“Are you sure, Skye?” I said.
“Remember back in Kwangju when you saw Hae Rin slapping me?” Skye said, and I nodded. “She slapped me because I told her Jae Joong hyung will never leave you for her.”
“She did?” I was pretty shocked. I didn’t expect Hae Rin to get so violent over something like this.
“Just be careful when you’re around her,” he said.
“She came to see me yesterday and she got pretty upset when she saw the necklace Jae Joong had given me.”
“I think she’s really serious about her feelings, almost obsessive. I tried to talk her out of it. I even confessed that I liked her and she just ignored me.”
“Skye… I’m so sorry,” I said as I put my hand on his knee.
“It’s not your fault, nuna. And don’t you worry about me. I’m Skye of S-Cube. Chicks dig me,” he smiled. The old Skye was starting to show himself.
“I just feel sorry that you had to burden yourself with the secret all these weeks.”
“I’m okay. I’ll bounce back.”
“It’s late and you waited for me to come home?” I asked and he nodded.
“I just had to get it off my chest,” he said. “And now that I have, I think I can finally sleep in peace.”
“Then let’s go to bed,” I said as I got up. “I have another recording session tomorrow.”
We went to our rooms and I started to get ready for bed. After showering, I saw that it was only 11pm. I could squeeze in half an hour of Internet before bed. I turned on my laptop and packed my bag for tomorrow while it was starting up. My Yahoo! Messenger logged in automatically and several messages popped up.
Kat: Yoo hoo! You awake?
Elaine: You there? Let’s conference!
I replied the both of them and was immediately invited to join their conference.
Sierra: Hey guys…
Kat: What ru doing?
Sierra: Going to bed soon?
Elaine: So early?
Sierra: It’s almost 12am here.
Elaine: Ooo… okie dokie.
Sierra: Guess what?
Sierra: I may have a rival.
Sierra: Actually, she isn’t exactly a rival if Jae Joong doesn’t have feelings for her. Right?
Kat: Right. Assuming she doesn’t have the power to change how he feels.
Sierra: She’s kinda ruthless.
Elaine: Who is she?
Sierra: Some trainee.
Kat: A trainee? Come on… ur Sierra of S-Cube. Have a little faith in urself.
Elaine: Kat is right. I’m sure Jae Joong loves u to death. Don’t u worry about that girl.
Sierra: That brings me to another issue.
Sierra: Jae Joong sort of proposed…
Kat: He what???!!!
Elaine: That’s great!!!
Sierra: Elaine… he’s only 22. It is not great.
Elaine: Erm… if he’s older than 21 yrs, it’s legal and I don’t see any problem with that.
Kat: You forget that they’re at the peaks of their careers.
Elaine: Oops… long engagement then.
Sierra: He said that too. I turned him down.
Kat: Good thinking.
Elaine: But it’s Hero Jae Joong!!! There will only be one Hero Jae Joong in your lifetime.
Sierra: If it’s meant to be, we will be together in this lifetime. For now, I’m not ready.
Kat: You did the right thing.
Elaine: Hai… hope you don’t regret it.
Sierra: I won’t. If he loves me, it will be worth the wait.
Elaine: I guess…
Sierra: I’m going to bed. I have a recording session tomorrow.
Kat: Ok… Bye!! Don’t stress out.
Elaine: Yea… take care…
Sierra: You too…
And I logged off. I went to bed that night, still thinking of Hae Rin. How much does she want Jae Joong and what will she do to get him? Should I tell Jae Joong about this? How would he react? I shouldn’t doubt his feelings for me. After all we’ve been through together; Hae Rin won’t be able to break us apart so easily. I’d better be on my guard from now on.
I woke up next morning with a horrible headache; must have been all that worrying. I got up and made myself a drink and took some painkillers, and then I sent Brian a message to tell him I would be late today. I definitely can’t sing with this pounding in my head. All I can hear was this thumping sound in my ears. I crawled back into bed and went to sleep. Sometime later, I woke up and saw Jae Joong covering me with my blanket.
“You’re awake?” he said. He was wearing his glasses. He looked so cute and innocent whenever he wore glasses. I always feel like hugging him whenever he looked so cute.
“Mmm…” I said as I closed my eyes again and he came to lie down beside me.
“Do you feel better?” he asked as he pushed my hair back away from my face.
“The headache’s gone,” I said as I held his hand to my forehead.
“Why don’t you just call in sick?”
“I already sent Brian a message to tell him I’ll be a little late,” I said as I put my arms around him and rested my head on his chest. He put his arm around me and stroked my back.
“If you’re sure,” he said.
“Jae Joong-ah…” I said as I rubbed my face against his shirt. “If there was a girl who likes you and she’s younger and prettier than me, would you leave me?”
“What’s this about?” he said as he started to sit up.
“It’s just a hypothetical question.”
“Sierra, what did I ask you for the other day?”
“Erm… a kiss?”
“Marriage,” I sighed.
“So why would I want someone who isn’t you?”
“I just feel insecure sometimes. Every other season, there’d be a fresh new face. Won’t you get tired of me?”
“If I ever thought that I’ll tire of you, I would never have asked you to meet my parents,” he said as he lay back down and pulled me down with him.
“I just feel so old sometimes,” I laughed.
“You’re not old,” he said and he kissed my head. “You don’t even look mature to me,” he laughed.
“Mwo?” I said and smacked him lightly on the chest. He grabbed my hand and held it there.
“You’re always vibrant and full of energy. You light up my day whenever I see you; that’s why I insist on picking you up each morning. Whenever you’re the first person I see, the day will somehow feel more promising.”
“Chintcha?” I said as I hugged him.
“Chintcha…” he said and mussed my hair affectionately.
“Jae Joong-ah,” I said as I traced the outline of the graphics on his t-shirt with my finger.
“Na tto saranghae,” he said and he pulled me closer for a hug. After staying in that position for about a minute, I pulled away.
“I’d better get dressed. I need to get to the studios.”
“They’ve probably gone out for lunch now. Let’s go for lunch before I send you there.”
“Okay,” I said as I walked out of my room.
I showered and got dressed in 15 minutes and we left the apartment. Skye and Shoei had gone for their training this morning while I was sleeping.
“How did you get in this morning?” I asked him.
“I know the code,” he smiled.
“Skye gave it to me.”
“What? You thought I was psychic or something? You guys have some weird code.”
“It’s Skye’s uncle’s birth date,” I laughed.
“No wonder. I was wondering what it meant. It wasn’t any of your birth dates, or even mine.”
“Now why would I use your birth date? Anyone would guess it.”
“Hey… why don’t you have anything on today?”
“I’m playing hooky,” he smiled.
“You’re gonna get me in trouble if you keep this up,” I said.
“Don’t worry. They’re not doing anything big today. Some of them are involved in some television program today.”
“You’d better be telling the truth,” I warned him.
“Ne, oma…” he laughed.
We arrived at the studios and he decided to come up and watch us record. I wasn’t really comfortable with him watching as I worked.
“Do you have to come? You’ll only be a distraction.”
“I’m there to make sure Brian doesn’t put the moves on you.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“I know how you idolize those two. I just want to make sure no one takes advantage of you.”
“The only one who takes advantage of me is you,” I said as we walked into the studio.
“Finally!” Brian exclaimed. “We were wondering if you were coming at all.”
“I had a headache this morning,” I explained.
“Are you sure it was a headache? Or was it Jae Joong who stopped you from coming?” Hwan Hee teased.
“She really wasn’t feeling well,” Jae Joong said, a little too defensively.
“It’s okay, Jae Joong. They’re just teasing me. That’s what I always get for being the only girl around here,” I said as I made a face at Brian.
After reviewing the work Brian and Hwan Hee had done without me this morning and the problems from yesterday, we went into the recording booth and started recording. Jae Joong sat with the producer and sound engineer in the control room. Every time I looked up, I’d find him watching me intently.
“Sierra, you were a little off back there. Let’s try it again, the producer said through the talkback which was connected to my headphones.”
While we were in the middle of the song, the entire room was suddenly engulfed with darkness and an emergency light came on.
“What happened?” Hwan Hee said. “Where did the electricity go?”
“It must be a power trip,” Brian said.
“Let’s get back to the control room,” I said as I walked to the door. It was locked. “Brian, Hwan Hee. I can’t unlock the door,” I said in panic.
“It can only be unlocked from the control room or with an access card outside of this room. With the power out, we’re stuck here,” Hwan Hee said.
And it hit me; they can’t hear us or communicate with us through this soundproofed room.