I walked out of the studios with Skye and Shoei and we were met with a throng of screaming Seraphs. Among them were screaming Cassiopeians who’d probably anticipated that wherever I was, Jae Joong would eventually show up. We signed a few autographs, took a few pictures and I had to push my way through the crowds, towards Jae Joong’s car.
“Hi!” I said as I plopped down in the passenger seat next to Jae Joong.
“Hey,” he smiled, but refrained from kissing me because his fans were all around.
We try to keep the PDA to a minimum when in the presence of the Cassiopeians since we never know when anyone of them might decide to go berserk. The only time we broke that rule was during one awards show last year.
“Hyung,” Skye and Shoei greeted him as they got in the backseat.
“Where’s your car?” Jae Joong asked Skye.
“It’s somewhere out there. So I need your help to drive me there. All that tugging and pulling from the fans… I’m gonna be naked by the time I get to my car,” Skye laughed.
“No problem,” Jae Joong smiled, and we pulled away from the studio’s doors.
We dropped them off about 200 meters away from the front door, where Skye’s car was parked, and went off on our own.
“How was your day?” Jae Joong asked me as he reached out to hold my hand.
“The usual… did you hear? We won tonight,” I said.
“Yea, I did. Ch’uk’ahamnida,” he smiled. “You guys deserve it.”
“Good thing TVXQ’s album isn’t out yet, or we’d be neck to neck.”
“And we all know who’s gonna win,” he grinned.
“Nugu? I wonder who would win,” I pretended to be clueless.
“S-Cube, of course. Am I right?”
“Right choice… You shall be rewarded later,” I smiled as I pinched his cheek lightly.
“Looking forward to it,” he laughed softly.
As always, because of the late hours, we had a quick dinner, and after that, Jae Joong had a surprise for me.
“Where are we going?” I asked him, when he told me that we weren’t heading home yet.
“Somewhere we haven’t been to in a long time,” he smiled.
“Where? The club? The noraebang?”
“You’ll see when we get there,” he said.
It turned out to be the ice skating rink. I’d almost forgotten the last time we were here. It was our 100th day anniversary, and he’d surprise me by taking me to the ice skating rink after dinner. It’s hard to believe that it’s been so long since then, when it felt like time passed in a blink of an eye.
“How did you know I liked skating?” I asked him back then.
“When you insisted on watching those ice skating competitions on the sports channel,” he laughed.
“That’s not very obvious.”
“You wouldn’t let me watch whatever I wanted to watch,” he said.
“Cos I make better choices when it comes to television programs,” I said.
“Araso… araso,” he smiled. “Let’s get some skates on.”
The rink was empty. When we first arrived, there had been a group of hockey players training, but by the time we got our skates on, they were packing up and leaving.
“Don’t tell me you’ve booked the whole rink,” I said as I jumped into the rink and glided across it.
“Is there any way else?”
“This is turning out to be some television drama,” I laughed.
“Yea… and would you find it even more incredulous if I told you that I can’t skate?” he said.
“I wouldn’t believe you,” I replied, eyeing him as he made his way onto the rink.
He glided towards me and braked effortlessly.
“You’re no fun,” he said. “You’re the least gullible girl I know.”
“And that’s why you like me,” I smiled and I skated off.
“Wait up,” he laughed as he chased me around the rink.
I skated faster and faster around the rink, spreading my arms, savoring the brief moment of freedom I felt from gliding across the ice. It felt like I was flying through the air. He finally caught up with me and because I hadn’t skated in sometime, I lost my balance when he grabbed my arm. We fell onto the ice, sliding across the rink on our backs.
“You skate pretty well,” he laughed as we lay there on the ice, side by side.
He was breathing heavily from the little chase we just had.
“Skating is like cycling. Once you’ve learnt it, you remember for life,” I replied, in my own breathless voice.
“You know what?” he said, as he propped himself up on his elbows. “Loving you is the same.”
“To fall in love with you… is to have you in my heart… for life,” he said, as he gazed intensely at me.
I reached a hand out to touch his cheek; his face was warm from the workout we just had. He inched closer and leant his face down to kiss me. So there we were, on our 100th day as a couple, me lying on an ice skating rink, and him on top, as we kissed passionately.
As we skated onto the ice today, I’m reminded on how simple our love was back then. I loved him, and he loved me, simple as that. There was no uncertainty, no distraction, just us. Here we are now, almost a year later, trying to recover those lost feelings, the very essence that sparked our love for each other.
We skated across the ice silently, hand in hand. When we reached the center of the rink, he twirled me around, and I giggled. It’s been a long time since I actually felt nervous when on a date with him. The old butterflies were back tonight.
“Did I make a good choice? Coming here?” he asked me.
“Hmm…” I smiled, as I skated backwards, away from him.
“Where are you going?” he smiled as he skated forward, towards me, like a predator on a prowl.
I smiled enigmatically and started to circle the rink slowly; my back facing the walls, and all the time keeping my eyes on him as he stood in the center, watching me. It wasn’t until the third time I circled the rink that he started to move forward, and that’s when I skated faster, so that he had to chase me.
I laughed as I turned to see if he was catching up, and I continued skating away from him, but he soon caught up, and this time, we didn’t fall. He pulled me into an embrace, and we kissed as we allowed ourselves to slowly glide to a stop. As we kissed, he guided me slowly until my back was against the barriers around the rink, and he pinned me to it, pressing his body against mine.
“Let’s leave,” he whispered, as he continued to kiss me.
“Okay,” I replied, and we shared one more lingering kiss before we pulled away to skate off the rink.
As soon as we got into my room, we were ripping each others’ clothes off as we continued to kiss heatedly. All that fighting and being apart had definitely fueled our passions.
“You’re such an animal tonight,” I laughed, as Jae Joong practically threw me onto the bed when we were done undressing.
“You’re driving me crazy,” he said as he kissed me slowly now, trying to control the pace.
“I guess we should fight more often then?” I asked him as I pulled him closer, wanting to feel his weight on me.
“Not so often. Once in awhile is fine,” he said. “As long as this is the outcome, I’ll be glad to fight with you,” he laughed.
Sometime later, we lay there on my bed, feeling more contented than we’d ever been for a long time.
“Go to sleep,” he said, as he stroked my hair. “You have a long day tomorrow.”
“Mmm…” I responded lazily, as I snuggled closer with my head on his chest.
I closed my eyes and savored the warmth and intimacy of the moment, as I slowly drifted off to sleep.
“Saranghae,” I could hear him whisper, as he pulled the covers up to cover me, and kissed the top of my head.
I tried to stretch as I woke up the next morning, only to find that I’m pinned to the bed, in Jae Joong’s embrace. I smiled as I turned to look at him, tracing his face with my eyes, then I leant forward and kissed him lightly on the nose.
“Wake up,” I whispered softly, and I kissed him on the cheek.
“What time is it?” he mumbled as he stirred, freeing me from his grip.
“Time to wake up,” I replied, and I shifted myself so that I could snuggle up to him comfortably.
He wrapped his arms around me again, and we stayed in that position for awhile; not speaking, not moving, and just relishing the warmth of the embrace. It wasn’t until my alarm rang that I finally stirred.
“I gotta shower,” I yawned as I got up slowly.
“Don’t forget to get dressed first,” he smiled sleepily.
I got off the bed and looked around for Jae Joong’s shirt in the pile of clothes we’d discarded on the floor last night. In the past, I could never survive sleeping in the buff. I would always get cold and wake up in the middle of the night to put on a shirt, but it’s been 3 years now, and I’m slowly, very slowly, getting used to the colder weather. In any case, summer was approaching, and the weather is becoming a little more comfortable for me. I threw on his shirt and walked towards the rack where my towel hung.
“You should dress like that more often, maybe for your next MV,” he said, as he watched me through his heavy lidded eyes.
“You want the whole world to see me in panties and an oversized shirt?”
“I bet the world would go crazy if they saw you like this. Your cafe would probably get a million hits a day with just a photo of you dressed like this,” he laughed.
“Michoso,” I said, as I wrapped my towel around my waist. “I’m gonna go shower.”
“Leave some hot water for me,” he said, as I walked out.
“You’ll have to hope Skye and Shoei don’t use it up. Or you could wait outside now, so that you’re next.”
“Ara… ara…,” he laughed. “Hurry up. I need to get to the studios after I drop you off.”
It’s been a week since we got back from Japan, and all week, we were involved is a whirlwind of activities, shows, and all possible promotional activities. Tomorrow, we have a day off, or at least half the day off, before Skye and Shoei flies off to Japan and Taiwan, and the following week, I begin recording my new single with Yun Ho.
As usual, we got off late tonight, but since it was Skye and Shoei’s last night in Seoul for the next few weeks, we’d decided that we should go out for dinner. We went to a shop we frequented; one that served all the usual Korean dishes since Skye would be having Chinese food for most of his days in Taiwan, and he’d been complaining all day.
“I’m sure there are Korean restaurants in Taiwan. Korean stuff are huge there now. I won’t be surprised if you find some good Korean restaurants,” I reasoned as we walked out of the Arirang broadcast studios.
“If there are, they’d be super expensive,” Shoei said.
“And our Skye can afford it, can’t you?” I smiled.
The truth was that Skye and Shoei were actually from well-to-do families. Shoei’s father was a famous defense lawyer in Kyoto, and his grandfather had been a judge. Shoei was the only one who did not pursue a career in law, despite having been sent abroad to study it. Skye’s father was a businessman who dabbled in all industries; retail, manufacturing, construction, you name it, and probably he had a hand in it, which explains why he now drives a gleaming new BMW.
I was the only poor one. My father worked for the same company all his life, we’re in the category of comfortable middle-class, but he definitely could not have afforded my training with SM, had I not made it through the auditions.
“Is Jae Joong hyung coming?” Skye asked.
“He’ll meet us there, along with Yun Ho and Hee Chul,” I replied.
“And Dong Hae too,” Shoei added.
“What about the rest?” Skye asked.
“Eun Hyuk and Ee Teuk have a show to do tonight, and the rest have busy schedules today.”
“What about the other 3 in TVXQ? Don’t they do everything together? So if Jae Joong and Yun Ho hyung are free, so should the other 3 be.”
“They do go on shows without each other, you know,” I reminded him.
“Yea… in the past, Yun Ho hyung was the one who went alone more often.”
“Cos he’s more popular?” Skye asked.
“How would I know?” I laughed. “You ask him later.”
“Fine… I will,” Skye retorted, and stomped off towards his car.
As we entered the restaurant, we were greeted by a few familiar faces.
“Bi sonbae!” I smiled and waved.
He was here with MC Mong.
“Hey Sierra… Skye… Shoei…” Bi laughed. “And stop calling me sonbae,” he said as he looked at me. “You’re my age.”
“But in the industry, you are my sonbae,” I reasoned.
“We’re not working now, it’s dinner time, and you shall call me Bi, or Ji Hoon oppa, if you want,” he smiled, his eyes narrowing into those adorable slits again.
“Ya… stop hitting on her,” MC Mong slapped Bi on his arm. “Hi Sierra, I don’t think we’ve officially met.”
It’s true that we have never had an official meeting with MC Mong. But we’ve walked past each other plenty of times in between shows at the television broadcast stations.
“Sierra-imnida,” I smiled, and I held out my hand.
“MC Mong-imnida,” he said as he shook my hand. “And your oppa here has told me all about you,” he added.
All about me? I looked at Bi, and he just smiled. I wonder what he’d told MC Mong.