Thursday, 29 March 2007

IT'S ON!!!


Just a quick announcement... I'm now in the running for that online competition SM is having:



Those who are able to, please support me by commenting or voting or whatever... I think voting by Netizens start on April 10. To comment, just key in whatever name you wanna be, and a password, type comment, and submit. Remember the password, in case you wanna edit or delete your comment later.

Also... I've submitted my video for an online dance competition on Daum.

Click on the 'thumbs up' icon to vote if you think I'm good. Haha! And if you have an account with Daum, you can even comment.

That's all from me... wish me luck... and support me if you can!!! Thanks everyone!!! Mwaaahhh!!!

Chapter 72: Get Me Some

The filming begins. The first scene has Hae Rin singing the first 2 verses while moving about her room. She starts by sitting on the bed, holding up a stuffed toy as the music began, and then starts singing to it. By the end of the 2nd verse, she walks towards her dressing table and throws the toy down.

The bridge begins, and the scene now shows her looking in the mirror at Si Won and me. Si Won stands behind me and has his arms around my waist. As we sing the bridge together, Si Won was instructed to get touchy-feely with me, and when I sang, I’d roll my eyes as if I was sick of him.

This was actually a hard scene for Si Won and me, since we were friends, and he knew Jae Joong. At first, when he was instructed to wrap his arms around my waist, he didn’t dare to stand close, and he’d left a gap about half a foot wide between us.

“Cut!” the director yelled.

“Si Won,” the producer called out. “You need to stand closer to Sierra. You don’t look like a couple now.”

“Aissshiii… chintcha isange,” Si Won laughed nervously as we tried to get back into position.

“I know it’s weird,” I told him, “but we have to do it, or we don’t get paid,” I laughed.

“Araso” he replied. “But Jae Joong hyung is gonna kill me later,” he laughed.

“He might,” I laughed.

We start at the bridge again, where my parts are supposed to echo Hae Rin’s. Si Won leans into me until our bodies touch, and the producer was yelling for him to kiss my neck, touch my face and etcetera. When the bridge was complete, we took a short break. All in all, we’d had about 5 to 6 takes because we moved wrongly, stood wrongly, or sang wrongly.

“That was weird,” Si Won said as he scratched his head in embarrassment.

We’d just pick up a bottle of water each and sat down on the chairs set out for us during the break.

“Tell me about it,” I giggled.

“I hope Jae Joong hyung won’t mind,” he said.

“Of course he won’t,” I said reassuringly. “This was all done professionally. It’s part of our jobs. In fact, he kissed me in that ‘Insa’ MV back when I was still with Yun Ho. So this is no biggie.”

“Oh… right,” Si Won smiled. “Didn’t Yun Ho hyung mind?”

“Well, I don’t think he did, since he and Jae Joong are like brothers, and he trusted Jae Joong.”

“I’ve always wondered how things went down with the three of you. When he came back and found that you were dating Jae Joong hyung,” he said.

I kept quiet when he said that, as I nursed my bottle of water. Ever so often, someone would bring this up, and I would feel a little guilty thinking about everything that had happened.

“I’m sorry,” Si Won said, when he noticed my silence. “I shouldn’t have asked.”

“It’s fine,” I said. “It’s the truth and it’s what had happened. It’s nothing to hide.”

“But you’re uncomfortable about it,” he said.

“No… it’s just… I feel guilty towards Yun Ho when I think about it.”

“It’s not like you cheated on him. He left you.”

“We were all victims of lies. And I was the victim of loneliness. I needed support at that time, and Jae Joong was there.”

“I would have done the same,” Si Won said. “You were going through a hard time; the attack, the surgery, then releasing a new album. Anyone would’ve felt vulnerable, especially you, a girl living in a foreign country.”

“I’m a kasu. I’m supposed to be able to deal with it,” I smiled weakly.

“Sometimes, I feel we as kasu ask too much of ourselves. We set such high standards for ourselves, that when we fail to reach them, we disappoint ourselves to such great extent.”

“Hey,” I smiled. “All in a day’s work.”

“Right,” he smiled back and took another gulp of water. “Still, I’d have done what Jae Joong hyung did.”


“He made his move at the crucial moment, so that he could win you.”

“Oh, that… not that it has done us much good.”

“You’re happy now, aren’t you?” he asked me.

“Happy? Of course. I’m living my dream. Why wouldn’t I be?”

“Then stay happy. Don’t think too much of it.”

“If only happiness came so easily. If only happiness came without a price,” I laughed softly.

The chorus would only be Hae Rin and I singing in our own rooms, without Si Won. Then once the chorus was over, the camera cuts to me moving around my room, and Si Won was asked to sit in a chair for awhile, lie on the bed for awhile, and all this while we had to keep stopping and starting again so that he could switch places.

At the 2nd bridge, I had to lie on the bed as I sang, and Si Won would lean over, on top of me, but our bodies were not touching. At the end I would push him off me and he would just fall back. After that, they stopped filming us, started the bridge again, and Hae Rin had to sing her backup parts of the bridge as ‘my reflection’ in the mirror.

For the final chorus, we were placed in a white room, singing side by side, and towards the end, Si Won was to walk down from back to the front until he was between us.

“That’s a wrap,” the producer called out as soon as the final chorus ended.

Everyone clapped as we walked off the set, and we bowed to everyone, thanking them for the day’s hard work. As we walked to wardrobe, Si Won’s hand kept rubbing his butt.

“What’s wrong?” I asked him.

“That shove you gave me earlier,” he said. “I fell hard on my butt.”

“Mian,” I laughed. “I guess I was really into character just now.”

“No problem. I’ll just get compensation from Jae Joong hyung,” he laughed.

“And what are you gonna tell him? I hurt you while you were trying to hit on me?” I smiled.

“Oh… right… Aissshiii… guess I’m not getting any compensation then,” he laughed.

“Oppa! Onni! Wanna go for supper after this?” Hae Rin asked.

We’d been filming all day and probably only had 1 proper meal, that’s lunch, and the rest were snacks.

“Sure,” I replied. “Is Skye coming to pick us up?” I asked her.

“No,” she replied. “He’s still doing something.”

“I’ll drive,” Si Won offered.

“Great,” I said. “Let’s get changed first.”

On our way out, we called up Hee Chul and Han Kyung and asked them to meet us at this stall we always go to for soju and samgyupsal.

“Yaa…” Hee Chul said as soon as he saw both Hae Rin and me. “Why are the two most beautiful ladies in Korea without their men tonight? Skye and Jae Joong are not worried that we’d steal you away?”

“If only you could, Hee Chul oppa,” I said sweetly.

“Aisshii…” he exclaimed at my sarcasm.

“Ignore him,” Han Kyung said in Mandarin to me. “Paramdung-i,” he added, and Hee Chul pretended to throw a punch at him.

We settled down and ordered our food. The drinks arrived immediately, and the guys started filling our glasses. As usual, mine would be half-filled, since Han Kyung knew that I hardly drank.

“Konbae!” we all yelled and drank our first glass.

“So how’s your schedule these days?” Han Kyung asked me.

“I’m playing hooky tonight, since I just got off from an MV shoot with Hae Rin. If I weren’t, I’d be in the studios with Skye and Shoei now.”

“I’m gonna call your manager,” Hee Chul said as he pretended to dig through his jacket pockets for his phone.

“And I’m gonna tell everyone you’re gay,” I told him.

“That’s not nice, Sierra,” Hee Chul wagged his finger at me.

“Calling my manager isn’t nice either,” I reminded him.

“Food’s here,” Si Won said, in an attempt to distract us.

Just then I looked up, and guess who walked into the stall and sat down beside us? It was Darren, Min Jong & Nakata from Helix. If anyone’s forgotten, DSP was our rival from DSP, just like how SS501 is to TVXQ. Darren was the oldest, born in 1984, which made him a year younger than me. Min Jong and Nakata were both born in 1986. The three of them were dressed in black t-shirts and jeans, and had baseball caps on.

“Sierra nuna,” Darren smiled when he noticed me.

“Hi, Darren,” I said in English.

“You guys come here too?” he asked.

“Not as often these days,” I replied.

“Hey nuna,” Min Jong and Nakata waved.

“Hi guys,” I smiled.

“Ya… hyung,” Darren smiled and he stood up to greet Hee Chul.

“Darren,” Hee Chul smiled. “Sit with us.”

The three of them moved over to our table; Darren between Si Won and Hae Rin, and Min Jong and Nakata between Si Won and Hee Chul.

“Is this your sister?” Darren asked Si Won, as he sort of pointed at Hae Rin.

“You can say that,” Si Won said. “Actually, she just happens to be from my neighborhood back home. She’s debuting next month.”

“Nice,” Darren smiled. “I’m Darren,” he said as he turned to Hae Rin.

“Hae Rin,” she smiled back.

“Hae Rin,” Darren flashed his pearlies at her. “I’ll be sure to look out for your first single.”

“It’s actually going to include a MV with Sierra onni,” Hae Rin said.

“Chintchayo?” Darren said.

“Nuna,” Nakata said. “You’re really popular these days. I heard you have many collaboration projects coming up. When are you going to collaborate with Helix?”

“You can get your manager to talk to mine, then we’ll see,” I said as I took a sip of my drink. “Besides… there are so many female kasu out there lining up to collaborate with Helix. You don’t really need to go through the trouble to collaborate with me.”

“But you’re what sells these days,” Min Jong said.

“Is that what the latest market analysis said?” I laughed.

“Sort of,” Min Jong replied.

“Ya… Can we not talk about work?” Hee Chul cut in. “Let’s drink.”

“You know what?” I said to Darren after a few rounds of drinks. “I think you guys should collaborate with Hae Rin.”

“Hae Rin?”

“Yea… since she’s new and all. A controversial collaboration might boost her sales, and yours. You should ask your manager to get in touch with hers.”

“Hmm… I’ll check with him then.”

“We’ve heard about you, Hae Rin,” Min Jong said.

“Chintcha?” Hae Rin said, her eyes widening.

“We know SM was planning to debut another female kasu, and that she was going to be as big as BoA and Jang Ri In. But we didn’t know who.”

“They’re releasing information about me next week, to the press, to generate interest.”

“After which, Hae Rin and I will have a zillion of promotional events to attend,” I sighed.

“Hey… every entertainer worries when they don’t have events to attend,” Han Kyung reminded me. “Cos that’s when they’re no longer popular.”

“Yep,” Si Won quipped in agreement.

“So make the most of your hectic schedule now,” Hee Chul said as he reached over to pat my head.

“Yah!” I exclaimed as I smoothed my hair back down. “Do not touch the hair.”

“Now is our time,” Han Kyung said. “In a few years time, we’ll be has-beens, and no one will remember us.”

“Don’t say that. We have long careers ahead of us,” I said.

“You’ll never know when the novelty wears out,” Han Kyung said.

“Well,” Nakata said. “Look at Jang Woo Hyuk. He’s still doing pretty well.”

“He’s bloody talented, that’s why,” Darren said.

“I don’t think any of you are less talented than he is,” I said.

“That’s what you think,” Darren replied. “Woo Hyuk sonbae’s been through a lot, and to get where he is today, it isn’t easy.”

“Maybe not all of us will have that sort of luck,” Hee Chul said. “But some of us might,” he said as he looked pointedly at me.

“Are you saying I am the one who’d most likely have a longer career, compared to all of you at this table?” I said.

“Nae,” all of them replied and nodded.

Suddenly, someone’s phone started ringing, and we looked around the table to see whose it was. Hae Rin dug through her bag, produced her phone and flipped it open.

“Yoboseyo?” she said, and as the call progressed, her expression turned more and more somber.

Sunday, 25 March 2007

Chapter 71: My Neverending Story

Another week has gone by, and our schedules are not letting up even the slightest. We’ve been spending more than 12 hours in the studio, and some days we go for photo shoots for the new album sleeve.

Today, we’re on location, filming our new MV, ‘Connect the Dots’. It was an indoor set because they had many special effects to add in so that it suited the digital theme we had. We spent the whole morning dancing in front of the big green backdrop and now we’re being wired so that we could ‘glide through the air’.

“Yaaa…” Skye yelled like a madman as they swung him through the air on the wire.

“Skye,” the producer called out from below. “Can you please control your expressions? We don’t need all those funny faces you’re making to be on the video."

Shoei and I laughed uncontrollably when Skye was reprimanded. Skye pouted and planted his hands on his hips while he was still suspended in the air.

We each did our flying shots and then there was another angle to shoot. We had to stand close to the camera, so that it only took headshots of us, and sing our lines. You’d think that was easy, but since it was late by the time we got to that scene, we were already tired, and feeling lazy.

“Sierra,” the producer called out. “Can you lip-sync naturally?”

“Mian,” I smiled, and we had to start all over again.

My face was getting a little tired from trying to look expressive when singing my lines for the camera. When I was finally done, I walked off the set rubbing my cheeks as I went.

“What’s wrong with you?” Skye asked when he saw me doing that.

“My face hurts,” I said. “It’s sort of aching.”

“You overworked it, ne?” he laughed.

“I guess,” I laughed as I sat down and picked up a bottle of mineral water.

“How long before this shoot ends?” Skye asked.

“When Shoei’s done, I guess.”

Earlier today, reporters from Mnet came to interview us regarding the upcoming launch of our new album. Mnet was one of the largest broadcasting companies in South Korea and most of the time, they had exclusive rights to get first hand information and pre-launch interviews with SM artistes releasing new albums.

“Sierra-shi,” the reporter addressed me.

It was an informal interview since we didn't have the time to sit down together in front of the camera. The reporter went from one of us to another whenever we’ve finished shooting our scene.

“Ne,” I said, bowing a little.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve spoken to you. How have you been lately?”

“I’m fine. Thank you for asking,” I smiled.

“This is S-Cube’s 3rd album, any special feelings about it?”

“Well, we’ve come a long way since our first album. I think that, compared to our past albums, you will feel a stronger vibe emanating from the music.”

“Wow,” the reporter said. “Stronger vibes? Is this in the lyrics, the expression when S-Cube is singing, or in the beat of the music?”

“It depends on the songs. Some lyrics, like in the case of ‘Connect the Dots’, will sound a little angry,” I laughed. “And for this song, we might sing with a little anger too, so that we can express the lyrics well. As for the beat of the music, we aim to add a few more fast tracks to this new album so that we can reach the listeners who prefer upbeat music.”

“Any special things we should look out for in this new album?”

“We’re trying out new elements in our music. Among some of them are oriental instruments in the background of the songs, specifically the er-hu, a Chinese string instrument, which will be heard in the track ‘(Why Am I) Never Enough’.”

“Wow, sounds interesting,” the reporter said.

“Annyeong,” Skye waved as he walked past behind me.

“Annyeong,” the reporter waved back, laughing. “Skye-shi, can you join us for a moment?”

“Ne?” Skye said as he approached us.

“We’re just talking about special features in S-Cube’s upcoming album. Can you tell us what are the other special features apart from the new tough vibe and the addition of Chinese intruments?”

“Well, we have an impressive line of kasu collaborating with us this time,” he said.

“May we know who they are?”

“One of them is Hee Chul, from Super Junior, and that’s all I can reveal for now,” he winked to the camera.

“Ne,” the reporter said. “Kamsahamnida. Do you both have anything to add?”

“Yes… doesn’t everyone think our nuna is hotter than she used to be?” he said to the camera, as he pinched my cheeks.

“Yah!” I exclaimed and swatted his hand off, and the reporter, crew and Skye were laughing as they tried to wrap up the shoot.

“Thank you everyone for watching,” the reporter said while standing in front of us. “This has been an exclusive interview by Mnet with S-Cube’s Sierra, Skye and Shoei. A 30 second preview of their upcoming title track, 'Connect the Dots' , is now available on Do visit us if you want to be the first to hear this hot new track by S-Cube. Tune in to our upcoming episodes for more exclusive information on their new album.”

After the Mnet crew had left, we waited around for Shoei, who was being filmed for the last shot of the day. By the time he walked off the set, Skye and I have already removed our makeup and changed out of our costumes.

“We’ll wait outside,” I told him, and he nodded.

We had a quick supper, and headed back home.

“I’m gonna drop you guys off and go to Hae Rin’s,” Skye said as he approached our apartment.

“You’re not coming back tonight?” Shoei asked him.

“Probably not.”

Hae Rin had recently moved to a newer apartment, and Skye was able to visit her more often now since there was no hostel warden to guard her every move.

“You should be careful, Skye,” I cautioned. “Ryu Ji Tae still doesn’t know about the both of you, and if he does, I don’t think he’d allow it.”

“I know,” Skye sighed.

Ryu Ji Tae and SM has invested so much on Hae Rin to debut her, they will probably not appreciate her having a boyfriend. If he found out, I’m positive that he will go through great lengths to make sure Hae Rin ends it with Skye.

Jae Joong and I were lucky that SM had turned a blind eye, probably because we were bringing in enough for the company, and our relationship had not affected our album sales. Even though our pictures fill the tabloids, we were never seen as a couple at official events, and that’s how the SM wanted to keep it. Even if Jae Joong had made a public statement about us, SM never confirmed it with one of their own.

When Shoei and I got home, we went through our usual routine. I’d shower, then he’d shower and we’d both go to bed. We hardly talked at all since we were both so tired. Just before I slept, I’d send Jae Joong a quick text message. He was going through the same schedule as we were since TVXQ would also be releasing a new album soon, but the dates have been arranged so that our releases didn’t coincide in the same month.

Dying… going to ‘rest in peace’ now… =P Saranghae…

I didn’t get a reply immediately, so I assumed that he was already sleeping, still showering, or possibly, still recording in the studios. When I woke up the next morning, I Jae Joong had left me a message on my phone.

See you in ‘heaven’ =P Saranghae…

Today I’m recording my MV with Hae Rin, the concept was that we’d each be looking into the mirror, and we’d be each other’s reflections. In some scenes, there’d be a guy with our ‘reflection’ and that would act as a flashback to illustrate what we were singing in the song. The guy in question was Si Won, from Super Junior.

“Sierra,” he smiled, as he walked out of the dressing room where he’d just been fitted with his costume.

“Si Won,” I smiled back. “I didn’t know you were in this MV.”

“I was told last week,” he said.

“Are you sure you want to be the guy in this MV?” I asked him. “He’s supposed to be a jerk.”

“He is?” Si Won exclaimed. “Hae Rin didn’t tell me. That girl…”

“Too late,” I laughed. “You’re gonna be a bad guy again.”

“I thought once was enough, in Ri In’s ‘Timeless’. Now they make me the bad guy in Hae Rin’s video too. Am I like the choice bad guy for the MVs of debuting female singers?”

“I guess so,” I said. “After this one, you’d have established yourself in the market of MV bad guys.”

“Aishii…” he grumbled.

“But in this case, you’re just a bad boy, not really a bad guy like in ‘Timeless’, and girls dig bad boys, so don’t worry.”

“Alright,” he smiled. “If it makes the girls go wild, I’m all for it.”

“Oppa! Onni!” Hae Rin greeted us as she too came out of hair and makeup.

“Hae Rin,” Si Won said. “Wa… you look gorgeous.”

“Komawo,” she smiled.

We walked to the set, and there were two scenes set up. One was Hae Rin’s room, and one was mine. Hae Rin was dressed in a white collared top and short school-girlish pleated skirt, and her room was decorated in black and white. I was dressed in a red collared denim dress, which ended a few inches above my knees, and my room was decorated in red and black. Si Won was dressed in a smart black shirt and jeans. They’d left his shirt unbuttoned on the top and only 2 buttons buttoned in the middle. Hae Rin and I teased him mercilessly about the image they were giving him in the video.

We gathered around so that Si Won could listen to the song once, to give him a little idea of how the mood and scenes would be like. The song starts with the strains of an acoustic guitar, and Hae Rin sings the first part of the song with me backing up the bridge, and vice versa for the 2nd part.

Hae Rin: I used to sit and cry
People would as me why
Why did I bother to hurt myself
For someone who didn’t give a damn about me

You never cared about me
You always did as you pleased
You never gave me the attention I needed
Until I decided to leave

Hae Rin: You said to me
[Sierra: Baby please don’t go]
Hae Rin: I really love you so
[Sierra: I really didn’t know]
Hae Rin: You hurt me like hell
[Sierra: I wanna make it right]
Hae Rin: Don’t give me your crap no more
You could never fix this

Sierra & Hae Rin: I wanna be the girl, the girl of your dreams
Not some stand in while you wait for her
I wanna be the one, the one that you need
Not some temporary measure

Sierra: Now that you’re out of my life
I feel a sense of freedom
No more making a fool of myself
No more being a doormat for you

I hope you’re hurting now
I hope that you regret all that you did
Now you know how I feel
The pain, the loneliness, isn’t it eating you up

Sierra: You said to me
[Hae Rin: Baby please don’t go]
Sierra: I really love you so
[Hae Rin: I really didn’t know]
Sierra: You hurt me like hell
[Hae Rin: I wanna make it right]
Sierra: Don’t give me your crap no more
You could never fix this

Sierra & Hae Rin: I wanna be the girl, the girl of your dreams
Not some stand in while you wait for her
I wanna be the one, the one that you need
Not some temporary measure

Hae Rin: I wanna be the girl, the girl of your dreams
Not some stand in while you wait for her
[Sierra: Wait for her…]
I wanna be the one, the one that you need
Not some temporary measure

Sierra: I don’t wanna be a temporary measure…

“Omigod…” Si Won said softly, as the song ended. “What kind of guy am I supposed to be?” he laughed.

“Heartless?” I offered.

“Cold?” Hae Rin added.

“Omigod…” he exclaimed again. “When this video gets out, I’m going to be hated by both your fans.”

“Yea…” Hae Rin laughed. “Our fans will pretty much hate you for hurting us.”

“Hyung!” Si Won said as he raised his hand to get the PD’s attention. “Can I leave?”

“No,” the PD replied, and we laughed as he pretended to look around for an escape route.

“I wanna leave,” he pretended to sob.

“Not a chance,” Hae Rin and I said, and we hauled him towards the set where the crew was ready to begin filming.

Si Won pretended to try and get out of our grasps, which honestly, would not have been able to hold him down if he had really made an effort, since Hae Rin and I were like wisps next to him. Still, we must have looked like we were going to kidnap him and have our way with him or something.

“Andoe…” Si Won yelled, and everyone just cracked up at the sight we made.

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Chapter 70: You Are The One II

“Oppa, onni,” she greeted as she sniffed.

“Hae Rin,” I said. “You’re sick?”

“I have the flu,” she smiled.

Her nose was red, her eyes puffy and the moment she entered the room, she sat down immediately. How was she going to record today? Then again, Jae Joong and the rest of TVXQ have recorded when their sick, and so have we. But Hae Rin really did look awful.

“She’s just missing a few minutes more of recording. Let’s finish it today,” her manager said, and she nodded.

I watched Hae Rin drag herself into the studio and recorded as she leant heavily on the stand they’d placed under the microphone. The stand was usually used to hold up the lyrics and most of the time, we’d place our water bottles on it.

After an hour of recording, Hae Rin was finally released and I accompanied her down to the lobby to catch a taxi home. I had to remain because my recording was not complete yet.

“I can wait for the taxi alone,” she said, after we’d asked the receptionist to call for one.

“It’s alright. I just want to make sure you don’t faint before getting onto the taxi,” I smiled.

“Too bad Skye’s recording, or he’d be able to take me home.”

“Yea. We’re on a tight schedule. Our album’s due for release in 2 months, and we’ve not even finished recording. What’s more, we still have MVs to film.”

“And you have an extra MV to film with me,” she added.

“That’s right,” I sighed.

“Maybe I shouldn’t have asked you to collaborate with me,” she said.

“It’s fine. I can handle it,” I said. “This is not my first collaboration.”

“You’re really nice to me, onni,” she sighed.

“Why do you say that?” I asked her.

She looked up at me and she looked back down, shaking her head slowly.

“What’s wrong, Hae Rin?”

“You know, don’t you?” she said.

“Know what?”

“You know how I feel about Jae Joong oppa, don’t you? I know Skye must’ve told you. He didn’t tell me he did. But I know him. He must’ve told you.”

“And what if I do know.”

“I’m sorry, onni. I should’ve stopped obsessing about it a long time ago. I just realized that the both of you are really in love, and your relationship is steadfast. And I just realized that I could lose the only person who cares about me if I kept this up.”

“What happened? Did Skye say something?” I asked her.

Just then the taxi arrived, and she stood up.

“It’s nothing onni. I’ve talked it out with Skye. We’re fine now, and don’t worry. I’ll never try to come between you and Jae Joong oppa,” she said. “I’d better go now,”

“Okay. Go. Rest and get well soon,” I said, and she turned around to walk off.

I’m really puzzled with her attitude. Just a few days ago, she was devastated when she saw Jae Joong and me kissing, and now she’s admitting everything to me and telling me that she’d given up. I really don’t know what to make of her attitude. I should probably talk to Skye to confirm this. Did she really mean it? Was she really over Jae Joong?

[Hae Rin’s POV]

I climbed wearily into the taxi and after telling the driver where to go, I just lay down in the backseat. Thank god I’m sick today. Because I’m sick, I got the short break I needed so much. I’m finally getting the day off. I closed my eyes and groaned softly to myself.

“Agasshi,” the driver said as he turned around, “are you alright?”

“Yes, I’m fine,” I replied, and I closed my eyes again as soon as he’d turned around.

The past few days have been hellish for me, but thankfully, all has ended well. The night Kang In oppa had dropped me home, I found Skye waiting for me outside my apartment block.

“Skye,” I said as I approached him.

“Who was that?” he asked me.

“Kang In oppa,” I said.

“You went out with him?”

“No, I bumped into Sierra onni and Jae Joong oppa on the way out of the studios, and they offered me a lift, and to join them for dinner. That’s where we bumped into Kang In and Eun Hyuk oppa,” I explained.

“I thought you were recording late. Nuna and hyung left the building a short while after Shoei and I did. How could you have bumped into them?”

What’s up with Skye tonight? Why is he interrogating me? He usually says nothing when he sees me, other than describing his day and telling his jokes.

“My recording session ended early. What’s wrong with bumping into them?”

“Did you plan it?” he asked me.

I was taken aback when Skye asked me that question. What made him think that I was plotting anything? Then I remembered that he knew about my feelings for Jae Joong oppa.

“I didn’t plan anything, Skye,” I told him, and it was the truth.

“Are you sure? I can see you’ve not given up on Jae Joong hyung. I know it. You think I don’t know what you’re thinking when your mind wanders, when you’re not paying attention to me?” he said.

“I’m with you now, Skye. Why can’t just you let things be? Why must you talk about this?”

“Because you’re still thinking about it. You’re not contented just being with me,” he said.

“What makes you say that? You’re being crazy. If you wanna think that I’m not contented, maybe it’s because you feel that you’re not doing enough,” I said.

“Listen to you. I’ve not done enough? Hae Rin, I’ve been with you almost every single day since you got back from the States. Tell me how I have not been doing enough?”

“Then? What are you getting at?”

“I just feel tired. I don’t want to be with someone who doesn’t return my feelings.”

“What do you mean? Aren’t we together? What do you mean by not returning your feelings?”

“Sure… you do everything a girlfriend would do, but somewhere in the back of your mind, you’re not thinking of me when you do all those stuff. You’re still wanting something else, someone else.”

“You’re being ridiculous Skye,” I said. I was beginning to get really frustrated.

“Am I?” he said.

“I’m not going to defend myself when I’ve done nothing wrong,” I said as I crossed my arms across my chest.

“Fine. Then ask yourself. Are you really true to me? When you have an answer, then we can continue. For now, I’m done with us,” he said and he walked off.

“Done?” I exclaimed, shocked. “Skye!” I turned around and called after me, but he just kept walking.

I stood there and stared at his back as he walked off. Was he for real? Have I really gone too far? That night, I lay in bed and thought about it. Was I really going to ever get Jae Joong oppa? I grimaced when I remembered the kiss he shared with Sierra onni. They have never looked more into each other. I guess I will never get a shot at him. Was he just a teenage fantasy I couldn’t get over, or was he really the man of my dreams that I cannot live without?

I thought about Skye, about how he’d been there for me all these months. He did love me, and I know it. I’d refused to replace Jae Joong oppa’s place in my heart with Skye because I kept telling myself I was this close to winning him. The truth was that I haven’t even gotten in through the door. Sure he knew I existed, but he sure didn’t seem to care if I did or not.

The next day, I called Skye. I’d decided that I’m going to forget my obsession with Jae Joong oppa, and make the most of what I have with Skye. I tried again and again, and he just didn’t pick up. What was up? Didn’t he have breaks between his recording sessions?

After about 10 tries, I decided to try calling Shoei oppa instead, thinking that maybe Skye left his phone at home.

“Yoboseyo?” Shoei oppa said as he answered the phone.

“Shoei oppa, is Skye here?” I asked him.

“Ye,” he replied.

“Then why isn’t he answering his phone?” I asked him.

“I dunno,” Shoei oppa replied.

“Can I speak to him?”

“Chamkan,” he said, and I was kept waiting for awhile.

“Yoboseyo,” I said as I started to get impatient.

“Uhm… Hae Rin,” Shoei oppa said. “Skye’s recording now. He’ll call you back later.”

“But wasn’t he…” I started.

“I gotta go too,” Shoei oppa cut me of. “He’ll call you. Bye!” he said and he hung up on me.

What was Skye playing at now? Was he angry with me? Was he trying to ditch me? I decided that I needed to find out, so I waited in the lobby that night so that I could catch him after his recording session. I sat there for almost an hour past the usual time he’d usually get out of the studio. My manager had been calling me for the past half an hour, probably to ask me to get back into the studio, but I ignored his calls. I needed to talk to Skye, or I wouldn’t be able to focus.

Sierra onni had walked past sometime ago, and she stopped to talk to me.

“Why are you here, Hae Rin?” she asked me. “Waiting for Skye?”

“Nae,” I replied. “Is he coming down yet?”

“In awhile, I guess. I gotta run. I have a shoot elsewhere,” she said, before she rushed off.

Sierra onni was really busy these days. I could see that her popularity was on the rise. It wouldn’t be long before they decide to make her a solo kasu, then she’d be my competition.

It was almost an hour later when Skye finally emerged from the elevator

“Skye,” I yelled as he walked out. I noticed him rolling his eyes when he saw me.

“I’ll meet you outside,” Shoei said and he took the car keys from Skye before walking out quickly.

I walked up to Skye and tugged him to a more secluded corner to talk.

“What do you want?” he said.

“Why didn’t you answer my calls?”

“I was busy.”

“You didn’t answer my calls on purpose,” I accused him, and he gave an impatient sigh.

“So? Unless you have good news for me, I don’t want to talk to you,” he said. “I’m really tired of all this, Hae Rin.”

He’d never sounded so cold when speaking to me before. Did I really do this to him? Did my inability to commit cause him to give up on me?

“Why are you talking like that Skye? You’re never spoken to me in this tone before,” I said, sadly.

“Even a statue would shed tears if you treat it the way you treated me. I’m not made of stone you know,” he said.

“Was I so horrible? Do you really think that I don’t care for you?” I asked him.

“Sure you do care for me. You care for me only enough to keep me by your side until you can trade me for something better.”

“Skye,” I said, my lips trembling. How could he accuse me of such a thing?

“I need to go. Shoei’s waiting,” he said, and he started walking out.

It was raining outside and he ran into the rain to get to his car.

“Skye,” I shouted as I chased after him.

“Get inside,” he said as he turned around. “It’s raining.”

“I don’t care,” I replied as I got drenched while walking up to him.

“Get inside,” he said as he walked towards me and tried to push me towards the area where it was sheltered.

“I just…” I said, as I shrugged his hands off. “I want to tell you something,”

“What is it?” he said harshly, as he looked at me.

“I love you, Skye,” I said, and his expression started to soften.

Before I had time to resist, he quickly pulled me under the shelter.

“Are you sure, Hae Rin?” he said, as soon as we were out of the rain. “I’ve been hurt and neglected by you, and I don’t think I can take a second time.”

He never looked more endearing to me than at that moment; his shirt soaked, and water dripped from his hair and off his beautiful nose. I felt like I was in my own drama; drenched in the rain and expressing myself to the man I loved.

“Yes, I am,” I replied. “I love only you, Skye,” I said, and I meant it.

It felt good to finally say how I feel. I guess I loved him all along, but my childish pride and impractical wants stopped me from facing my feelings for Skye. He was the person who meant the most to me. I can’t believe it took me that long to see it.

“Hae Rin,” he said softly.

His hand came up to wipe the droplets of water that had dripped from my hair, onto my face. Then, he pulled me towards him and hugged me. I hugged him tight, as a sense of relief washed over me. I hadn’t lost him. Thank god I turned back in time, in time to stop him from giving up on me.

I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket and I took it out to see who it was. It was a text message from Skye:

Feel better. I’ll come visit you tonight. Saranghae…

I smiled when I saw the message, and I typed a quick reply before closing my eyes to rest again:

Saranghae… See you tonight.

[End of Hae Rin's POV]

Sunday, 18 March 2007

Chapter 69: You Are The One I

“Oh! Hae Rin,” Jae Joong exclaimed as Hae Rin approached us.

“Oppa!” she smiled brightly. “Can you give me a ride home?”

“I thought you were recording late tonight?” I asked her, since that was what Skye had told me earlier.

“The producer had an emergency, so they called it a night,” she said.

“Have you had dinner?” Jae Joong asked her.

“I had a snack earlier,” she said.

Jae Joong turned to look at me, sort of asking me if I was okay with her joining us. I sighed and turned to Hae Rin, “Do you want to join us?” I said.

“It’s okay. I don’t want to be a third wheel,” she said shyly.

“It’s fine. We’ll drop you off after dinner,” I said.

“Erm… okay then,” she said.

All this time, I was thinking in my head ‘Quit pretending to be embarrassed. I know you planned this.’ I wanted to strangle Hae Rin. Maybe it’s time I told Jae Joong about Hae Rin.

Since Hae Rin was tagging along, there wasn’t much point to go somewhere nice. We ended up at our usual haunt, the ramyun shop. There, we met Kang In and Eun Hyuk.

“Sierra!” they waved when they saw us walk in.

“Hey, raccoon,” I said, and Kang In pouted.

“Ignore him,” Eun Hyuk said as we sat down to join them.

“Hae Rin,” Kang In said. “You’re here too? Where’s Skye?”

“He left before I could catch him,” she said.

“Liar,” I said, under my breath. I don’t know why, but whenever Hae Rin is around, I get annoyed really easily.

“Did you say something?” Jae Joong said as he leaned towards me.

“No,” I replied sulkily. “I was just sighing.”

“What’s with the sighing?” he said as he put his arm around me.

As he did, I could see the expression in Hae Rin’s eyes. They were starting to look pretty green. I leaned my head to the right, where his hand was hanging on my shoulder, and I kissed it.

“I’m fine,” I said, and I smiled back at him.

“Ya…” Kang In said as he covered his eyes. “Can you people not do that in front of me?”

“Why not? You want some too? Eun Hyuk, give it to him,” Jae Joong laughed.

Eun Hyuk turned to Kang In and wriggled his eye brows at him.

“You want some of this?” he said in a deep voice, and we all cracked up as Kang In glared at Eun Hyuk with a look of disgust.

“Eugghh!!” Kang In said. “Stay away from me.”

“You’re so gorgeous,” Eun Hyuk drawled as he reached out his hand to try and touch Kang In’s face.

“Shiro!!!” Kang In wailed, and we laughed even harder.

After dinner, Kang In did something that made me want to hug him until his guts spilled out. He offered to send Hae Rin home.

“Hae Rin,” he said. “I’ll send you home. We shouldn’t intrude on the power couple of Korea,” he snickered.

“What power couple?” I said and I stuck out my tongue.

“Yong-ung Jae Joong of TVXQ and Sierra of S-Cube,” Eun Hyuk said. “Are you both not the power couple? Name me another couple that’s as publicized as you.”

“Let’s go,” Jae Joong laughed as he tugged me away from them. “Thanks guys.”

“No problem,” Kang In replied and they walked the other way with a very reluctant Hae Rin.

I kept looking up at Jae Joong as we walked to his car. I wondered if I hadn’t tried to make things up with him, would he have come to me instead. He looked normal now, his usual self; the way he walked, the expression on his face, the way he put his arm around me.

“Waegeurae?” when he caught me looking at him.

“Nothing,” I smiled, and I leaned my head on his shoulder as we walked on.

“Still thinking about our argument?” he asked me.

“Yea,” I replied. He sighed, and we walked on in silence.

“How long do you need?” he asked me.

“What do you mean?”

“Give me a time frame. So that I can handle it better. When would you be comfortable to meet my family?”

“I really don’t know, Jae Joong,” I said. “We’re both at the peak of our careers. Marriage is the last thing on my mind now.”

“I’m not asking you to marry me tomorrow,” he said as we stopped by his car. “I just want you to be a part of my life. Not just here in Seoul, but back home, with all the people I love and care about.”

I looked up and him and held his face in my hands.

“Jae Joong, listen to me. I love you, and I do want to be a part of your life.”

“Then why is it so difficult for you to just meet my family?”

“Because I don’t feel ready. I still need time to build the confidence I need to face them. Look at me now. My Korean isn’t even perfect yet. I want to be perfect when I meet your family.”

“They know you’re not Korean. So what’s the big deal?”

“I want them to have no reason to not accept me.”

“They will accept you. You are my choice.”

“Yes, in the end it’s your choice. But they will still form their own opinions. I want them to only have positive opinions about me. So I need your patience, I need your help.”

Jae Joong lifted his hand to touch my cheek, then he turned away and sighed. Seeing that he wasn’t giving me a response, I pulled him by his collar until we were face to face.

“You’re mine,” I said, and I kissed him.

I took him by surprise, but he returned my kiss still. He put his arms around my waist and pulled me closer to him, and I put mine around his neck. As we pulled apart, I saw a figure standing behind Jae Joong. I patted Jae Joong on the arm to signal to him that someone was there. He stepped aside to reveal Hae Rin standing there with a pained expression on her face.

“Hae Rin,” Jae Joong said, “What’s wrong?”

“Oh…” Hae Rin exclaimed as she snapped out of her moment of remorse. “I left something in your car, oppa.”

“Is that so?” he said and he unlocked his car to open the door for her.

She leaned in and picked up a bag, and closed the door.

“Komawo. I’m leaving with Kang In oppa now. See you both,” she said and she sprinted off.

“Was is just me, or did Hae Rin look devastated over something?” he said as he turned to me.

“She was,” I said.

“But why?”

“I used to think you were very perceptive,” I laughed softly. “I guess not.”

“What do you mean?”

“Hae Rin likes you,” I revealed. I never wanted to burden him with the fact, but as time passed, it has become annoying and I didn’t want to keep it a secret any longer.

“She likes me? Isn’t she dating Skye?”

“I don’t know how much she actually likes Skye, but Skye and I know that she likes you, a lot.”

“Then why is she dating Skye? What is the world coming to these days?” he exclaimed.

“She’s dating him because he likes her enough to tolerate her obsession with you.”

“Are you serious? Is she really that into me?”

“Let’s go,” I said. “We’ll talk in the car.”

“How long have you known?” he asked me as we drove out of the parking lot.

“For a very long time,” I smiled.

“And you just kept it to yourself? You should’ve told me.”

“Why? So that you know that you have an option of dumping me since there was someone waiting for you?” I joked.

“Don’t be ridiculous,” he said as he nudged my head.

“Yea… so why would you need to know then?”

“Cos it must’ve been hard for you, keeping it to yourself.”

“It wasn’t hard. But it was annoying. Because I knew how she felt, I noticed everything she did. I can tell when she was upset because of our closeness, and I’d notice her trying to get your attention when she’s around you.”

“I never noticed anything out of the ordinary,” he said.

“You guys can be so dense. That’s why I said… I used to think you were very perceptive.”

“Why do I need to be? I used to be because back then I didn’t have you. Now that I have you, I don’t need to be perceptive to the signs other girls send me. Am I right?” he smiled.

“Yes, you’re right,” I smiled back. “So now that you know, what are you going to do?”

“I dunno. Just try my best to keep some distance and not send her the wrong signals.”

“Such as?”

“That I might be open for change,” he said.

“Yah!” I exclaimed.

“I said I didn’t want to send her that signal,” he laughed.

“Then are you saying that you might be ‘open for change’?” I asked him.

“Of course not,” he replied as he took my hand in his. “We’ve worked so hard to get where we are today. Why would I want to change us?”

“Good,” I smiled.

“About my family,” he said, and I braced myself for another round of debating. “Just tell me when you’re ready for them.”

I was a little dumbstruck that he’d decided that so quickly. I thought he’d try to convince me until he succeeded.

“Komawo,” I said softly, and I leaned over to kiss him on the cheek.

“You’d better not be stalling for time only to run away in the end,” he said. “You’ll kill me if you do.”

“Araso,” I said. “I’ll stick with you until you decide that you’re tired of me.”

“I’ll never be tired of you,” he said. “You’re too much of a challenge.”

“Good!” I said happily.

The days flew past quickly, and it was soon Friday, the day I was to record with Hae Rin. In a way, I dreaded seeing her, because of all the unresolved issues between us. I could never confront her about her feelings towards Jae Joong, and yet I find myself unable to tolerate her attitude, since I knew everything. I wonder if she knows that Skye has told me about it.

“Annyeong,” I said as I walked into the studio on Friday morning.

Hae Rin’s manager and the producer are already there, holding a discussion.

“Sierra,” Ryu Ji Tae, Hae Rin’s manager greeted me.

Ryu Ji Tae was one of the top managers at SM. He’d been managing most of the popular kasu debuting under SM as of late, and Hae Rin was predicted to be the next, hence, her being under his wing. He was known to be tough to those he managed, but generally friendly towards everyone else. But because of his reputation, most people didn’t exactly take to him. Despite that, everyone treated him with politeness and respect, even if they hated him.

“Where’s Hae Rin?” I asked him.

“She’ll be running a little late. We’ll just record you first.”

“Are you planning an MV release for this song?” I asked him.

“We are actually discussing that at the moment. We were thinking that your appearance in a MV with her would generate some interest and help her boost her sales.”

“So is this just a song in her new album, or is this going to be a single?”

“We’re planning for this to be a collaboration single for the both of you.”

“That means that we can’t include this song in S-Cube’s new album?”

“That can be discussed. I’ll be in touch with your manager.”

“Alright,” I said.

We started recording my solo bits of the songs. From what hyung had told me, there will be a duet version of 'Wanna Be', and also be one where Hae Rin will sing alone. He was trying to get permission to record me singing my solo version of Wannabe and include it in S-Cube’s 3rd album as a bonus track. Since Ryu Ji Tae wasn’t that keen on discussing the details with me, I should just let hyung handle things with him.

Half an hour into recording, Hae Rin finally showed up, and she looked ill.

Thursday, 15 March 2007

Chapter 68: My Destiny

He just went offline and cut me off! How could he? Why is he making such a big deal over a disagreement he’d started? I stalked out of my room and barged into Skye’s, shut the door and threw myself onto his bed.

“Wassup?” he said as he looked up.

“You’re home,” I said.

“Of course I am. Where else would I be?”

“At Hae Rin’s?”

“She’s recording late tonight,” he replied as he tossed aside the manhwa he was reading.

“Hard worker,” I remarked as I flipped around to lie beside him.

“Didn’t we go through the same thing back then?” he said.

“Right…” I sighed.

“Has he called?”

“I talked to him online, and he just logged off halfway through our conversation.”

“Sort of like hanging up on you?” he chuckled.

“Not funny,” I said as I glared at him.

“Alright,” he smiled. “I just think that the 2 of you are blowing this argument way out of proportion.”

“He started it,” I grumbled.

“Why can’t you finish it?” Skye said. “Jae Joong hyung’s always the one apologizing, why can’t you do it this time?”

“Cos it’s so obviously his fault, not mine.”

“Then, all I can say is, just let it blow over,” Skye said.

“It’s taking too long,” I whined.

“It’s only been a day,” he said. “Give him some time.”

I went to bed that night still thinking of the stuff Jae Joong had said. Was I as overbearing as Jae Joong had described me? Did I really want everything to go the way I wanted them to? It’s not as if I’ve never made little sacrifices or given in to him before. I really didn’t want to, but I have a feeling that I was the one who needed to do the groveling this time. I’d told myself I wouldn’t back down, but if Jae Joong wouldn’t too, it could mean the end. I’m not ready to end this relationship yet.

I decided I couldn’t take the cold war anymore the next morning, so I called him during our break.

“Yes?” he said when he answered.

“Recording?” I asked him.

“Yes. Anything important?” he said in an indifferent tone.

“Can you not talk like that?” I said.

“Then how would you have me talk then?” he said. “Like this? ‘Hello darling, you’re not angry with me anymore? I was waiting for you to call. Saranghae.’,” he said in a high pitched and sarcastic tone.

“That was low,” I said sadly.

I guess he was really upset with me. What could I do now? All I could do was apologise.

“Mianhae,” I said.

“What?” he replied.

“I’m sorry,” I said. “Can we stop fighting?”

“And then what? Wait till the next time this crops up, and we fight again? I want a decision from you, Sierra.”

“What decision?”

“Am I permanent in your life, or am I just passing through?”

What sort of question was that? I used to think that I would be the insecure one and I would always question his feelings for me since I was dating Yong-ung Jae Joong of TVXQ. I can’t believe that he was actually questioning my love instead.

“Why would you be just a passerby?” I said. “Do you believe that you could be just a passerby?”

“I’m asking you.”

“You’re Kim Jae Joong. I’ve waited all my life for you. How can I just let you walk past me in this lifetime?” I said softly. “You’re my destiny.”

“Where are you now?” he said, and I told him the floor I was on. “Come out of the studio in 5 minutes.”

I stood outside the studio, and 5 minutes later I could hear foot steps approaching. I looked to my right and saw Jae Joong approaching. He walked up to me, and stood in front of me, just looking at me.

“Mianhae,” I said, and a tear escaped my eye to roll down my cheek.

Jae Joong pulled me to him and hugged me tightly.

“Mianhae,” he whispered into my hair.

I looked up at him, tearfully, and said, “Don’t ever doubt me again, ever. I love you.”

“Ara… I know. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that,” he said and he kissed my forehead. “Saranghae.”

“Saranghae,” I replied and we hugged again.

“Nuna,” Skye said as he popped his head out of the studio. He grinned broadly when he saw me in Jae Joong’s arms. “We’re starting soon,” he said, and he closed the door.

“Go on,” Jae Joong said. “I’ll see you tonight.”

“Okay,” I smiled, and I kissed him lightly on the lips.

“Come here,” he smiled, and pulled me close to give me a deep kiss.

I wrapped my arms around him and kissed him back with all my heart. It’s only been a few days without him, without him loving me, and I missed him so much. How could he ever think that he was just going to be a phase in my life?

I walked back into the studio a few minutes later to find everyone looking at me with knowing expresssions.

“What?” I said as I held my hands up.

“Nothing,” Skye smiled slyly. “Let’s get to work.”

We were recording another song today, ‘(Why am I) Never Enough'. It seems that we seldom stray from our usual repertoire of sad songs. But if that’s what makes us popular, it’s what the management will have us do, album after album.

This was the song with some oriental flavour that Skye was craving for. Strains of the er-hu can be heard in the background of the introduction, and then it was my turn to sing.

Sierra: It’s just another day, I’ll find another way
To forget you ever existed
There’s a saying that, you just can’t always have
What you want, yeah

Skye: Two steps forward, one step back
Holding on to love
Baby won’t you take it back
Say you’ll stay forever

S-Cube: Watcha gonna do, baby watcha gonna say
When I come back for you, yeah-yeah
Try to be the one but it just gets too tough
Baby why am I never enough

Shoei: No matter what I do, no matter what I say
You never seem to be content
Don’t matter how things go, you want it all your way
You never care how I felt

Sierra: Take my heart and drop me like that
You’re so cold…
But I’ll never ever find another
Love like you… stay!

Skye: The love we had from long ago was timeless
Sierra: But you seem so sure you want it to end
Shoei: Give me a reason or I won’t just step back

S-Cube: Watcha gonna do, baby watcha gonna say
When I come back for you, yeah-yeah
Try to be the one but it just gets to tough
Baby why am I never enough

S-Cube: Watcha gonna do, baby watcha gonna say
When I come back for you, yeah-yeah
Try to be the one but it just gets to tough
Baby why am I never enough

The lyrics for ‘Never Enough' seem so sad, but the tune of the song was actually pretty sweet.

“This song does not sound sad at all,” Skye laughed as soon as the recording ended.

“It’s not supposed to be mournful, just sad,” Shoei commented.

“Yea, whatever. Fun song,” Skye laughed.

“So everything okay with you and Jae Joong hyung now?” Shoei looked at me.

“Yep,” I smiled.

“Then I guess you’re not coming home with us tonight?” Skye teased.

“No. Jae Joong and I have decided to move in together,” I said with a straight face, and I could see Skye and Shoei’s eyes almost popping out of their sockets.

“Chintchayo?” Skye exclaimed.

“Anieyo,” I smiled, and the too of them let out sighs of relief.

“Don’t ever do that again,” Shoei said.

“What did I do? What’s so shocking about me and Jae Joong moving in together?”

“Cos you were fighting like crazy just this morning, and now you’re moving in together?” Skye said. “It would be a little too sudden.”

“Ya… there’s no telling when huge decisions like that are made. They could be spur of the moment decisions,” I reasoned.

“But it would be unlike hyung to make such a decision. For you, maybe, but hyung is more sensible than that,” Shoei smirked.

“Wipe that smirk off your face,” I pointed at him, and he started laughing.

“Shoei’s right,” Skye said as he joined in the laughter. “Jae Joong hyung would never behave as recklessly as you do.”

“I am not reckless,” I pouted.

“If you’re not reckless, then I’m not good looking,” Skye joked.

“But you aren’t the least good looking,” I said cheekily, knowing it would irk him.

“Yah! Nuna! Don’t insult the face my mother gave me. I’m good looking, and I’m irresistible, araji?” he growled.

“Yes,” I smiled. “Say that often enough, and it might come true.”

We walked out of the studios and down to the lobby where Jae Joong was already waiting for me. Most of the time, we waited for him. They must’ve decided to wrap up earlier today.

“You’re early,” I smiled as I gave him a kiss on the cheek.

“I left early. They’re still recording,” he said.

“What for?” I asked him.

“We’ll head home first,” Skye interrupted us. “Bye nuna!”

“Bye,” I waved to Skye and Shoei, and I turned back to Jae Joong. “Why did you leave early?” I asked him.

“To make up for lost time,” he said and he put his arm around me.

“Ya… don’t get sappy on me now,” I smiled as we started walking out of the building.

“I’m not,” he said. “If I recall, someone was even sappier this afternoon,” he chuckled.


“You’re my destiny…” he imitated me.

“That’s not funny,” I said as I smacked his abs lightly. “I was sincere.”

“I know,” he said, and he kissed the top of my head. “So what do you want for dinner?”

“You pick,” I said.

“Are you sure?” he said.


“Live octopuses?” he said as he raised an eye brow.

“Don’t push it,” I smiled sweetly.

“Hmm… let’s celebrate,” he said. “Let’s go somewhere nice.”

“What is there to celebrate?”

“The fact that we’re still together and that I’m in one piece?” he said.

“You actually think that I might shred you into pieces?”

“Who knows? You girls can get real wild,” he said in suggestive tone, and I pinched his arm.

“P’yeont’ae,” I said.

“Ya… chintcha appu,” he whined, and then he suddenly whirled around.

“What?” I said as I too turned around.

Someone was walking really quickly, trying to catch up with us.

“Oppa! Onni!” she called out. It was Hae Rin.

Monday, 12 March 2007

Omo!!! I must be famous!!!

Thanks lene!!!

If it weren't for you, I wouldn't have known I was being plagiarized. To think people thought so highly of my fiction. Hahaha!

For those interested in 'thanking' this person for publicising my story, please visit:

Apparently, S-Cube is now made up of Skye, Shoei and Boora. Haha! She is said to be 16, but somehow in the story is described as being older than TVXQ. Hahaha! Darling... you are priceless... ^^

Go quick... before the plagiarizer does something like delete everything... T_T

*waves to the plagiarizer* Yo!!! Hellooo!!! I know you're gonna read this!!! I love you!!! Hahaha!

Sunday, 11 March 2007

Chapter 67: Warning

We’re back in the studios on Monday, and from the looks people have been giving me, I knew that I wasn’t a pretty sight. I’d been crying the whole night, and my eyes were probably swollen and red.

“Nuna,” Shoei had called out in a concerned tone as he knocked on my door. “Open up.”

“I’m fine. Just leave me alone,” I said as I continued sobbing silently.

“Open up, come on,” he said, not giving up until I finally did.

After I let him in, I just went back to crying into my pillow while Shoei sat on my bed beside me, watching on wordlessly.

“What do you want?” I asked him.

“What happened?” he asked.


“Then why are you crying?” he said.

“I really don’t need this now,” I said. “Can you just let me cry in peace?”

“Come here,” he said, and he hugged me.

I sobbed on his shoulder until his shirt was soaked with my tears. Throughout my crying, he just held me silently and stroked my back. When I finally had the crying under control, I knew from the look on his face that he wanted an explanation.

“So what’s this about?” he asked. “What did Jae Joong hyung do this time?”

“I’m just sick of this. I’m sick of the pressure to officially meet his family.”

“Why? What’s the big deal?”

“I know I am officially his girlfriend. I know it’s all over the media and his whole family is aware of my existence, but to meet them, it’s such a big step. And it’s a step I’m not ready to take until we’re getting engaged or something.”

“Then did you tell him?”

“I did. But being Jae Joong, I think he could’ve been offended that I didn’t want to meet his family.”

Shoei sighed, and I gave a little sniff.

“So what are you doing to do now?” he asked me.

“I don’t know.”

Then, Shoei noticed that my phone was buzzing. He picked it up and looked at the caller’s ID.

“It’s Jae Joong hyung,” he said.

“I know.”

“You’re just going to ignore him?”


“He probably feels sorry. Why don’t you give him a chance to apologise?”

“I don’t feel like talking to him now.”

“You can’t avoid him forever.”

“Then I’ll just avoid him for today,” I replied.

Jae Joong stopped calling after 3 hours, but I didn’t feel any happier about it. After Shoei went to bed that night, I cried a little more, until I fell asleep.

It was a good thing Skye finally got his license. He drove us to the studios this morning.

[Shoei’s POV]

She looked like hell today, but she still looked beautiful to me. There is a beauty in sadness, one that not everyone appreciated. I knew she had been crying after I’d gone to bed, but I didn’t interfere this time. I wanted to let her get it out of her system.

I understood where she was coming from, but I also understand what Jae Joong hyung wanted from her. I’d want the same thing if she were mine. I’d want to bring her back to Kyoto and let my family meet her, to tell them that I had found the girl I wanted to marry. But she wasn’t mine. Could I still have a shot now?

“Sierra,” Shi Kyung hyung called out, and she turned around.

“You’re scheduled to record with Hae Rin on Friday,” he said.

“Okay,” she replied.

“Here are the lyrics, and the demo Hae Rin has already recorded,” he said as he passed her a sheet of paper and a CD.

“You’re doing a duet with her?” I asked her.

“Yea, she asked me a few days back, and I asked her to check with hyung. So I guess she’s gotten a ‘go ahead’ from the management.”
I took the paper out of nuna’s hands and scanned through.

“Hmm… 'Wanna Be'… and it’s a slow song?”

“Hae Rin will debut as a ballad singer,” hyung said. “That’s what I heard.”

“It’ll be only a matter of time before they change her image again,” I said.

“Well, that’s how it is,” hyung said.

“Are we getting a new image?” Skye asked.

“Maybe,” hyung replied.

“I’ve heard rumours that there are plans for nuna to go solo, is it true?” Skye asked.

“How can it be?” she remarked. “There are so many solo female kasu lately, I will be the last choice for a solo career.”

“It’s been discussed, but it would be more of a side project than making her all solo. She will still be in S-Cube,” hyung said.

“Yea, that’s what I heard,” I said.

The rumour had been going on for a long time. That they were going to give nuna a solo project. I knew that nuna was terrified of the idea, because she was somewhat dependent on Skye and I when on stage, but I am certain that she will succeed as a soloist. She has the presence.

“I’m fine with collaborations. I will never go solo,” she said.

“Never say never,” Skye laughed, and nuna made a face at him.

“Let’s get to work,” hyung said, and we walked into the booth to record.

Today, we were recording the title track of our 3rd album, Connect the Dots. It was a fast song with a digital feel.

It starts with nuna saying, “Please connect the dots…” and it will be digitized so that it would sound more like a computer’s voice, and there would be a long succession of beeps. The music started, and I sang the first line.

Shoei: Do you feel confused
Do you feel lost
Do you feel like you’re drowning in the information
Skye: Do you feel hurt
Do you feel devastated
Do you feel like you could die

Sierra: It took you that long
To connect the dots
It took you that long
To realize there was no such thing as everlasting love
[Skye: there was no such thing]
If you weren’t so dense
You might not have gotten hurt

S-Cube: There is no such thing
As a happy ending
There is no such thing
As love forever
There’re no castles built in the air
[Sierra: built in the air]
Sierra: There’re no unicorns, open up your eyes

Shoei: Do you feel the pain
Do you feel the fear
That someday, we’d be lost forever
Skye: Do you feel the ache
Do you feel the longing
Do you feel like this hell would never end

Sierra: It took you that long
To connect the dots
It took you that long
To realize there was no such thing as everlasting love
[Shoei: there was no such thing]
If you weren’t so dense
You might not have gotten hurt

S-Cube: There is no such thing
As a happy ending
There is no such thing
As love forever
There’re no castles built in the air
[Sierra: built in the air]
Sierra: There’re no unicorns, open up your eyes

Sierra: No such thing
As an honest lover
Skye: No such thing
They’d someday love another
Shoei: Open up your eyes
It has been so long
Sierra: That you’ve been, left in the dark.

“Good job,” the producer said as the song ended.

“Komapseumnida,” we said as we put down our headphones and walked out of the booth.

Nuna had sung with extra anger today, and it suited the song. I guess she’s still feeling upset about yesterday. I wonder if Jae Joong hyung had attempted to call her again. She was upset with him, but I know that she was still waiting for him to call. She’d been looking at her mobile phone the entire day.

[Sierra’s POV]

I looked at my phone for the 10th time this morning. I didn’t want to, but I couldn’t help myself. Since last night, Jae Joong had stopped calling, and he didn’t even leave me a text message. Had he given up on me? Was he upset now? I was starting to get annoyed. He was the one who pressured me. He was the one who wouldn’t stop harping on the subject. What did he expect me to do? Did he expect me to just nod and do whatever he wanted?

We went for lunch near the studios, and while we were eating, I was reprimanded by Shi Kyung hyung.

“Stop pushing your food around,” he said. “We can tell how much you’ve not eaten.”

“Huh?” I said, as I looked up at him.

“You need to eat, nuna,” Skye said. “We still have a lot of work ahead of us.”

“I don’t feel like eating, and I need to lose weight anyway. So it’s just as well,” I reasoned.

“No it’s not,” Shoei said. “You’re going to send yourself back to the hospital if you keep this up.”

“Shoei’s right. You’d better finish your food, or I’m going to force feed you myself,” hyung threatened.

I looked at the three of them, who looked back at me expectantly. I sighed in resignation, and I started eating.

“It’ll blow over,” Shoei said as he patted my back, and a single tear rolled down my cheek as I chewed my food with my head down.

That night, we got home around 9pm, and Jae Joong still hadn’t called.

“I’m gonna shower,” I said as I walked almost trance-like to get my stuff and into the bathroom.

I must have spent a little too long spacing out under the torrents of warm water from the shower, because Shoei started to bang on the bathroom door.

“Nuna! Are you alright?” he called out. “Nuna!” he shouted for good measure.

“I’m fine,” I replied. “I’ll be out in a minute.”

I wondered what Jae Joong was doing at this exact moment. Was he upset with me? Or was he just giving me time to cool down? But I was sure that he knew me well enough to know that I don’t need to cool down. I’m the kind of girl who needs immediate attention. Leaving me alone would only fuel my anger, because I’d feel ignored. But this time, it was different. I wasn’t angry, I was sad.

I turned on my laptop after my shower and saw that Jae Joong was online. Should I make the first move? Should I bother to talk to him? Just before I made my decision, he messaged me.

JJ Kim: T_T

I stared at the emoticon for the longest time. Was he that upset? Then why didn’t he call? I typed my reply.

Sierra: What do you want from me?

JJ Kim: T_T

JJ Kim: Shouldn’t that be my question?

Sierra: You didn’t call today. I figured…

JJ Kim: You didn’t answer my calls yesterday. How do you think I felt?

Sierra: I was upset.

JJ Kim: So was I…

Sierra: So what do you want from me? I’ve explained everything.

JJ Kim: I just want you to treat me a little better.

Sierra: Am I not treating you well?

JJ Kim: Sometimes, you’re so adamant about not doing or doing something. It gets frustrating.

Sierra: That’s how I am. You knew from the beginning.

JJ Kim: I thought you might change.

Sierra: You know better… You just need to understand where I’m coming from.

JJ Kim: And what about me? What about my opinions? I may be younger than you are, but do you need to treat me like a child?

Sierra: I’ve never treated you like a child. In fact, sometimes I feel you’re so much more mature than I am.

JJ Kim: Then why don’t you trust me? Why can’t you fulfill just one of my requests?

Sierra: Because that’s the one request I am unable to. Can’t you understand?

JJ Kim: This is going nowhere. I’m going to bed. Bye.

JJ Kim has logged off

Thursday, 8 March 2007

Chapter 66: Rains

[Sierra’s POV]

I was no longer listening to what Shoei said, but focusing on that thing crawling on the wall behind him.

“What’s wrong nuna?” Shoei asked me.

“Shoei…” I stammered. “There’s a cockroach on the wall behind you?”

“Where?” he whirled around to look, and just then, the cockroach flew up. The bloody cockroach flew. I hate flying cockroaches. I squealed and ducked under the table, and Shoei practically jumped out of his seat in shock.

“Get it, Shoei,” I almost sobbed.

I had a horrible fear for creepy crawlies. The downside was that Jae Joong was afraid of cockroaches too. If he’d been here, he might have behaved as I did. Thank god Shoei’s here. I watched as Shoei chase the ugly critter down and smack it with his slipper, only then did I stand up from my crouching position.

“Euugghh…” Shoe exclaimed as he wiped up the remains of the cockroach with a paper towel.

“I think we need to clean the apartment,” I said. “We haven’t really cleaned it in a long time. That’s why there was a cockroach.”

“Cockroaches will appear anywhere when there’s food. The apartment is clean,” Shoei insisted.

“What if its relatives come to avenge it?” I said and Shoei just looked at me with a wry smile.

“Nuna… stop it. It’s just your roach phobia talking. It’s only one cockroach.”

“If I spot another, we’re going to spring clean this place,” I said as I sat down again.

“Whatever,” he answered as he sat down and continued eating.

Sometimes I can’t help being a nag, especially when it involved one of my many phobias. I often wonder if I was really a pain to live with, and if Skye and Shoei ever got sick of my antics and demands.

I washed the dishes so that Shoei could go unpack, and since Shoei was the one who cooked. He appeared in the living room while I was watching the TV, and he tossed a bag onto the coffee table.

“What’s that?” I asked him.

“Sweets,” he said as he put his feet up on the table.


“You want some?”

“Nope… I’m back on my diet as of now. I just weighed myself, and the numbers didn’t look pretty.”

“You’re way too thin already.”

“Not thin enough by the company’s standards.”

“What standards?”

“You know… where everyone should be no more than 45kg,” I winked.

“Rubbish,” he said. “Then you’ve been off the mark for a long time now. What difference does it make?”

“Just trying not to push the limits,” I said. “I can’t go over the 48kg mark. I’m not BoA. She’s the only one who has a healthy BMI, compared to the others. And she isn’t that tall to begin with.”

“Double standards,” Shoei muttered.

“You should know better,” I laughed. “It’s the cash cow that gets preferential treatment. And we sure ain’t the cows of the moment.”

“Nicely put,” he laughed.

“We’re evil, sitting here and gossiping about our seniors. If BoA’s a cash cow, so is TVXQ.”

“Can’t deny that they are. Appreciate your relationship with Jae Joong while it lasts.”

“You think it won’t last?” I asked him.

“I’m not saying it won’t. Things happen for a reason, and you’ll never know when things would happen.”

“You’re being very cryptic. What have they been feeding you in Kyoto?”

“Just the usual rice and sashimi,” he smiled.

I stretched and yawned, “Yah… it’s Sunday tomorrow. One more day and we’re back in the studios.”

“Don’t you miss the studios? Singing? Recording?”

“Sure it’s fun. But it’s sure hard work.”

“I remember when you once told me, being a kasu is the best job ever, cos you don’t need to contemplate your actions. You just show up, open your mouth and sing.”

“And I still think so. But being human, we’ll never be satisfied with what we have. When you’ve graduated and started working, you’ll wish you were studying, and back when you were studying, you wished you were just sleeping or doing nothing. We’re just born lazy.”

“That only applies to you,” he said. “I’m a hard worker.”

“Mwo?” I glared at him.

“But you’re coping pretty well,” he added. “For a pig…”

“You’re so gonna get it,” I said, as I lazily threw a pillow at him.

“You’re too much of a pig to bother to get up and actually ‘get me’,” he laughed.

“Whatever. I’m taking it easy tonight. Tomorrow’s my last day of bliss,” I yawned.

“You’re sleepy again? Didn’t you take a nap?”

“I’m making up for the past months.”

“Didn’t you sleep enough in the hospital?”


“So how was Prague?”

“Freezing… and you know how I hate the cold,” I grimaced.

“Haha! But was it beautiful? Cos I heard it was.”

“Yea… it’s all old buildings and cobblestone streets. Very charming.”

“Maybe I should go there someday,” he said wistfully.

“On your own?” I raised an eyebrow.

“Would you come with me?”

“If you paid for everything,” I laughed.

“Okay,” he smiled.

“But not the next break,” I said. “I don’t wanna go to the same place twice in a row.”

“Fine,” he said, and he too yawned. “What?” he said, when he caught me watching him. “I’ve been travelling today. I’m allowed to be tired.”

“I’m not saying anything,” I laughed and put my hands up.

“Go to bed,” he said, and he kicked my feet.

“You go to bed,” I said, and I kicked him back.

“Fine! We’ll both go to bed,” he said, and he got up and walked towards me.

“Bedroom’s that way,” I pointed when he came to stand in front of me.

“I know,” he said.

“Then what do you want?”

He leant down and scooped me up in his arms.

“Yah! Put me down,” I laughed, as he started walking towards our rooms.

“Bed time,” he said, as he pushed my door open.

“Put me down,” I repeated, and he tossed me onto my bed.

After tossing me onto my bed, he leaned over me, and his face came within millimeters of mine.

“G’nite, nuna,” he said, then he straightened up and walked away.

I watched him, puzzled, as he walked out. What’s with that sudden bout of craziness? I dismissed his behavior. I’m not about to spoil my break, thinking about what Shoei was up to again. It’s been a long time since he’d behaved like that. Up till now, I don’t know how I should deal with this attitude of his.

The next afternoon, I was just walking out of the shower when I heard the phone ring. By the time I got to it, the caller had hung up. I scrolled through my phone to view the missed calls list. It was Jae Joong. I dialed his number and waited for him to answer.

“Where were you?” he said, as soon as he picked up.

“Showering,” I replied.

“I’m back in Seoul. I’ll be over in an hour.”

“Okay,” I replied.

“You wanna go somewhere, or shall I just come and hang out at your place?”

“Let’s go somewhere,” I said. “Unless you’re too tired.”

“I’m fine. I’ll pick you up in an hour.”

“Okay,” I said, and we both hung up.

I walked to my cupboard and pulled out a shirt and a pair of jeans. I just combed my hair back, and dug through my drawer for a cap. These days, I don’t bother to apply any makeup when going out. Since it’s cold, I always have a hat on, and that’s one reason not to style my hair.

An hour later, I lugged the remaining bags of Jae Joong’s luggage, from our trip, into the elevator. When the elevator reached the lobby, Jae Joong was waiting to intercept the bags from me.

“Hey,” he said, and he gave me a quick kiss and cuddle.

We loaded the luggage into his car, and got in.

“Where to?” he asked.

“Wherever you wanna go,” I said.

“Let’s grab some lunch, and we’ll go to the hillside.”

“Okay,” I replied.

We ate in silence in his car, on the hillside that overlooked the city.

“So what have you been up to,” he said, breaking the silence.

“Nothing much.”

“I was gone for 2 days, and you did nothing much?” he said.

“I just lazed around, did a little cleaning. What else could I do?”

“You should’ve came with me,” he said.

“I wasn’t ready to meet your family.”


“I thought I’ve told you before.”

“Tell me again,” he said, and that was when I got really annoyed.

“Jae Joong. I don’t want to keep explaining myself. We’re not even getting married yet. Why do I need to meet your family?”

“Since they want to meet you, what’s wrong with that?”

“And if someday, we’re no longer together, I don’t want to feel awkward if I ever met them. Given the current situation, if I ever met them after we broke up, I won’t feel pressured, or guilty.”

“Why do you need to feel guilty if we broke up? Unless you cheated on me or something along those lines, there’s no reason for you to feel guilty.”

“Fine. I know I’m not making sense, and I’m probably explaining how I feel in the best way possible. The point is that I am not ready, and I need you to respect that.”

“Do you know that all weekend, everyone was asking me why you hadn’t come along?”

“You could’ve made an excuse for me.”

“You know I hate to lie.”

“An excuse is not a lie.”

“Anyway… are you saying you don’t plan to stay with me for long or something? Cos it feels like that’s what you’re getting at.”

“Who knows what will happen in the future. Do you? Cos I don’t.”

“Sometimes, I wonder if I’m enough for you,” he said, and I wanted to strangle him for that statement.

“What is it with you and Yun Ho?” I yelled. “He said the exact same thing to me back then. If you guys don’t think you’re enough, why bother in the first place?”

“Don’t compare me with Yun Ho,” he said.

“You’re both the same. I thought you were different, but you ended up being the same.”

“So what are you saying? You’re sick of me?”

I kept quiet and bit my lip when he said that. What was I supposed to say now? Was I sick of us? No, I wasn’t. Why can’t he just let me be? Why did he have to harp on the ‘meeting the parents’ issue?

“Take me home, now,” I said.

I didn’t want to continue this conversation. The best way was to avoid it now, or it’ll be over in a minute.


“Take me home, Jae Joong,” I said, this time with a firmer tone.

He sighed, and he put his car into gear. When his car pulled up in front of my apartment block, I got out without a word, and went in.

“Nuna!” Skye’s annoyingly perky voice exclaimed as I walked into the door.

“Not now,” I said, and I went straight into my room.

I threw myself onto my bed, and I started crying. I’d been holding back my tears all the way back. I didn’t want to cry in front of Jae Joong, because I didn’t want him to think that I was just trying to manipulate him with my tears. My mobile phone, which I’d put on silent mode, was buzzing beside me and Jae Joong’s face kept flashing on it. I smothered the phone with a pillow, and went back to wallowing in my tears. This time, I’m not backing down.

Monday, 5 March 2007

Chapter 65: Dangerous Mind

“Nuna,” Skye whispered through my door. “Nuna…”

“Hmm?” I answered sleepily, I had just fallen asleep awhile ago.

“I need to talk to you,” he said.

“Come in,” I groaned as I sat up in my bed.

Skye tiptoed in and lay down beside me, like he always did when he wanted to have a heart to heart with me.

“So… what is it?” I asked him.

“Nothing…” he sighed.

“Nothing? You woke me up for nothing?”

“I just feel lost…”

“Is this about Hae Rin?” I asked him, and he just sighed. “It is, isn’t it?”


“So what’s wrong? I thought you guys are at it like rabbits,” I joked.

“Yah! We’re not doing anything of the sort,” he half-yelled.

“Araso… araso… don’t get your knickers in a twist,” I laughed.

“I just feel that sometimes, her heart is not with me,” he said.

“You think she still thinks of Jae Joong?” I asked him.

“I know I shouldn’t be telling you this and worrying you, but I have no one else to talk to.”

“Don’t worry about it. I was also wondering if she was over him.”

“Sometimes she just zones out, and I know it’s not about work, cos everything is mapped out for her. All she needs to do is show up for recordings and shoots.”


“Every time I ask her is something is bugging her, she never has a plausible excuse for me.”

“What can we do?”

“I don’t know,” he sighed and he pulled my blanket up to cover his face.

“What do you want to do about it?”

“I don’t know…” came his muffled reply.

“I can’t help you if you don’t know how you feel. Do you really love Hae Rin that much? Do you think you can change her mind?”

“I thought I could. I thought I did, but now I’m not sure.”

“Skye…” I sighed. I really felt sorry for him, and I felt worried for myself. If Hae Rin was still not over Jae Joong, what was she plotting to do?

The next morning, Skye and I were moody and defeated. Him because of Hae Rin and for me, it was because of Hae Rin and because I was missing Jae Joong. I’ve always felt like that when he goes back to Kwangju. Knowing that he is so far away always makes me feel lost. Jae Joong’s my rock.

“Are you going out with her today?” I asked Skye as I sipped my coffee and he nodded.

“I won’t be back for dinner.”

“No problem. Shoei will be home in the evening,” I replied, and Skye sighed again. “Just do your best, Skye. I have faith in you. For the both of us, you have to win Hae Rin’s heart,” I smiled weakly.

I don’t know how strong-willed Hae Rin is, but I sure hope Skye is persistent enough.

“I’ll do my best,” he said.

“Aja!” I said, and pumped my fists.

“Aja!” he replied, smiling.

I settled my bowl of ramen on my desk and turned on my laptop; looks like it’s just me and the World Wide Web this afternoon, until Shoei gets back from Japan. My messengers started popping up and logging themselves in, and I was bombarded with messages.

Danie: You cow! You’re on a break and you didn’t invite me to Korea?

That would be my sister. She’s always asking me to invite her over, but she didn’t have the time to come in the first place. She’s a sound engineer and part time events coordinator, working in Singapore.

Sierra: You can’t come anyway. Quit bugging me…

I replied and I hit the ‘Send’ key. She wasn’t online, so she’d probably see it when she comes online later tonight.

I logged into my email, and there was an email from my Dutch-Chinese friend, San San.

Hey Sierra onni!

How’s it going? School has been hell for me. =.= I want to come to Korea and visit you!!! Is Yoo Chun still single? Can you tell him to wait for me? =) I know you’re really busy, from pictures of the hundreds of events you attend all the time, but can you help me make sure he waits for me? =)

I heard you were in the hospital. Was that a rumour? Please tell me it’s a rumour. How horrible!!! =.=

Anyways… I hope you’re having fun! When I come to Korea, make sure I have a place to stay, araji? XD

San San

I smiled as I read her mail. She was a sweet and perky girl. I’d met her on the Asteria forum and we’d remained friends ever since. I slurped up a mouthful of ramen, and I started to type my reply.


Work has been hell for me… haha! There aren’t that many events, just a few. Were there ugly photos of me?

I was in the hospital. But I’m fine now. Don’t worry about me. I have many people taking care of me and worrying for me. To the point where I actually feel guilty T_T

How are your singing and dancing lessons coming? I heard that the next SM Auditions are coming up soon. Be sure to send in your application and I might see you in Korea soon. But if you’re just coming for a holiday, you can bunk with me ^^

Take care…


I clicked the ‘Send’ button and ate another mouthful of ramen while waiting for the page to load. About an hour later, I’d finally finished replying all the mails from friends and family, and answered the dozens of offline messages people have left for me. Just when I was about to sign off my messenger, a chat box popped up…

JJ-Kim: ^^

Sierra: What's up with your eyes?

JJ-Kim: Nothing…

Sierra: Then why’s your emoticon squinting?

JJ-Kim: Cos you’re dazzling… ^^;

Sierra: Has Yoo Chun been teaching you his lame pickup lines?

JJ-Kim: Ani… I came up with it on my own *^^*

Sierra: How clever… *pats you on the head*

JJ-Kim: o.O I’m not a puppy…

Sierra: Then what are you?

JJ-Kim: Dunno…

Sierra: Then you shall be a puppy…

JJ-Kim: Shirooooo… T_T

Sierra: Puppy!!!

JJ-Kim: Shirooooo!!!


Sierra: ROFL

Sierra: I’m home alone…

JJ-Kim: Skye went out?

Sierra: As usual…

JJ-Kim: Shoei?

Sierra: Still flying in the sky…

JJ-Kim: Haha! Want me to come back?

Sierra: By the time you get to Seoul, Shoei would be home with me, eating dinner.

JJ-Kim: Fine… I won’t come back.

Sierra: But I miss you.

JJ-Kim: Then you want me to come back today?

Sierra: Just come back as you have planned. I’ll be fine.

JJ-Kim: I’ll be back tomorrow afternoon, okay? *hugs*

Sierra: Okay…

JJ-Kim: I gtg now… taking my nephews and nieces shopping.

Sierra: Okay, ajeoshi…

JJ-Kim: Yah! Who’re you calling ‘ajeoshi’?

Sierra: Oops… ^^

JJ-Kim: Saranghae…

Sierra: I love you…

JJ-Kim has signed off

I shut off my messengers and turned up the music after Jae Joong had logged off. I picked up a fashion magazine I’d bought from the airport on the day we landed back in Korea and started flipping through it. As I did, my eyelids started to feel heavy. This is the first time I’ve had such a restful break. I wanted to sleep every moment I had nothing to do. I tossed the magazine aside, snuggled down my bed with my bolster and drifted off to sleep.

[Shoei’s POV]

I opened the front door and held it open with my huge suitcase, then I turned around and started lugging in the rest of my bags. My mother had gotten a little carried away this time. She’d bought a truckload of snacks and souvenirs for me to bring back with me to Korea.

I shut the door and turned around, taking in the familiarity of the apartment. I’d actually missed this place. Going back home… it made me feel a little suffocated. The constant visits from friends, relatives, friends of my family, distant relatives; they all wanted to see me just because I was now in a famous band in Korea. A few years back, some of these people had never even showed up on our doorstep, not even on important occasions, like my grandmother’s funeral. I was in New York when my grandmother passed on. It still upset me when I thought of it. She loved me dearly, and she supported my dream, knowing that it would take me away from her.

“Shoei... make us proud,” she’d said on the day I was leaving for Korea to join SM as a trainee. “I know you are going to be a star.”

She was gone now, but my memories of her are forever imprinted in my mind. I wiped the single tear that had escaped my eye and looked down the corridor where our rooms were. The apartment seemed empty. Skye was definitely not home, as usual. Since he started dating, he spends most of his free time with Hae Rin. I could hear faint strains of music coming from nuna’s room. I smiled to myself; at least nuna was home. I walked to her door and knocked softly. She didn’t reply. She must be sleeping. I opened the door quietly, and saw that I was right. She was lying on her side and hugging her bolster tightly, like she always does when she’s sleeping.

I sat down on the bed beside her and watched her sleep. I spotted a little pimple forming on her forehead; the stress must be getting to her. At least we got a week off this time. I can’t remember how long it has been since we had such a long holiday. I wonder if she enjoyed Prague. I tiptoed out of her room and walked into the kitchen. I decided to make dinner since she was asleep.

Halfway through, nuna appeared behind me in the kitchen.

“When did you get in?” she asked me.

“Awhile ago?”

“What are you cooking?” she asked me as she stood beside me to look into the pot.

“Just some chicken stew. The rice is done. Why don’t you scoop it out? The chicken is almost ready.”

“Okay,” she said and she walked off to get the rice.

When the stew was ready, I set it down on the dining table and sat down in the chair opposite nuna.

“Looks good!” she smiled as she picked up her spoon.

Another thing I’ll need to get used to now that I’m back. In Japan, we used our chopsticks for everything, but here in Korea, we use the spoon for everything. My mother laughed at me when I asked for a spoon on the first day I got home.

“You eat like a Korean now, don’t you?” she said. “Well, now that you’re home, in Japan, you should eat like a Japanese.” So that’s what I had to do. I had to learn to eat my rice with chopsticks.

“How was home?” nuna asked me as she bit into a piece of chicken.

“It was alright. How was Prague?”

“Not too bad. I’d have preferred to go there in the summer, but with our schedules in such a state, I have no choice.”


“This chicken is good,” she smiled.

“You missed my cooking, didn’t you?” I teased.

“I think not as much as you miss mine.”

“Yea… I’m so used to eating Chinese and Korean now. I’ve almost forgotten how to eat sashimi,” I laughed.

“How are your parents?”

“They’re fine,” I said, as I swallowed my rice. “Don’t you miss home, nuna?”

The one thing that puzzled me about nuna, was that she always talked about Malaysia, but she never asked to go home. Did she miss home? Did something happen before she came? Why didn’t she ever ask for permission to go home? She always seemed content to stay in Korea and muck around with us, or spend time with Jae Joong, even when she had the chance to home for awhile.


“Are you sure?”

“If I go back, I’ll only miss it more when I leave. So I prefer to stay away. I’ll go back someday, when I don’t need to be here anymore,” she smiled.

I wondered if that was her honest opinion. To all, nuna seemed like a trouble-free soul; someone who didn’t go through much unhappiness, and someone who was strong and dedicated. She was always smiling, no matter how tired our schedule made her. She was truly our leader, in the way she inspires Skye and I to keep trudging on. She’d been through so many mishaps; her breakup with Yun Ho, the assault, getting admitted into the hospital for internal bleeding. Whatever had happened in the past 2 years, it always seemed like she took them in stride and just carried on with her job.

“Sometimes, I wonder if you're telling the truth,” I said as I looked up at her. That’s when I noticed that she had an odd expression on her face.