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Missed Call (version 2)

Disclaimer : I'm a huge KPop fan and you will come across names and photographs of KPop idols in most of my stories. They are my muse and inspiration in so many ways. The incidents and characters are fictional and have no resemblance to any K pop idol in any manner.

The phone rang but Sarah couldn't take the call. It rang again and again. Annoyed, Sarah came out of the washroom wearing her bath robe, shampoo still on her hair. She saw the missed calls. She knew the number by heart even if the contact wasn't named! Stunned, she held the phone in her hand and kept staring at it! How is it even possible!!! How did he get her number?

She kept the phone back and washed her hair. She didn't pick up the calls from that number, nor did she bother to call back!

Her thoughts went back to that fateful winter morning when they met for the first time.

He was waiting for the bus. Covered from head to toe in warm clothes, sunglasses shielding his eyes from the sun's glare and a mask hiding his face. All you could see was a regal high bridged nose, red and cold. Well, it was freezing!

Sarah dug her gloved hands deeper into her warm pockets and waited for her bus. She wasn't wearing sunglasses or mask and rummaged in her bag for the same. Even if he thinks she copied him, it's ok! Oh, why didn't she think about it first!! As she put on the mask and her sunglasses, he turned and looked at her, bowing his head in greeting(?) or in acknowledgement (?).... She wasn't sure, but she returned the gesture.

Was he Asian? Generally she has seen Asians bowing in respect like this.... There was no way of telling because all she could see was his nose!

They boarded the same bus and even got off at the same stop- University. Sarah noticed as he slowed down to let her catch up with him. She quickly walked towards him and they continued to walk in silence. As they approached the entrance of the main building, they took off their masks and sunglasses and looked at each other.

Time froze for Sarah as she found herself strongly attracted to his mesmerising blue eyes. Tall, blond hair( dyed; she noticed the black roots), warm smile. He was just stunning! She was startled as he held out a gloved hand and said," Hi! I'm Kim Taehyun. You can call me Tae! Final year, Music." Of course, has to be music! That deep baritone gave her goosebumps...

Sarah- Hello Tae! Sarah James. Final year, Fine Arts. What a coincidence! It's the first time in 2 years that I have boarded the bus with someone who lives in my neighbourhood and is in the same University as me! Are you new here?

Tae- Not in the University, but new in your neighbourhood! I shifted to a flat close to the bus stop, this Sunday. I used to live in the dorms, but decided to shift. That area has a lot of potential for my future plans!

Sarah- Really? What future plans? Teaching music?

Tae- Yes... It's a residential area with schools around. I think I will get some students and earn some money!

Sarah- No doubt! Vocal or instrumental?

Tae- Both!

Sarah- Wow! That's really impressive! I always wanted to learn the piano but it never happened!

Tae- You can be my first student,Sarah!

Sarah smiled at Tae's frankness,trying to see if he is flirting. No, he wasn't! He was just being friendly. Kim Taehyun had an innocence and openness which she hardly came across in guys that age! He was polite and soft spoken, with a warm smile and a firm handshake. It's his eyes that somehow didn't fit in with his mild persona. His blue eyes glowed with passion and intensity, which belied his calm exterior. Not in a bad way though! It just made him a little more interesting than he already was....

Sarah and Tae walked towards their respective classes, hoping to travel back together. Good company always made the tedious bus travel bearable.

It had become a routine now as they travelled to and fro together. They learnt a lot about each other's nature, likes and dislikes. Sarah had also started her piano classes with Tae and paid him back with Art lessons. Tae was very keen on learning how to paint and Sarah obliged willingly!

Naturally they started to develop feelings for each other and soon started dating. Tae still hadn't changed. He was still friendly and open minded. It was Sarah who gradually discovered her possessive side and experienced emotions like envy and jealousy every time a girl was seen around Tae.

Kim Taehyun was a passionate musician and artist. His depth and intensity was evident in his paintings and his music. Sarah had introduced him to social media and his good looks, velvety voice and pleasant personality earned him thousands of fans on FB, YT, Twitter and Instagram. However, not being very tech savvy, he left his social media for Sarah to handle!

After graduating from the University, Tae and Sarah went to the Registrar and got married, witnessed by their parents and some friends. They shifted into a new flat together and ran Art and Music classes making good money in the posh residential area.

Sarah was busy handling Tae's social media accounts and had effortlessly transformed into an efficient Manager for her husband. She organised fan meetings online or in small venues for Tae.

Already an Internet sensation, Tae had the attention of media houses. Many record labels wanted to work with him, but one small music company caught his eye because it was owned by his childhood friend Suga. Both studied together in school although Suga was way senior. Tae was still in school, when Suga had started writing music, rapping and singing at small gigs and now he had his own company. Suga had noticed his old friend Tae making waves on the Net and approached him immediately. Tae and Sarah met Suga and a contract for 2 years was signed.

The next 2 years were the busiest and most successful for Tae and Suga. Tae was a gold mine for the company and Suga was his biggest fan!

Somewhere among all the new found glitz and glamour, Sarah felt ignored and sidelined. Tae was too busy and had professionals handling his requirements. Everything was official. The two friends had signed a contract for another 5 years.

Sarah went back to teaching Art and spent most of her time alone at home. Tae had no time for her.... Sometimes she wished Suga and Tae never met! She knew she was being unreasonably jealous of Suga but she couldn't help it. She was married but they had no children, because Tae was always tired when he came home and his stay at home was short! Frustrated and depressed, Sarah decided to take a break.

She packed her suitcase and booked herself on a cruise. She was lucky to get a last minute discount ticket and had three hours to board. Sarah left a message for Tae saying she needed some time alone without giving any details. She had always wanted to go on one with Tae but it never happened!

The cruise was delightful and she spent one full week exploring the beautiful places they stopped by. She switched her phone off as she totally disconnected herself from everything ! She just wanted to enjoy being alone...She took pictures and shopped for little souvenirs. She missed Tae but she was used to being alone now. A strange feeling of contentment and happiness inside her healed her soul.

Happy, healed and full of energy, she came back home to find an extremely sulky and upset Tae, waiting for her. The moment he saw her, he got up and slapped her right across her face.

Tae- Where were you? Where did you go? Do you know how worried I was? Do you even care?

Sarah was shocked and had tears in her eyes. With a trembling hand she touched her red cheek and whispered shakily," Thank you for your concern." She walked into her room, locked the door and cried for hours. She heard Tae knocking on the door but ignored it. Tired and emotionally spent, she slept.

She woke up to a sunny morning, but she felt more like a dark night! She walked out of the room but couldn't find Tae. Well, what did she expect anyway! Obviously she wasn't his priority! She made breakfast, washed clothes, cleaned the house, cooked some lunch for Tae and went for a bath.

She felt calmer now. She had decided to move out and looked for a house in the newspaper. She found one where a student needed a roommate immediately. She was ok with anything right now! Sarah packed her clothes and Art supplies, locking the door behind her. This time she left no message for Tae.

Sarah's roommate was a young studious college student. She quickly settled in and started taking Art lessons in a small school close by. It paid enough for her needs. Her home tuitions also helped financially.

Tae had called her a few days back but she didn't take his call. He never called again. She changed her phone number and completely vanished from social media, where Tae was omnipresent. She never forgot his number though.....It was etched on her heart permanently now...

The missed call brought back bittersweet memories of a beautiful past that she wanted to leave behind.... When Sarah left Tae's house that day, she just wanted to start afresh without being a burden to him in any way.... He was famous and always in the public eye. She wasn't looking for attention any way! She was happy being a nobody, living an ordinary life, on her own terms!

Sarah turned on the TV for some distraction. The news channel displayed a photograph of Tae and the headline said-

" Global internet sensation Kim Taehyun attempted suicide in his hotel room. He is however safe now and undergoing treatment. Police is trying to get in touch with his friends, family and others to find out more about it."

Sarah sat on the couch, too shocked to react. She noticed that Tae was in a hospital close to her place. Was he around this place all this time? Was he probably looking for me? She got ready and went to the hospital. She somehow managed to wade through the sea of reporters and saw Suga coming out of the room. He was immediately swarmed by the paparazzi and Sarah managed to sneak into Tae's room.

Tae was sitting up in his bed, looking sad and tired. He noticed Sarah and his eyes widened in shock. There was no fire, no passion in those sad eyes. He looked at her blankly and then looked down and said," I'm sorry Sarah..."

Sarah was suddenly overcome with emotion and slapped Tae. Then she hugged him tight and cried with him. Both of them sat like that crying and hugging.

Suga had come inside and saw them together. Sarah let go of Tae and looked at Suga, who looked relieved to see her.

Suga- Thank God you are here! We went crazy trying to locate you....

Sarah- I'm glad he is ok. Look after him please.

She got up but Tae wouldn't let go of her hand.

Tae- Sarah! Please don't go! Don't leave me alone again.... Nothing is more important to me than you.... I'm sorry I took you and your love for granted! I'm sorry I ignored your needs, your dreams and wishes! I'm sorry I hit you.... I'm so sorry.... I can't live without you Sarah! Please don't go...."

Tae was sobbing and pleading with Sarah while Suga watched them, wondering what Sarah will do.

Sarah- Tae, I lost myself once.... I can't lose myself again.... I love you and I know you love me too. But it's the best for us to follow our separate paths... I wish you all the success and happiness, Tae...

She kissed his forehead ,gave him a long tight hug and left the room.

It took Tae some time to recover and come to terms with whatever happened. He knew Sarah was gone for good but he wanted to see her one last time before he left the country.

Tae called her number, but she said she was busy. Tae told her, as he was on his way to the airport," Sarah, just give me a missed call if you ever change your mind.... I love you! Please forgive me....." He hung up.

Immediately, Sarah called back and he picked up.

Sarah- You said I should give you a missed call when I change my mind! Why did you pick up then, you idiot? Come back home before I change my mind again!

Tae asked his driver to take him back home. He ran out of the car as he saw Sarah at the door with her suitcases. He hugged her tight and cried like a child. Sarah held him close and said," Tae, never leave me alone ever again! "

Tae- Never, sweetheart! I will never leave you alone ever again....

Together they walked into their home, holding hands and looking forward to a fresh start.

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