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11 December 2014 @ 08:52 pm
Bent, not Broken: ch 25  
Title: Bent, Not Broken
Chapters: 25/25 + epilogue
Fandoms: SS501, Super Junior, TVXQ, FT Island (cameo only)
Pairings: KyuJong/JungMin, YeSung/RyeoWook, HyunJoong/YoungSaeng, onesided!YunHo/YoungSaeng, past!YunHo/HeeBon
Rating: R overall
Warnings: Substance abuse, homophobia, character death, harsh subject matter
Summary: Happiness isn't easy to find when the world tells you that you don't deserve it. Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom to realize happiness was in front of you the whole time.
TAG LIST


As it happens in most small circles of friends, soon after the party had ended, those that hadn't been directly involved in the incident knew everything about what had occurred between RyeoWook and his parents. Mostly because JungMin had a big mouth and KyuJong was curious as always about what happened. YoungSaeng probably could have hung back and not listened to the conversation between the two, but he was curious as well.

How RyeoWook had finally stood up to his parents had YoungSaeng contemplating a lot of things about his own situation when he got home that night. KyuJong had gone with JungMin and so faced once again with an empty apartment, YoungSaeng sat down with his computer, staring at a half finished article. The rough draft was due in days, and what he had so far made him sick to his stomach. It was what his editors were expecting, he was sure, but he didn't think he could attach his name to this. Not after meeting JungMin's friends and seeing how happy they were together. What would they think if they were to read it? Would RyeoWook even consider him a friend after that?

Sighing miserably, YoungSaeng highlighted the couple of pages he had started and deleted them. Maybe everyone had been right, maybe he needed to do what he felt was right for him. Deciding to give it another night of thought before he started for the fiftieth time, YoungSaeng went to bed. KyuJong had told him he'd be home in the morning and he really just wanted his best friend's advice one more time. This was not an easy decision to make, not when his career was on the line.

The following morning, KyuJong returned to their shared apartment as promised. Stepping into the entranceway and closing the door behind him, he moved quietly just in case YoungSaeng was still asleep. Going around and opening up windows to let in fresh air, he hummed to himself as he went to peer into YoungSaeng's bedroom.

Surprisingly, YoungSaeng was awake. Not for a lack of trying though, as he'd been lying in bed for close to an hour and wide awake. "Morning," he said, seeing KyuJong in the door from where he was curled up in his blankets. "You're chipper this morning. I take it SungMin wasn't there to cockblock you guys last night?"

"Do you really want to know the answer to that?" KyuJong chuckled, stepping into the room. "Sleep well? You're usually not up until noon."

"No, to both your questions," YoungSaeng sighed, opening up the blankets to invite KyuJong in. "My head doesn't seem to want to shut off long enough to let me sleep."

"Oh?" KyuJong walked to the bed, sitting down and scooting over to rest his back against the headboard. "What's bothering you?"

"That piece for the paper I need to write," YoungSaeng said. "After watching and hearing about RyeoWook standing up to his parents and never wanting to see them again... the idea of writing about how awful gay people and gay culture is makes me sick to my stomach. I think.... I need to write this piece even if it's going to get me fired and black booked from every news paper and media outlet in Korea."

KyuJong looked down at YoungSaeng, running his fingers lightly through his best friend's hair. "Sounds like you've given it some thought," he murmured. "And you're okay with what could happen, if they don't like it?"

"I don't think I could live with myself if I did it any other way Kyu," YoungSaeng said, looking up at him. "I don't really want to hide who I am anymore."

Meeting YoungSaeng's eyes, KyuJong smiled. "And I'll be right beside you every step of the way," he said, brushing bangs out of YoungSaeng's face. "No matter what happens."

Catching KyuJong's hand, YoungSaeng wrapped both hands around it and held him tight. "Thanks Kyu. I'm not sure what'd I'd do without you sometimes. I'm going to be unemployed, so you're going to have to take care of me for a little while."

"Of course I'll take care of you," KyuJong grinned, covering YoungSaeng's hands with his own. "You'll get through this, Saeng."

"I think... for the first time I actually believe that," YoungSaeng said, lips quirking a little. "Thanks Kyu."

Chuckling, KyuJong squeezed YoungSaeng's hands lightly. "I'll take care of breakfast. Any requests?"

"You haven't made me your eggs in a while," YoungSaeng said, pouting up at him.

"Eggs it is," KyuJong pouted back, leaning down and kissing YoungSaeng's forehead before scooting out of bed. "Go shower, I'll have breakfast done by the time you're out."

"That involves moving though," YoungSaeng sighed, sitting up and scrubbing a hand through his hair. "Hey... Kyu? I'm sorry about the way I've treated JungMin. He's not that bad of a guy. Still not good enough for you... but he's alright."

KyuJong smiled widely. "You don't think anyone's good enough for me. Always a worried best friend. Did…you resolve things with HyunJoong?"

"Not... entirely," YoungSaeng said, shaking his head. "We talked, and I don't think he absolutely hates me, but I don't think he's going to give me another chance."

"At least you talked," KyuJong rested his hand on YoungSaeng's shoulder. "Well…I'll go take care of breakfast now."

"Guess so," YoungSaeng sighed, drawing his knees up to his chest and resting his cheek against them. "I'll be out in a bit."

"Okay," KyuJong smiled at him, squeezing his shoulder before letting go. He headed out of the room, hoping this marked the start of something great for YoungSaeng. Maybe soon his friend could finally accept himself for who he was.






RyeoWook woke up that morning the same time JongWoon left, giving his fiancé a sleepy kiss before curling back up under the sheets. He just lay there for a long moment, not really wanting to get up. But for the first time that week it wasn't because he was overwhelmed with anxiety and dark thoughts, but simply because they had been up late the night before and he really wouldn't mind sleeping in just this once.

Finally getting out of bed, he set about his usual morning routine. School was over and work had yet to start, so he took advantage of the free time by cleaning the apartment and getting ready for a nice dinner. Even if his heart still hurt, knowing that he would most likely never speak to his parents again…he was okay with it. He'd accepted it. Really, he had all the family he needed…JongWoon, and JungMin. God had blessed him with two of the most amazing people on earth, and he would never take either of them for granted.

Going to get the mail, he blinked in surprise at the large envelope stuffed into the small box. Pulling it out and noting who it was from, he grinned widely and brought it up to the apartment. Placing it on the table, he disappeared into the kitchen to start prep work for dinner. Lunch would be small, since it was just him anyways.

RyeoWook's quiet day wasn't going to happen, not when JongWoon burst through the door, throwing his bag on the floor. "Wookie!" he called, yanking his tie off and tripping over his own feet as he tried to take his shoes off at the same time.

Yelping in surprise when he nearly dropped the bag of flour he was holding, RyeoWook put it down and headed out into the living room. "…JongWoon?" he blinked in confusion, peering into the entranceway. "You…you're back? He let you out?"

"Yes, yes he did," JongWoon grinned, rushing towards RyeoWook to wrap his arms around the man's waist and lift him up. "He let me out for good Wook. I'm done. No more working for him."

Managing not to shriek when he was lifted up, RyeoWook wrapped his arms around JongWoon in case he was dropped. "No more? What happened JongWoon?"

"Basically he told me I was a terrible worker and would have fired me the first day if I hadn't been his son," JongWoon said. "He wants me to go back to school, do something with my life other than mooch off of him. So as long as I take the entrance exams next year, he won't cut us off."

"Oh," RyeoWook couldn't help a sheepish chuckle at that; it sounded like something JongWoon's father would say. "But that's good, right? You can do what you want to do now!" He hugged JongWoon tightly.

"Right! Not that I know what that is yet, but I can do that," JongWoon said, returning the tight hug and kissing the side of RyeoWook's head. "So I'm sorry if I'm ruining your alone time, but this is so much better than working in a stupid cubicle all the time."

"I don't mind my alone time being ruined if you're the one ruining it," RyeoWook smiled widely, turning his head to press a kiss to JongWoon's lips. "Though lunch isn't going to be anything fancy because I was expecting it to be just me."

"I never need anything fancy Wook, you just spoil me with your delicious food," JongWoon said, kissing RyeoWook over and over again. "I'm going to get out of this stupid suit and then we can celebrate."

"Okay," RyeoWook grinned widely, returning the kisses. "So we have two reasons to celebrate then?"

"Um... two?" JongWoon pulled back a little to blink at him. "What do you mean?"

RyeoWook pointed over at the envelope sitting on the table. "My diploma came in. So now I can make money and pay for things while you be the student," he gave JongWoon a cheeky grin.

"It did? Wook that's great!" JongWoon spun him around, kissing him again. "This calls for a real celebration! I know we just went out last night... maybe we should celebrate by ordering take out."

Squawking and holding on for dear life, RyeoWook laughed and kissed JongWoon back. "But I thought you like my cooking," he laughed, resting his cheek on JongWoon's shoulder.

"I love your cooking, but we're celebrating you graduating, you shouldn't have to cook for that," JongWoon said. "You'll be doing enough of that soon enough."

"I never mind cooking for you." RyeoWook kissed JongWoon's neck lightly. "You know…I kinda like seeing you in a suit."

"Oh?" JongWoon's eyes fluttered slightly at the kiss. "You want me to dress up for you around the house?" he asked.

"I wouldn't mind it," RyeoWook murmured against JongWoon's skin. "I think you're one of those guys who instantly become ten times hotter in suits. And now I feel cheated, because you were wearing suits for weeks yet I only get to see it now."

"So what you're saying is I have to make it up to you," JongWoon said, his hands gripping RyeoWook's waist a little tighter. "And how is it a suit makes me look so much hotter? Is it the tie?"

"Hmm…I dunno." RyeoWook pulled back a little, hands smoothing out the material over JongWoon's shoulders and chest. A mischievous grin played on his face. "You fill it out really well, that might be why?"

"Well... I have been working out," JongWoon shrugged a little, tilting his head slightly to one side. "I thought you would have noticed... want me to show you?"

"Well…you did say we should celebrate," RyeoWook chuckled, fingers playing with the tie before using it to tug JongWoon back towards the bedroom. "Okay, maybe it is the tie."

"Want me to leave it on?" JongWoon asked, following RyeoWook like a little puppy.

"I like that idea," RyeoWook drew his fiancé into the bedroom and closed the door behind them.






The rest of the day was rather a blur for YoungSaeng, who dove right back into his work. Not just the day either, but the rest of the week was completely lost to him. He was aware that days had passed based on the number of times KyuJong bugged him about eating, or after having been up for close to two days straight and got the stern mothering look his roommate was so good at.

By the weekend, he was far more relaxed than he had been in weeks, and even took KyuJong out for a celebratory drink when he had finished his article. Of course he had let KyuJong read it first, and almost regretted it when his best friend started to tear up at the table and enveloped him in a crushing hug. By that reaction he knew he had something good, and was more than a little proud of it himself.

Before turning the draft into his editor, there was one more person who he wanted to read it first. They agreed to meet at a coffee shop, and when YoungSaeng stepped into the building, he caught sight of YunHo talking to one of the baristas. Lips quirked a little, YoungSaeng looked down at the folder in his hands, almost backing out right then. Despite telling himself he was ready, it was the moment of truth. YoungSaeng didn't know if he truly was ready for YunHo's reaction. At least he had found a way where the words wouldn't stick in his throat.

Walking towards the table, YoungSaeng sat down and placed the folder on the table in front of him. "Good to see you YunHo," he said when he finally had the other man's attention.

Looking at YoungSaeng with a smile, YunHo nodded. "Same. Don't hit me for saying this…but you look better than the last time I saw you," he chuckled. His gaze went to the folder on the table. "The article?" his smile widened. "You finished it?"

"First and only draft," YoungSaeng nodded, nudging it towards him. "I wanted you to read it before I sent it to the editor."

"All right. I guess it would help to see the article I'm taking pictures for," YunHo chuckled. Picking up the folder, he opened it and pulled out the papers inside. Leaning back in his chair, he started to read.

As he went through the article, eyes scanning over the words, his expression slowly changed. His lips quirked upwards slightly, reading about the clubs in itaewon and then the homophobia that korean society still held. "I was wondering which way you'd take this," he murmured, flipping the page.

As he reached the last part of the article though, his eyebrows furrowed slightly. Eyes going over a few lines again, he continued going through the article until he reached the end. Finally he set it aside, slipping the papers carefully back into the folder and closing it.

"…I think that's the best article you've ever written," YunHo said finally, looking up at YoungSaeng with a small smile.

YoungSaeng wasn't sure how to take YunHo's reaction, eyes narrowing slightly as he pulled the folder back toward himself. "... It's sad that it'll never be published," he said quietly.

"Even if it never gets published, you needed to write it, didn't you?" YunHo asked softly. "For yourself, if nothing else."

Closing his eyes, YoungSaeng nodded slowly. "I was living in denial, the worst kind of denial... and I hated myself for it." Taking a deep breath, he opened his eyes to look up at YunHo. "I've been in love with you since the moment we met YunHo... and I denied it for so long, couldn't bring myself to admit it... because I never wanted you to find out. I didn't want you to think less of me."

YunHo's gaze softened, expression a little sad. "I didn't…I'm sorry, Saeng. I have no interest in men, and even if I did…" His fingers played with the engagement ring that was always present, a reminder of who he'd lost. "But I would never think less of you for it. I had actually guessed that you might like men, but didn't say anything, because it honestly doesn't matter to me either way. You're still my friend."

"And you're still my friend too YunHo," YoungSaeng said, shaking his head. "I know how much you love her, and it will be a long, long time before you're ready to move on. I never.... I never wanted to compromise our friendship like that, which is why I never wanted to tell you. I know you're as straight as they come, which should have made it easier but somehow it didn't. Maybe I thought that if I loved a straight man and pined for him from afar it would be enough and I wouldn't have to face the reality. But... then I met someone who showed me what I was really missing, and I don't want to deny it anymore."

"I'm glad for you," YunHo smiled at him. "You know…that sending this in could end badly," he looked down at the folder. "I'll stand by you though, whatever happens."

"Thank you, that means a lot," YoungSaeng said, returning the smile. "I'm pretty sure if I turn this in I'll be fired immediately. I've accepted that... I think. I'll miss the pay, of course. But I can't in good conscience write a piece that would hurt so many people. People like Kyu, and RyeoWook... and myself."

"I didn't think you would," YunHo shook his head. "…Want to send in some photos with it? If you really want to leave a mark," he chuckled. "I didn't bring my laptop…but I have a few on my phone I could show you."

"Hmm... so do I, but I don't want to get arrested," YoungSaeng snorted. "I'd love to see what you have... even if I can't get this published through the paper, maybe there's another publication who might like it."

"Possibly. There are a couple more liberal newspapers popping up." YunHo pulled out his phone, tapping at it before handing it over to YoungSaeng. "I'm glad you took this direction though…for one, I wouldn't have to go back and re-shoot everything." The first image he'd opened it to were of two guys curled up in a booth at a club, holding hands with one resting his head on the other's shoulder. The camera was angled so their faces were hidden without hiding the raw emotion they conveyed.

"So you assumed this is the way I would go without even having read my piece?" YoungSaeng chuckled, smiling a little at the picture. "They look so happy, even if you can't see their faces."

"I am your friend, Saeng…I knew you'd have a hard time stomaching what they wanted you to write. And no one I photographed wanted their faces seen, because they were worried about their family or coworkers finding out. But not many people actually refused to have their picture taken." YunHo reached over and swiped across to the next picture, of two girls kissing softly on the dance floor. "Maybe one day they won't have to hide their faces."

"One day, seems like so far off," YoungSaeng said, going through more of the photos. "As always, these are beautiful YunHo. You always do such a fantastic job."

"I enjoyed working on this project…it was a nice change from all the gloomy articles I usually take pictures for," YunHo chuckled. "If you ever get it published, or even just posted online somewhere…those photos are yours."

"Thank you, it really does mean a lot to me," YoungSaeng said. "I hate to unload on you and run, but I have to drop this off to my editor and get fired. Wish me luck?"

"Good luck," YunHo grinned, taking his phone back. "Text me after, I'm treating you out to a celebratory dinner."

"You and Kyu get to fight over who picks up the tab then, he already offered," YoungSaeng said, getting to his feet. "I'll text you though... and thanks for being... you I guess. I'll see you later."

"Don't have to thank me for that," YunHo chuckled. "Thank you for telling me. See you."

Waving as left, YoungSaeng couldn't help feel about a hundred tons lighter as he left the cafe. YunHo didn't hate him, his friends all supported him, and he was standing up for what he believed by handing over the article he had written. It was a huge step for YoungSaeng, and one he hoped would continue on to better things.

No one likes being fired, even if they hate the job there's a certain sense of despair when you're told you're no longer needed. Though YoungSaeng had been expecting it, it still stung that little bit when his editor scowled and threw the article back at him. At the very least he hadn't been escorted out by security though some of his coworkers did watch as he cleaned up his desk and left with a bright smile. So what if he had been fired, he stood up for himself and his friends. That mattered more than anything.

Dinner with KyuJong and YunHo, his two closest friends in the world, tasted that much better, and maybe he had a couple drinks to make himself feel even better. By the time he made it home, it was late and as he sat down on the couch and stared at his phone, he smiled a little as an idea formed in his head. Dialing a number, he leaned back and waited for the line to be picked up.

When the phone picked up, it was an older man's voice. "CBS Music FM, how can I help you?"

"Hi, I'm a longtime fan of Hyun's and I just recently lost my job. I was really hoping I could talk to him," YoungSaeng said.

"Please hold while I speak with him." The line went quiet for a long minute, the radio's music playing in the background. "He can take your call in two minutes, Mr…?"

"... Let's go with Mr. Writer," YoungSaeng said, lips curling in amusement.

The voice sounded faintly amused. "All right, Mr. Writer. Please hold." His voice cut out, and the radio returned, playing a popular hip-hop song.

As the song was about to finish, the man's voice came back. "All right, I'm going to transfer you to HyunJoong now."

The hip-hop song had finished, and a very familiar voice taken it's place. "Good evening, thanks for listening to CBS Music FM! It's 9:35pm here in Seoul and that was Drunken Tiger's 'The Cure' featuring Yoon Mirae and Bizzy, peaking at 45th on our chart at it's fourth week. We'll have some Dumbfoundead and BTS for you shortly, but first we have a special guest calling in. He's a long-time fan of the show who just lost his job. Please welcome Mr. Writer, hello?"

"Hello Hyun," YoungSaeng said, faintly amused at HyunJoong's radio voice. "I'm a big fan of yours, though I've never actually listened to your show."

There was a slight pause that might have not been noticed by anyone listening in, but conveyed HyunJoong's surprise at hearing YoungSaeng's voice. "Oh really? Well thank you. I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your job, it must have been hard for you."

"Yeah... but I think it was worth it in the end," YoungSaeng said. "See, like my name says, I'm a writer. A journalist for one of the largest publications in Seoul. My editor wanted me to write a piece and he didn't really like how it turned out. I was hoping maybe I could read a bit for you Hyun, and see what you and your listeners think?"

"Must be a controversial piece. Sure, go ahead and read a part for us," HyunJoong said, and the background music playing behind their voices dimmed slightly.

YoungSaeng took a deep breath, calming himself down as he looked down at the article. After a moment, he started to read. "The more that I talked to this man, this tall and handsome man with a lopsided smile and childlike humor, the more I understood about myself and life in general. There was never a moment in my life that I could pin down and say that was the moment I knew. Maybe I had always known and just tried to ignore it. If I ignored it for long enough, then it would go away and I could be a normal person. The truth of it is, I am a normal person. Just as anyone like me is. It's normal to love, to have wants and needs. It's normal to feel needed, and to feel wanted.

"For many like me, the clubs in Itaewon are an escape to your real life. At home and work you have to hide yourself for fear of losing everything from family to your job. In Itaewon, you are welcome and encouraged to be exactly who you are. I found that freedom with a man with a lopsided smile, who made me feel wanted and loved, and showed me that I can have everything I have ever wanted, and not to be ashamed of being a gay man. Whether I'm in a club in Itaewon, or at home, or on the street. I'm going to live like he taught me. Maybe one day we'll run into each other at Clouds again, and he'll tell me how proud of me he is, and ask me again if I'd like a drink. I'd say yes."

There was quiet for a moment over the line, radio music a faint hum in the background. "That was a powerful piece, and it's sad that someone can be fired for writing something that speaks to so many people. Thank you for sharing that with us, Mr. Writer, I'm sure my listeners enjoyed it as much as I did. Why don't you send an email to the station with a link to the full article, and I'll share it on my site for any curious listeners."

YoungSaeng blinked a little at that. "I... don't have it up online," he said. "But maybe I can do that somehow. Thank you for letting me read this Hyun."

"No, thank you for calling in. We're just about out of time, unfortunately, but I think everyone can take something away from this article. Best of luck Mr. Writer, and maybe you'll meet that man again one day."

"I hope so," YoungSaeng said, pulling the phone away and hanging up. He gave a small sigh, flopping onto his side and closing his eyes. "I really do."

Silence dominated the apartment, the only sounds of the traffic outside and the steady ticking of the clock. Until YoungSaeng's phone went off five minutes later, a text message appearing on the screen.

I'm free friday night if you are.

When he found his phone, YoungSaeng's lips quirked a little and he replied back. Your place or mine?

The phone buzzed again. Clouds?

Alright, first round is on me.


Fin.




***********************************


And it's over! Well, not quite. The epilogue will be posted sometime early next week, so stick around for that!

This was an interesting change of pace from our usual fics, and we had a lot of fun writing it. These are issues real people struggle with every day, so we wanted to do each character's story justice. Thank you for sticking with us (even through my less than stellar updating schedule for most of the year), and we hope you continue to enjoy our fics! There will be a new story going up shortly, more info will come once the epilogue has been posted.
 
 
Current Mood: happy
Current Music: Day Moon – TVXQ
 
 
renichifreak: hyunsaeng-loverenichifreak on December 12th, 2014 02:12 am (UTC)
I teared up at the ending and I hate you two for it ISTG

BUT HYUNSAENG AT THE END I LOVE YOU BOTH AGAIN

I'm gonna miss this one...=/

I say this about all of your stuff but w/e LOL
연아 (YeonAh): MinSaeng - Cuddle~yeonah on December 13th, 2014 12:03 am (UTC)
But you looooove us~~~ <333

Lolol and you do say that, but all stories have to end eventually! They can't all be like Waking Up and it's friggin 110 chapters... orz I think we'd die.

Hehe thank you for all your comments unnie~~~ /glomps
空の星whisperingtunes on December 12th, 2014 03:38 am (UTC)
:')♡
연아 (YeonAh): JaeJoong - Glasses look Cool~yeonah on December 13th, 2014 12:04 am (UTC)
❤︎

Thank you for your support bb~
空の星whisperingtunes on December 13th, 2014 11:22 pm (UTC)
Even if I don't comment much, I'll always read the stories you two come up with.. ^^

Loooove your icon.
TahJae0025tahjae0025 on December 12th, 2014 11:18 am (UTC)
awww...no MingBunny but I guess it's fitting ti wrap up with the original cast of this drama

ok...so 2Woo are as adorable as ever. it's awesome that his dad finally gets it. And wookie is finally a chef!

I'm so loving that KyuSaeng moment...good for Saeng finally coming to a decision. It must have been difficult to do what he did knowing what would happen and oh ho ho ho...love connection on the radio. Points to Hyun for not blurting out Saeng's name and more points for recognizing his voice!

Yunho is an awesome friend. Luckily Saeng was over him enough to not be hurt by the rejection.

can't wait for the epilogue!
연아 (YeonAh): Sunny - I Got A Boy Animatedyeonah on December 13th, 2014 12:08 am (UTC)
Hehe Ming wasn't actually supposed to have as much screentime as he did...he was supposed to leave when Heechul and Hongki did XD But well, he's Ming. He was too cute not to bring back in. /biased forever

It took me a moment to figure out what you meant by 2Woo XDD orz

Pffft Hyun not blurting out Saeng's name was a near thing. Imagine being on like...live TV and suddenly having to interview your ex out of absolutely nowhere. It's just like WHAT WAIT WHAT.

Being gay was never something Yunho would hate someone for, or even care about. It's just not for him. He likes his women xD

Your comments make my day~~~
TahJae0025tahjae0025 on December 13th, 2014 01:07 am (UTC)
point of interest...saw this update like way past bedtime. So I was like "must and comment". Got thru the reading, blinked to think about what to comment and...yh.....woke up with the cursor blinking in the empty box...ahhah

/so it thrills me that even when flustered -maybe not noticeable - my comments can make your day!

Ming is part of the crew known as mutiny against yeonah at random times...MAYART hahahaha
If I have my way others will join the resistance muahahhahahh

2Woo..ahhahah this was me being to lazy to write Woonwook or any other version of their smoosh name :D

As for hyun..I figure that almost non-existent pause was him swallowing any outcry. this could have been all kinds of awkward. interviewing the ex.../I shudder at the thought