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A Drop of Love in TVXQ's Red Ocean

the ramblings of an international Cassiopeian

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The Independent Woman
Title: The Independent Woman
Pairing: Yunjae
Genre: Romance, Angst
Rating: PG
Length: Oneshot
Summary: Jaejoong is a girl. She is very much her own woman and doesn't want a boyfriend at all. And then Yunho appears and screws up her life.


Jaejoong strode down the hallway, a bag slung on one side, an armful of books in the other as she brushed off offers to help with her heavy load. Catcalls heralded her arrival as she stepped into the classroom and made her way over to her table. Laughing off the long-accustomed morning greeting (it had started off as a joke about how she cared the least about her appearance compared to the other girls in the class and had lasted until now), she settled into her seat and start preparing her materials for the next lesson. Jaejoong would never understand why people persisted in offering help even when she insisted that she was fine. She was perfectly capable of looking after herself, for goodness’ sake. If, at seventeen, she couldn’t even carry her own books, she’d never be worthy of the title “strong, independent woman”.

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw him walk into the classroom and her senses went on full alert.

Tanned, golden brown skin that barely contained rippling muscles. Strong jawline, high cheekbones. Dark, almost black eyes that constantly danced with mirth. Glossy black hair, spiked high on his head.


Oh, Yunho, of heavenly, god-like descent. Of the dreamland of unicorns pooping rainbows and sugar candy mountain. The hero of her most epic dreams. Yunho…

She blinked.

No, Jaejoong, she thought, mentally whacking herself over the head. You do not need nor want a man in your life. You live an independent lifestyle that is completely incompatible with that of a man. A boyfriend would only give you misery. Besides, you’re taking your IB exam this year and he would only take up time that you don’t have. Are we clear? Good.

But her heart still fluttered as Yunho turned and sent a dazzling smile her way.


Jaejoong scanned the cafeteria for Yoochun. Spotting her in the far corner, she gave her a quick wave and wriggled her way through the maze of cafeteria tables until she reached her table. She unloaded her books on the worn surface with a thump, hoping that the aunties had at least run a damp cloth over it since the last lunch session as she flashed a grin at her best friend. “How’s life, people?” she drawled, not really expecting an answer as she pulled out her lunch and dug into it hungrily.

“Slow down, you’re gonna choke!” Yoochun laughed.

Jaejoong shook her head as she swallowed, wincing as the too-large lump of food forced its way down her throat. “Going to the library in a few. I need to finish writing exam notes for Chapter 9.”

“Dude, you work too hard. The exams are six months away,” Yoochun mumbled thickly, rolling her eyes.

“That’s because I have dreams, Chun. I’m gonna attend a top college and learn everything I need to know and–“

“–graduate with flying colours and become one of the top lawyers in New York, yada yada yada. Seriously, Jae, high school’s supposed to be the best time of your life. You spend all your time with your nose in a book and you’re gonna miss out on all the fun.”

“… Whatever.”


It was exactly two minutes past eleven when a new Messenger window popped up on Jaejoong’s laptop. Her heart stopped.


itsyunhotime says: hey jaejoong

Jaejoong’s fingers were tripping over the keys as she tried to form a cool, natural response.

ohemjae_33 says: hi yunho

itsyunhotime says: tomorrow’s sunday

itsyunhotime says: just wondering, but are you free?

itsyunhotime says: tomorrow i mean

Her heart was pounding, her head was pounding, she wasn’t free, she never was free, she had loads of revision to do, but… Yunho…

She hated herself for being so useless.

ohemjae_33 says: yeah

itsyunhotime says: want to grab a coffee or something?

He was asking her out on a date?

This is your last chance to be smart and say no, Jaejoong. Strong, independent women need no men. Say no!

Oh, fuck it.

ohemjae_33 says: sure

itsyunhotime says: great

itsyunhotime says: starbucks sound good?

itsyunhotime says: the one near the public library?

ohemjae_33 says: yeah, sure

itsyunhotime says: i’ll see you there at 3 then

ohemjae_33 says: yeah

ohemjae_33 says: see you tomorrow

itsyunhotime says: don’t be late :p

–itsyunhotime is now offline–

Jaejoong threw herself down on her bed and screamed into her pillow, berating herself for being so weak, while at the same time spazzing madly because she had a date with the man of her dreams, the man that she really didn’t need and couldn’t afford to have…


Jaejoong tugged nervously at the fringes of her scarf. This scarf looks a bit scruffy, she thought. Maybe I should have worn something a little fancier. But Yoochun picked out my outfit this morning, and she always knows best. But then again how would she know what Yunho likes? All she said was that this was “coffee date fail-safe”. She was pulled from her thoughts by the appearance of a silhouette that she knew all too well in the doorway of the coffee shop.

Act cool, act cool. She gave Yunho a small wave, lighting up a little inside when he spotted her, flashed that trademark grin, and strode over to their corner table. She watched as he took off his jacket, revealing a slim-fit shirt that–

Look at his eyes, look at his eyes, look at his eyes, don’t look at his gorgeous body, just look at his eyes and think about how amazingly dark and clear they are.

“Wow, you’re early,” Yunho grinned. “I’m impressed.”

And that had Jaejoong blushing like a tomato.

If Yunho noticed, he didn’t show it. He continued, “You ordered your coffee?” Jaejoong shook her head, cheeks still flushed. She made to get up, but Yunho stopped her. “Allow me. Espresso, right?”

“It’s all right, I can buy my own coffee–”

“The guy always pays for the girl on the first date. I’ll go get our coffees.” He winked at Jaejoong and strolled over to the counter as she sank back into her chair.

She supposed it was really sweet and romantic of him, especially the part where he said it was a date (!!!). But all the same, she wasn’t used to people doing things for her… She banished the thought from her mind. He’s being really gentlemanly, Jaejoong. Isn’t that what you want?

Yunho returned minutes later, holding two cups of hot, steaming coffee. He set them down on the table and slid into his seat. Espresso for Jaejoong, a cappuccino for himself. They sat in comfortable silence as they sipped at their coffees.

Jaejoong sighed contentedly. Sitting in a cosy coffee shop with nice music playing in the background, a cup of hot, strong coffee in her hands and Yunho sitting opposite her… Life didn’t get much better than this.

“You look so adorable sitting there looking completely happy with the world,” Yunho murmured.

Jaejoong laughed in slight embarrassment. “I do love my coffee. Coffee’s so, so important in my life. Helps keep me awake on late-night study marathons.” Right after she said that, she immediately wished she hadn’t. Way to ruin the mood, Jaejoong.

Yunho simply chuckled and they went back to sitting in companionable silence.


Jaejoong yawned and slid into bed, staring up at the ceiling. The date had gone well, she supposed. With Yunho’s confession that he’d been in love with her since the start of the year and hers that she’d been in love with him for years, it had quickly escalated into them lauding each other with compliments. She couldn’t believe he thought she had pretty eyes. She’d always found them too grey. And she couldn’t believe she’d had the nerve to tell him she thought he had good abs. The chuffed look on his face and her mad blush… She burst into giggles at the memory and buried her face in her pillow, sighing softly. It had been a good day, but there was school tomorrow and she needed her sleep. Closing her eyes, she turned onto her side and pulled the covers up to her chin, a silly little smile still playing about her lips.

Still, she couldn’t help but hear a nagging voice at the back of her head that told her that later, she’d regret ever entering this relationship.


The next morning, Jaejoong stepped out of the house, yelling goodbyes to her parents as she shut the door behind her and set off down the driveway. It was then that she noticed something unusual sitting in the middle of it.

A big, flashy, silver Mercedes. And leaning against the hood was none other than Yunho.

Jaejoong spluttered for a few moments before she managed to form a coherent sentence. “What are you doing here at seven in the morning?”

“Taking you to school, of course. Hop in, Jaejoong.” Yunho opened the passenger door of the car and made a dramatic bow and gesture. Jaejoong remained frozen in position, too stunned to move. He grabbed her by the shoulders and steered her into the car.

Yunho was in the driver’s seat and buckling his seat belt when Jaejoong finally regained the ability to speak. “But… the bus…”

“Bus takes thirty minutes, car takes fifteen. We can stop for breakfast too, if you’d like.” By now, the car was easing out of the driveway and onto the road.

Jaejoong opened and closed her mouth several times before deciding to stay silent. Was this a good time to tell him that she really thought he should consult her before making such decisions? She was so used to doing everything herself, preparing herself for the day when she left home for college so that she’d be able to take care of herself then. If she kept letting Yunho do everything for her, she’d be losing a lifestyle habit that would be an advantage in the future.

She bit her lip.

But Yunho was just being a nice guy, right? Boyfriends are supposed to take care of their girlfriends, so this should be normal, even expected, yeah? Although they weren’t really official yet, but he did mention that yesterday was their first date, but anyway… Tell him now and risk ruining what currently seems to be blossoming into a beautiful relationship or stay silent and risk losing herself?

She opted for the latter. After all, it isn’t every day that the guy that you’ve been crushing on for the past three years finally asks you out and goes out of his way to make sure you’re getting along all right. But if it got worse, she would speak up.


“You seemed awfully quiet in the car. You feeling all right?” Yunho asked concernedly as he helped Jaejoong out of the car and into the school’s parking lot.

“I’m fine, thanks,” Jaejoong said rather stiffly, trying to be tolerant of his over-caring-ness. Inside, she was bristling over his questioning of her ability to look after herself.

“It’s cold out here. Let’s head in.” Yunho wrapped an arm around Jaejoong’s shoulders and she was in heaven. How many times had she imagined being held in those strong arms? That feeling lasted only until they got into the building, however. The smiles and hi’s that usually greeted her as she walked down the hallways were replaced with surprised, almost scared looks from the other students. She noticed that they were usually looking at Yunho. She snuck a peek at Yunho’s face and discovered a fierce glare. Poking him in the side with her elbow, she hissed, “Is it so hard to start the day with a smile?”

He hissed back, “Did you see the way they were looking at you? You’re attached now. Those looks aren’t okay anymore.”

It was kind of cute, she thought, how he was already jealous of people looking at her even though they’d only been together for a day. She rolled her eyes and smiled. Never mind, then.

She supposed she should have anticipated it then when Yunho yelled, “Cut it out!” when the daily catcalls rang out.

There was a shocked silence for a moment before someone called out, “What’s wrong, Yunho? Worried we’ll steal your girl?”

Yunho jerked towards the catcallers, hands balling up into fists, muscles tensing. Jaejoong grabbed his arm, murmuring, “Chill, Yunho. No need to get so worked up.” She felt him stop, and then relax.

“You’re right, Jaejoong. No need to get worked up over nothing.” Yunho exhaled.

For some reason, Jaejoong felt like this relationship wasn’t really going the way she had imagined it would.


“–and he was, like, burning holes in people’s foreheads, the way he was glaring at everyone like they owed him money or something. And I heard about what happened this morning too. Seriously, Jaejoong, are you sure you’ve been crushing on the right guy for all these years?”

Jaejoong rolled her eyes. “Yes, Yoochun, there is nothing wrong and everything right about Yunho, except that he seems to have a jealous streak. And a possessive one as well. A little more on the possessive side. I thought he was just being really caring and considerate, but it turns out it was actually possessiveness.”

“No shit, Jae. This is a guy who keeps you in a chokehold and scares everybody else away when all you’re doing is walking through the halls. And if what I’ve been hearing is right, he follows you everywhere, too. Are you sure he hasn’t set up security cameras in your room?”


“Oh, by the way, I’m just curious, but how did you get him to leave you alone for lunch?”

“I told him that lunch was strictly 'girl time' and he grudgingly agreed to let me go.”

Grudgingly. I’m going to be completely honest with you, Jaejoong. You’re the type of girl who needs freedom. A lot of freedom, and also a lot of alone time. Now it’s only day two and this guy’s following you around more doggedly than the most passionate paparazzi. Do you honestly think this relationship is going to work out?”

Jaejoong studied the patterns on the table intently for some time before answering, “Truthfully, the way it’s going right now, maybe not. It’s not really how I thought it would be like. But he’s an amazing guy in so many other ways. He’s got the brains, he’s got the looks, and he’s also a wonderful gentleman. To me, anyway. Maybe I can change him, teach him not to be so worried and possessive all the time.”

Yoochun nodded. “Reasonable, I guess. Good for you, being all resilient and stuff. You go girl! Change the guy and make him a better person! Maybe force him to stay one metre away from you for one day and forbid him from yelling at anyone! Make him watch you slap another guy’s shoulder and tell him how funny he is! Tell him to–“

“Shut up.”


Barely a month had passed since Jaejoong and Yunho became official and Jaejoong’s efforts to turn Yunho into a more relaxed person had produced minimal results. Requests had turned to pleas, which had turned to threats, which had turned to shouting matches as Jaejoong tried to persuade him that he had to start chilling a bit more and that no, that guy was not looking suggestively at her, and the other guy was only asking her what class we had next, and the other guy just needed to borrow a dollar! Every time he was proven wrong, Yunho would get all apologetic and tell her how sorry he was that he hadn’t trusted her for the umpteenth time, that he’d never do it again, how he’d make it up to her… And here they were again, in the middle of the school hallway during lunch period, yelling their lungs out at each other.

“Why don’t you ever believe me when I say nothing happened? Changmin missed the announcement about the field trip so he obviously needed to get the details from somebody!” Jaejoong screamed, blazing with anger and exasperation.

“Well, maybe the fact that he was looking down your top! Why do you have to wear such low-cut shirts anyway? Did you ever think that maybe I wouldn’t like other guys looking at you that way?” Yunho roared back, beetroot from rage.

“He wasn’t looking down my top, he’s just tall! And this shirt isn’t low-cut, it’s V-necked! You know what’s really the problem, Yunho? It’s your paranoia. You let your imagination run away with you and end up making a big deal out of nothing!”

“I’m not–”

“Yes you are, Yunho. Think for a minute. Think! How many times have you accused me of flirting with other guys, or of other guys flirting with me, and how many times have your accusations been proven to be true?”

Yunho opened his mouth, and closed it again.

“That’s right. Zero.” Jaejoong glared at him. “I’m your girlfriend. I’m your girlfriend and you don’t even trust me. You can’t even trust your own girlfriend.” More silence from Yunho. “A relationship is built on trust, Yunho. No trust, no relationship. Do you get what I’m saying?”

He nodded dumbly.

“Good, because I have had enough, Yunho. I am sick of being falsely accused every single day. I am sick of explaining nothing to you every single day. I am sick of trying to earn your trust when you had mine from the start. I am sick of this relationship. Yoochun was right. Am I sure I’ve been in love with the right guy for all these years? I was then. I’m not now.”

Yunho suddenly could talk again. “No, please, Jaejoongie. I’m so sorry I ever distrusted you and I won’t ever do it again. Honestly. If I could go back in time, I’d fix every mistake I ever made. I take back every false accusation I ever made and give you my full trust from now onwards. Please… I love you…”

Jaejoong chewed on her lip. Yes, she was really sick of trying to change him, and yes, she’d heard this speech before, but he was a really good guy at heart…

She hated herself for being so weak.

“Fine. We’re still together. But if you cross the line one more time or go against what you’ve just said, which includes giving me your full trust, we are over. Understand?” She received a nod. “Good. I am now going back to the cafeteria to enjoy the rest of my lunch period. I will see you again tomorrow. Goodbye.” And with that she strode off, leaving Yunho standing alone in the hallway.


Jaejoong wasn’t the least bit surprised when, three days after their near-breakup, Yunho accused her of smiling too widely at the math teacher when she answered a question in class. That didn’t mean she wasn’t disappointed, though. She’d honestly thought he’d learn to trust her. That was just you being stupid, she thought to herself. What made you think he’d really change? You shouldn’t even have been with him in the first place, fool.

She felt nothing but regret as she told him she was breaking up with him. She watched him beg her to take him back, fall to his knees in front of her, hands clasped, staring imploringly into her cold, hard eyes before she simply turned around and walked away.

She didn’t regret breaking up with him, no. She regretted being in the relationship in the first place. Strong, independent women don’t need nor want men in their lives. Men provide us with nothing but misery. Why waste the effort when you could be using it to achieve greater things?

Jaejoong smiled bitterly. I’ve been such an utter idiot.


A/N: I would be lying if I said this was my first angst, because I actually have a few angsty drabbles saved in my hard drive. It is, however, true that this is my first mild angst. It took me a day and a night without sleep to finish, so... around 15 hours, maybe?

Anyway. This was actually originally an English assignment for school. I was instructed to listen to 'Nothing Better' by The Postal Service and write a prequel to it. I was also given a point of view to write from - third person limited, from the girl's point of view. After struggling with the characters and the storyline for a while, sapphire_angel9 suggested I write it like a fic.

It worked.

Of course, I had to adjust a few details (that Jae was a girl, that Chunnie was also a girl, that they are American, that they have English names, etc etc), but this is the fruit of my labours (with the original names swapped back in). And I actually wrote this back in January, but I just got the assignment back a couple of days ago. I'm not going to tell you what mark I got, but let's just say I was very happy :D

Please tell me what you thought of this story (and any formatting errors you spotted) in the comment section!

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Yeah, I was trying to keep it mild. Didn't want to scare my teacher, haha. Thanks for the feedback :)

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