He knows the rules of the game.

He knows, and he exploits them mercilessly. He pushes to the very edge and maybe a little more before drawing back and flashing that brilliant smile of his. It's almost cruel at times- his teasing; a touch here, a caress there, and you're completely trapped. You know, and you can't do anything about it. You've already fallen for him completely, and you're disgusted by the plaintive expression you know you have on when he's with flirting those around him. The sickly feeling in the pit of your stomach is always there when you see him sneaking out in the middle of the night while the rest are sleeping. And it gets worse when you see him sneaking back in, smelling of alcohol and cigarettes and swaying to his own beat. You hate him sometimes. But you always hate yourself more for not stopping him from leaving.

So tonight, you're perched on the couch, counting three-two-one as the clock strikes one. Quickly, you stand up and throw on a jacket, marching over to the door and shuffling into aged sneakers. Pulling the door open, you peer out into the darkened hallway of your apartment complex and note the retreating figure at the far end. You had allowed him a twenty-second head start, and you refuse to give him any more time. Quietly, you step out and close the door behind you, eyes trained on the spot where he had just turned. The elevators. You note to yourself.

Hurrying along, you walk the path he had just taken only twenty seconds ago and pause at the doorway that led to the elevators. You hear the soft metal thump of the doors and march swiftly towards the other elevator, punching the button in aggravation. Fuck, you think to yourself, fuckfuckfuck.

The doors open and you step in soundlessly, flicking the ground level button with impatience. It takes a few seconds to reach your destination because you live so high up, but by the time you rush out the elevator, he had already disappeared from the lobby. Shit, no.

Purposefully, you stride out the lobby and into the cold night air, and you clench your jacket tighter around you. You had to do a double take before spying a small figure on your far right, just getting into a cab. You could see his cap pulled low over his face and his jacket collar turned up. At this, you stomp on the ground in anger, whirling around to call for you own cab. A battered one pulls up almost immediately and you hop in, pulling up your own collar in the process. "Follow that car please." You demand softly, voice cold. As your cab speeds up, you briefly think back to the other three, nestled in their beds and perhaps each other. You smile at that, feeling their happiness rub off on you despite your agitation towards your own problems. You're tugged from your thoughts when the driver lurches to a stop, and you focus back to the retreating figure at once.

"He stopped." The driver croaked, and before he could turn around, you thrust a wad of bills and coins into his pocket and clamber out the cab, eyes still trained on the small figure in the distance. In this way, you cross the road and pass by several dimly-lit bars and stores with crackling neon signs before arriving at a set of stairs that led to a rusted iron door on the second floor. You watch as he pulls the door open before climbing the stairs yourself, eyes glancing over the flickering light of the neon sign. A bar. A fucking bar. You note to yourself that this is a side door before stepping in and allowing the door to swing to a close behind you. Distantly, you feel the deep vibrations of the beat of whatever song was being played, and you pick your way through the shabby room and drunken couples. Stepping through another door, you're greeted with bright disco lights and the harsh smell of hard alcohol and cigarettes. You gag at the smell and squint your eyes, searching among the sweaty bodies for a figure whose stance you've long become accustomed to.

You spot him in a far corner, lounging on the counter with two girls on each side, fondling him as he whispers into their ear, bringing on high-pitched giggles that you can identify even from the other side of the room. Narrowing your eyes, you tread your way towards the counter and pull up your collar even more, determined to wait for a good time to make your move. Glaring angrily into the bored face of the barman, you call for the strongest alcohol brand they had. The hard techno beat melts into another as you turn around and glance at the dance floor. A feeling of dissatisfaction overcomes you and you grasp the bottle from the unsuspecting barman and gulp down half of it, ignoring his warning about the strength of the alcohol and wincing at the burning sensation as your force yourself to swallow. Slamming the bottle on the counter, you jump up and mingle into the crowd, leaving a few lingering touches here and there before letting yourself go.

The alcohol is making your head spin a little and the only thing you can do is to spin along with it. You try to keep up with the beat as beads of sweat rolled down your face and you don't notice those around you stopping to watch you dance. There were several bodies around you and you slide toward one meaninglessly, grinding feverishly against whoever it was and releasing all the pent-up frustration that had collected in you for the past few months. You don't hear the cheering around you, or see the seductive smile on the girl you're dancing with, or his stolid figure as he pushes past the crowd and runs his eyes over you in surprise. You don't realize anything until you feel a hand on your wrist pulling you out of the circle and against a cool wall in a corner, pinning your wrists at your sides, and you look up into his bewildered expression.

"Su? What are you doing here?"