Sunday, 19 November 2006

Chapter 23: I Know... But...

Sometime later, Jae Joong and I were lying on our sides on my bed, facing each other. He weaved his right hand through my left hand and was studying my fingers like he’d never seen them before.

“You hands… they’re so tiny,” he marveled.

I’ve always had small hands. Even when compared to most girls, my hands would be considered small. So it’s quite a wonder that I can even play the piano with such short hands.

“Would you rather I had hands the size of baseball mits?” I joked.

“No, I like them. I can cover your hand with my whole palm.”

“Great… I’ll never have cold hands again,” I smiled.

He leaned forward and kissed me lightly on the lips. “Saranghae,” he said. I can never get enough of his voice. There’s still a little niggling thought in my head, telling me that I was betraying Yun Ho, but at that moment, Jae Joong was all that mattered. He was here for me and I was thankful for him.

Today was the day we were to shoot the photos for the album sleeve and promotional posters and stuff. Our photographer was Shizuru Satonaka, the very same photographer who’d shot the photos on our last album. For this album, we were dressed in mostly black outfits in more mature styles as compared to our last album where we were more youthful in our blue and silver hip hop inspired sports attire.

Skye wore a black suit with a graphite colored skinny tie and a hat with a graphite colored band around it. He had his hair in cornrows and they accessorized him with big diamond studs on both ears and all the other prerequisite bling. Shoei wore his signature sleeveless vest/suit and also a graphite skinny tie but with nothing inside. He had a long, dangling cross encrusted with diamonds on his left ear and a diamond stud on the other. My outfit was a simple loose-fitting tube dress and knee high leather boots. They had to put in hair extensions for me since my hair was so short. As I’d predicted, my hair had faded to a light brown or more like orange, actually. Ray, my hairstylist, would be hopping mad if he saw my hair. I even got to wear some cool diamond earrings for the shoot; borrowed of course. We never get to keep any of the stuff we wear during the shoots.

After the shoot, we gathered around the computer and watched as Shizuru and our producer picked the shots they thought most suitable. The solo shot they’d chosen for me wasn’t to my satisfaction.

“Why this one? Isn’t there another? I look fat!!!” I whined to Skye and Shoei.

“It’s fine,” Shoei said.

“Yea, nuna. You look great in it,” Skye said. “Really fierce.”

I still wasn’t satisfied. That night, I continued my whining with Jae Joong.

“I really didn’t like that shot,”

“I’m sure it’s fine. You’ll never look ugly and they’d never put an ugly picture of you in the album sleeve.”

He pulled me to him and lay my head down on his lap, as I continued to grumble, and silenced me with a kiss. As he kissed me, I pulled his head closer, my eyes closing slowly, savoring the taste of him as I writhed in his arms. It never failed to get him more excited than he already is. He pulled away, panting softly and slowly, and stared into my eyes. Those eyes of his; they always felt like lasers burning into my soul whenever he looked at me like that. I pulled him down to resume our kiss; I couldn’t handle him looking at me like that for such a long period of time.

It was finally the day for my official comeback. It was the day our single ‘Once Again’ was officially released and we were to perform it live on Inkigayo. I held Skye’s hands nervously backstage as we waited for our band to be announced. It’s been a long time since I performed in front of such a huge crowd.

“Yeoreobun, after a long hiatus, they are back. Please welcome, Sierra, Skye, Shoei, S-Cube!!!”

The sound of a saxophone echoes slowly and I move forward to reveal myself. I was dressed sort of like a salsa dancer; long sleeves with shredded fabric at the cuffs and my skirt my short in front and long behind and made entirely of shredded fabric, plus, I had a plunging neckline though there wasn’t much to offer. The fabric of the entire dress was a pinstripe of faded blue and grey denim. The guys’ suits were of the same fabric, minus the shredded fabric. I walked forward slowly and leaned forward with one hand, touching the floor and then slowly walked backwards with my hand dragging across the floor as I slowly raised my body from the ground then the music changed to a hard, fast hip hop beat and the guys appeared beside to immediately begin our routine.

Shoei: So you thought I’d left us behind, I’d run away for good
So you thought I’d given up, never to return
Skye: But wait for it baby, I’m back again
I’m gonna drive you crazy, with these new moves I have

Sierra: Show me what you got
I’ll show you mine
Move like you mean it
And I’ll get you high

S-Cube: Once again, baby, here I am
I’m back with a new beat, work it out
I haven’t lost my touch, and I’m hotter now
So move it like you mean it, come on dance with me

Skye: You always said that I’d do it for you
You always told me that I was enough
Shoei: So now I’m back, won’t you tell me no differently
I turn you up and I turn you on

Sierra: Just move your body, groove with me
I’ll show you like I did before, ecstasy
Skye: That’s right, put your hands on my body
Shoei: Shake like this, it drives me crazy

S-Cube: Once again, baby, here I am
I’m back with a new beat, work it out
I haven’t lost my touch, and I’m hotter now
So move it like you mean it, come on dance with me

Sierra: Show me what you got
I’ll show you mine
Skye & Shoei: Move like you mean it
And I’ll get you high

S-Cube: Once again, baby, here I am
I’m back with a new beat, work it out
I haven’t lost my touch, and I’m hotter now
So move it like you mean it, come on dance with me

As the music ended with a bang, we stood there in our ending poses, breathing hard. The crowd cheered wildly.

“Woah… S-Cube is back with a vengeance!! Ch’uk’ahamnida,” Hee Chul announces and congratulates us. He was the MC for Inkigayo this season. “Do you guys have any messages for your fans?”

“We want to thank the fans for waiting patiently for our return. We promise we will not disappoint you,” Shoei said and the fans started screaming like crazy.

“Sierra, do you have anyone you would like to thank?”

“I’m like to thank SM and our production team for making our new album happen and also to my band mates for working so hard, saranghamnida. Last but not least, I’d like to thank the fans for their undying support. Kamsahamnida!!”

“Ya… thank you for being here today, Sierra, Skye and Shoei. We hope that your song will begin to climb the charts as of today.”

“Kamsahamnida,” we bowed and left the stage.

“Woaahh!!! Did you see that?” Skye shouted excitedly. “We’re hotter than ever!! Yeah!!”

I laughed, “Yes, don’t let it get to your head, superstar.”

“Honestly, I never expect the welcome to be so great,” Shoei said. “If I’m not wrong, we’re now more popular than ever.”

“There were more fans out there than there ever were or our previous performances,” Skye agreed.

“Yes, they must be here to see me,” I laughed and the guys pretended to beat me up.

That night we celebrated me coming out of hiding by taking me out to dinner at a Malaysian cuisine restaurant.

“I wanna eat that coconut rice with the spicy squid,” Skye said.

“It’s called nasi lemak and squid sambal,” I corrected him.

“Whatever, what are you guys having?” Skye turned to the guys. Jae Joong, Jun Su, Hee Chul, Han Kyung, and Si Won were with us tonight.

“What’s not too spicy?” Han Kyung asked. He can handle spicy Korean food but was still a little wary of Malaysian spicy food.

“Come on, Han Kyung,” Si Won said, “There is no Malaysian food you can’t handle if you can handle Korean food.”

“Hey, watch it…” I threatened Si Won. “Are you saying that Malaysian food isn’t spicy enough for you?”

“Yea…” he challenged me in return.

“It’s a different kinda spicy,” Jae Joong explained. “Korean is more peppery and Malaysian is erm… spicy.”

We laughed at his attempt to differentiate the two.

“Whatever… I just want eat good food,” Hee Chul said.

We ordered nasi lemak, squid and shrimp sambal, kangkung (a kind of vegetable) fried with sambal belacan (blended dried chilly and prawn paste), yellow noodles fried with eggs, fish cake and bean sprouts, chicken rendang (a type of thick curry) and an omelet which contained onions, capsicum and shrimp.

I was picking out slices of fish cake from my noodles and tossing them onto Skye’s plate when Jun Su exclaimed, “Hey, isn’t this like the cuisine of your motherland? Why are you picking stuff out?”

“It’s like if you hated the taste of parsley, you’d pick it out too. I happen to hate fish cake,” I replied as I continued picking them out.

“And Skye happens to be a rubbish bin,” Shoei laughed and Skye glared at him.

After dinner, we went to a noraebang to sing for a couple of hours. Throughout our outing, Jae Joong either held my hand or had his arm around my waist, and the guys never said a word or asked us about it. That night, Jae Joong sang FTTS’ 피(Evasion) for me, alone. It made me think of the time he and Yun Ho had sang it together. I wondered what Yun Ho was doing at that moment. Was he happy?

After our karaoke session, we went our separate ways. Skye and Shoei decided to leave me and Jae Joong alone and find their own way home. Jae Joong drove us to the hillside where Yun Ho and I used to go to. He rolled down the windows a little and turned off the engine, and then we climbed to the backseat and cuddled as we looked at the city lights.

“I used to come here with Yun Ho,” I said.

“I know. He told me,” Jae Joong sighed as he pulled me closer.

“It’s not like I don’t want to forget him. Little things still remind me of him, like it or not.”

“I understand. I’ve never complained.”

“I know you haven’t. I just wanted to be honest with you.”

“I know you can never wipe him out of your memory. I’ll just have to live with it,” Jae Joong said and he kissed me on the head.

“Jae Joong-ah…” I said as I looked up at his face. I lifted my hand and stroked his cheek lightly, “Komawo.” He smiled and held my hand to his face, closing his eyes to savor my touch. He looked so beautiful in the faint glow of the city lights.

The following week, we had a press conference to launch our new album. It was held at a conference room in SM’s HQ building. The conference began with a presentation of our new album and its concept. Graphics and our photos flashed across the big screen set up in the conference room as a remix of the prominent songs in our new album played in the background. When the presentation ended, Skye, Shoei and I slowly filed into the room and sat down in our assigned seats as everyone applauded. Then the Q&A session began.

“Sierra, we noticed that you seemed to have had surgery done on your face. Was it done purely for the publicity of S-Cube’s new album or are there other reasons for it?”

Before I could answer, Shi Kyung hyung answered for me, “Sierra’s had reconstructive surgery done on her face due to the damage inflicted on her during the incident of the assault by an anti-fan. Her surgery was most definitely not the result of a publicity stunt.”

When Shi Kyung hyung ended, I continued, “I’m sure everyone remembered how I was attacked a few months ago. I’m grateful that the attack caused damage which was repairable. Had it been an irreparable damage such as damage to my vocal chords or worst of all, to my brain, I wouldn’t be here today.”

“We’re all glad that nothing bad happened to Sierra, or it would have been the end of our band,” Shoei added.

The Q&A session continued with questions about our new album.

“Your new album is entitled ‘Once Again”, what’s the significance of this new album and were there any new achievements associated with it?”

“The title ‘Once Again’ speaks for itself. It simply means that we are back once again to perform and show our best works,” Skye said. “As for achievements, the biggest one would have been trying to finish the album on schedule. It’s a little different from our last album as it has a much more serious vibe to it.”

“It was hard on Sierra for the past few months as she had to deal with recuperating and recording the album,” Shoei continued. “In addition to all that, we were in the dance studio 6 hours each day, training. Skye and I would like to thank Sierra for being brave and persevering all this time, and not giving up on the band. Saranghamnida, nuna.”

“Ye. Saranghamnida, nuna,” Skye echoed. “Without you there wouldn’t be S-Cube.”

“Thank you, guys,” I said, almost tearing at their loving gesture. It felt wonderful to know that I meant so much to them as a band mate.

Then another reporter raised his hand, “Sierra, about your breakup with U-Know YunHo of TVXQ, was it voluntary or did SM force it on the both of you?”

There was a murmur in the crowd when they heard the question. No one had touched on my relationship with Yun Ho up till this moment. I was speechless as I stared at the card, which had my name on it, in front of me. Was it voluntary? It seemed Yun Ho had voluntarily decided to break up with me when he’d left and given his consent to SM regarding the public statement of our separation. Or was there another story behind it?


WinterGal said...

Hmm... Jae and Sierra are together now. =D Nice! But I still wonder what's the real story behind the breakup of YunHo and Sierra. Haha! Still curious from the previous chaps. XD But overall, this chapter is good. Update soon!

Mz said...

Yay!! I also hate fish cakes.. keke Nice of u to put a picture up.. :P i wonder if ppl will start to download the picture to their PCs? keke

Good job, i'd prefer JJ to Yunho when it comes to the r/ship with Sierra. Whoppee.. :D

hueylyn said...

yea...i agree mz..jae joong is so much more thoughtful than yun ho. ;)
can please spare us the suspense and write a chapter bout what really happened with yun ho? :D

Sierra said...

Patience... time will reveal all.

This will be the last time I post any pics of myself. I don't have that many photoshop-ed pics of myself that are presentable. Hehe! I'm sorry if I caused anyone nausea or any other side effects from looking at my photo ;)

charzylicious said...

i suppose the secret had revealed, but i choose to read it slowly. let me have a wild guest, could it sierra accidentally said something while she was on the way to hospital? and it was by calling JJ's name and saying i love you?

charlottewralph said...

hai, now that jj and sierra are together...

What if like I thought, Uknow was forced.. About time he is back too... turbulent storm coming...

natalie/doobsy said...

hm so sierra and jaejoong are officially together now!but how are things going to end with yunho?it doesn't seem like he broke up willingly..