Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Chapter 90: What U Want

“Hello Darren,” I said, and smiled as sarcastically as I could, and he started laughing.

“What’s so funny?” the DJ asked Darren.

“Nothing,” Darren smiled. “Just thought of something funny.”

“Keurae? Wanna share it?”

“Not now,” Darren smiled.

“Why are we booked on a show he’s in?” I hissed at Shoei.

“He’s filling in for the other DJ this week. We didn’t expect him to be here at all,” Shoei replied.

“Crap,” I muttered and started flipping through the script that hyung had prepared for us.

“Annyeong haseyo, this is Seung Ho and Darren on today’s segment of ‘Hot This Second’,” the DJ, Seung Ho, started as we went on air.

“Annyeong haseyo, Darren-imnida,” Darren greeted. “Today, we have three very special guests with us, Sierra, Skye and Shoei of S-Cube,” he announced and we all had to clap our hands.

“Annyeong haseyo, urineun S-Cube-imnida,” we greeted together.

“Sierra-imnida,” I said.

“Skye-imnida,” Skye said.

“Shoei-imnida,” Shoei said.

“It’s great to be here,” I added.

“It’s great to have you here,” Darren said, and I know he said it on purpose because he was winking at me when he said it.

“The whole of South Korea knows that S-Cube is the band of the moment, especially this month. Your new album has been flying off the shelves and you’re all given big assignments abroad. Tell us more about them,” Seung Ho said.

“First of all,” Skye said. “We aim to continue to be the band of the moment for longer than this month,” prompting Shoei and I to cheer.

“Haha… of course,” Seung Ho replied.

“As for the assignments, only Skye and I will be going abroad,” Shoei said.

“Sierra’s staying here?” Seung Ho asked.

“Fortunately for everyone, I am,” I smiled.

“We’re definitely fortunate,” Darren grinned. “Is there some strategy for doing this?”

“I think the management wants me to strengthen my fan base and continue to improve on my Korean,” I replied. “I’m still very much a stranger here, and I think it would do me good to focus my activities here.”

“Stranger?” Seung Ho laughed. “Sierra, you are definitely no stranger to South Korea. You’re one of the most famous foreign stars to have made it in our industry.”

“It’s easier for people to accept me when I had Skye and Shoei by my side,” I said.

“True, but I do know that S-Cube was started with the international, or shall I say, Asian concept. All 3 members are of different nationalities,” Seung Ho said.

“I used to think that this concept would be a novelty for a short while,” Darren said. “But you have proven that you were not a once off project. You’re here to stay now.”

“Yes we are,” Skye said. “I think it’s thanks to Shoei and Sierra’s diligent efforts in learning Korean and the way of life here that helped us continue. Because they have almost made themselves feel local, people no longer think of this as a band made of different nationalities. We’re now a Korean band.”

“Thanks Skye,” Shoei and I said.

“Alright… that’s a lot of information. We didn’t really expect to go into such detail, but it has been very enlightening. Now, let’s listen to the title track on your latest album, and may I say, the MV is one of my personal favorites. Would you like to introduce it?” Seung Ho asked.

“Nae… everyone, this is our title track from our third album, ‘Connect the Dots’,” Shoei announced, and the song started playing.

“I can’t sit here,” I whispered to Shoei as soon as our microphones were turned off.

“You can’t leave now,” he said, grabbing onto my hand to make sure I didn’t take off.

“Darren is pissing me off. He keeps giving me these knowing smiles, and… arrrghhh,” I complained.

“We’ll deal with him after the show. Focus now,” Shoei said, and we started looking through our scripts for the rest of the show.

“How have you been, Sierra?” Darren asked, somewhere in the middle of the song.

“Fine,” I smiled tightly.

“You seem tensed today. You’re not feeling well?”

“Jerk,” I muttered under my breath.

“Nuna had a late night, with Jae Joong hyung,” Skye very helpfully piped in.

“Skye!” I exclaimed.

“It’s nice to hear that the both of you are still so into each other after… a year? Has it been a year?” Seung Ho said.

“Almost,” I replied.

“In my mind, relationships in the entertainment industry fizzle out so quickly. It’s really reassuring to see that there are couples who are doing well,” he added.

“We try. But it’s not always rainbows and butterflies,” I said.

“Of course, of course. All relationships have their ups and downs,” he agreed.

“Are you going to marry him?” Darren asked.

“Here we go again,” Skye laughed. “Nuna has been asked that same question time and time again.

“People seem to think that when a couple lasts more than a year, they automatically get married,” I said.

“Well, when it seems like such a good match, why not?” Seung Ho smiled.

“When we’re ready,” I said.

“The standard answer,” Darren said knowingly.

“The truth,” I corrected him, and continued to read my script, ignoring him.

The interview was over in another 20 minutes. They’d played 2 of our songs and asked more questions and as the last of our song played, we were allowed to leave the studio.

“Bye Sierra,” Darren drawled as I walked out, and I just smiled, for Seung Ho’s benefit.

“That pig!” I exclaimed as soon as I walked out of the studio.

“Let’s go,” Shoei said and he steered me out of the room into the corridor, Skye and hyung followed behind us.

“Sierra!” hyung yelled from behind, “Where were you?”

“Umm… I overslept.”

“You almost missed the show!”

“Mian,” I smiled.

“Mian? Your behaviour is becoming unacceptable. You think just because you have a little popularity now, you can behave like that?”

“Aigoo, hyung! Keugo aniya,” I said. “We’re not even that popular.”

“Then? Is it because your boyfriend is Yong-ung Jae Joong of TVXQ?”

“Hyung! I just overslept. It has nothing to do with all of this,” I said in an exasperated tone.

“You’d better buck up, Sierra. There’s no room in a band for a diva.”

“I know, hyung. I won’t do it again,” I said, and he just huffed.

“Sierra,” someone called from the direction of the studio we’d just left.

The 4 of us whirled around to see Darren walking towards us.

“You forgot this,” he said, and he held out my file.

I’d been in such a hurry to leave that I’d forgotten all about it.

“Komapda,” I said.

“Where are you guys headed?” he asked.

“Brunch,” Skye replied.

“Mind if I join you?” he asked.

“We’re actually in a hurry,” Shoei cut in politely. “We’re probably just going to grab a quick bite and move to the next venue on our schedule.”

“Aww, that’s too bad,” Darren smiled.

I could punch him for that smile. I’m starting to hate him more and more. Even though we don’t know what his motive is, but I can tell he is waiting for the opportunity to do something.

“Yea,” Shoei said. “We’ll catch you some other time.”

“Right then, see ya,” Darren said and he turned and left.

“Kaja,” Shoei said as he put an arm around me.

“I so wanna slap his smug face,” I said.

“What’s wrong now? You guys having some kinda fight with Helix?” hyung asked us.

“Aniya,” Skye replied. “We’re just not fans of them at this moment,” he snickered.

“Don’t stir up trouble. People see you as rivals, and to stir up trouble would put you in unfavorable light with their fans. We don’t need a fan war.”

“Nae,” we chorused.

After grabbing a quick bite to eat, we were again guests on another radio show. This time, it was Super Junior’s Kiss the Radio on KBS, with Ee Teuk and Eun Hyuk.

“Teukie, Teukie!” I called out as I walked in, and he laughed.

“Can you stop calling me that? You never let me forget.”

“How can I, Teukie?” I laughed as I sat down.

“Everything alright now?” Eun Hyuk asked me, with a concerned smile.

“Jun Su…” I cringed. “That blabber mouth.”

“It was big news,” Eun Hyuk said.

“Then I suppose everyone knows?” I sighed.

“Not everyone. Just the usual crew,” he said as he patted my hand.

“Aissshiii,” I said as I buried my head in my arms on the table.

“Hyung,” Skye said as he fiddled with the equipment around. “Are we gonna play soccer this weekend?”

“Aren’t you going to Taiwan or something?” Eun Hyuk said.

“I am… one last game before I go?”

“Count me out,” Ee Teuk said.

“Waegeurae?” Skye asked.

“I can do without the soccer games. Sierra and I can go shopping while you guys play,” he said, and he winked at me.

“Shopping? I love shopping,” I nodded.

“I’ll go shopping too,” Shoei piped in.

“Ya! Don’t you wanna play soccer with me?” Skye asked Shoei.

“Nah. I can’t keep up with you,” he replied.

“Miweo…” Skye sulked and slouched in his seat.

“Ya, ya, yah…” Eun Hyuk said as he poked Skye. “Sit up, young man. We’re about to go on air.”

Skye sat up straight while continuing to grumble about us not wanting to spend time with him, but as soon as we were on air, he shut up.

“Annyeong haseyo, Ee Teuk-imnida,” Ee Teuk greeted.

“Annyeong haseyo, Eun Hyuk-imnida,” Eun Yuk said.

“And you’re listening to Super Junior’s Kiss the Radio,” they announced together.

“Today we have really special guests with us. One of our SM family members, S-Cube!” Ee Teuk announced.

“Annyeong haseyo,” I greeted.

“Urineun, S-Cube-imnida!” we greeted as a group.

“Annyeong haseyo, Sierra-imnida,” I greeted.

“Annyeong haseyo, Skye-imnida,” Skye greeted.

“Konichiwa, Shoei-des,” Shoei added, and we all laughed.

“What’s with the Japanese today?” Ee Teuk asked.

“Well, as you all know, I will be leaving for Japan next week, so I’m making sure I don’t forget my own mother tongue,” Shoei replied.

“Does that mean I will need to speak more Mandarin?” Skye asked.

“Nae. Do your greeting again!” I said to Skye.

“Da jia hao,” he said in his shaky Mandarin, “wo shi Skye!” and we started clapping.

“You sound almost native,” Eun Hyuk snickered.

“Cheongmal?” Skye asked.

“Yea… native Korean,” I piped in, and we laughed hysterically.

“Okay, let’s move on,” Ee Teuk said, as soon as he had his laughter under control. “Let’s answer a listener’s call before we play the first song of the day.”

“Nae,” we all replied.

“Annyeong haseyo,” Eun Hyuk said as he answered the call.

“Annyeong haseyo,” the caller said, and the voice was vaguely familiar.

Sunday, 27 May 2007

Chapter 89: 믿어요 (Believe Me)

[Sierra’s POV]

I’m lying on the bed, with Jae Joong’s arms around me and my head on his chest; he’d decided to spend the night at my place.

“I missed you,” he said as he stroked my hair.

“I find that hard to believe,” I said, pretending to be indifferent, but my heart was practically bursting with joy.

“I told myself everyday that I wouldn’t call you, but my fingers itched to dial your number.”

“Then why didn’t you?”

“My pride got in the way?” was his reply.

I gave him a wry look, and he just smiled. He knew that the line was overused, especially in songs, but he used it anyway.

“Shoei’s going to Japan, and Skye to Taiwan,” I said.

“I heard.”

“I’m gonna be alone here, for at least a month.”

“Want me to move in and keep you company until they get back?”

“Would you? What would the guys say?”

“They’d understand.”

“We’ll see.”

“And when Skye and Shoei return, it’ll be our turn to leave the country.”

“Where are you going?”

“To Japan, for a few months.”

“It’s not going to be on and off, like for you last album?”

“No. We’ve been neglecting our Japanese fans, so it’s going to be a long stint, this time. We’re going to participate in a lot of shows and host our radio program like we did for the 2nd album.”

“What am I supposed to do while you’re gone?”

“I’ll try to visit you whenever I can. You can come over.”

“I wish,” I sighed. “We’ll have S-Cube’s single to promote with Hee Chul, and the special single Yun Ho and I are doing.”

“Yea… he will definitely be traveling back and forth. Come to think of it, I should’ve taken the project; me and my stupid pride.”


“You don’t have to be so supportive, you know,” he smirked, and I giggled.

“What made him volunteer to take the project?”

“I told him that I didn't want it, and that we’d probably fight if we had to work together, then I just walked out, and he had to handle the producers for me.”

“See how much trouble people go through for you,” I poked him in the ribs, making him jump.

“Araso… I’m the bad guy. I make life a living hell for everyone.”

“Glad you know. You’re truly a devil, disguised as a beautiful guy,” I said.

“Beautiful? That’s what I love to hear,” he grimaced.

“Take it or leave it,” I said.

“It depends,” he grinned mischievously, and tightening his arms around me.


“On what you’re giving out,” he smiled suggestively.

“Yah… p’yeont’ae!” I exclaimed and smacked his arm.

“I didn’t do anything,” he complained, pretending to be hurt.

“You were thinking it,” I pointed out.

“No I wasn’t,” he said.

“Yes you were,” I replied.

“I missed our little squabbles,” he said, out of the blue.

I sighed and snuggled closer to him when he said that. I missed how he’d make my heart skip a beat with his disarming smiles and comments. It’s been so long, and you’d think the magic and mystery had long disappeared, but Jae Joong always made the effort to keep it alive.

People always say that relationships tend to become drab after you’ve seen everything there is to see about a person. We’ve seen each other in the morning, dragon breath and all, we’ve seen each other dressed up in our finest, we’ve seen each other in our most comfortable states, and yet… it has diminished nothing. He would always be beautiful to me, and he’d mentioned often enough, so was I to him.

“Why do you think I’m beautiful?” I asked him.

“Why?” he smiled. “Why this question now?”

“You’d always told me I’m beautiful, but I’ve never asked you why.”

“You call me beautiful,” he said.

“That’s different. It’s so obvious and the whole world knows that you are beautiful.”

“Don’t you think the world thinks the same of you?”

“Do you?”

“I think so,” he laughed.

“So why? Sure I have high cheekbones and pretty good skin, but my face isn’t cute like most of the conventionally pretty girls.”

“Your eyes,” he smiled.

“I don’t even have double eyelids,” I said.

“Correction; you didn’t. But you do now,” he reminded me.

“Oh, right. I’d totally forgotten about my surgery,” I smiled sheepishly. “What about before?”

“It’s not about your eyelids,” he said. “It’s the expressions you make with your eyes. Don’t you see them in your photos?”

“I’ve never really noticed.”

“In every photo you take, your eyes stand out. Your eyes portray such depth of expressions.”

“I never knew,” I said, a little awed by his poetic explanation.

“Now you know,” he smiled. “And you are beautiful. Your whole face goes with your eyes. Your face is not just made up of your eyes you know. And another point to note; SM is hardly going to sign an ugly girl. So I don’t get why you are not confident about your beauty.”

“I just feel out of place sometimes. I’m not cute or sweet.”

“Precisely,” he said as he hugged me. “You’re a unique beauty. If the whole world sees it, it’s time you did too.”

“I guess so,” I sighed.

“And you’re not fat,” he added, smiling knowingly.

“I’m gonna kill Shoei,” I growled.

“He didn’t tell me,” Jae Joong said.

“Then who did?”

“Not telling.”

“I’m gonna kill Shoei,” I repeated, and he laughed.

“Come on. Bed time. It’s late.”

“Omigod,” I yawned as I looked at the clock. “It’s almost 5am.”


“I’m gonna be dead tomorrow.”

“Wanna call in sick? We could run off for the day.”

“Hyung will kill me. I’d better not.”

“If it ever gets too much, be sure to take a break. I don’t want you to get sick. I know how it’s like, going for events and meeting the schedules even when you’re sick. But I don’t want you to do it.”

“You don't want to, but it’s necessary for us to survive. This is a very short career if you don’t push hard while you can.”

“I know. But you have me,” he smiled. “I’ll do the pushing.”

“Whoever said I was going to depend on you,” I said, poking his chest. “I can take care of myself, thank you very much.”

“But I want to take care of you,” he said.

“In due time,” I smiled, and I leaned up to kiss his lips lightly. “Good night,” I said.

“Good night,” he replied, kissing the top of my head and then reaching out to turn off the bedside lamp.

3 hours later, Skye was banging on my door and screaming bloody murder. I stretched leisurely and turned onto my side to look at Jae Joong who was sleeping on the futon next to my bed. He was rubbing his eyes, awoken by the mayhem Skye was making.

“Nuna! We're late!” he yelled.

“I’ll get there myself,” I finally found my voice to reply.

I was so tired, and when extremely tired, my throat would feel scratchy and dry.

“How are you getting there?”

“Jae Joong will take me there,” I said, and I was met with a brief moment of silence on the other side of the door.

“He’s here now? In your room?” he finally said.

“Yes,” I smiled.

He was probably surprised that apart from having made up, we were so intimate again.

“That was fast,” he laughed.

“Yea… get going. Tell hyung I’m having diarrhea or something,” I said.

“Araso,” he said, and I could hear him bound off towards the front door. “Jae Joong hyung’s gonna take her,” I could hear him tell Shoei, and the rest of their conversation were inaudible.

I rolled off the bed, onto the futon and landed on Jae Joong.

“Oof!” he exclaimed. “Yah… twaeji,” he said as he hugged me. “You almost squashed me flat.”

“Mwo? Twaeji?” I said, and I slammed my body on his for good measure.

“Aahh…” he half-laughed and yelled at the same time. “You know… this isn’t the best way to kill me. It’s too obvious.”

“Who cares?” I said as I leaned down and started to nibble his earlobe. “As long as you’re dead,” I whispered in the most menacing, yet seductive, voice I could muster.

“If you wanna get to the studios on time,” he murmured, the tone of his voice conveying his state of pleasure to me, “I suggest you stop doing that.”

“Make me,” I said, and he grabbed my face and pulled me towards him for a toe-tingling kiss.

Half an hour later, we’re speeding towards the studios in Jae Joong’s car. We’ve gotten a little carried away and I was now late for a radio show.

“What time is the show?” Jae Joong asked as he overtook the car in front of him.

“We’re supposed to go on air in about 15 minutes.”

“Is it one of those shows that’s gonna be broadcasted live on the web?”


“Then you’d better start doing your own makeup. You wouldn’t have time when you get there.”

I rummaged through my bag, dug out my little makeup case and started putting on my makeup. At a particular traffic light, Jae Joong braked a little too hard, causing me to draw a line up my forehead with my eyebrow pencil.

“Yah!” I squealed and started rubbing my forehead to get rid of the line. “Thank god it’s not waterproof, or it’ll be hell to clean off.”

“Mian,” he laughed and dug up a packet of wet tissues from the compartment in his car. “Nawa,” he said, and he started wiping the line away for me.

We arrived at the studios just in time. I gave him a quick kiss on the lips, jumped out of the car and started sprinting up towards the studio.

“Where were you?” hyung almost yelled when he saw me.

“Mianhada…” I smiled, and I quickly slipped into the room and plopped down in the chair beside Skye.

“You’re so gonna get it from hyung after this,” Skye whispered, and I stuck out my tongue at him.

“Hello Sierra,” a familiar voice came from in front of me, and my hairs were standing on the back of my neck.

While rushing in, I’d been oblivious to everyone else in the room, and the microphone and other equipment were in the way, that I didn’t notice Darren sitting at the table, right across me.

“Stay calm, nuna,” Skye whispered.

I guess he could sense that I wanted to scream.

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Chapter 88: My Little Princess

After sitting for over an hour at the sushi bar, and drinking almost a gallon of green tea, we decided to take a walk. The airport was pretty busy, and people were pretty much loitering around since the flights were all delayed. We bumped into a few fans, signed a few autographs and took some pictures, and by the 2nd hour, we were in the lounge with the rest of the crew, slouching on the chairs and feeling extremely bored.

“Here,” hyung said as he handed out some files to Skye, Shoei and I. “The plans for your upcoming projects. All of them will commence next week, and probably in the 2nd or 3rd week, you guys will regroup for the launch of the ‘Waiting for You’ single, with Hee Chul.”

“They’re really fast,” I murmured in awe as I flipped through the file. They had the songs, MVs and everything planned out already.

“The management wants to capitalize on the current hype that you guys are attracting. So it has to be fast,” hyung explained.

“So I’ll be back in Tokyo by the end of next week,” Shoei asked.

“Yes. And sometime the week after, the 3 of you will need to attend a web interview, via conferencing; Sierra from Korea, Skye from Taiwan and Shoei from Japan. But if Skye happens to be back in Korea at that time, then Shoei will be the only one calling in from abroad.”

“Sounds fun,” Skye said.

“Omigod!” I squealed. “This is what Yun Ho and I are doing?” I looked at hyung.

“Yea. What’s wrong?”

“I love this song.”

“What song?” Shoei asked.

“‘Ice Box’ by Omarion. We’re going to do a cover, but there will be little changes to the lyrics cos it’s going to be sort of a duet.”

“This is going to be your title track, and more than half of the MV will be of you and Yun Ho dancing.”

“Understandable, since Yun Ho is a great dancer, and for once, I’ll be doing hard core dancing,” I smiled.

“And I honestly cannot imagine Jae Joong doing this song,” Shoei said.

“You’re right. It’s more Yun Ho’s style. Did they change it in the last minute?”

“I think they did,” hyung said.

“At least they had the sense to,” Skye said. “They probably had a ballad in mind.”

“There is still going to be a ballad,” I said, as I scanned through the next few pages. “And also a MV for it?”

“Yes. The MVs might be released in the repackaged versions of the single.”

“Wow… this is shaping up to be a huge project.”

“It is,” hyung said. “This is really put you in the spotlight, and you’d better be ready for it.”

“Haha…” I laughed nervously. “I hope I am.”

We finally arrived at the airport in Seoul after an eternity of waiting. It was already long past midnight, and that meant less crowds. As we walked out of the arrival hall, I noticed a familiar face waiting for us.

“What took you guys so long?” Jae Joong said as he walked towards us.

“The flights were postponed for a bit because of a storm,” Shoei explained, as I was standing there, speechless.

“Sierra?” Jae Joong said as he looked at me, and I continued to stare at him.

“We’re gonna leave first. Why don’t you take her home, hyung?” Shoei said to Jae Joong, and he walked off with Skye and the rest of the crew.

“Sierra,” Jae Joong said, as he reached out to take my hand.

“Don’t touch me,” I said softly, and he didn’t.

“Let’s go,” he said, and started walking towards the car park.

Since everyone had left, and I couldn’t well make a scene in public, I followed him quietly.

“Mianhae,” he said as we drove slowly out of the parking lot.

“Is that all you want to tell me?” I said.

“I’m really sorry. Please forgive me.”

“How many days has it been?” I asked him. “How many days since you walked out and totally ignored me?”

“Cheongmal mianhaeyo,” he said as he took my hand.

“No,” I said as I pulled my hand away fiercely. “You can’t just come back and expect me to forget everything. You think you can jerk me around like that?”

“I wasn’t…” he said.

“What? What weren’t you doing?”

“I just freaked out, okay?” he said.

I suddenly noticed that he wasn’t taking me home.

“Where are you taking me?”

“We’re going to resolve this tonight,” he said.

“You think it’s only going to take one night to resolve this?” I said in my sternest voice.

“Maybe we can’t resolve this tonight, but as long as you’re willing to give me a chance, I’ll make it up to you. You don’t have to forgive me now, and however long it takes, I will prove to you that I will never hurt you again.”

I was silent after his little speech, trying to digest everything he’d said, what he’d just promised me. He was willing to work it out between us, but how long would it last? How long before he allows our insecurities to break us apart again?

We drove up to the hillside where we always came to talk and just spend some time alone. I used to come here with Yun Ho, and now with Jae Joong. So many memories were shared at this same spot, and so much heartache, but here we are again, back where we were, and could we be back as we were?

“Sierra-ya,” Jae Joong whispered as he turned to look at me.

“I’ve had it. I can’t take this anymore. Its bad enough I feel insecure, now you’re insecure too?”

“Why can’t I be?”

“You’re Kim Jae Joong. When do you need to feel insecure? There are hordes of girls waiting for you. You just need to pick.”

“But none of them will love me because I’m Kim Jae Joong from Chungnam. They love be because I’m Yong-ung Jae Joong of TVXQ.”

“I didn’t know you from back then either.”

“But we’re both in the same boat, walking the same path. You know how it feels to live this life, and that is why I believe in your love.”

“Then why do you treat me like that if you believe in my love?”

“I… because Kim Jae Joong from Chungnam isn’t as confident as Yong-ung Jae Joong of TVXQ. I’m not confident of my true self. I’m only confident when I am in my persona with TVXQ.”

I sighed loudly. He was right. As Sierra of S-Cube, I’m confident and sexy, but as Sierra, the 20 something girl from Malaysia, I’m a nervous wreck, and an emotional junkie. I can’t blame him for having the same insecurities as I did. We just had to work it out somehow.

“It still hurts,” I said.

“Arayo… mianhae,” he said.

“This is the last time?” I said as I looked at him, tears started filling my eyes. “I’m so afraid, Jae Joong. I’m afraid that this would happen again, and the next time, there might be nothing left of me when it’s over.”

“Mianhae,” he said as he gathered me into his arms, and I started sobbing from the relief I felt when he held me.

He kissed the top off my head and stroked my back as I cried, all the time whispering that he loved me, asking me to stop crying. I cursed myself for being so weak. Just days ago, I told myself that I wouldn’t take him back, that I will not back down so easily, and within half an hour of his presence, I’d caved in.

“I won’t do it again,” he said. “I believe in you. I believe in us.”

“You say you do,” I sobbed, “but do you mean it? Do you believe it?”

“I will, I will,” he said. “We’ve been through so much and I’ve been such an idiot. I shouldn’t have doubted us.”

“You shouldn’t have,” I said as I pulled away, wiping the tears from my eyes.

“I know. Nan paboya,” he smiled weakly.

“Chintcha pabo,” I said.

“Nae… chintcha pabo,” he laughed. “You forgive me?”

“You asked for a chance, and you said the forgiveness can come later,” I reminded him.

“Yes I did,” he sighed. “I’ll wait for it then.”

“Correction… you will work for it,” I said, pouting.

“Araso, Sierra kongju,” he smiled.

I smiled back. He rarely called me his princess, only when he was trying harder than usual.

“I don’t think you’re a princess at all,” he once told me. “You’re too cool to be a princess.”

I guess he’s right. I don’t feel like a princess either. Princesses don’t need to go through such pain. But sometimes, I do feel like a princess, because he made me believe the fairytale I was living in.

[Darren’s POV]

I’d come to the airport to surprise Sierra, at the same time, crossing my fingers and praying that her band mates won’t pummel me for what I did more than a week ago. I hadn’t counted on Jae Joong to come around so soon.

I was walking to the arrival gates, after receiving a tip that their flight had been delayed and they’d just landed, and Jae Joong beat me to it. I guess I’ll need a new plan now, if they’d really reconciled. He really was a wuss. I can’t imagine a guy forgiving his girlfriend for cheating so easily. Then again, she didn’t exactly cheat. I was the one who ‘attacked’ her. I chuckled to myself at the thought of that night. I still can’t get their expressions out of my head.

As the two of them walked towards the parking lot, I observed them. They weren’t holding hands, and that was good news for me. Maybe they’re just keeping up appearances, since a huge breakup could be detrimental to their careers, or at least Sierra’s. Maybe I still have a chance at breaking them up.

I’d received another tip today. Sierra was going to collaborate on a special single with Yun Ho. Coincidence? I think not. I guess it’s just the management’s strategy to generate interest since people would be watching very closely, to see if this collaboration might rekindle something between the two. The media is probably waiting with bated breath for something to happen.

As I walked off, my plans foiled for the days, I felt someone tug at my sleeve.

“Oppa,” a little girl holding a piece of paper and a pen smiled up at me. “Can I have your autograph?”

“Sure,” I smiled and took the paper and pen from her. “What’s your name?”

“Jin Ju,” she replied in her cutesy voice.

“Here you go,” I said as I handed the paper and pen back to her.

“Komawo, oppa,” she smiled and skipped away.

I fished my phone out of my jacket’s pockets and dialed Nakata’s number.

“Where are you guys?” I asked them.

“At home. It’s almost 2am, hyung, where are you?”

“Nowhere special. I’ll be late. See you in the morning,” I said and I hung up.

I didn’t feel like going home tonight, and I knew just where to go.

“Oppa!” she smiled as she opened the door.

“Hey,” I smiled as I walked in and put my arm around her shoulders.

“You haven’t been over in weeks, oppa. Where did you go?” she pouted as we walked into her apartment.

“I’ve been busy. What have you been up to?”

“Training, as usual. I thought that SM’s schedules were tough, but DSP’s even tougher.”

“Sure it is. You’re going to debut in 6 months. They’re gonna work you hard to make sure you make their investment worth,” I said as I ruffled her hair.

“Well, at least after I debut, we can finally have more time together,” she smiled happily.

“Are the other girls asleep?” I asked her.

“Yea… what do you have in mind?” her tone changing from sweet to seductive.

“I don’t know,” I smiled as I ran my hand down her arm.

I loved that she made an extra effort to dress up when I’m coming. That’s why I make it a point to call ahead so that she had time to prepare. Right now, she was wearing a spaghetti strap tank top that bared her midriff, and a pair of shorts that left nothing to the imagination.

“Let’s use the study,” she said as she dragged me towards it.

“You’d better pipe down this time,” I laughed softly as I followed her. “You almost woke the girls the last time.”

“I know,” she giggled. “The next morning, Shin Hae was asking me if I heard a sound the night before. ‘It sounded like someone was moaning…’ she said.”

“Yea… you do moan at lot,” I smiled as I pinched her cheek.

“Yah… appuh,” she whispered as we walked into the dark study and closed the door.

She flipped on the lights and we started moving the chairs out of the way. She opened the cupboard to pull out the spare futon.

“We don’t need that,” I said as I pulled her away from the cupboard.

“The floor’s hard,” she said.

“I’ll be your mattress,” I smiled, and I reached out to turn out the lights.

“Oppa, where are you?” she giggled.

“Come here,” I said as I pulled her tightly against me, and I kissed her, hard.

“Oppa,” she gasped between the kisses. “You’re so wild tonight.”

“That’s because you’re so hot,” I whispered.

“I missed you oppa,” she whispered as her hands did exactly what she knew I loved.

“I missed you too, Su Bin,” I replied, closing my eyes to savor the ecstasy she invoked on me.

“Saranghae,” she said, and I just smiled to myself.

Sunday, 20 May 2007

Chapter 87: 심장 (Heart)

[Sierra’s POV]

“Erm… talk to you later,” Shoei quickly said and hung up.

“Who was that?” I asked him

“No one special,” he said, and I could tell he was being evasive.

“I’m not a dimwit, Shoei. Was that Jae Joong? I asked him.

“No,” he said and started picking up his stuff. “I need to shower.”

“Skye’s still in the shower,” I said, and I stepped in front of him to stop him from walking out.

“It’s no one,” he insisted.

“I don’t believe you,” I said.

“Don’t kill the surprise I’m planning,” he said.

“What kinda surprise?”

“If I told you, it wouldn’t be a surprise anymore, would it?” he winked.

I studied his expression for a bit, and he gave nothing away.

“Fine,” I said. “If this turns out to be what I think it is, I’ll never forgive you.”

“Araso,” he smiled and started pushing me out of the room. “Shoo… scat… I need to change.”

“I’m warning you,” I said, as he slammed the door in my face.

I stomped to the room and slammed my door in response. If that had been Jae Joong, what were the two of them plotting? But why would Jae Joong be plotting anything with Shoei? I picked up the phone to call Yun Ho back, figuring that it was best I did or I’d never hear the end of it tomorrow.

“Yeobo, say yo!” he said, laughed at his lame pick-up line.

“Ya… you’re gonna turn into Yoo Chun if you keep doing that?”

“I will?” he laughed. “Then I’d better stop. So wassup?”

“You threatened me to call you back.”

“I did? Oh… I did. Mianhae,” he said. “Just wanted to make sure you’re alright.”

“Well… I’ve got some big news.”


“They want me to record a special single with Jae Joong.”

“Oh… that news. I’ve got the latest update. Jae Joong’s been replaced.”

“By who?”


“What?!!” I almost yelled in surprise.

“You don’t have to be so enthusiastic about it,” he said sarcastically.

“I’m sorry. I’m just shocked, cos they told us like 3 hours ago and here you are telling me they changed the plans?”

“They told us a little more than an hour ago, and I told them that it wouldn’t be a hype to have you and Jae Joong since the whole world knows you both are a couple. It should be controversial, like you and I.”

“Nicely put. I was actually dreading the whole collaboration. I wasn’t sure how I was gonna face him.”

“It’s not as bad as you think it is,” Yun Ho said.

“No? Then why hasn’t he called? And why has he disappeared for days.”

“Does that mean you’d be willing to see him now?”

“I didn’t say that.”

“You won’t kill him if you see him?”

“I wouldn’t guarantee that.”

“Then I guess I should warn him if he intends to come to you,” he laughed.

“Yea… tell him that I won’t be nice this time,” I replied, and there was a brief moment of silence.

“Will you give him another chance?” Yun Ho asked me.

His voice was serious and somber this time. I know that he’d wanted to know the answer to this question for the longest time, and the question was like a double-edged sword. Indirectly, he was asking of he had another chance too. If I give up on Jae Joong, then I could be giving him a chance, but if I wanted to continue with Jae Joong, then it’s the end of me and Yun Ho. Someone was going to get hurt either way.

“I don’t know, Yun Ho,” I said, and I really didn’t.

Yun Ho was always good to me, despite the fact that we had a turbulent relationship in the past. Jae Joong and I, we’ve stabilized, and in some ways, we’re almost like an old married couple, but we couldn’t get past our insecurities.

“Then I know your answer,” he sighed.

“Don’t make assumptions,” I said. “I’ve not decided anything. I’m still upset and confused. I need time alone.”

“So you want me to leave you alone.”


“Araso. I’ll give you time.”

“Thank you.”

“I’ll hang up now,” he said.

“Yea… I need to get to bed.”

“Good night…”

“Yun Ho-ya…”


“If I could turn back time…”

“I know. Things would be different. We’ve made mistakes, and we have to live with them now. I know…”


“Hey… what are friends for?” he said and I couldn’t help detecting the sadness in his voice. “Go to sleep. I’ll talk to you another day.”

“Good night,” I said, and he hung up.

It was the day of our album’s launch in Japan, and we were flying to Tokyo for a day of press conferences and autograph sessions. We got up at about 5am and left the house about 6am to catch our flight there.

“I wanna go home,” Skye yawned, as we walked into the airport.

“Go on,” I laughed as I stifled a yawn myself.

“Heads up,” Shoei said. “Reporters at 2 o’clock.”

Sure enough, as we looked up, a flock of reporters zoomed in on us and started clicking their cameras while shooting their questions.

“Shoei-shi, what’s your prediction for the turnout of today’s launch in Japan?”

“Sierra-shi, why isn’t Jae Joong here to see you off?”

“Choesonghamnida,” hyung cut in and tried to hold the reporters off. “We really need to get going or we’ll be late for our flight.”

“Sierra-shi, just one question. We’ve heard rumours of your upcoming collaboration with Yun Ho. Is it true?”

“I’m sorry, we’re not prepared to take any questions today,” hyung answered for me as he ushered us towards the departure gate.

I pushed up my sunglasses to hide my face as Skye, Shoei and I smiled apologetically. We walked briskly through the gates after the PA showed the guard our boarding passes and there was finally some peace as we walked towards the immigration counters.

As soon as the plane took off, I lowered my seat so that I could sleep.

“Are you that sleepy?” Skye said as he leaned over from behind to flick my hair.

“Ya… leave me alone.”

“How did those reporters know about the collaboration?” Shoei said.

“It must’ve leaked,” I yawned and closed my eyes.

“Didn’t they get it wrong? Your collaboration is with Jae Joong,” Skye said.

“No, it’s with Yun Ho now,” I said, still keeping my eyes closed. “He told me last night.”

“Then news really travels fast,” Shoei said.

“I bet there’s a mole in the company,” Skye said.

“There are many moles in SM. In any huge and successful company, you’ll be sure to find a mole or two,” I said.

“Or three, or four,” Skye added.

“I wanna sleep. Shoo!” I flailed my arms at Skye, trying to push his face away.

We arrived in Tokyo and were immediately ushered into the vans, heading towards our first destination. As we exited the airport, we were greeted by a sea of screaming fans, waving our balloons. Thank god my hair didn’t look like a rat’s nest from the flight. The hairstylist actually fixed our hair before we got off the plane. As we drove there, the stylists made final checks on hair, makeup and our outfits.

We attended a flurry of press conferences, and in each, we were often asked the same few questions.

“What are you inspirations for the new album?”

“Which is your favourite song?”

“Which song was the most difficult to sing and express?”

“When is S-Cube holding a tour in Japan?”

We performed 3 songs, 'Connect the Dots', 'Ghosts' and '(Why Am I) Never Enough' at all the venues, saving Skye and my duet, Don’t You Know, for our last stop, Tower Records.

“Konichiwa, S-Cube des!” we greeted the fans who’d been waiting the entire day for us to appear.

According to the local radio station, the fans had been camping there since morning, waiting for entry to the area fenced out for the purpose of the autograph signing and a small performance by S-Cube. It was almost nightfall now, and the building is now brightly lit, as are the streets outside.

“Everyone, thank you for being here today,” Shoei said in Japanese.

“Please excuse my bad Japanese,” I laughed nervously, and the fans laughed with me. “We’re really touched to see you present here, supporting us. We are truly grateful,” I continued in my shaky Japanese.

“Arigatou gozaimasu,” Skye said in his odd Japanese accent, as he bowed abruptly, and the fans laughed hysterically.

“Skye-san, you should really cut down on watching those on samurai anime,” I said. “Your crazy imitations are becoming an embarrassment.”

“On the contrary, I think everyone actually finds my imitations kawaii,” he said, as he held a cute pose, and we could hear some girls screaming.

The fans listened reverently as we sang, and at the end of the performance and autograph session, we were actually a little reluctant to leave. Japanese fans are always so polite and delightful to meet, and we could actually hug them or shake hands without them freaking out like a Korean fan would, not that we mind. We know all our fans love us, but the attitudes of fans really do vary depending on the country.

It had started to drizzle as we left Tower Records, and we headed straight to the airport to check in earlier and have dinner there before we boarded the plane.

“Nuna! You have to try this unagi,” Skye said as he held the piece of offending fish in front of me.

“No… eww… get it out of my face,” I said as I threatened to stab his hand with my chopsticks.

“You don’t know what you’re missing,” he said, as he popped it into his mouth, and reached his chopsticks out to pick up a little orange colored octopus.

“Ack…” I said, turning to stare at my own food before I gagged.

“Sometimes I wonder,” Shoei said. “How do you cope in a foreign country when you’re so picky with food?”

“I eat rice and noodles, and that is universal enough. It is not a must to eat unagi and live octopus,” I said as I crunched on a tempura prawn. “Besides… I love prawn, fish, crab, lobster, chicken… pork… I don’t think I have a problem.”

“You forgot to add; everything must be piping hot,” Skye chipped in.

“Yea… hot food is good,” I smiled.

“You’re such an old lady,” Skye laughed.

“Laugh all you want. I’m gonna live a longer and healthier life, compared to you,” I said as I stuck my tongue out at Skye.

“Bad news guys,” hyung said as he approached us. “The storms’ picking up and we’ll be stuck here until it dies down.”

“What?” I exclaimed.

“What are we gonna do for the next few hours? I didn’t bring my PSP,” Skye complained.

“All the flights have been delayed,” hyung said. “No plane is going out there in this weather. At least for the next 2 to 3 hours.”

“Then we’ll just sit here and continue eating?” Shoei asked hyung.

“Suit yourselves. Join the rest of the crew at the lounge when you’re done,” he said, and walked off.

3 hours. What are we going to do in the next 3 hours? I looked at Shoei, and he guessed that I was wondering what else we could do besides eating; he just shrugged in response. We both looked at Skye, who was still happily eating. He realized we were looking at him and stopped chewing for a moment as he looked up at us.

“Who wants more unagi?” Skye exclaimed, and I flicked my napkin at him.

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Chapter 86: This Love

“Why Jae Joong?” I asked.

“Since you and Jae Joong are both at your peaks, career and relationship wise, the company decided to capitalize on it and have a special single for the both of you.”

“Can’t it be someone else?” I asked.

“Are you and Jae Joong having problems?” the other producer asked, raising his eyebrow.

“Of course they’re not,” hyung cut in quickly, and glared at me, hinting for me to keep my mouth shut.

“Then it’s settled,” the producer said and they started packing up. “We’ll have a copy of the plans relayed to you later, Manager Ahn.”

“Ye,” hyung replied and we all stood up as they walked out.

“Hyung,” I started as soon as the door was closed, but was cut off.

“I don’t care what is going on between you and Jae Joong. This is the management’s assignment and if you’re having a quarrel, you’re going to pretend that nothing has happened.”


“No buts. Do you know how hard it is in the industry these days? With so many new stars popping up, you need to fight to keep your space in the charts, in the market.”

“She knows, hyung,” Shoei stepped up and put his hands on my shoulder.

“Don’t defend and coddle her. As the band leader, she should know not to reject assignments.”

“I’m hungry,” Skye said, attempting to change the subject, and hyung turned to stare at him, still fuming. Skye reacted by shrugging his shoulders.

“Let’s go for dinner,” hyung said, and we filed out of the room.

“I’m showering first,” I said, as soon as we walked through the front door of our apartment, after getting home from dinner.

“Go ahead,” Shoei said as he dived onto the couch and turned on the television.

Skye walked straight out to the balcony, probably to call Hae Rin.

I’d picked up my towel and clothes and was about to walk out of my room when my mobile phone rang.

“Yoboseyo,” I answered without even looking at the caller ID.

“Why didn’t you call me?” Yun Ho said.

“I was busy today. Who made you my keeper anyway?” I replied; annoyed at the tone he was taking with me.

“I’m just concerned. You’re so busy that you don’t have time to pick up your phone? I called like 5 times.”

“It was on silent. I had promotional activities and a program to shoot.”

“Araso…” he sighed. “So how was your day?”

“Busy… I’m tired. I need to shower. Can I call you back?”

“Sure,” he said. “Talk to you later.”

“Bye,” I said and hung up.

I tossed my phone onto the bed and walked out of my room.

[Skye’s POV]

“Oppa!” Hae Rin said sweetly as soon as the call was connected. “Where have you been all day?”

“Just got back to Seoul early in the morning, promotional activities, shooting a show outside of Seoul, and back in Seoul for a meeting with the producers. I’m going to Taiwan for about a month, at interval.”

“Huh? Taiwan?”

“I’ll be spending a few days here and a few days in Taiwan, each week, for the next month.”

“Yah… already I hardly see you, and you're going out of the country?” she whined.

“Mianhae. I’ve gotta earn all that money so that we can retire in style, nae?” I joked.

“Aisshiii… chintcha shiro,” she said.

“You’re pretty busy yourself. I bet you won’t miss me at all,” I teased.

“Says who? I’ve not seen you in a week. You’d better have time for me this weekend.”

“I’ll try,” I promised. “If I get an off-day, I’ll come visit you at the studios.”

“You can’t!” she grumbled.


“Ji Tae oppa has been watching me really closely, lately.”

“What did you do?”

“I don’t know. He keeps following me everywhere I go.”

“Do you think he suspects?”

“Why would he? I’ve not seen you for more than a week. How would he know?”

“Do you think he’s been checking on the calls you’ve made and saw that most of them were to me?”

“I don’t think so,” she said.

“Just be careful,” I said.

“I will…”

“I’ll drop by your place one of these days, alright?”

“I’ll be waiting,” she said, and I could imagine her smiling as she did.

“I gotta go,” I said reluctantly. “I’m dying for some sleep.”

“You’d better. Or you’re gonna look like crap tomorrow,” she giggled.

“Ya… since when do I look like crap?”

“Hmm… let me count the occasions…” she laughed.

“Yah… keumanhae…”

“Or else?”

“I’m gonna come over and torture you,” I threatened.

“Oooh… I’m so afraid,” she said sarcastically. “What are you going to do? Tickle torture me?” she laughed.

“Very funny…” I drawled. “You obviously do not know my powers.”

“Yea… I’m dying to see them,” she said.

“I gotta go,” I said again.

“Araso,” she sighed. “Talk to you tomorrow?”

“Okay. Bye.”

“Saranghae,” she said.

“Saranghae,” I replied.

I walked into the apartment and saw that nuna was just entering the bathroom.

“Yah!” I yelled at her. “Didn’t you say you wanted to shower first? Why are you just only getting into the bathroom now?”

“I was interrupted,” she grumbled.


“Yun Ho,” she said.

“I see,” I said.

“I’m going in now,” she said and she disappeared into the bathroom.

I walked towards the sofa and sat down beside Shoei.

“So what’s up with her and Yun Ho hyung?”

“How would I know?” Shoei said.

His face was expressionless when he said it, and that could only conclude that he knew something.

“Right… I know you know something.”

“Don’t be nosy,” he said.

“I’m just concerned about nuna,” I said.

“Good. And you don’t need to know anything more,” he said.

“Meanie,” I grumbled, and kicked his feet off the coffee table.

His feet hit the floor, and he just put them back up again, ignoring me. I can never understand how he can be so indifferent. If it were I, I would’ve kicked me back.

“Don’t you ever wanna just smack me in the face?” I asked him.

“Sometimes,” he said.

“Then why don’t you?”

“Plastic surgery would be expensive,” he said, his lips twitching into a small smile.

“Sometimes, I just don’t get you,” I laughed.

Shoei could be so indifferent, and yet sometimes, he’d crack a joke out of the blue. Having him around keeps us grounded, but sometimes, he can be a real drag.

“You shower first,” he said as he got up from the couch. “I’m gonna make a call,” he added, and he went into his room.

[Shoei’s POV]

I sat down on the edge of my bed and dialed Jae Joong hyung’s number.

It’s been days since he stormed out of our apartment, and I didn’t want to see him and nuna keep at this.

“Yoboseyo,” he answered.

“Hyung, Shoei here,” I said.


“You heard about the project? The single,” I asked him.

“Yea,” he said. “I did. I just heard about it awhile ago.”

“You’re still in the studios then?”


“So?” I asked him, and he sighed loudly.

“Yun Ho helped me reject it. He’s going to do it instead.”

“What? How did he…”

“He suggested that me and Sierra wouldn’t be such a surprise, since the whole world knew we were together. But if he and Sierra collaborated, it would raise more interest. I agree with him.”

“Are you saying that you have no intention of making up with nuna? I saw this project as the perfect opportunity.”

“We need time apart. At least so that we’re clear of what we mean to each other.”

“And you think pushing her onto Yun Ho hyung is going to help?”

“I’ve always felt that they had some unfinished business. I would be glad for them if they used this project to resolve them.”


“It’s been decided. Leave it,” he said.

“She’s hurt, hyung,” I said. I just had to tell him. I had to remind him.

“So am I,” he said. “We’ll work this out at our own pace,” he said. “It really doesn’t concern you.”

“I have to look at her each day,” I said. “Do you know how hard it is for us to see her like this? Do you know how insecure she feels? If you thought that she’s the one who makes you feel insecure, think again.”

“Shoei, keuman,” he said.

“Andoe,” I said. I was starting to get really pissed. “All you’re upset about is that she doesn’t want to promise to marry you. Have you thought of the things that upset her? ‘I’m not pretty enough, I’m too fat, I’m not talented enough.’ She said all that. To her, all these things make her feel like she doesn’t deserve to be by your side.”

There was a long moment of silence after I’d finished with my outburst, then Jae Joong hyung spoke.

“She’s said all that before, but I never really paid attention to it. I would always tell her that she’s being silly. I didn’t know that they affected her that much.”

“Why do you think she doesn’t want to meet your family? Because she thinks she isn’t perfect enough to be the girl you would want to marry.”

“Aisshiii… chintcha pabo. Why would she think that?”

“You know how critical she is of herself. You of all people should not be surprised.”

“Then what do I do now? The project has been assigned to Yun Ho.”

“You just need to come see her. You need to patch things up with her.”

“She’s probably upset now.”

“And you know that she needs to be responded to when upset. Leaving her alone is like allowing the wound to fester.”

“I know… I know…” he said.

“Find a chance to talk to her, alright?”

“Araso,” he said.

“I’ll ring you up when I see an opportunity,” I said.

“An opportunity for what?” nuna suddenly said.

I turned around, and saw her standing behind me, her hand on her hip as she glared at me. I hadn’t noticed that she had come into the room.

“Who’s that you’re on the phone with, Shoei?”

Sunday, 13 May 2007

Chapter 85: Old Skool Love

[Shoei’s POV]

She wrapped her arms around me, and we continued kissing. I didn’t dare touch her or pull her closer in case I woke her. I just leaned in as much as I could and supported my weight with my elbows on the bed.

It was almost as perfect as I’d wanted it to be. I guess love magnifies everything for you. Because of love, a touch, a look, a kiss would seem beautiful and feel as if it were searing right through your heart. I will never regret this moment. Even though I know that as she kissed me, she had Jae Joong hyung in her mind.

“Jae Joong,” again she whispered in between the kisses.

I wanted to grip her shoulders and yell at her. I wanted to tell her I wasn’t Jae Joong, but I know she will never forgive me if realized that I’ve taken advantage of her. Still, I can’t help myself. I wanted her too much. I pulled away slowly, and moved off the bed to turn off the lights.

“Kajima…” she cried softly, and it really broke my heart to hear the sadness in her voice. “Jae Joong, kajima,” she cried in her sleep.

“Naeil pwayo,” I whispered in her ear as I covered her with the blanket and kissed her lightly on her cheek.

I walked out of the room slowly, turning back to watch her for a moment before I closed the door. I couldn’t stay on. I would never be able to redeem myself in the morning after, if I did.

“Wake up!!!” Skye yelled in my ear the next morning.

“Huh?” I groaned sleepily.

I went to bed at about 2am yesterday, and my head is throbbing from the lack of sleep.

“It’s 7am!” Skye yelled again.

7am? That meant that I only had 5 hours of sleep.

“Go away,” I yawned, and covered my face with a pillow.

“We’re leaving in an hour. You’d better wake up. Wassup with you anyway? You’re usually the first to be up. Where did you go last night? You weren’t back when I went to bed last night.”

“I was with nuna,” I said.

“Ya… what were you guys up to so late? And without me…”

“We had soju,” I said, and was immediately cut off.

“Without me?” Skye wailed. “How can you guys do this to me? Why are you always leaving me out?”

“She was upset. I only brought her the soju to help her sleep.”


“Yea… after she’d drank enough, I put her to bed and left.”

“Did she make any confessions after she was drunk?” Skye asked, his eyes wide with anticipation.

“Other than she’s really upset, nope.”

“Aishii…” Skye exclaimed, disappointed.

“Did you think she would reveal all her little secrets?” I laughed.

“I was hoping she would. Sometimes… she’s as secretive as you are.”

“Me? Secretive?”

“Nae,” Skye said as he stood up. “Yah! Ppalli! We’re gonna be late.”

“Araso,” I said as I sat up slowly. “You’d better go wake nuna. I don’t know if she’ll have a hangover or not.”

“Nae…” he said and he opened the door and left the room.

[Sierra’s POV]

“Jae Joong!” I heard myself call out, and I sat up, awoken with a start.

The room was pitch black, there was no one there. I clutched my aching head… I really do hate alcohol… but it gave me a moment of peace earlier. I should just go back to sleep. I’d dreamt that Jae Joong was beside me, and he kissed me. It felt so real… so real that my lips felt a little raw from the passion, and my face was wet from the tears I cried while I dreamt.

I lay my head back on the pillow and tried to make myself comfortable. Numbing myself hadn’t been the best way to control my feelings. I still missed Jae Joong. No matter what I’d said to Yun Ho, I still missed Jae Joong. I was trying to get my anger to overpower the feelings of sadness, but at the end of the day, my anger would subside, and all there’s left would be sadness and longing.

I was awoken by Skye’s hollering almost an instant later.

“Nuna!” he yelled as he banged on the door.

“What?” I groaned.

“Wake up,” he yelled.

I rolled out of bed and lunged at the door to open it. I couldn’t stand the racket he was making and it was adding to my headache. The best thing was to stop him from doing it by letting him in. I groaned as I threw myself back onto the bed and buried my head under the pillow.

“Wake up, you pig. Did you have too much to drink?”

“How did you know? What time is it now? I feel like I’ve only slept for 5 minutes.”

“It’s almost 8am. We’re gonna be late and hyung is gonna be upset.”

“8am?” I exclaimed and I grabbed my mobile phone to look at the time. It was 7:45pm. I had another 15 minutes to get ready. “Get out… I need to get dressed.”

“Hurry up,” he said as I pushed him out of my room.

We arrived in Seoul and headed straight to another promotional event. Later today, we would be making an appearance on a special program. We were going to visit a retirement home and the whole process of us entertaining the elderly will be captured on film and broadcasted on television.

We traveled a little way to the outskirts of the city where the retirement home was. It was a sweet and idyllic. Made up of 2-3 buildings on a plot of land donated by a local businessman, it housed about 20 elderly.

“Welcome,” the manager of the home came out to greet us.

The manager was actually more of a housekeeper, in charge of making sure that the place was cleaned, bills were paid, food stocked, and such. There were about 5-10 other staff made up of nurses, caretakers, cooks and cleaners who saw the needs of the inhabitants of the home. Volunteers came in every weekend to organize little activities for the entertainment of the elderly. Today, S-Cube would be their entertainment.

“Annyeonghaseyo,” S-Cube bowed politely.

The camera had been rolling as soon as we left Seoul, and every move we made were now being recorded.

“Thank you for coming,” the manager said. “These folks have been dying for some company, and they’re quite sick of my singing already,” he laughed.

“Surely you don’t mean that,” I laughed. “I bet they are really grateful for having you. You seem to have organized this place so well.”

“Kamsahamnida,” he bowed. “Just doing my job.”

“How is this home financed?” Shoei asked.

“Most of the inhabitants check themselves in, with the retirement funds they have. That’s our main source of income. Then there are contributions from the children of some, and then we accept donations too,” he explained.

“And you draw your salary from that?”

“Yes… I draw a minimum salary, since I too live here,” he smiled.

On first impression, my guess was that he was approaching 50 years old.

“Does your family live with you here?” I asked him.

“No, I was widowed at a young age. I never had children. And now my life is dedicated to this home,” he said.

“You mean you never remarried?” Skye asked him.

“My wife was my soul mate, and one of a kind. I never believed I could meet someone like her. So I’m happy living with just memories of her. I have never felt the need to remarry because I have met the love of my life already, despite having only been married for 5 years.”

“Wow,” I said. “It must have been a really beautiful union between to two of you.”

“It was,” he smiled.

“I hope I can find someone like that in my lifetime,” I said wistfully.

“I’m sure you will,” he said. “Aren’t you with Jae Joong of TVXQ? I don’t follow all the entertainment news, but I do know that you have both been together for awhile. Is he not your soul mate?”

“I… erm…” I hesitated. What do I tell him?

“We’re here!” Shoei exclaimed as we approached the hall where the elderly were waiting.

They started clapping as soon as we walked in, and I actually felt a little shy.

“Allow me to introduce S-Cube,” the manager started. “This is Sierra, this is Skye and this is Shoei.”

“We know who they are,” an old gentleman exclaimed, and everyone laughed.

“Just a formality,” the manager laughed.

“Annyeonghasimnikka,” I bowed. “Thank you for allowing us to come here and share this beautiful day with you.”

“We’ve brought along some gifts for everyone,” Shoei said, as he held up a bag of goodies we’d purchased with our own allowances.

We’d made the van stop on our way here when we realized that the management had not prepared anything for us to bring along, and we felt that it was rude not to bring something.

“You’re really too kind,” the manager said as he accepted the bag from Shoei.

He handed it to the staff and they started to distribute the gifts.

“What’s this?” an elderly lady asked as she held up one of the contents of her goodie bag.

“We’re sorry if any of the gifts are inappropriate,” Skye said. “That’s little battery operated fan, which comes with a little water container and spray so that you can spritz yourself when you feel warm.”

“Oh…” she said as she started fiddling with it. “It’s cute,” she smiled. “Kamsahamnida.”

After everyone had gone through their goodie bags, we started our little performance for them. Shoei picked a guitar and started playing while Skye and I sang. After our performance, we had light snacks and spent sometime going around, chatting with them.

“You’re too thin,” one of the elderly ladies, Mrs Sun, told me as she patted my hand. “In my days… the kasu were all full-figured women.”

“Unfortunately, they like them thinner these days. I’m actually considered a little on the heavy side,” I said.

“Nonsense,” she huffed. “You’re practically skin and bones,” she said.

“That’s what I keep telling her,” Shoei said as he came to stand beside us.

“You’re not beefy enough, either, young man,” Mrs Sun said, and I started laughing at Shoei, who looked pretty bewildered.

“Men should be bigger and buffed. You’re too thin,” she said, as she clucked and shook her head at him.

3 hours later, our little visit drew to an end and as we walked out, the able inhabitants of the home walked out with us.

“Thank you for coming,” they said as we shook hands and hugged.

“It was our pleasure,” I said.

“You’re really talented youngsters,” old Mr Bong said as he shook Skye and Shoei’s hands.

“Komapseumnida,” Skye and Shoei bowed.

“That was fun,” I said as we got onto the van.

“Let’s come back again next year,” Skye said.

“We’ll need to check with the management,” Shoei said.

“Today has really been a fun and meaningful experience,” I said as I looked at the camera. “We hope to be able to do more charitable work like this in the future, don’t we?” I said as I turned to the guys.

“Definitely,” Skye smiled.

“Count me in,” Shoei added.

“So this is S-Cube, signing out. We hope you had fun watching our little trip to the retirement home. Annyeong!” I said, and we waved to the camera.

We slouched in our seats all the way home. As soon as the camera was turned off, fatigue overcame us; traveling back to Seoul early this morning, the promotional events, then traveling out of Seoul to shoot this little program. We were almost knocked out, but we still had one destination to go to, back to SM, because we had a meeting with hyung and a few producers.

We sat down in the meeting room sometime later. It was almost 8pm, and our stomachs were grumbling.

“I’m hungry,” Skye said. “Can we call up for delivery?” he asked hyung.

“This will only take 15 minutes. We’ll go for dinner after this,” hyung replied.

“Yaa… ppalli ppalli…” Skye said as he laid the upper half of his body across the table.

“Well… your 3rd album is pretty much a hit, and while we’re going to continue promoting it, we have other side projects for S-Cube, but as individuals,” the producer said.

“Like?” Shoei asked.

“Shoei, you are going to Japan where you will be appearing in Mika Nakashima’s new MV. Skye will be going to Taiwan to appear in a series of game shows and host a music program with Vanness Wu.”

“Hey! No fair! Why do I get a guy?”

“Shikkeureo,” I hissed at Skye.

“Just joking,” Skye said, smiling sheepishly.

“Sierra… you’re staying here, and you will record a special single; another duet with Jae Joong.”

“What?” I exclaimed, and I felt Shoei’s hand clasp mine under the table, trying to get me to calm down.

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Chapter 84: Stay With Me Tonight

It’s been 2 days since Jae Joong walked out on me. He didn’t call, didn’t email or send me any messages online. I performed my promotional duties in the manner expected of me, and each night, I’d get home and go straight to bed. I could tell that Shoei and Skye were worried, but I really didn’t feel like dealing with my feelings. I just wanted to numb them and focus on work since there was no room for me to be sullen and depressed during our promotional events.

Today, we were going on a road trip to Inch’eon to promote our album. We were pleasantly surprised at the turnout of fans at the autograph session. Wherever we turned, there were Seraphs holding our blue and silver balloons. I guess S-Cube’s popularity is climbing. It’s funny how the high point of my life, was also the low point.

The management decided that we should stay the night since the Road Manager was tired. In the past, many accidents had happened because of the kasu’s schedules; rushing around and the Road Manager ended up being too tired and yet speeding. The serious accident involving Kyu Hyun of Super Junior had forced the management to rethink the schedule management, and thus, we no longer rushed around like that so often. Once in awhile, it still happened, but not as often as it used to back then.

Yun Ho had been calling me each night since I told him I’d given up on Jae Joong. He never mentioned anything about my giving up on my relationship with Jae Joong, neither did he mention me and him getting back together. He just called me each night to talk about the daily mundane details, as if trying to distract me from my thoughts.

“You’re still in Inch’eon?” he said as soon as I picked up the phone.

“Yea. We’re staying the night.”

“Good. I don’t like the idea of you guys driving back to Seoul in the dead of the night.”

“Well, if we had to, we would. You know how it is. When you aren’t that popular, you have to do everything and anything the management arranges for you.”

“Aren’t those days over now,” he said.

“For TXVQ… maybe. For S-Cube… we still have a long way to go.”

“But I heard about S-Cube having thousands of fans show up at all your appearances,” he teased. “Doesn’t that make you popular enough?”

“It was the same for you a few years back, and now you have more. So I guess the management isn’t stopping until we reach the standards of TVXQ.”

“Think you can?” he laughed.

“I’ll show you,” I said in mock annoyance.

“Show me, baby,” he drawled.

“P’yont’ae,” I laughed.

“Only for you,” he said, and there was an uncomfortable silence.

“Why do you keep calling, Yun Ho?” I asked him.

“How can I not? I need to make sure you’re alright, every night. Jae Joong isn’t doing his job. I can’t be at peace knowing that there isn’t anyone there for you.”

“Skye and Shoei are here,” I reminded him.

“From their reports, you have been keeping your distance from them. What good can they do for you if you don’t even speak to them? At least you’re speaking to me.”

“Should I stop speaking to you then?”

“Hajima,” he said. “I’m happy you’re at least speaking to me. I know you’re still upset. It wasn’t fair how Jae Joong treated you, but I’m sure he’ll come to his senses soon enough.”

“Then what? Do I take him back after how he’s treated me?”

“It’s up to you then. I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t, because of how he treated you.”

“Then would you want to take his place?”

“Why do you say that?”

“Isn’t that why you keep calling me?” I asked. “Are you’re waiting for an opportunity for us to get back together?”

“That’s really low, Sierra. I wouldn’t do that to Jae Joong. Even if we were to get back together, it wouldn’t be now.”

“What do you think I am; an unwanted girlfriend to be passed between the both of you whenever you pleased?”

“That’s not how it is, and you know it. You know I love you.”

“You…” I started but stopped myself before I dug up the past.

I could never forget the past, but I should not use it to hurt Yun Ho. I am so frustrated, and I need to take it out on someone. Yun Ho, being the only person I spoke to for the past few days, had become an unwitting target. Then again, I wouldn’t say that he didn’t know what he was getting himself into. He knew me as well as Jae Joong did.

“I’m tired,” I conceded. “I wanna go to bed.”

“I feel bad about what has happened, and I just want you to be happy. Don’t misjudge my intentions. It hurts me. Don’t chase me away like that.”

“Araso,” I sighed.

“Text me when you get back to Seoul tomorrow,” he said.

“I will.”

“Good night.”

“Good night,” I said, and hung up.

I switched on my laptop after tossing my phone on the bed. Despite my anger for Jae Joong, I still understood the hurt he felt. I felt like such a sucker for him, but that’s just the way it goes when it comes to love, doesn’t it?

‘You have 1 mail!’ my Y!M notification popped out.

I clicked on it and found that it was a mail from Darren.


First of all… I’m sorry for the other day. I honestly didn’t know what came over me. I guess now that it has come to this, I would have to come clean. I have a confession to make….

I think I like you… I really like you!!!

I know you’re with Jae Joong, and I must be crazy to think that I can take you away from someone like him. So I’m not gonna try, but I want you to know that’s why I kissed you the other day. You were just too irresistible. I hope that it hasn’t caused any problems between you and Jae Joong, and I hope that we can continue being friends.


I stared at the screen for sometime, trying to digest what Darren had written. Of all the crazy things… he liked me? I wrote him a short reply, and turned off my laptop. My life was getting weirder by the day. Again, I ask myself, was this the price for having success?

I stood in front of the mirror in the bathroom after brushing my teeth. My fingers came to the pendant that rested on my collarbone; the pendant that Jae Joong had given me on my birthday. I reached behind my neck and unhooked the clasp. I’m never wearing it again. I continued by taking off the matching earrings and after I did, my hand came to rest on the single stud Yun Ho had given me. He’d told me that it was a token of our friendship, but I knew it was how he wanted to show me that we are still connected. He has the other side. My mind hurt when I thought of him, of Jae Joong… how they mean so much to me, and how much pain we’ve caused each other. Will it ever end?

“Nuna,” I heard Shoei call out as he knocked on my door.

I turned off the bathroom lights and walked towards the door. When I opened it, I found him wearing a set of pajamas with lots of cute, little flying sheep printed on it, and holding onto the corner of a pillow in his right hand.

“What on earth?” I laughed, and he just grinned.

“Can I bunk with you tonight?” he said.

“Sure,” I smiled and let him in.

“Tired?” he asked me as he flopped onto my bed.

“Dying…” I said as I jumped onto the bed after him.

“Then why aren’t you sleeping already?”

“I just got off the phone with Yun Ho.”

“He called again?”


“Isn’t this like the 3rd night in a row?”

“I lost count,” I shrugged. “And I received the strangest email from Darren.”

“What did the jerk want?”

“He apologized.”

“He did? Any explanations for his actions?”

“His reason was that he liked me,” I said sarcastically.

“Not another one?” Shoei groaned and covered his face with the pillow he brought.

“What do you mean?” I said as I pulled the pillow off his face.

“How are you and I ever gonna elope if you keep getting more and more admirers?” he laughed.

“I’m sorry,” I said. “Did I ever say I would elope with you?”

“Sure… dozens of times,” he laughed as I bashed him with my pillow.

“You’re hallucinating. You need to see a doctor,” I said.

“No… I just need you to elope with me,” he laughed.

“Michoso,” I said and I kicked his butt.

“Ya…” he said and he flipped over to squash me with his body.

“Get off…” I laugh as I gasped for air.

“Not until you agree,” he said.

“No way… cheoltae andoe,” I laughed. “Get off, I can’t breathe,” I gasped again, and he rolled off.

“Not sleeping still?” he asked.

“I can’t sleep,” I said.

“Lend me your bathrobe,” he said as he got off the bed and picked it up.

“What for?” I asked as I watched him put it on.

“I’ll be back in awhile,” he said, and he left the room.

15 minutes later, he came back with a bottle of soju and 2 glasses.

“You know I don’t drink,” I wrinkled my nose.

“It’ll help you sleep,” he said as he poured me a glass.

“Shiro…” I said, and hid my head under a pillow.

“Come on,” he said as he nudged my arm. “Drink up,” he said and he started pouring himself one too.

“If I puke on this bed, we’re gonna have to move to your room,” I said.

“No problem. We can cuddle up with Skye,” he smiled.

I took the glass from him at put it to my lips, hesitating for a moment. Then I finished it in one gulp.

“Eww…” I exclaimed and made a face; I really wasn’t a fan of alcohol.

Shoei laughed at my expression, and downed his soju too.

[Shoei’s POV]

Half an hour later, nuna became quite drunk. It was a surprise for me since she rarely got drunk; except that one time, long ago, because of Yun Ho hyung. She kept talking, and talking about her and Jae Joong hyung, how they’d made so much effort only to have their relationship in tatters now.

“I know why he doesn’t want me anymore,” she said, slurring her words. “I’m too old. I’m fat. I mean… I’m almost his weight. Which guy would want to date a girl almost his weight?”

She was lying on her side, poking at the last glass of soju she’d drunk.

“You’re not fat, nuna,” I said as I pushed her hair out of her face.

She’d started growing her hair long again. It’s not going to be as long as it was during our first album, but the management had instructed her to adopt a more feminine style, which meant at least a shoulder length do. In the meantime, they’d been adding extensions to her hair for our performances and other public appearances.

“Then why, why doesn’t Jae Joong want me anymore?” she moaned, her eyes half-closed.

“Time for bed,” I said, and I rolled her over and adjusted her position so that she wasn’t taking up the whole bed.

“Good night,” she drawled, and she closed her eyes.

I sighed as I covered her with the blanket. If it weren’t for the soju, I would never have known how insecure she felt about her relationship with Jae Joong hyung. I knew she wasn’t really confident, but I never expected her to put herself down like that; to really feel that she wasn’t good enough for him.

“Jae Joong,” she murmured in her sleep, and hiccupped.

My fingers went to softly caress her face, and her hand came up to hold them there.

“Jae Joong,” she called out softly, and this time, I couldn’t help myself.

“I’m here,” I said. “I’m here.”

“Don’t go,” she whispered, and tears rolled down her cheeks.

“I won’t,” I whispered, and I leant down to kiss her cheek.

She turned her head as I leant down, and our lips met instead. I’d been waiting for 3 years to do this, so I didn’t hold back. I didn’t stop her or myself. I just kissed her. It felt like a dam had broken inside me. All the feelings I had ever harbored for her just washed out as we kissed passionately.

‘Just tonight,’ I told myself.

After tonight, I will be her tongsaeng forevermore.

[Darren’s POV]

I’d just finished hosting a radio show and I flipped open my laptop to check my email. I was pleasantly surprised to see such a quick reply from Sierra. I clicked on her email and the page popped open.

Sod off…

That’s all she wrote. I laughed hysterically at her reply. So she’s challenging me now, is she? We’ll see who gives in first. I am loving this game.

Sunday, 6 May 2007

Chapter 83: Dead End

I’d been trying to avoid the issue the entire day and here came Brian, trying to pry it out of me.

“Aisshiii…” he exclaimed as he got up and came to sit beside me. “Uljima,” he said as he put an arm around me.

“I told you not to ask,” I said softly, as a tear slid down my cheek.

“I didn’t know it was that depressing. Mian. I’ll shut up now,” he said as he covered his mouth with both hands.

“Pabo,” I said as I pulled his hands away from his face. “I’m fine. Let’s just talk about other stuff.”

“And you promise to tell me about it once it blows over?”

“When it does, what is there to talk about?”

“I’m just curious,” he said.

“Fine, fine… ajumma… you’re so nosy. KPC!” I said.

“What’s KPC?”

“It’s a Chinese thing… an abbreviation of a Malaysian Chinese word.”

“Yea… tell me,” he urged.

“The full word is ‘kay poh chi’, which sort of means nosy woman.”

“Weird…” he laughed.

“It’s something like me calling you ajumma for being such a nosy nag.”

“Yea… okay. I get it. Enough with the elaborations,” he said.

“You asked, didn’t you?” I said.

“Whatever,” he said as he sipped his coffee.

“Yah! You…” I exclaimed, and just then, my phone rang.

I looked at the screen to see Yun Ho’s photo flashing on it.

“Lover boy?” Brian asked.

“No,” I said, and I flipped my phone open. “Yun Ho?”

“Where are you?” he asked me.

“At a coffee house, with Brian,” I replied.

“Brian hyung?”

“Yes. We bumped into him during dinner, and we, he and I, decided to have coffee.”

“Can you come over now?” he asked me.

“What for?”

“Jae Joong’s home. Let’s see if we can get him to talk to you.”

“If he wants to talk to me, he’ll come find me. I don’t need to make the first move.”

“Why are the both of you so stubborn?” he sighed.

“I’m not being stubborn. I came over last night, and that was already an effort on my part. It’s up to him now.”

“He’s holed himself up in the workroom. He refuses to talk to me.”

“Is it because you called him on my behalf? Mian,” I said.

“Aniya… He’s just upset that I was trying to be nosy. He’ll cool off soon enough.”

“Then by the time he’s cooled off, he’ll talk to me,” I said.

“Wouldn’t it end quicker if you came?”

“I can come over, then what would I say to him? ‘Sorry for allowing Darren to kiss me.’?”

“What?!!!” Brian exclaimed, and cursed. “That’s what happened?”

“I’ll talk to you later, Yun Ho,” I said. “I just unwittingly revealed to this busybody what had happened,” I laughed.

“Araso… take care. Call me when you get home,” he said.

“Okay,” I replied and hung up.

“Darren? Darren from Helix kissed you?” Brian said incredulously.

“Yes… don’t tell me you think I kissed him.”

“But why?”

“I’m wondering the same thing myself.”

“How did he happen? Spill it. Now!”

“He just grabbed me out of the blue and kissed me. Then Jae Joong saw him do it. End of story.”

“Sick guy…” he said, and he noticed me glaring at him. “Okay, not so sick, since you’re obviously hot,” he laughed.

“I just don’t get that guy. He just kissed me and left.”

“Did you like it?” he asked me, and I smacked him. “Okay, bad question.”

“Yea… bad question,” I said. “I just want this nightmare to end. Jae Joong has not spoken to me since last night.”

“He’s just hurt,” Brian said.

“I’m hurt too,” I said. “How could he think that I would betray him?”

“Cos you’re obviously hot?” Brian smiled.

“Very funny, Brian,” I rolled my eyes.

“Hey… just trying to lighten things up. It’ll blow over. Jae Joong will come around.”

“I hope so,” I sighed. “I’ve been hearing nothing but words of comfort all day. Can I have some insults now?” I laughed.

“Ajumma,” Brian said, and smiled.

“Is that the best you can come up with, haraboji?” I laughed.

“I was trying to be gentler with my insults,” he said.

“Don’t,” I said. “I like it when we fight.”

“Now why does that statement sound a little sick and twisted to me,” he grinned.

I got home at about 11pm, and the apartment was already silent. I tiptoed to my room flipped on the switch.

“Omo!” I exclaimed in shock when I saw Jae Joong sitting on my bed. “Can you stop doing that?”

“Where were you?” he asked me.

“Out with Brian. I thought you were at home.”

“I got sick of Yun Ho bugging me to make up with you, so I came here. Looks like you don’t need me,” he said as he started to get up.

“Don’t say that,” I said and I pushed him back onto the bed. “How dare you say that to me?”

“Why not? I’m not the one who cheated.”

“You know damn well I didn't cheat on you. He came onto me!”

“Who? Brian?”

“Now you’re being unreasonable,” I said. “I went out with Brian because I needed to keep my mind occupied. If I’d come home just now, I’d have just spent the rest of the night crying.”


“What’d gotten into you, Jae Joong?” I yelled at him. “Are you even the Jae Joong I know? Why are you treating me like this?”

“I just realized how it felt… the possibility of you discarding me for another.”

“When have I ever discarded you for another? You’re really not making sense.”

“I’ve seen all those guys who hang around you; those who are your friends. They’re your age group.”

“And your point is? What do you mean my age group? We’re all in our twenties.”

“Somehow I feel that you share a connection with them that you will never share with me,” he said.

“So this is what it’s about? The fact that I’m older? So you knew that I didn’t have anything to do with Darren?” I said as I looked at him, waiting for an answer.

“I don’t know, Sierra. I really don’t know,” he said sadly.

“If I really cared about age, I wouldn’t have started anything with you after Yun Ho left.”

“You needed someone, and I was too happy to be there.”

“How can you say that?” I said.

Tears were rolling down my cheeks now. I have never felt so mistrusted. It was as if I’d been framed by the person I loved most. He looked up at me, and his eyes were watery too. Why, Jae Joong? If it hurts you as much, why treat me like that? He stood up and walked towards me, and I moved back as he approached until my back was against the door.

“Uljima,” he whispered, and he kissed me.

I closed my eyes and kissed him back. Was this his way of saying he’d forgiven whatever has happened? Did this mean we were putting this behind us now? He pulled away seconds later, and stood there, just looking at me.

“I gotta go,” he said.

He pushed me aside gently, and opened the door to walk out.

“Jae Joong!” I shouted after him.

I was angry and frustrated now. Why do all men behave the same way? First Yun Ho, now Jae Joong. Do they have a book that teaches them how to piss women off?

“Nuna?” Shoei said sleepily as he walked out of his room. “What’s wrong?”

“Kim Jae Joong…” I said softly, but my voice was filled with anger, “We’re so over,” and I went into my room and slammed the door.

I dug through my bag for my mobile phone, and dialed Yun Ho’s number as soon as I found it.

“Yun Ho,” I choked into the phone as soon as he picked up.

“Sierra, kwaench'ana? Did Jae Joong come by?”

“Yea, he did,” I said, as angry tears started to stream down my cheeks.

“What happened? Didn’t he patch things up with you?”

“If he did, do you think I’d be calling you now?” I bit out.

“Gawd… what is he doing?” Yun Ho cursed.

“What’s wrong with him?” I cried. “Why is he doing this? He came in and started ranting about our age difference and all. Did something happen recently? Did I do something wrong? I don’t remember doing anything wrong.”

“I don’t know what’s gotten into him. Maybe it’s from the stress and from not being able to see you often enough.”

“That’s no reason to treat me like that,” I continued to cry.

“Sierra,” Yun Ho sighed. “Uljima.”

“I’ve seriously had it… I can’t just swallow what he threw at me.”

“No one’s asking you to.”

“Then it is over,” I said.

“Are you sure? Are you sure it’s really over? I’m sure it’s just temporary insanity. Give him some time.”

“He’s been insane for long enough. I can’t take it. If you heard the things he said to me; about me wanting to discard him for someone else and all that rubbish.”

“He said that?”

“Yea,” I sniffed.

“Aishii…” he exclaimed. “He’s really gone nuts this time.”

“Has he come home?” I asked Yun Ho.

“No. Not yet,” he replied. “Do you need me to come over?”

“No, I’ll be fine.”

“Are you sure? You don’t sound fine to me.”

“I’ll be fine. I need to get through this alone this time. Or I might be accused of being needy again.”

“He said that too, huh,” Yun Ho groaned.

“He said a lot of stuff, and I plan to forget them all.”

“Don’t sound like that. You know you still love him.”

“What’s love without trust… without understanding?” I exclaimed. “I thought we had both of that, but I was wrong. We have none of it left now. I’m beginning to think our relationship was an empty shell.”

“It’s been so long, you can’t mean that. If you’re saying your relationship with Jae Joong is an empty shell, then what about yours and mine?”

I had nothing to reply to Yun Ho when he said that. What had we been? What had Yun Ho meant to me back then? We’d been through a lot together, and yet we ended up being apart. And now, after sharing so much with Jae Joong, I still end up getting hurt. What do all these relationships mean?

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Chapter 82: Million Men

[Sierra’s POV]

The next morning, I woke up and found Shoei beside me, with his arms wrapped around me. Many would feel awkward or uncomfortable if faced with a situation like this, but I didn’t. I actually felt very comfortable when in Shoei’s arms and I’d say it’s because I always felt protected by him.

I squinted at the clock; 8:30am. It was time to wake up.

“Shoei,” I whispered as I nudged him.

“Hmm?” he murmured.

“It’s 8:30,” I said. “Wake up.”

“Already?” he yawned.

“Yeah,” I said and I sat up in my bed.

“Omigod,” he groaned.


“My arm’s asleep,” he laughed.

“Was I lying on your arm the whole night?”

“You probably were,” he said as he tapped his arm to get the circulation going.

“Mian,” I giggled.

“Feeling better?” he asked me.

“Don’t know,” I replied, and it was the truth. I still feel like yesterday had been a bad dream.

“Why don’t you go shower first?” he said.

“Okay,” I said as I slid off my bed and walked towards the cupboard to pull out some clothes.

Before I walked out of the room, I picked up my phone to check if Jae Joong left me any messages; none. I sighed and I put my phone down on the table.

“Ppalli, ppalli!” Shoei drawled as he stretched leisurely on my bed.

“Araso,” I replied as I walked out of the room.

[Shoei’s POV]

I stared at the ceiling after she’d left, marveling at the thought of how I could have her so close, and yet I am unable to own her heart. We’d slept on the same bed plenty of times, the three of us. Most morning I’d find nuna in my arms because she was always feeling cold. Somehow, in the middle of the night, my arms would automatically seek her out and hold her close to make sure that she didn’t feel cold. I guess this is how Jae Joong hyung felt when he was around her; the need to make sure that she was well.

I reached for my mobile phone and flipped it open, dialed Jae Joong hyung’s number, and put the phone to my ear.

“Yoboseyo,” he answered in a hoarse voice.

I could tell that he didn’t get much sleep.

“Hyung,” I greeted him. “Are you alright?”

“Yea, I’m fine,” he said as he yawned.

“You’re not still upset, are you?” I asked him.

“I don’t wanna talk about it now, Shoei. If you called me to talk about it, then I’m gonna hang up.”

“Don’t hang up,” I said. “At least tell me… tell me you know nuna is innocent. Because I don’t believe you staying away have to do with this entirely.”

“I know she’s innocent. But we have other issues, and I need time to think them over.”

“Can’t you at least tell her you know she was innocent?”

“I can’t talk to her now. I need to be alone, to figure things out.”

“Are you at home?”

“Yea… I almost got beaten up by Yun Ho when I got home,” he laughed.

“He was pretty livid.”

“Tell me about it,” he sighed. “He cares too much about me, about Sierra.”

“He’s your brother. Of course he cares. It’s like how Skye and I care for nuna.”

“I guess… damn! Its 9am already?” he exclaimed. “I gotta go,” he said.

“Okay,” I replied. “Call nuna as soon as you can, alright? I don’t want to see her be a zombie for the rest of the day.”

“I will. Bye,” he said, and he hung up.

Nuna was silent that morning. We’d left the apartment by 9:30am and headed to the stylist’s since we had a slew of promotional events today. I was relieved that she didn’t walk around like a zombie. The last time she and Jae Joong hyung had a huge fight, she didn’t talk, didn’t eat much, and spent all the break times we had, between recordings, staring into space. But no matter how she felt, she managed to perform and that was what she did today.

We were at a mall promoting the new album. Cameras flashed, fans screamed, and all this while, nuna managed to smile genuinely at them, and greet them in the friendliest manner when they came up to her for autographs. She wasn’t acting. Nuna was never a good actress when it came to her personal feelings. She literally wore her heart on her sleeve. Only those closest to her can see that behind the smile, she was still upset.

“This is the bonus track from our latest album, and it’s a beautiful bilingual duet by nuna and Skye,” I announced. “Please give it up for ‘Don’t You Know’.”

The sweet melody played as nuna and Skye took center stage, hand in hand.

Sierra: Ni wei shen me yao ru ci dui dai wo
Ni wei shen me yao ru ci zhe mo wo
Zai wo di xin zhong you shu bu liao de shang kou
Nan dao ni yi dian dou bu xin teng

Skye: Why do I keep on running back to you
Each time I do I just get hurt again
For in my heart lie millions of sorrows
You placed them there, only you can take them away

Sierra: Oh baby, ni shi wo xin zhong de wei yi
[Skye: Oh baby don’t you know, that you are the only one]
Sierra: Ni rang wo xiao, ni rang wo ku, ni gai bian wo yi sheng
[Skye: You make me smile, you make me cry, you change my life]
Sierra: Nan dao ni bu zhi dao, ni jiu shi wo de yi qie
[Skye: Oh baby don’t you know that you are the world to me]
Sierra: Wo hui fang qi le suo you, ru guo zhe yang ke yi yong you ni di ai
[Skye: I’d give up everything, just to have your love, don’t you know]

Sierra: Wo men de ai nan dao zhe yang jie shu
Ni yi yan dou bu kan jiu li kai wo
Wo xin li zhi dao ni shi mei zhe me hen xin
Ni shi fou neng hui tou, zai gei wo men yi ci ji hui…

Sierra: Oh baby, ni shi wo xin zhong de wei yi
[Skye: Oh baby don’t you know, that you are the only one]
Sierra: Ni rang wo xiao, ni rang wo ku, ni gai bian wo yi sheng
[Skye: You make me smile, you make me cry, you change my life]
Sierra: Nan dao ni bu zhi dao, ni jiu shi wo de yi qie
[Skye: Oh baby don’t you know that you are the world to me]
Sierra: Wo hui fang qi le suo you, ru guo zhe yang ke yi yong you ni di ai
[Skye: I’d give up everything, just to have your love, don’t you know]

Skye: You are the one for me
Sierra: Baby, wo de wei yi
Skye: No matter where you go
Sierra: Wo hui deng dai ni…

Sierra: Oh baby, ni shi wo xin zhong de wei yi
[Skye: Oh baby don’t you know, that you are the only one]
Sierra: Ni rang wo xiao, ni rang wo ku, ni gai bian wo yi sheng
[Skye: You make me smile, you make me cry, you change my life]
Sierra: Nan dao ni bu zhi dao, ni jiu shi wo de yi qie
[Skye: Oh baby don’t you know that you are the world to me]
Sierra: Wo hui fang qi le suo you, ru guo zhe yang ke yi yong you ni di ai
[Skye: I’d give up everything, just to have your love, don’t you know]

By nightfall, Jae Joong hyung still hadn’t called. Nuna was pushing her food around, hardly eating. Skye and I have been observing her the entire night, and we were getting increasingly worried. She was starting to look tired from holding back her emotions the entire day. Immediately after the promotional events, when we were alone, she’d stopped smiling and had been looking depressed up till now. Skye and I didn’t say anything, and acted as if everything was normal.

We were eating with about half of our entourage; the other half had gone off to prepare for the next day’s events, when Brian hyung showed up.

“Yo!” he exclaimed as he stood next to us; we didn’t even notice him walk into the shop.

“Hyung,” Skye smiled. “Sit with us,” he said as we made room for him at the table.

“Are you here alone?” I asked him.

“Yea,” he said as he sat down. “Hey Sierra,” he greeted nuna.

“Oppa,” she smiled. “What brings you here?”

“Dinner?” he laughed. “What’s up with you today? You look tired?”

“We’ve been out all day, promoting the new album.”

“Right…” Brian hyung said. “So how are the sales?”

“Not bad,” Skye beamed.

“Then I’ll need to pick up your marketing plan.”

“That would mean that you need to get a girl band mate,” Skye laughed. “Cos that’s the only thing we have that’s different from FTTS.”

“And of course the fact that Skye and Shoei are younger,” nuna added, to Skye and my surprise.

[Sierra’s POV]

“Ya… agasshi… are you trying to tell me that I’m old?” Brian glared at me.

I could feel the stares from Skye and Shoei as well. I’d been either quiet or moping the entire day, and I think they were surprised that I was still able to tease Brian. I just felt tired of feeling depressed, so I decided to get a little fun out of Brian.

“No… not old. Just… matured?” I smiled. “No… you’re hardly mature. What’s the word? Hmm…”

I could feel Brian seething, but of course his anger was playful anger. I’ve never seen him really pissed or upset.

“Fermented?” Skye offered, and we started to laugh hysterically.

“Yah! You think I’m tofu? Fermented! Of all things,” Brian laughed.

“I can’t find a word to describe you,” I said.

“That’s a good thing, right?” he asked me.

“Maybe,” I smiled slyly.

“So where’s lover boy?” he asked and the whole table fell silent.

“He’s probably recording,” I replied casually.

I’m not about to start pondering what Jae Joong was up to. He hasn’t called the entire day, and didn’t leave me any text messages. When I get my hands on him…

“You guys wanna go for a drink later?” Brian asked.

“We still have work tomorrow,” Skye groaned.

“Just coffee,” Brian said.

“I’ll go,” I said.

“Are you sure, nuna? Aren’t you tired?” Shoei asked me.

“I’m fine. I need to get out more,” I said.

“I’ll have her home by midnight,” Brian winked.

“Whatever you say,” Shoei sighed. “I’m not coming. I’m a little tired myself.”

“No problem,” Brian smiled.

After dinner, I left with Brian and we went to a coffee house near my place. As soon as the waitress left after taking our orders, Brian started to question me.

“You don’t look fine. Spit it out,” he said.

“Spit what out? My dinner?” I smiled.

“Don’t be coy with me,” he said, acting like a stern father. “I know you’re unhappy about something.”

“Brian-shi… how well do you know me? How would you know if I’m unhappy?”

“I know you well enough,” he laughed. “Well enough to tell when you’re not behaving normally.”

“Like how?”

“Like how you’re being polite to me today. You’re usually playful and sarcastic.”

“I was trying to be civil for a change.”

“Liar,” he accused. “When have you ever thought to be civil to me?”

“Just now,” I laughed.

We paused momentarily as the waitress put down our drinks.

“You’re not afraid that we’re going to be in the papers tomorrow?” he asked me. “I can already envision the headline ‘Sierra cheats on Jae Joong with Brian.’”

“If such a headline were to appear, you would be sure that you will survive, since both yours and Jae Joong’s fans will kill me.”

“I don’t have that many fans,” he said.

“You do. You just don’t know it,” I said.

“Are you my fan?” he asked me.

“Of course I am. Or I wouldn’t be sitting here talking to you. Do you know that you’re not that easy to tolerate?” I laughed.

“I’m that overbearing? Mian,” he said as he lowered his head in shame.

“Stop it,” I laughed, as I reach over to smack him lightly on the arm.

“I’ll stop it if you tell me what’s wrong.”

“I don’t want to talk about it,” I said.

“Aha!” he exclaimed, pointing as me as he did. “So there is something wrong!”

“Tell me,” he said.


“Come on, tell me,” he pressed on.

“Shiro…” I said as tears started to fill my eyes. “Keuman…”