“Earth to nuna!” Skye waved his hands in front of my face and I snapped out of my thoughts to look at him. “What’s going on in that little head of yours?”
Do I tell him about my suspicions? Will he be willing to listen to me? How much influence does Hae Rin have over Skye now?
“Just spacing out,” I smiled as convincingly as I could. “It’s too early in the morning and your news fried my brains.”
“I’m sure,” he laughed as he continued eating.
“Yah! Skye! Did you finish up the hot water?” Shoei said as he walked out of the bathroom.
“What?” I exclaimed.
“Oops! I might have gotten a little carried away this morning,” Skye grinned.
“There’s no more hot water?” I said in disbelief.
“Yea…” Shoei said as he rubbed his hair with his towel. “I had to rinse the shampoo out of my hair with freezing, cold water.”
“Skye…” I groaned.
“Mian,” he said in his cutesy tone.
I stomped into my room to wake Jae Joong.
“Wake up!” I said as I shook his arm.
“You’re done showering?” he asked sleepily.
“Then let me sleep,” he said and covered his face with my bolster.
“No… There’s no hot water. I can’t shower. And you’ll need to go back to your apartment to shower.”
“It’s that stupid heater! The water gets used up real quick when we get carried away.”
“Okay…” he said as he sat up. “Do you wanna shower at my place?”
“Can I? Do you have enough hot water?”
“We haven’t run out before, if that’s what you’re asking?” he grinned.
“This is obvious discrimination by the management! You guys get the better heater.”
“We fall sick easily…”
“And we’re made of steel?”
“Get your clothes, ajumma. You’re wasting time nagging at me. I’m not the management.”
“When are you gonna be then?” I asked him with my hands on my hips.
“Get your clothes,” he said and he smacked my butt as he walked past.
“Yah! Pyeont’ae!!” I yelled, and he laughed.
We walked into TVXQ’s apartment a little after 8.
Chang Min was eating and Jun Su was banging on the bathroom door.
“Hyung! Hurry up!” he yelled and I guessed that it was Yun Ho in the shower. He took the longest to shower, most of the time. Yoo Chun was nowhere to be seen.
“Hyung! You’re back!” Chang Min smiled. “Hi, Sierra!”
“Hiya!” I smiled.
“Where’s Yoo Chun?” Jae Joong asked Jun Su.
“Still sleeping?” he shrugged.
Jae Joong opened the door to the room Jun Su, Chang Min and Yoo Chun shared and banged on it.
“Yah! Yoo Chun! Wake up!” he yelled.
“Mmm…” Yoo Chun mumbled.
“Yoo Chun…” I said. “Are those Mashimaro boxers you’re wearing?” and he jumped up immediately, scrambling for his blanket to pull it up and cover himself.
“Hyung!” he whined. “Why didn’t you tell me Sierra was here?” He looked embarrassed.
“You needed a little humiliation to wake you up,” Jae Joong smirked.
“I took a picture of it,” I said in a sing-song voice and I skipped off to Jae Joong’s room.
“Andoe…” Yoo Chun wailed.
“Stop fooling around,” Jae Joong said. “Get dressed.”
I was sitting on Jae Joong’s bed, unpacking my outfit, when Yun Ho walked into the room wearing nothing but a towel around his waist.
“Yun Ho!” I exclaimed.
“What?” he asked.
“And is there anything you haven’t seen yet?” he winked.
“Jung Yun Ho!” I gasped.
“Araso… I just came in to get my pants. Keep your pants on,” he laughed.
“Not funny,” I huffed and I tossed Bambi at him.
“Bambi!” he yelled dramatically as he picked her up. “Kwaench’ana?”
“Get out!” I laughed as he gave me a forlorn look. He put Bambi on his bed, patted her head and walked out with his pants, really slowly.
“Appa will be back, Bambi,” he said as he turned back to look longingly at Bambi.
We were finally ready to go and left the apartment at about 8:45.
“Man… hyung is not gonna be happy,” I said as I looked at the time. I’m in Jae Joong’s car and the rest of TVXQ in Yoo Chun’s.
“This would be a good time to blame the heater and ask for a new one,” Jae Joong smiled.
“He’d be too pissed to hear me out,” I laughed.
“How long did it take for you to forgive him?” Jae Joong asked me, out of the blue.
“Huh?” I looked at him with a puzzled expression.
“How long did it take for you to forgive him for lying to Yun Ho?”
“I couldn’t really blame him,” I sighed. “At the end of the day, he was just doing his job. He was just doing what he thought was best for S-Cube.”
“And you were able to accept that?”
“He’d have lost his job if he hadn’t done what he did. And I don’t think S-Cube would fare better with a manager other than him.”
“That’s true. He really put all his efforts into helping you guys become a success.”
“I guess because I feel indebted to him, I can’t really bring myself to blame him for what happened.”
Jae Joong reached over and took my hand. I looked at him and smiled.
“I have him to thank,” he said softly.
“I would have never had a chance with you if he hadn’t told that lie.”
“But I really wish that Yun Ho didn’t have to get hurt because of all this.”
“Me too. But it’s happened and we can’t change it.”
“We can’t change it…” he said wistfully.
“What are you thinking about?”
“If things hadn’t turned out like they have and if you were still with Yun Ho, how would I be feeling now?”
“Let’s not go there,” I said as I traced his palm with my fingers.
“Let’s not think about that.”
“I don’t want to remember the guilt,” I said and I could feel my eyes starting to tear.
“I know you still care about Yun Ho,” he sighed.
“He’s a good friend. He was my best friend. Of course I still care.”
“Mian,” he said.
“Jae Joong, I love you. You’re the only one. You are the one now. Please remember that,” I said.
“I will,” he smiled and he reached out his hand to pinch my cheeks lightly.
We arrived at the MKMF venue at about 9:15am. I ran into the auditorium while Jae Joong parked his car since my manager was going to be much more furious with me than his would be with him. As I ran down the stairs towards the stage, hyung turned around and glared at me.
“Running is not going to make a difference,” he bellowed at me. “You’re already late. Don’t risk any injuries by running. I don’t need you rolling down those stairs.”
“Nae,” I said and slowed down my pace to walk down the stairs sheepishly.
Skye and Shoei were on the stage with Lex oppa, warming up.
“Get your butt up here,” Lex oppa said, when he saw me.
I dropped my bag beside Skye’s and Shoei’s and climbed onto the stage. I tossed my jacket beside one of the amps on the ground and started warming up. Skye was actually just stretching his legs and fooling around since his arm was in a cast. We went through the routine once and then Jun Jin oppa appeared.
“Hey!” he waved at us and he jumped onto the stage.
“Oppa!” I called out brightly.
“Sierra… no more sugar for you,” he laughed.
“Nae?” I said, confused.
“Why are you so high this morning?” he asked.
“I’m being normal!” I said indignantly. Did he think I was one of those girls who liked to act adorable in that squeaky, clingy, annoying way?
“Sure you are,” he winked. “So Lex, what do we have on the agenda today?” he turned to Lex oppa.
After Lex oppa had a short discussion with Jun Jin oppa, we did the routine again. We were singing Ghosts, from our 2nd album, since it’s the song for which we are nominated. As we rehearsed, TVXQ walked in from the back of the auditorium. They looked like they owned the place as soon as they walked in. When they walked, they automatically fell into their photo positions; from left to right, Jun Su, Yoo Chun, Jae Joong, Chang Min and finally, Yun Ho. I had a feeling that they were going to sweep up the awards again tonight.
“Sierra! Get you head back into the routine!” Lex oppa yelled at me. He must’ve caught me looking at TVXQ. I smiled sheepishly as Skye and Shoei groaned and we had to start again.
“Sierra,” Jun Jin oppa poked my back.
“Nae?” I turned to look at him.
“I know you’re smitten, but put your head in the game,” he winked. “I don’t wanna be stuck here for the next hour.”
“Mian, oppa,” I laughed. “I’ll focus on you instead.”
“Ah… no thanks! I don’t need to get beaten up,” he laughed as he put his hands up.
“Ready?” Lex oppa growled. He always got really tense and anal during our final pre-show rehearsals.
We ran through our new version of performance for Ghosts and when Lex oppa was satisfied, we were allowed to get off the stage and TVXQ climbed onto the stage to rehearse.
We sat in the seats near the stage and rested as we watched them rehearse. Their performance would be the most extravagant and complicated compared to most of the other bands. They tested out the lifts and their entrance and finally, they started dancing to their latest single. I watched them, mesmerized as usual and I was startled when someone tapped me on the shoulder.
“Such devotion,” Brian laughed.
“Yah! You almost gave me a heart attack.”
“It’s not my fault that you’re so immersed with ogling at your darling,” he smirked.
“Twaeji!” I said and I smacked his leg since he was standing beside me and I can’t reach his arm.
“Aah!” he yelled and jumped away. “You crazy girl,” he pointed at me and I stuck my tongue out at him.
“Brian, do you have to agitate her once you see her?” Hwan Hee sighed as he walked over.
“What? What did I do?” Brian put his hands up and tried to look innocent.
“Grow up!” I said as I playfully tossed my bottle of water at him.
“Hyung!” Brian called out. “Can you please control her?” he pointed to me when Shi Kyung hyung turned to look.
“Control her yourself,” was his reply and I burst into laughter at Brian’s expression. He looked so hurt that no one was on his side.
Hwan Hee patted Brian on the back and walked off. Brian made a face at me and followed Hwan Hee.
“Hey kids!” Someone called out and we all turned to look. It was Min Woo.
“Min Woo hyung!” Skye smiled as he stood up.
“What happened to your arm, Skye?” Min Woo asked.
“He was being a nuisance again,” Shoei replied.
“Yea,” I said and I smacked Skye on the head.
“Tsk… tsk… Skye, why did you have to upset your pretty nuna.” Min Woo winked at me. “She’s gonna get more wrinkles if you don’t behave,” he added.
“I do not get wrinkles,” I pouted.
“Of course you don’t,” Min Woo said, and he smiled slyly.
“Oppa! Miweo!” I said as I sat down and faced the stage, ignoring him.
“Sierra-yah, I was just joking. You can’t really hate oppa, can you?” Min Woo teased as he nudged my shoulder.
“Min Woo, stop flirting with Sierra,” Jun Jin said. I looked up and saw Jun Jin walking towards us and Min Woo was looking at him with an odd expression.