“Brian…” I stammered. “They can’t hear us, can they?”
“I don’t think so. The room’s soundproofed,” Brian said.
I walked over to the huge glass screen which seperated us from the control room and knocked on it. Jae Joong came over to face me and was mouthing something. It was so frustrating that I couldn’t hear a word he said.
“It’s no use,” Hwan Hee said as he went to sit down in a corner, leaning against the wall.
“It’s getting hot in here,” Brian said as he fanned himself with the papers which had the lyrics on it.
“The air conditioning is out. We’re going to suffocate from the heat if they don’t let us out soon.”
“Isn’t there another way to get out of here?” I asked.
“Sure,” Brian said. “We could knock down the door.”
“Stop giving useless suggestions,” Hwan Hee said to Brian. “They’ll fix this soon.”
It was an hour and half later and we were still stuck in the room. Beads of perspiration have started to form on my forehead. The guys have taken off the shirts because of the heat. The room has started to smell a little musky from the lack of ventilation.
“How long do they need to fix a damn power trip?” Brian said as he tossed his shirt to the far end of the recording booth.
Just then, there was a knock on the door and a piece of paper was slid under the door into the recording booth. I picked it up.
Are you okay? They’re fixing the problem now. If they don’t get you out in another hour, I’ll get them to knock down the door.
I picked up the pen on the stand near the microphones and wrote him a reply.
It’s really hot in here :( And it’s getting really stuffy. So hard to breathe.
I slid the paper under the door. A few seconds later, the paper came back under the door.
Stay calm. I’ll make sure they get you out. Saranghae…
“What are you doing by the door?” Brian asked.
“It’s Jae Joong. He’s been slipping me messages under the door.”
“How sweet. You can still manage to date through a door,” Hwan Hee laughed.
“The power of love…” Brian sang the line from Celine Dion’s song.
Another hour went by and we were all lying on the carpeted floor. It felt like as if there wasn’t any oxygen left in the room and we were all breathing heavily. Brian picked up his bottle and drank the last of his water.
“Are they ever coming?” I groaned as I sat up.
I could see Jae Joong sitting in the control room. He had a finger in his mouth and he was sort of spinning in the seat, from left to right and back again, as he looked at the floor. I knocked on the glass and he looked up. I signaled for him to come to the glass. When he came close, I pressed the right side of my face on the glass and closed my eyes, savoring the coolness of the glass. I opened one eye and Jae Joong moved forward and planted a kiss on the other side of the glass at the position where my cheek is. I looked at him and smiled weakly as I wiped the sweat away from my forehead.
“Kidariyo…” he mouthed to me and I nodded. Then, I couldn’t take it anymore and collapsed to the floor as my vision began to fade.
I woke up to find myself lying on the sofa in the lobby downstairs, my head on Jae Joong’s lap.
“You’re awake,” he said and as he stroked my hair.
“Hmm… is the power restored?” I asked.
“No, it’s still out.”
“Then how did you get me out of there?
“I knocked down the door with the fire extinguisher.”
“Should’ve done that hours ago,” Hwan Hee said as he walked towards us, holding some paper cups. “Here. Have some water,” he said as he passed Jae Joong one of the cups.
Jae Joong helped me up and brought the cup to my mouth for me to take a sip.
“Where’s Brian?” I asked.
“He’s out there, somewhere,” Hwan Hee replied and then he smiled. “You should’ve seen the look of your yongung’s (hero) face when he crashed through that door.”
“What’s with my face?” Jae Joong asked.
“You looked like you could kill someone,” Hwan Hee laughed.
“I just panicked when she fainted,” Jae Joong said.
“And how did I get down here?”
“Jae Joong carried you down,” Hwan Hee said.
“Down the stairs?” I asked as I stared at Jae Joong.
“Yep… You need to lose some weight,” he smiled and I smacked him. Then I pulled his head down and kissed him.
“Woa… woa… let me get out of the picture first,” Hwan Hee laughed as he walked away.
“Naui yongung,” I smiled as I pulled away.
“Hmm… naui kongju?” he smiled. “Ani… I don’t think you’re a princess at all,” he laughed.
“Why is that?” I asked, pouting.
“You’re too cool to be a princess.”
It was almost 6pm. The power had been restored and hour ago and we were back in the studio trying to salvage our recording from before the power trip. We had to move to another studio since Jae Joong had broken the door of the one we were using. At 7pm it seemed that we were all too tired to continue.
“Let’s call it a day,” Hwan Hee said.
“Yea…” Brian agreed. “All that excitement from earlier has really gotten to me. I just wanna go home and take a shower.”
The producer agreed. We packed up and left the studio.
“Let’s go for dinner,” Hwan Hee said as we descended in the elevator.
“Hwan Hee-yah… Why do you want to be the third wheel?” Brian said as he nudged Hwan Hee.
“Oops! I forgot. We’ll just leave you two love birds alone.”
“It’s alright,” I said. “Let’s have dinner together.”
“Actually, there’s somewhere we need to go,” Jae Joong said.
“You see!” Brian said. “We don’t want to intrude.”
“Where are we going?” I asked Jae Joong.
“You’ll know when you get there,” he replied mysteriously.
“I smell a surprise,” Hwan Hee said as the elevator doors opened. “We’ll see you tomorrow, Sierra.”
“Byeeee…” Brian sang as he followed Hwan Hee.
Jae Joong and I walked out of the elevator and I turned to look at him.
“What’s the big surprise?” I asked him.
“I just wanted some time with you tonight,” he said.
“So there isn’t a surprise?”
“There could be if you wanted one,” he smiled.
“Stop kidding around, Jae Joong. I did want to have dinner with them.”
“I didn’t. I wanted you alone.”
“You can have me alone after dinner,” I reasoned. Jae Joong didn’t answer as we kept walking toward the car park. “Jae Joong…” I said as I grabbed his hand. He shrugged my hand off as he turned around to face me.
“Do you know how worried I was today?” he said, gritting his teeth.
“Do you know the agony I was in while you were stuck it that room? And when I finally got you out, all I wanted was some time with you. Can’t you understand that?”
I was a little stumped. I didn’t know what to make of his outburst. Sure, Jae Joong was a passionate guy, but he rarely burst with anger. “Mian,” I said as I took his hand again. He pulled me toward him sharply and enveloped me in a hug.
“I never want to lose you,” he whispered into my hair.
Sometimes I wonder. Was it because I didn’t understand him? Or was it because I didn’t understand men in general? I used to think it was I who expected the most out of any relationship I had. I now realize that this was no longer the case. What Jae Joong expects from me is beyond what I’ve ever encountered in all my relationships. I just hope I live up to it.
We bought our takeaway dinner from McDonald’s and drove up to the hillside we’d always go to and we ate our dinner as we sat in the faint glow of the city lights. Jae Joong wasn’t a big fan of fast food, but I was. In any case, he’d always eat whatever I chose to eat and I compromised by going wherever he wanted to go. We climbed to the backseat and listened to the radio as we munched on our burgers and fries.
“You’d better cut down on fast food,” he said. “If you put on any weight, the management is going to go berserk.”
“I’ll burn this off in the gym,” I said as I sipped my Coke.
“And when was the last time you had the opportunity to go to the gym?”
“Erm… last week?”
“Once a week is not going to be enough. You’re gonna gain faster than you can burn it off.”
“Nae, sonbaenim,” I smiled. “Besides, next week, we start rehearsing for the concert in New York. Plenty of time to burn off my fats and I’ll probably turn into a human toothpick by the end of it.”
“Michoso…” he laughed and reached over the wipe the mayonnaise stuck at the corner of my mouth with his thumb. I’m not sure if this is a good thing, but Jae Joong makes me feel like I’m at least 3 years younger than he is. With Yun Ho, I always felt like the older one. He may be a leader in his band, but when he was with me, his inner child just explodes out of him. With Jae Joong, it was passionate, but controlled. He seldom allowed himself to overreact or do crazy stuff like Yun Ho did.
When we’d finished eating, we sat there in the backseat; my arms around Jae Joong’s waist and his arm around me as he stroked my arm. The song ‘Tattoo’ by Clazziquai was playing on the radio. I hate to admit this, but it made me think of Yun Ho. It made me think of our first time. I felt like I was betraying Jae Joong when I thought about it, but I can’t stop the memories from flooding me. I tightened my arms around his waist and lay my head against his chest to listen to his heartbeat.
“Are you cold?” he asked.
“Ani,” I said.
“You must be tired. Shall I send you home now?”
“I’m fine, let’s stay here for awhile.”
“Okay…” he said as his hands came up to massage my neck gently.
I tilted my head up and our lips met in a kiss. As we kissed, we shifted our positions and he slowly guided me so that I leaned against the door with him on top. We broke away, breathless, and then we started kissing again. We repeated this pattern, each time feeling more urgent than the last. When we finally stopped, Jae Joong rested his head gently against my shoulder and I could feel his breath against my ear. I put my arms around him and pulled him tightly towards me so that I could feel his weight on me.
“Sierra,” he said as he tried to get up, “I’m going to crush you.”
“I’m fine,” I said. “Stay like this. I like the way you feel against me.”
“Sierra… you can’t imagine how that sentence affects me,” he laughed.
“How?” I whispered.
“Never say that to anyone else,” he said as he kissed my neck.
“Why would I? I only want to feel you against me, no one else,” I said. He lifted his head up and looked at me for awhile. His eyes were so intense, they were melting me inside. Then, he pushed my hair away from my face and kissed me.
Suddenly, we heard a tapping on the window. We looked up and a man wearing a helmet and goggles was peering down at us.