“What’s wrong?” Si Won asked Hae Rin when she flipped her phone shut.
“Ji Tae oppa called,” she said. “Some of our files got corrupted, and we have to record all over again.”
“Does that include our collaboration?” I asked her.
“No, thankfully, since our single was going to be released, it was already sent out to be printed onto the CDs. So we’re safe.”
“Man…” Darren exclaimed. “That sure sucks.”
“Yea,” Hae Rin smiled.
I could see she dreaded having to record all over again, but what could she do? The files were gone and she has to put out an album. I guess Skye will be seeing even less of her starting tomorrow.
“We’d better get home then,” I said to Hae Rin. “You have a long day ahead of you tomorrow.”
“I’ll send you girls home,” Si Won said as he stood up and fished his keys out of his pocket.
“I’ll settle the bill,” Hee Chul said as he motioned for the ajumma to come over to the table.
“Komawo, oppa,” I said to Hee Chul.
“No problem,” he smiled. “See you girls another time.”
“Bye Han Kyung,” I said, and he waved. “See you around, guys,” I said to Darren, Min Jong and Nakata, and they nodded.
Si Won dropped Hae Rin off first, and we watched her walk into the apartment lobby and get into the elevator before we drove off.
“That was very unlucky,” Si Won said.
“The files getting corrupted.”
“Oh… never happened to us, touch wood,” I said. “But it can happen when you least expect it.”
“Yea… I’ve heard of it happening before. But same here… never happened to Super Junior before.”
“Could it be sabotage?”
“I doubt it. Ryu Ji Tae guards his stuff really well. All those who work for him are people who have been with him for long and they’re loyal to him.”
“Well… maybe one of his people got sick of him and decided to do a little sabotage.”
“Hmm… we’ll never know. Why do we need to care anyway?”
“Just being nosy,” I laughed, and Si Won laughed with me.
“Feeling better?” he asked me.
“About you, about Yun Ho hyung…”
“The story never ends, does it? It just keeps cropping up,” I sighed. “Maybe if I weren’t with Jae Joong, everything would be simpler.”
“Don’t say that, Sierra. Jae Joong hyung loves you a lot. I know this topic seems to crop up all the time, but you have to learn to live with it. People will forget it soon enough.”
“Maybe,” I said wistfully.
“So how’s the album coming? I heard that the title track MV is done.”
“And you have promotional activities with Hae Rin in about a week?”
“Take care of your health.”
“I will,” I smiled.
“Chintcha…” he said.
“Since when are you such a nag?” I laughed.
“Lots of people are getting sick lately. Don’t wanna see you get sick too.”
“Nae, ajumma,” I laughed.
That night, I got a call from Jae Joong just before I went to bed. For the past few nights, I’ve been getting in so late and I was so tired that I’d actually gone to bed without talking to him.
“What are you doing?” he said as soon as I picked up.
“Going to bed,” I said as I plopped down only my pillows and gave a loud contented sigh.
“Don’t do that,” he laughed.
“Do what?” I asked.
“That loud sigh,” he said.
“It makes me wanna come over.”
“Come over then.”
“I’m still in the studios,” he grumbled.
“Awww,” I cooed and gave him a loud kiss through the mouthpiece.
“Pogoshipda,” he said, and he returned my kiss.
“Am I gonna see you this weekend?” I asked him.
“We might be shooting,” he sighed.
“I have promotional activities with Hae Rin soon. Then I’ll have no time to meet you at all.”
“I’ll drop by whenever I have the time, then.”
“Nae,” he said. “Go to bed.”
“Shiro,” I whined.
“Something’s still missing.”
“You don’t know?” I exclaimed.
“Aaah…” he laughed when he realized. “Saranghae.”
“Saranghae,” I smiled to myself. “Good night.”
“Good night,” he replied, and he hung up.
I have this habit that I’ve always imposed on all my boyfriends. I never like to say ‘Bye!’ on the phone before I go to bed. It’s always ‘Good night!’, because saying ‘Good bye!’ feels like I’m leaving him.
“Chintcha?” Jae Joong had exclaimed when I told him my reasons. “You think too much,” he laughed as he put an arm around me.
“I hate saying ‘Good bye!’, cos it’s not like I’m leaving for good or whatever. ‘Good night!’ sounds better.”
“Whatever you say,” he laughed, and that’s how it’s always been ever since.
It’s finally the day of Hae Rin’s single’s launch, and I was to attend it with her since I’d collaborated with her on the 2nd track in the single.
Hae Rin was dressed in a simple white dress and accessorized with huge black cross and hoop earrings. I was dressed in a sky blue top and white jeans, and I wore a long string of huge beads, and matching earrings.
After a short photo session with the reporters present, in front of the posters for the single launch, we settled down for a short press conference.
“Thank you for attending this launch today. We shall start off with the premier screening of Hae Rin-shi’s first MV,” the emcee said.
Everyone’s attention turned to the screen set up in the room, and the MV started playing.
The intro plays and Hae Rin is seen walking around her room, and then she sits down and holds up a stuffed toy and starts singing.
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
She walks up and moved towards her dressing table, where you can see Si Won and I “reflected”, and she continues singing.
You never cared about me
You always did as you pleased
You never gave me the attention I needed
Until I decided to leave
She tosses the stuffed toy aside and the bridge begins.
“You said to me,” she sings, and the camera cuts to me.
“Baby please don’t go,” I sing.
“I really love you so,” she sings.
And it carried on until the end of the bridge, us sort of finishing each other’s lines with the camera cutting back and forth. In my scenes, Si Won had his arms around my waist, kissing my neck, nuzzling it, stroking my cheek and etcetera.
Then it comes to the chorus, and we’re both in a white room, that’s actually bare. Just a white backdrop, as if we were in the middle of nowhere.
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
Then I sing my parts.
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
As I sang, images of Si Won keep appearing all over my room, as if I were imagining his presence. He appeared on a chair and faded away, on the bed and faded away, leaning on the wall and faded away and standing right in front of me, and faded away.
During this next bridge, was that scene of Si Won almost lying on top of me. I turn my head to the side, the face the camera as I sing my lines, and Si Wong looks on. At the end of the bridge, I push him off me, and he falls back, disappearing just as he hit the floor.
The final chorus was again of me and Hae Rin in the white room, and as the repeated the chorus, Si Won walks down the middle to stand between us, and slowly fades away as the song ends, as Hae Rin and I look on sadly.
Everyone clapped as the MV ended and the lights, which had been turned off during the screening, illuminated the room again. Now, the Q&A session begins. It started with the reporters asking little questions like when Hae Rin was recruited, how long she’d been training, and a few personal questions like where she was from and who her musical influences were.
“Hae Rin,” a reporter asked. “This is your debut single, as we know. Why is it that the first MV for this single is the song you collaborated with Sierra, instead of for your solo song?”
“I think having me debut with Sierra sonbaenim’s support is the best way, don’t you think? I’m new to the industry, and I might not be able to hold the spotlight on my own, so I need someone of Sierra sonbaenim’s credibility to share my spotlight and help me hold the interest of the audience long enough for them to learn to appreciate my voice and presence.”
“Then are you saying that this is a publicity stunt to garner interest for yourself?” another reporter asked.
“The decision was made in the best interest of introducing Hae Rin to the South Korean music industry, and I was glad to be able to help out a junior,” I replied in Hae Rin’s defense.
“We noticed that Si Won from Super Junior only shared screen time with Sierra. Is there an explanation for this? Why didn’t he have any scenes with Hae Rin?”
“This was an artistic decision made by the people who created the plot of the MV,” Ryu Ji Tae replied.
“So it’s not because Hae Rin is too young? Not because the management want to maintain a ‘pure’ image for her?”
“That would be bullying Sierra sonbaenim, won’t it?” Hae Rin smiled. “It doesn’t mean that because Sierra sonbaenim is older, therefore she gets to do the ‘steamy’ scenes. It was an artistic call.”
“Does everyone really think anyone can bully me?” I smiled, and the room laughed.
“What does Jae Joong think of the scenes you had with Si Won, Sierra?” someone asked.
“Whatever happened between Si Won and I during the filming of the MV was strictly professional. There is nothing to think of or discuss about it.”
“So he doesn’t mind?”
“I don’t know,” I laughed. “Why don’t you ask him?”
“Yea, ask me,” I heard someone say and it sounded suspiciously like Jae Joong.
I scanned the room, where everyone was chattering excitedly and also looking for Jae Joong. I found him sitting in the 2nd row. He’d been there all along and no one had noticed. I smiled when I saw him. Somehow, this reminded me of the prank Yun Ho had done, back when we, S-Cube, had our first promotional event in Japan, but it’s different now. Back then, no one knew about Yun Ho and I, and it ended up a scandal, which hurt almost hurt S-Cube’s career. What Jae Joong did now was causing a different kind of commotion compared to what Yun Ho did. His presence generated interest rather than animosity for me.
I smiled lovingly at him, and he smiled back. It good to know that he always had my back, and he would always be there for me, no matter how little time we had for each other.