hints where there before and I was too naive to think trying to kill myself was going to bring only consequences with the VSC. A third of my body got burnt that day, and even if vampires heal fast, it doesn’t come for free. Wounds caused by the sun take longer to heal and are extremely painful, almost as any burnt wound would hurt a human. I should’ve died that day, instead, I was put in a coma to help me heal.

I’m not sure what exactly happened to my body that day, what purposely exposing myself to the sun means, but by now I’m starting to get a hint.

Recently the sun bothered me, even when I was diligently getting my SPA dose, it still hurt. And it has been getting worse every day, to the point I need to use two shots now to bear being in the sunlight. My eyes only rest at night, when the sun is completely hidden. Before that they always sting, like I’ve been directly staring at the sun even when I’m indoors. My skin is always kind of reddish when I walk under the sun and no sun protector can help me with that, only long sleeves and caps. It’s a good thing we vampires have a lower body temperature, otherwise it’d be hell.

I just want winter to arrive… if I make it to winter.

I have a fear that the SPA will stop working on me and I’ll be left like in the old times, before vampires developed the drug that allowed those who didn’t feed from human blood to walk under the sun. I’ll be bound to nighttime, like the stereotypical vampire.

The problem isn’t only that, it gets worse. First, I have school and if I keep missing days, Uncle won’t stop pestering me and I’m afraid even Jo Ah Ra will show up at my door. My parents will also get worried and drag me to school. And if that wasn’t enough, there’s also the band. We perform outdoors, under the sun, which means pain for me. And if that wasn’t enough, we are doing great, we are even considering signing the contract so we can spread our music even farther. How are we going to do that when I can barely stand the sunlight? And if the SPA stops working? I could quit the band, it won’t be the end of the world, but I doubt the kids will let me, especially Ma Ri. She doesn’t need me, but to be honest she is the reason I agreed to join them. I don’t need to be in a band to play music, I can do that on my own, but I started playing with them for her. And now that she’s doing fine with he kids, I don’t need to stay around. Besides, these kids have the very inconvenient mindset of all together or not at all, which means, I won’t have it easy if I want to quit. Or at least I’ll have to explain things to them and I can’t be bothered.

And to top all that, I don’t really want to tell Ma Ri about this problem because I don’t want to add more trouble to her life.

Oh yeah, her parents finally found out about Jung Jae Min. If I’m being honest, they took longer than I expected.

You know what’s weird? That I’m present when this happens, and hear the the lecture later.

The one that finds out is her appa, because we all go together after a performance to the cafe he’s working at, and Ma Ri and her boyfriend can’t be discreet with their couple-like behaviour, so her appa sees them when they are holding hands, even when she just kisses Jung Jae Min’s cheek when he has a good idea he shares with all of us.

It’s actually quite dramatic, almost amusing how he drops the tray with the ice creams, causing many people to gasp and even jump on their seats at the loud noise, but that doesn’t seem to wake Ma Ri’s appa from his trance. He keeps watching his daughter and the human boy, holding hands. She watches him with big doe eyes.

“Appa,” she whines. Only then Jung Jae Min realises the situation. He probably didn’t expect Ma Ri hadn’t told her parents she was dating a human.

“Hello, I’m Jung Jae Min. I’m Ma Ri’s classmate, leader of the band and… boyfriend,” he introduces himself.

“B-boyfriend?” the man mutters, still struggling with that.

“Appa, I meant to tell you but…” the words die in her mouth, she can’t even come up with an excuse.

I sigh, leaning back in my chair and just watching the scene. I can tell the other kids are quite uncomfortable, trying not to stare, but failing. And thankful, because they are in a café where Ma Ri’s appa work at, this doesn’t end up in a scene. Besides, his boss comes quickly, who turns out to be Jung Jae Min’s omma, my uncle’s wife.

Oh, this world is such a small place.

It doesn’t get better from there, the kids can’t stay much longer, coming with excuses to leave, even Jo Ah Ra, she also asks me to go with her but Ma Ri sends me one pleading look and it’s enough to tell me she needs me as backup. I decline the human girl’s offer. She seems annoyed with my answer, but doesn’t say anything and just leaves. Jung Jae Min stays roaming, but Ma Ri must convince him that it’s better if he also leaves.

“We’ll talk at home. Wait for me there,” her appa tells her and she just nods. I don’t think I’ve seen him this serious, ever.

I don’t even need to ask, I know I have to go with her because she’s too nervous to be on her own. She can’t even focus. I have to stop her from bumping into a light post quite a few times. After the third time I just decide to wrap my arm around her shoulders and guide her instead of letting her walk on her own.

“He… he looked disappointed,” Ma Ri mutters when we’re almost at her place. “He’s never looked at me like that before.”

“He was just shocked,” I tell her, trying to comfort her, even when it’s a lie. He really looked disappointed when he saw his beloved daughter dating a human. “Don’t tell him he’s the reason why you endured all that bullying and wanted to join the coexistence program. Don’t even tell him he’s why you used your special abilities that time.”

“But that’d shown how serious I am,” she defies and I shake my head.

“From their perspective it’ll only mean he’s the reason you’ve suffered so much. I doubt they’ll like him if they find out that. Just a piece of advice, you do what you want at the end. It’s not like you listen to me.” I roll my eyes, shaking my head hopelessly. I’m not exactly being funny, but she does giggle a bit.

“I think you’re right.” she agrees and I exaggerate my gasp, succeeding at making her laugh.

“You aren’t that stupid after all.”

Gomawo,” she says with a sad smile next. “For not leaving me alone. I’m quite scared.” she confesses next and I nod.

“I know, otherwise I wouldn’t be here. Remember I was only let out if I became your black night?” I remind her and she smiles fondly. “I’m just doing my job.”

She leans a bit closer to me, finding support and warmth, which is what she really needs now. We make it to her house and wait for her appa. Her omma is there and I think she knows already, too, but doesn’t say a word. Joseph has been put to sleep earlier, so I know this will be a serious conversation. I’m advised to leave, but Ma Ri holds my wrist, stopping me from doing so. Her omma accepts I won’t be leaving anytime soon.

By the time Ma Ri’s appa arrives, she’s almost trembling and I have to hold her hand to calm her down. She holds on to me desperately, and even if I would like to say something to her, I don’t.

“I just… why, Ma Ri-ah, why?” her appa asks, that’s the first thing he really says. “I know not all humans are bad, some can understand, and a relationship between a human and a vampire isn’t unheard of, but why? You know what that means, what you’re sacrificing by choosing one.”

Ma Ri looks down because she can’t deny that. Vampires are supposed to stay together, to help one another.

“I know,” she mumbles. “But I really, really like him.”

“I’m sure you do, or you wouldn’t be with him if that wasn’t the case,” her omma contributes. “But it’s just… I don’t even think he’s a bad boy, but why a human? Why not a vampire boy?” she stops and her eyes dart to me, then to our hands together. “Why not Shi Hoo-ah? He’s like family already, he’s one of us.”

She turns around, looking at her husband for support.

“We were getting so excited at the idea of you two together, but you already had a boyfriend… and you didn’t say anything to us, Ma Ri-ah,” the man says, sounding so defeated, almost heartbroken. I think that the fact Ma Ri didn’t tell them hurts him the most. “We were talking about arranging your marriage, thinking it was the best idea given that you two are already close. I guess we’ll have to apologise to Shi Hoo-ah’s parents.” he continues, practically talking only to his wife.

Mianhae,” she apologises, looking down, even letting go of my hand to place both of hers on her knees in a more formal posture.

Her parents only sigh, not even meeting her eyes and by the way her hands tremble, I can tell she’s really sorry, she feels awful for causing this to her parents. I suppose she never thought what it could mean for the rest of us that she chose to be with a human. It wasn’t just making him accept her for who she is, that was just the beginning, now she has to make everyone accept them. And in my opinion, that’s a harder task.

So yeah, it’s quite a chaotic time right now. How can I even tell Ma Ri what’s wrong in my life when she’s trapped in this storm? I know she promised to help me if I ever needed her, but I think she needs me more.

Besides, how bad can it be what’s happening to me? It can’t be that bad… Right?

This is a work of fiction with no profit intent. All characters and context belong to the rightful writers of the webcomic and drama. This is made by a crazy obsessed fan for other fans who suffer from Second Lead Syndrome.

Bel, xx

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