Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Chapter 116: Your Man

We took off our headphones as the closing theme of our show played.

“Where are you girls off to?” Seung Ho asked as the girls got up and started collecting their stuff.

“Next venue on the schedule,” Sylvia answered.

“Busy, huh?” Seung Ho added.

“It’s good to be busy, isn’t it?” Shin Hee said. “Otherwise it would mean we’re out of our jobs.”

“Yep,” he laughed.

The girls and us packed up and we left the studio for the next group of DJs. As we walked out, I quickened my steps so that I would ‘accidentally’ collide with Su Bin a little.

“Mian,” I said as my hands came up to steady her.

These girls were always tottering around on high heels. Sure it made them look sexy, but someday, I’m pretty sure someone would be breaking her pretty neck.

“Twaeso,” she said as she continued to walk out.

I know I’d affected her when I touched her since she was starting to look a bit flustered.

“Onni,” she called out to Sylvia. “I need to go to the toilet.”

“We’ll be waiting out front. Don’t be long,” Sylvia said.

“Araso,” she smiled and she turned to walk towards the toilets.

“I need to go too,” I told Seung Ho.

“Then I’ll see you tomorrow,” he said.

It was obvious that he was dying to walk out with the girls. Seung Ho is known to have a weakness for young and pretty girls; especially those part of new acts.

I walked towards the toilets and looked around before I entered the ladies’. I got in I locked the door, and just then, Su Bin walked out of a toilet stall.

“Oppa… you do know this is the ladies’,” she smiled as she casually walked towards the sink to wash her hand.

“Chongmallo?” I said in an innocent tone.

“Are you stalking me?” she asked as she wiped her hands with the paper towels provided and threw them into the bin.

“What if I am?” I smiled.

“Hmm… then should I be afraid?” she asked me as she walked towards me.

“Come here you…” I said as I pulled her towards me, and I kissed her.

I’d just met her yesterday night, but today… I guess it was the excitement of sharing a secret in a room full of people, and the danger of the situation we’re in now that made me feel like just indulging in the heat of the moment.

“Good job today,” I said to her.

“What do you mean?”

“You ignored me very well during the show just now,” I laughed.

“What? You wanted me to throw myself at you like Puri did?”

“You noticed huh?” I laughed and I kissed the top of her head. “Hwanajima… she’s too easy and she’s not my type.”

“I’m not angry,” she replied. “And I bet you don’t even know what your type is. You just go for whoever catches your eye, paramdung-i”

“Yah… how can you call me a player?”

“You sure don’t only have eyes for me,” she said.

“Pabo… at least my eyes are for you most of the time,” I laughed and hugged her. “Go on now. We don’t want the girls to be suspicious.”

“Araso…” she said as she unlocked the door.

“Go on,” I said. “I’ll come out a few minutes after you.”

[Skye’s POV]

I’ve just spent the whole day at the HQ, going through my schedule and other arrangements that have cropped up while I was in Taiwan. Looks like I’m going to be really busy for the next two weeks. Finally, I’m out of the evening rush hour traffic as I drove into the waiting space at the front doors of the studios where Hae Rin was recording today.

“Hey,” she greeted me as she entered the car.

I drove out again, into the jammed road.

“What do you wanna eat?” I asked her.

“Whatever,” she said. “I’m not really hungry.”

“Are you going on a diet or something?” I asked her as I took her hand in mine.

“Anieyo… I snacked earlier,” she smiled.

“Then I’ll just take you home?” I teased, and was rewarded with a thump on my lap.

“Drive,” she said.

“Araso…” I laughed. “Tough day?” I asked her after a long moment of silence.

“Not really,” she said. “Guess who I met today?”


“Do you remember Su Bin? She was a trainee at SM with me.”

“Oh yea… Su Bin. Your room mate, right?”


“What happened to her?” I asked.

“She was transferred to DSP just before I went to America,” she said.


“Because they had an opening for a new group, and they were looking for someone like her? I dunno… what other reasons would there be?”

“Beats me,” I laughed.

“So what time is your flight? Tonight?”

“What time would you like it to be?” I asked her.

“Be serious…” she said.

“I can leave tonight, or early tomorrow morning, if you like,” I said.

“Won’t you be tired if you have to wake up early tomorrow morning?”

“Anything for you,” I said as I reached over to pinch her cheek.

“Michoso…” she laughed. “It’s pretty late already. You’ll be rushing to the airport. Leave tomorrow then.”

“If you say so,” I said, and I pulled out my mobile phone to call my PA.

We had dinner and I had to take her back to the studios to continue her recording session. She got out of the car and I parked nearby and wound down the window a little before turning off the engine, intending to take a nap in the car while waiting for her.

[Sierra’s POV]

“Hit him! Hit him!” I yelled as I continued lifting my dumbbells.

Chang Min and Jun Su were both on the Playstation battling it out in this game called ‘King of Fighters’.

“Who are you rooting for?” Jun Su turned around to ask me in the brief moment of pause he had since Chang Min was knocked out and recovering.

“Never you mind,” I said. “He’s getting up!” I yelled and Jun Su immediately launched into an attack on Chang Min’s character.

“Hyung! Give me a chance, will you?” Chang Min yelled as he tried to defend himself.

“You’re dead! You’re dead!” Jun Su yelled as he continued his assault and finally, Chang Min’s character had lost. “Yes!” Jun Su cheered and pumped his fist.

“I don’t wanna play anymore,” Chang Min said as he put down the controller and got up.

“Yah… who’s gonna play with me if you won’t?” Jun Su whined.

“Play with the computer,” Chang Min said as he walked off to his workroom.

“Sierra?” Jun Su looked at me, pleading.

“You just want someone you can beat, don’t you?” I laughed, and he smiled sweetly. “Araso… let me finish up here,” I said as I rounded off my mini workout session.

Just as I was about to sit down beside Jun Su, Yoo Chun dive onto the spot and picked up the controller.

“Yah!” Jun Su pushed Yoo Chun. “I don’t wanna play with you.”

“Wae?” Yoo Chun whined. “I paid for this too. I’m playing.”

“Then I guess I’m not needed,” I laughed and started to walk away.

“No… kajima, Sierra,” Jun Su said. “Go away, Yoo Chun. I wanna play with Sierra.”

“Andwae,” Yoo Chun said as he quickly selected his player. “Come on… we need to go to bed soon.”

“Play with Yoo Chun, Jun Su,” I said. “He’s lonely,” I laughed.

“Aisshii…” Jun Su complained. “Araso…” he added grudgingly as he selected his player.

I walked towards the workroom where Jae Joong and Yun Ho were both working.

“Aren’t you guys tired?” I asked them.

“Can’t slack off,” Yun Ho said. “We’ve got some stuff to finish before we leave for Japan.”

“O yea… I almost forgot. 2 weeks right?”

“Yep,” Jae Joong replied.

“I’m off to bed,” I said to the both of them.

“So early?” Jae Joong said.

“Yun Ho and I have a press conference for the single release tomorrow.”

“Yea…” Yun Ho sighed. “I’ve gotta get to bed as well.”

“Stick with me for a few more minutes,” Jae Joong said to Yun Ho. “Then we’ll go to bed.”

“What? Are you still spooked by that trick Sierra and I played on you?” Yun Ho asked him.

“Of course not. Do I look like an idiot to you?” Jae Joong grumbled.

“I’m going to bed,” I said as I ruffled Jae Joong’s hair. “Don’t be late.”

[Skye’s POV]

I lowered my chair and reached for an outdated magazine someone had left in my backseat. I remember now why this was in my backseat. It was a magazine we’d picked up during nuna’s cold war with Jae Joong hyung because of Darren Kang. There were actually speculations that they were breaking up at that time because the photographers started publishing photos of nuna and Jae Joong hyung going around alone, when they are usually together almost whenever they’re out in public.

There were pictures of nuna hanging around on the sidewalk with us while we were waiting for the van to come pick us up. She actually looked devastated; her nose was red, and if it weren’t for those huge sunglasses she wore, they’d have seen her puffy eyes. Seeing the pain that nuna and Jae Joong hyung had to endure, it made me wonder if I could ever survive the bumps in the road with Hae Rin the way they did.

I tossed the magazine aside and closed my eyes. It’ll probably be at least another 2 hours and I could’ve gone home, but since I was gonna sleep anyway, I might as well wait here so that I didn’t have to rush back here to pick Hae Rin up on time.

I was almost asleep when I heard a tapping sound on my window. I opened my eyes and saw Hae Rin’s manager, Ryu Ji Tae.

“Hyung,” I greeted him as I wound down the window.

“Get out,” he said.

He didn’t sound angry, but I knew he meant business. I turned on the engine to wind up the windows and turned it off before I got out.

“Darawa,” he said as he walked off.

I was puzzled at his behavior, yet I locked the car and followed him into the quiet alley by the studios’ building.

“What are you doing here?” he asked me.

“Waiting for Hae Rin,” I replied honestly.

“Are you two dating?” he asked me.

“No,” I replied firmly.

“You’d better not be lying Skye. I’ve been watching the two of you, and you’ve been meeting her on your own too often.”

“We’re just good friends.”

“Sure…” he laughed. “And 18 year old ingénue and a 24 year old R&B artiste.”

“There’s nothing going on between us,” I insisted.

“Whatever you say, Skye,” he said. “I’m letting you off now because you and your band are somewhat important to the company now. If you slip up, I’m going to make sure you pay. No one screws with my plans. Hae Rin is my biggest success now, and I won’t allow you to ruin anything for me and her.”

I just kept quiet as he gave his little speech, and when he was done, he walked off, leaving me standing there, staring blankly at the wall. Does this mean that Hae Rin and I would be watched from now on? Could she and I actually get away with being a couple the way nuna and Jae Joong hyung did?

Sunday, 26 August 2007

Chapter 115: La Noche Bonita

[Eoduun Cheonsa’s Interview on Hot This Second / Darren’s POV]

Seung Ho: Good day, good day… how’s everyone. This is DJ Seung Ho.

Darren: And this is DJ Darren, and you’re listening to…

Seung Ho & Darren: Hot This Second!

Darren: Today we have some really special guests… beautiful ones too.

Seung Ho: Ne… you’ve probably heard the buzz all week, and you’re wondering how beautiful they would sound, live on the radio. Say ‘Hello’ to DSP’s upcoming sensations… Eoduun Cheonsa!

Eoduun Cheonsa: Annyeong haseyo… urineun Eoduun Cheonsa-imnida.

(all cheer)

Darren: Yep… Eoduun Cheonsa in the house. How about each of you giving a little introduction?

Sylvia: Annyeong haseyo. Sylvia-imnida.

Shin Hee: Annyeong! Shin Hee-imnida.

Su Bin: Annyeong haseyo… nan Su Bin-imnida.

Puri: Annyeong haseyo… Puri-imnida.

Seung Ho: You hear that? You hear that, Darren…

Darren: What? What?

Seung Ho: Voices of angels…

(all laughing)

Shin Hee: Seung Ho oppa... hajima… you’re embarrassing us.

Darren: Ya… don’t flirt with my little sisters.

Seung Ho: Ye… ye… I’ve almost forgotten that you’re from DSP too, Darren. So did you guys ever train together?

Darren: We did… on several occasions.

Seung Ho: Who was your best friend?

Darren: Ya… Seung Ho. I’m not the guest here. This segment today is not about me. It’s about these beautiful ladies here.

Seung Ho: Oh yes… choesonghamnida. I was so intent on getting Darren to dish the dirt that I’d almost forgotten that I should get them straight from the ladies. So tell us a little bit about the band. Who’s the leader?

Puri: Sylvia is.

Seung Ho: Any particular reason? Did you hold a poll or something?

Su Bin: Sylvia here has been training for years with Bros Entertainment in America, she speaks Korean, English and Spanish, and we’re all learning Chinese. Out of all of us, she’s the smartest, and the most articulate.

Sylvia: Come on, guys… you’re exaggerating my abilities.

Shin Hee: No we’re not. And she’s the best dancer and singer among us. That’s why she’s leader.

Darren: A very heavy burden you carry, Sylvia. (laughing)

Sylvia: They’re making such a big deal out of it. All of us are equally talented, just that we were all brought up differently.

Seung Ho: Hey Darren, weren’t you brought up in America too?

Darren: I was… but again, Seung Ho… why are you talking about me?

Seung Ho: Mianhada… mianhada… you were saying, Sylvia.

Sylvia: Well… all the girls went through training like me, and I think they’re as talented. If they had the same learning opportunities as I did in America, I bet they would pick up everything I now know, easily. Ne?

Darren: I agree. And being brought up outside of South Korea isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Puri: Yea… sure… coming from the people who’ve lived abroad. Of course it’s not a big deal. To a girl from a small town in South Korea, it would be.

Darren: I can see this is a long, long topic to be discussed, but let’s not debate this now… Next question, Seung Ho.

Seung Ho: Ne… so we’re rather curious… why the name Eoduun Cheonsa? Isn’t it a bit dark? And you girls are fair. (laughs)

Darren: I don’t know this guy. Tsk tsk… where do you get your jokes from?

(all laugh)

Su Bin: It depends how you see it. We’re not dark as in evil… we’re just dark as in a more serious band, like… deeper. I think what Eoduun Cheonsa’s presence will do is that it will balance out things in the industry.

Darren: Really?

Shin Hee: Yea… cos everyone’s so bright and sweet and perky.

Seung Ho: Like you? (laughing)

Shin Hee: (giggles) Yea… like me. I mean… most of the bands have young, bubbly names, like Super Junior, or Xing. What we’re doing here is balancing things out. There will always be light and dark, good and bad… not to say who’s good or who’s bad.

Puri: So see us in whatever way you want, and eventually, you’ll see our purpose of existence, and you might even like it.

Darren: I bet we will… So tell us more about the concept of your debut single.

Sylvia: Concept… concept… what’s our concept?

Puri: I think the whole idea is that we’re something different. We’re serious musicians, like most of the kasu in the industry, but we also wanna have an appealing image, without pole dancing and dressing in bikinis.

(all laugh)

Seung Ho: Somehow I feel that Puri here is taking a swipe at another band.

Puri: I’m not… (smiles sweetly)

Darren: And the song… what’s the message of the song?

Sylvia: The song ‘Angels of the Night’ is an introduction to Eoduun Cheonsa, and it speaks of us being a new style and what we’re bringing to the audience, the listeners, and our fans.

Shin Hee: We’re asking for the world to accept us as we are, as something fresh and different.

Darren: Ne… So tell us more about yourselves… some personal details perhaps. Who’s the oldest?

Sylvia: I am.

Seung Ho: Aa… so that’s why you’re the leader.

Sylvia: Part of the reason.

Puri: I’m second.

Su Bin: Third!

Seung Ho: And as I’ve guessed, Shin Hee is the youngest.

Shin Hee: (giggles) Ne…

Darren: I used to think Su Bin was the youngest.

Su Bin: Why?

Darren: You looked so innocent the first time I saw you.

Shin Hee: And I don’t?

Darren: You do, Shin Hee, but maybe because I’ve seen you day in, day out for a few years, so when Su Bin joined DSP, she looked fresh to me.

Puri: Now he’s calling us hags…

Darren: Aigoo… anieyo…

Seung Ho: Age is a sensitive subject with women. But what’s this about Su Bin joining later?

Su Bin: I used to train with SM.

Seung Ho: Chongmal? Then why did you switch to DSP.

Su Bin: I was approached with an opportunity to debut within a year with a new band. So I decided to transfer my contract.

Seung Ho: Any regrets?

Su Bin: Nope. I’m having a great time with the rest of Eoduun Cheonsa.

Shin Hee: Awww… Su Bin… (reaches out to hug Su Bin).

Seung Ho: Shin Hee… don’t you have to address all 3 of them as ‘onni’?

Shin Hee: I do… but sometimes I don’t. It depends on my mood.

Puri: She just calls us by our names most of the time. Unless she wants something, then it’s ‘Puri onni’ or ‘Su Bin onni’, in that sweet voice of hers.

Seung Ho: Ah… the skill of manipulation.

Shin Hee: Shall I try it on you?

Seung Ho: No thank you. I would prefer to live another day.

(all laugh)

Darren: Seung Ho is very different today. He isn’t usually this excited and making lots of lame jokes.

Seung Ho: I am not lame…

Darren: Yea… keep telling yourself that… So… I think we should let everyone have a listen to what may be the hottest song of this second, if not this year. Would any of you beautiful ladies like to introduce it?

Sylvia: Ne… here is our debut single…

Puri: We hope that you will listen to it with an open mind and heart

Shin Hee: and give Eoduun Cheonsa a fair chance.

Su Bin: This is out debut single…

Eoduun Cheonsa: 'Angels of the Night'!

Seung Ho: Good job!

(all laugh as music starts to play)

I took off my headphones and stretched as the music played.

“Yah… what were you doing last night, you look so tired,” Seung Ho said as he nudged me.

“Just reading, and chillin’” I said, and then we heard a snort.

“Mian,” Su Bin said, and she faked a cough to try and cover up what she just did.

I’d forgotten that she was there, and that little lie about reading must’ve set her off.

“Oppa…” Puri purred as she sidled up to me.

“Waetto?” I asked her as I brushed her hands off me.

“Can we go out together tonight?”

“I’m busy, Puri,” I said in a non-committal tone.

“Oppa… this is like the 3rd time you’ve refused,” she whined.

I just didn’t get why Puri loved to latch on to me. I’d never shown her enough interest for her to be so smitten with me, but she just keeps coming. I sneaked a look at Su Bin, and I could tell she was pretending not to care, but probably annoyed with Puri.

“Puri… Darren oppa must be really busy. So can you stop pestering him?” Sylvia said.

Puri turned around and shot daggers at Sylvia with her eyes. It did feel like a battle was going on between the two since I could almost imagine Sylvia’s shields coming up to block Puri’s shots. I gave Sylvia a grateful smile, and she smiled back almost mechanically. Sometimes I find Sylvia too work-oriented. She’s trained most of her life, like these girls here, but somehow the outcome was an almost perfect performing machine… she turned on the warmth and friendliness when in the public eye, but behind the scenes, sadly… she was like a cold fish, which brings me to why I chose Su Bin.

Shin Hee was too childish for my tastes, and fate had it that I ended up having interest in Su Bin. She was cool, sweet and demure in front of others, but I knew her darker side. I’ve only seen it when we’re together, alone. Not to say she was sinister or anything… but she had the ability to be a good girl, and a bad girl when it suited her. Even if most people thought she was this naive girl from Taejeon.

Hae Rin… Su Bin never told me that she knew her. I’ll have to interrogate her the next time we meet.

The music soon ended, and we were back on air.

Seung Ho: That was Eoduun Cheonsa’s ‘Angels of the Night’. Was it good or what?

Darren: Ne… I could feel the heat just from listening to it… someone please get me a glass of iced water.

(all laugh)

Seung Ho: We wanna thank Eoduun Cheonsa for coming in and sharing their debut song with us today… Kamsahamnida…

Eoduun Cheonsa: Kamsahamnida…

Darren: Any last words to the listeners?

Sylvia: Not much… just a request that everyone give us a chance and we will continue proving that we are great singers and performers.

Darren: Alright… thank you for being here with us, ladies. Seung Ho and I had a wonderful time, didn’t we, Seung Ho?

Seung Ho: Yes we did… thank you ladies. We’ll see you next time.

Eoduun Cheonsa: Komapseumnida…

Seung Ho: To the listeners… we hope you had a great time today. Be sure to tune if for the next broadcast of Hot This Minute.

Darren: We have another beautiful and talented lady coming in to talk to us, and to dish the details of her life to you… who is she, Seung Ho?

Seung Ho: On the next broadcast of Hot This Minute, we have none other than the hot, hot Hae Rin.

Darren: So be sure you remember to tune in! This is DJ Darren.

Seung Ho: And this is DJ Seung Ho.

Darren & Seung Ho: Annyeong!

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Chapter 114: Red Angel

The interview progressed on with questions that both Eoduun Cheonsa and I answered, and finally, the show drew to a close.

“We’ve had a wonderful time talking to you girls,” Choi Na Yung said. “We look forward to seeing you on the show again.”

“Ne,” all of us replied.

“Any last words?” she asked as she looked at all of us.

“We just want to say thank you to everyone who are here to share this debut performance of ours today. We hope that our performance was satisfactory, and that everyone here would be interested in knowing more about us, and will support us when our first single is out,” Sylvia said.

“Don’t worry, Sylvia. I think after today, Eoduun Cheonsa will have a new legion of fans,” Choi Na Yung said, and the audience clapped. “Hae Rin?”

“Well… same here. Please support my new single,” I laughed. “I’ve worked hard on something new to present to my fans, and I hope everyone likes it.”

“Thank you, Hae Rin,” Choi Na Yung said. “And now… to wrap up the show, the performance we’ve been waiting for… Hae Rin’s new single. What is it called?”

“It’s called ‘In the Dark’,” I replied as I got up.

“If you would just get ready at the stage,” she said as she gestured towards the performance stage.

“Ne,” I replied as I walked towards the stage where it was already dimmed and the dancers were already lined up, ready to start.

“Yeoreobun, this is Hae Rin with her latest single, and you’re hearing it first on Cho Sarang. Put your hands together for ‘In the Dark’.”

A mid-tempo beat started and the dancers and I started moving to the music. As the intro music bars almost ended, I stepped up front to sing the first line.

I cry in the silence of the night,
In the darkness of our room,
So afraid I’d wake you.

Have my tears made me seem weak in your eyes,
Do you now see me as less of a prize,
Have I become a burden to you

What made us what we are today
Doesn’t seem like it’s there anymore
What fueled our passions before
Doesn’t seem like it exists anymore

In the night, in the dark
Tears fell freely, but I’m silently crying
In the night, in the dark
Emotions ran deeply, but muffled by my fears
I’m afraid that I’ll lose you

When it’s bright, I smile to you
I’ll never let you see that it pains me
When you pull your hand away

All this time, when you ask me if I’m alright
I’ll smile bravely
And say that I love you

The reason for us to be together
Doesn’t seem like it’s there, anymore
The thing we used to say to each other
Doesn’t come from within,
Is this how it will end

In the night, in the dark
Tears fell freely, but I’m silently crying
In the night, in the dark
Emotions ran deeply, but muffled by my fears
I’m afraid that I’ll lose you

In the night, in the dark
Tears fell freely, but I’m silently crying
In the night, in the dark
Emotions ran deeply, but muffled by my fears
I’m afraid that I’ll lose you

I struck my final pose as the song ended, and I actually received a standing ovation. The audience liked my new single, and I was relieved. I was actually so afraid that I couldn’t pull off this new image. I’d started off as the sweet ballad singing soloist, and with the collaboration with Sierra, they tested the fans’ reactions to a sexier image, then finally now, it’s a tougher image, even if the song is sad and was about vulnerability.

“Wow! Hae Rin… we’ve never seen you in such a powerful performance… I mean, physically powerful,” Choi Na Yung said.

“Komapseumnida,” I said as I bowed to the audience.

“Ye… thank you everyone for tuning in. It’s been a great show, and to top it off, we finished with a great performance from Hae Rin. Until next week, thank you for watching Cho Sarang… I’m Choi Na Yung, signing off… annyeong!” she waved to the audience and the theme of the show played as the set lights dimmed.

“Omigod!” Shin Hee exclaimed as soon as the show ended. “I was so nervous.”

“Great performance, Hae Rin,” Su Bin said as she walked towards me.

“You girls won’t too bad either,” I said.

“Su Bin… how can you not introduce us to Hae Rin,” Shin He said as she caught up with us.

“Didn’t Choi Na Yung introduce you already?” Su Bin said.

“That’s on the show… it’s different. Annyeong! I’m Shin Hee,” Shin Hee said as she held out her hand to me.

“Annyeong,” I smiled. “Hae Rin-imnida.”

“Hae Rin onni,” Shin Hee said, “Can I call you Hae Rin onni?”

“Sure… but am I older?” I asked her.

“You’re older,” Su Bin said.

“Hae Rin onni… you must teach me some of your moves,” Shin Hee said.

“Moves? I’m sure you girls learn way more than me. I’d just recently got back into dancing.”

“But your routine was perfect,” Shin Hee said.

“Come on girls. We’re gonna be late. Don’t wanna screw up our schedule,” Sylvia said as she cut past us.

“Aww…” Shin Hee pouted. “Bye onni,” she said as she waved at me.

“Bye,” I said.

“Bye, Hae Rin,” Su Bin said.

“Do you wanna meet up someday, for a drink?” I asked her.

“Sure,” she said.

“Give me your number,” I said as I took my phone from my PA and handed it to her so that she could punch in her number.

After she did, I saved the number in the phone under her name.

“Well… see ya,” she said.

“Alright… see ya,” I said as I took a step forward and gave her a quick hug.

I watched as Su Bin walked off with her band, and I suddenly felt a pang of loneliness. I didn’t realize how much I missed having a close friend to talk to. I still remember when Su Bin left; it was about the same time when I moved out of the trainees’ hostel and was leaving to train in America. I knew that she was changing companies, but she wasn’t allowed to tell anyone else which company she was going to until her debut.

“Take care, Hae Rin,” she told me as she stood at the door with her suitcase. “You’re gonna make it big, I know it.”

“How do you know?” I said, and tears were already prickling my eyes.

“You look like you will, and anyone can see it,” she said. “Ignore those people who are jealous of your success. Just remember you’re a star, and you have friends like me who will always be behind you.”

“Komawo,” I said as I hugged her tightly. “I’ll never forget you, Su Bin.”

“We’ll meet again… someday. And if I never make it, I hope that you will take time off your busy schedule to meet me whenever I call. Ne?” she said.

“I will,” I promised, but she never called and I didn’t either.

A year had gone by, and so much had happened during that time. So much that I’d almost forgotten about her, until I saw her today. Now that we’re in rival companies, would our friendship be as strong, or we’d end up as just acquaintances?

[Su Bin’s POV]

I walked away from Hae Rin, and I didn’t turn back. I doubt that she would call me. After all, she’s a huge star now, and I’m just beginning. Plus, we’re from rival companies.

“Su Bin,” Puri said as she tapped my head with the tag she was wearing as we were traveling to the next destination in our van.

“Ya… why did you hit me for?” I asked her.

“I’ve been trying to get your attention for about 5 minutes,” Puri snapped.

I rolled my eyes at her. She was always snapping at people for little things. I guess that was why she earned her nickname and now stage name, Puri.

“What is it?” I asked her.

“You really think that Hae Rin will call you?” she asked me, and I could detect the sting in her voice.

“I don’t know. We’ll see,” I said, and just as I said it, my phone rang. “Yeoboseyo,” I answered it.

“It’s me, Hae Rin,” Hae Rin said.

“Hae Rin,” I smiled to myself. “What’s up?”

“Just to check if it’s really your number,” she laughed.

“Well, it isn’t,” I joked.

“Just wanted you to have my number too. Call me when you have time for a drink,” she said.

“I think it’s you who would be busier,” I said.

“Whoever is, let’s just make it a point to call each other, ne?” she said.

“Araso,” I replied.

“I’ve got to go now,” she said.

“Sure. Bye,” I said.


“Was that really Hae Rin?” Shin Hee said as soon as I hung up.

“Yep,” I said.

“So you weren’t making it up,” Puri smirked.

“What’s your problem, Puri?” I asked her.

“Ya… keuman,” Sylvia said. “Stop dissing people, Puri.”

“Who made you the queen?” Puri said.

“I’m not the queen, but I’m your leader,” Sylvia said and Puri just put on her earphones and ignored her.

We arrived at our next destination, the radio station, for our interview on ‘Hot This Second’ with DJ Seung Ho and at the moment, Darren oppa is still hosting it with him.

“Oppa!” Puri threw herself at Darren oppa as soon as we walked into the broadcasting room.

Darren oppa and I have been dating secretly since my 6th month in DSP, after a training session that Eoduun Cheonsa had with Helix. Up till now, I’ve never really understood why he’d date someone like me, since I’d always thought that Puri was more of his type, but he’d persisted, and I wasn’t one to argue when a hot, rising star wants to date me.

“Oppa,” the rest of us greeted him.

“Aren’t you having fun, Darren?” DJ Seung Ho teased him. “All your little sisters are here.”

“Yea… don’t get jealous, Seung Ho,” Darren said.

“Oppa… let’s go for coffee later,” Puri said.

“I’m busy,” he said. “Some other day,” and when he said that, he looked at me briefly.

Even though it was a millisecond, I could feel the intensity of his gaze. Maybe it’s just because I was smitten with him, but he affected me very easily, and I struggled to act nonchalant since the girls were around.

“How are you, Su Bin?” he asked me, and I knew he was teasing me.

“I’m fine,” I replied.

“Oppa!” Shin Hee cut in. “Did you know that Su Bin is friends with Hae Rin?”

“Really,” he said as he looked at me meaningfully.

“She even has her number,” Shin Hee added, enthusiastically.

I’d not told him much about my past in SM, and I had a feeling that I was up for an interrogation at our next rendezvous.

Sunday, 19 August 2007

Chapter 113: Midnight Girl

[Su Bin’s POV]

Hae Rin looked so different now. She looked successful, and much happier than she used to be. In the past, when we were trainees, there was this air of superiority about her that made everyone decide that she would always outdo them and make them look small and less talented beside her, which was why she never had a friend other than me. I loved music, I loved dancing, I loved the industry, but I wasn’t as ambitious as Hae Rin. It was short of a miracle that I got transferred to DSP and made it into Odun Cheonsa (Dark Angels).

“Su Bin!” my band mate Shin Hae motioned for me to join the band in another corner of the waiting room.

“I’ll talk to you later?” I said to Hae Rin.

“Ne,” she smiled and went back to meditating as I walked away.

“Wae?” I asked as I approached Shin Hae.

“Is that Hae Rin?” she asked me.


“You know her?” Puri, my other band mate exclaimed, and I could detect a little awe in her voice.

“We used to train together at SM,” I explained.

“I think she mentioned it before,” Sylvia, our band leader said.

Sylvia was the quintessential dark angel. She’d spent years training with BROS ENT in the USA before DSP recruited her to form this band. Fluent in English, Spanish and Korean, she was the expert communicator among us, and also one of the best dancers and singers DSP has recruited so far. I could already see the different personalities that make up Dark Angels.

We were supposed to have a less cutesy image compared to SNSD, and we’re supposed to be sexy at the same time, and mysterious. Other than being all those, we had our own personalities. Sylvia we’d established, then we had Shin Hee the cute, ditzy one. Puri, as her name suggests, was a little fiery in terms of her temper, and she was also generally compulsive and sassy. I was the quiet, peaceful one, and Sylvia’s job was to tie all of us together and keep us in line.

We were here today for our debut performance, as the opening act for Hae Rin. Usually some new group from SM would open for another SM artiste, but our manager managed to get us this gig.

“Su Bin… I’m so nervous!” Shin Hee exclaimed as she clasped my hands. “What if they don’t like us?”

“Settle down,” Sylvia said. “They’ll like us. If they wouldn’t, we won’t be standing here in the first place.”

“Eoduun Cheonsa,” the PD called out. “You’re on.”

We walked out of the waiting room towards the wings of the stage. The studio was split into 2 sections. There was an area for the host and guests to chat, and there were armchairs and a coffee table placed there. Then on the other side was a medium sized stage which was cleared since we were going to dance on it. When rock bands came, there would be musical instruments there, like a drum set, keyboard and guitars.

The lights dimmed on our side of the stage and we walked on to get into position. The other stage was lit and the theme for the show played as the host walked onto the stage.

“Annyeong haseyo! Choi Na Yung-imnida! Welcome to Cho Sarang!” Choi Na Yung, the host announced.

Choi Na Yung was pretty new in the industry but she was quickly becoming popular because of she was friendly, articulate and easy on the eyes when on camera. She also hosted another music program with Park Kwon Je, another new host. Cho Sarang or First Love was mainly a talk show to introduce new artistes and also new works by current artistes, which was why we were here today; us for our debut performance, and Hae Rin probably to promote an upcoming single.

“Today we have a great band here to kick start the show, and true to the purpose of our show, I am certain that after this, you will be the first to love them. Please welcome the upcoming sensations, Eoduun Cheonsa!” she announced and the stage lit up as our music started with a bang.

Sylvia: Oh yea… we’re Eoduun Cheonsa
Puri: We’re winging it…
Sylvia: That’s right…
Su Bin: Eoduun Cheonsa… taking flight
Shin Hee: Come follow us…
Su Bin: Girls, hit it!

Eoduun Cheonsa: We’re angels of the night
Prepare to be mesmerized
We’re angels of the night
Don’t you put up a fight…

Sylvia: There was a time when all was pure and bright
And in this time perhaps your lives were alright
Puri: There was a time when your lives were just right
But we’re here to shake that up, to make it better

Su Bin: Open your eyes, your ears, your heart
Listen to our song, and get in the mood
Shin Hee: Free your mind, your heart, your soul
Give us a chance to make you feel good

Eoduun Cheonsa: We’re angels of the night
Prepare to be mesmerized
We’re angels of the night
Don’t you put up a fight…

We’re angels of the night
Ready to take flight
We’re angels of the night
Come fly with us tonight…

Su Bin: Now that you heard us, you’re gonna be in love
Like drugs we are, gonna get you addicted to our words
Sylvia: You won’t be able to live without us, trapped in our world
Come with us, we’ll take you on a journey to oblivion

Puri: Open your eyes, your ears, your heart
Visualize our images, imprint us in your minds
Shin Hee: Free your mind, your heart, your soul
Spread your wings, come fly with us

Eoduun Cheonsa: We’re angels of the night
Prepare to be mesmerized
We’re angels of the night
Don’t you put up a fight…

We’re angels of the night
Ready to take flight
We’re angels of the night
Come fly with us tonight…

We’re angels of the night
Prepare to be mesmerized
We’re angels of the night
Don’t you put up a fight…

We’re angels of the night
Ready to take flight
We’re angels of the night
Come fly with us tonight…

Applause rang through the studio as the music ended with us posing in our ending positions.

“Wa…” Choi Na Yung said as she walked towards us. “Eoduun Cheonsa!” she announced again. “Please give them another round of applause!”

“Komapseumnida,” each of us said as we bowed.

“This is your first live performance today?” Choi Na Yung asked us.

“Ye,” we answered.

“You looked like pros… didn’t they?” she asked the audience and we received more applause in response to her question.

“Kamsahamnida…” we laughed nervously.

“So… can you please introduce yourselves, since this is your first time?”

“Ye…” Sylvia started. “Sylvia-imnida.”

“Su Bin-imnida,” I followed.

“Puri-imnida,” Puri said.

“Shin Hee-imnida,” Shin Hee said as she gave a cute pose.

“Urineun, Eoduun Cheonsa,” we rounded off, and we received another round of applause from the audience.

“So… a big thank you to Eoduun Cheonsa for opening the show for us today. Please have a seat over there,” she said as she motioned towards the couches on the other stage.

“Ne,” we replied as we walked towards it and sat down.

“Next, let us welcome our other guest, the one that I see many fans are waiting for today, judging from the banners and balloons” Choi Na Yung said, and the fans screamed.

[Hae Rin’s POV]

Eoduun Cheonsa had just finished performing, and I’ll have to admit that they were pretty good, from what I saw from the television set they had hooked up in the waiting room. I’m now at the wings of the stage, waiting for my cue to walk onto the set.

“Hae Rin!” I heard the host, Choi Na Yung, announce as I walked out, and the set is filled with deafening applause.

I waved at the crowd as I walked towards her and she motioned for me to sit in the couch next to hers. Before that, I greeted all of the members of Eoduun Cheonsa with handshakes.

“How are you, Hae Rin?” she greeted me.

“Not bad,” I smiled.

“Does that mean you’re good?” she asked.

“Could be…” I laughed.

“Sorry, I’ve not introduced you. This is Sylvia, Su Bin, Puri and Shin Hee of Eoduun Cheonsa. Have you met Eoduun Cheonsa before this?” she asked.

“Nope, but I do know Su Bin here,” I said.

“Oh… you were friends?”

“Ne,” Su Bin and I replied.

“This is interesting. Did you come from the same hometown?”

“No,” I replied. “We used to train together at SM,” I said.

“Really? So why didn’t you debut with SM, Su Bin?”

“There was the opportunity to debut with Eoduun Cheonsa, and I thought that my youth is fast fading,” she laughed, “so I’d better debut quickly.”

“So how long did Eoduun Cheonsa train for this debut?”

“I trained for 3 years with SM and a year with DSP,” Su Bin said.

“I trained 3 years with DSP,” Puri said.

“I trained for 3 years too, with DSP,” Shin Hee said.

“I was with Bros Entertainment in USA for 4 years, and I trained 1 year with DSP for this debut,” Sylvia said.

“Wow… that makes you the senior in your band, Sylvia,” Choi Na Yung said.

“That’s why she’s the leader,” Shin Hee said.

“How many years did you train, Hae Rin?” Choi Na Yung asked me.

“5 years,” I said.

“And you were scouted or did you join a competition?” she continued asking.

“A friend recommended me to attend an audition, and I was accepted,” I said.

“Which friend, is it alright to reveal?”

“Erm… I’d rather not, but the friend is also an artiste with SM.”

“Okay,” she smiled. “So you’re here today to talk about your upcoming single?”

“Ne, and perhaps a little about my life, if anyone is interested?” I laughed.

“We’re always interested,” she said. “Aren’t we?” she asked the audience and there was a chorus of ‘Yes’.

“Thank you for caring,” I said.

“So what is going on in your life right now, Hae Rin?”

“Well, I’d just completed the works for my next single, and it will be released sometime next week. All that’s left now is to complete the MV, for which I will be dancing in.”

“And you made your debut focusing on ballads,” she commented.

“Yes, but the company felt that it’s for me to diversify, and to make use of everything I’ve learnt with SM.”

“Does this mean you could be the next BoA?”

“BoA will always be BoA, and she is of no comparison. I am Hae Rin, and I will eventually find my niche, be it ballads or pop music.”

“I actually find that we shouldn’t really compare an artiste with another artiste or a band with another band. It makes the newcomer feel the need to be individual, even if they are already obvious individuals,” Puri said.

“It’s like when Battle first debut, people kept calling them the ‘new Shinhwa’,” Shin Hee said. “It was pretty hard on them because they desperately wanted to be known as Battle, and not the ‘new Shinhwa’.”

“When I first debut, people were asking if I was the new Jang Ri In,” I said, “and because of this, I couldn’t even take the time to explore my abilities in ballads. This is one of the reasons for this quick switch to pop-R&B.”

“But you were already singing R&B when you did the duet with Sierra from S-Cube,” Choi Na Yung said.

“Yes. One reason was because Sierra’s niche was R&B and it was also an opportunity for me to try the genre,” I explained.

“And it was successful,” she added.

“Ne, and I have everyone of my fans here to thank for it,” I said. “Kamsahamnida,” I said as I stood up and bowed to the audience, and they clapped.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Chapter 112: Believe

[Skye’s POV]

I was talking to Chang Min over a cup of ramen when my phone rang. It wasn’t a familiar number, but I answered anyway.


“Skye… it’s me…” a girl’s voice said.

“Nuguseyo?” I asked her, cos I can’t figure out the voice.

“It’s me Skye… Yuk Hee…” she said.

“Oh… Yuk Hee,” I laughed. “What’s up?”

“How’s your day? Tour finally ended, huh?”

“Yep… I’m just kicking back with the guys now.”

“Great… I was wondering. Can we meet tomorrow; for a drink or whatever?”

The moment she asked that, I was reminded of nuna’s words…

“Stay away from Yuk Hee. That’s the safest route. Don’t allow her to even imagine she has a shot at you.”

I sighed as I thought about what I was supposed to do. I hate blowing off friends, but nuna could be right, and I can’t afford to screw up what Hae Rin and I had now. She was important to me, even if Yuk Hee had been part of my life for a longer time than she had. It was long ago, anyway. We’ve lost touch so long ago… I didn’t feel anything for her back then, and I don’t think I will now.

“Erm… I can’t, Yuk Hee. I need to tie up some loose ends, spend some time with my band mates and girlfriend before I head back to Taipei.”

“Oh…” she said, and I could hear the tone fall in her voice. “Then are we still traveling back together?”

“I’m not sure yet… cos I can’t determine exactly what time I can leave, I’ll probably be catching the flight at the last minute. Don’t wait for me, okay? I know your ticket’s fixed.”


“I’m sorry you have to fly alone. Maybe when I get back to Taipei, we can have lunch or something. You, me and Vanness?”

“Araso…” she said.

“Thanks for understanding. I gotta go now,” I said.

“Alright. See you back in Taipei,” she said.

“See ya,” I replied, and hung up.

As I hung up, I gave a deep sigh of relief.

“Who’s that? You sound so stressed throughout the phone call,” Chang Min asked as he leaned back in his seat.

During the time I took to answer the call, he’d already finished his ramen, and mine was now soggy and lukewarm, but I ate it anyway.

“An old friend,” I said as I slurped up the remaining ramen left in my cup.

“A girl?”


“You never introduced her to me,” he said, poking my arm.

“She’s older than you are.”

“Sierra’s older than Jae Joong hyung,” he pointed out.

“You sure you wanna walk down the same path as he did?” I laughed.

“What’s wrong with that?” he laughed.

“Nothing,” I smiled as I drank up the soup in the cup.

“Is it that bad? Are you telling me I should ‘walk down’ your path? With a younger girl?” he asked me.

“It’s up to you… to each their own.”

“It’s almost a sin, you know… you and Hae Rin,” Chang Min laughed. “She’s even younger than I am.”

“Does that matter?” I asked him. “And you know what… since Sierra is older, why don’t you start calling her ‘nuna’?”

“Cos when we first met, we’ve established that since we’re the sonbae in the industry, we don’t need to call her ‘nuna’.”

“She’s dating your hyung now. I think you should be a little more respectful,” I pointed out.

“You think so?” Chang Min scratched his head.

“No, I don’t,” Yoo Chun said as he came to sit down beside me. “Sierra prefers it that we don’t call her ‘nuna’.”

“Yea…” Chang Min agreed. “She’s sensitive about her age as it is. I don’t wanna make her think about it more.”

“Think about what?” nuna said as she walked out of Jae Joong and Yun Ho hyung’s bedroom.

She’s showered and changed, all ready to go to bed.

“Nothing,” Chang Min said, and snickered.

“I’ll deal with you later,” nuna said darkly as she pointed at Chang Min, and he pretended to choke and fall over on the table, dead. “Funny…” she smirked, then the four of us started laughing.

Shoei and I got home late that night, and I went straight to bed, without showering. I was so tired.

I started to dream. I dreamt that I was sitting alone, and suddenly Hae Rin and Yuk Hee appeared beside me.

“Skye,” Hae Rin said. “You wanna be with her, don’t you?” she accused.

“Skye,” Yuk Hee said. “Dump her… I’m more mature, I’m more of a woman than she’ll ever be.”

“Skye,” Hae Rin grabbed my arm this time, “you love me, don’t you? Don’t you?”

“Don’t listen to her,” Yuk Hee said. “What does she know? She’s just a kid. Come with me, Skye. I’m the girl of your dreams.”

Then the both of them just kept calling my name, “Skye… Skye… Skye…” and they were shaking me as they did, until I opened my eyes with a start.

“Skye,” a female voice called out, and I jumped.

“Huh?” I said in shock.

“It’s me,” she said, and that’s when I recognized Hae Rin’s voice.

“Hae Rin…” I said, my voice a little raspy from sleeping. “When did you get in here? What time is it?”

“It’s 2am,” she said as she climbed into the bed with me.

“Shoei let you in,” I asked her.


“Don’t you need to work tomorrow?” I asked her as I put my arm around her and pulled me close so that she lay her head on my chest.

“I missed you,” she said as she snuggled close.

I pushed her hair back gently and kissed the top of her head.

“Na tto pogoshipo,” I said.

“Send me home tomorrow morning?” she asked me.

“Araso,” I said. “Go to sleep,” I said as I stroked her back.

The next morning, I woke up and realized I couldn’t move… something was pinning me down onto my bed. I looked down and saw Hae Rin, then I remembered she’d come over late last night. It had felt pretty much like a dream, but it turned out to be real. I hugged her tightly, wanting to remember how she felt in my arms, for tomorrow, I would be leaving for Taipei, and it would be another 2 weeks before I could see her again.

[Hae Rin’s POV]

I felt Skye pull me close in the morning, and I just tightened my arms around him. It felt very reassuring to know that we shared the same emotions at this moment… not wanting to let go. I’m now confident that he was never going to leave me, and I just need to have more faith in him. ‘He will never betray you,’ I told myself.

We woke up sometimes later, and he sent me back to my apartment so that I could get ready for the day. In another hour, a car will pick me up and take me to the studios to work for the rest of the day. I had my hand on Skye’s lap as usual, and whenever we stopped at a traffic light, he’d take his hand off the steering wheel to clasp mine.

“Did you sleep okay?” he asked me.

“I’m fine,” I smiled.

“I see those bags appearing,” he said as he rubbed my fingers affectionately.

“I don’t have bags,” I said as I turned to glare at him.

“No bags? LV? Chanel?” he laughed and I poked him as I smiled at his lame joke.

“Dinner tonight?” I asked him.

“I’ll pick you up at about 6,” he said. “Can you get out then?”

“Sure…” I said.

Ji Tae oppa usually left me with the rest of the team at about dinner time because he had other matters to attend to such as entertaining sponsors and other important people who would be funding my next appearance or gig, and also to check on his other budding stars.

“See you tonight,” I said as I kissed Skye on the cheek.

“See ya,” he said, almost in a whisper, and I just smiled and closed the car door.

I got ready quickly, packed my stuff for the day, and made myself a cup of warm honey before the car came to pick me. I had an early radio show to attend before heading to the dance and recording studios.

“Hae Rin,” the PA greeted me as soon as I got into the car. “Here’s the topics what they’re going to discuss on the show today. The girls a new band, Eoduun Cheonsa (Dark Angels), will be there.”

“Who are they?” I asked.

“They’re DSP’s new girl band.”

“How many girls?”

“They have about 4 at the moment, which makes them comparable to TSZX, but I believe they want to add a few more so that they can be more like SNSD. I think girl bands are in lately.”

“But never more popular than the boy bands,” I said.

“Well, it depends. I think it’s really luck that a band wins those daesangs each year.”

“I don’t. You can’t deny that TVXQ is good and they are extremely successful and popular.”

“Okay… you can’t compare anything to TVXQ since they’re on the roll.”

“They’ve been on the roll for a few years now,” I pointed out.

“I just think there will be a time when their star will eventually wane,” the PA said.

“Shinhwa isn’t the most popular now, but I don’t think their star has ever waned. Maybe TVXQ won’t be on top forever, but they will never fade from the limelight.”

“Let’s all hope so. Cos the moment they start to fade… SM’s going to come up with a new TVXQ.”

We arrived at the studio and I was rushed to hair and makeup. If you think I got a nice dressing room to myself and it’s filled with food, drinks and people pampering me, you’ve got the wrong picture. This is not how it is around here, especially for someone new like me, no matter how popular I am. I sat on a chair in a dressing room where people were all running around trying to get their jobs done and doing last minute tweaking here and there.

After hair and make up, I went to the wardrobe area to get dressed. Once I was dressed, and the stylist did a last check, I was escorted to the waiting room, where all the artistes appearing on that day would be sitting to wait for the show to begin. I was the earliest today, which made me feel good. I didn’t like being late since it usually lead to people referring to me as a diva, among other things.

I hooked up my mp3 player and just leaned back to relax. To relax is a real task for me today. I still can’t stop thinking about that Yuk Hee girl. I wonder if she’s gone back to Taiwan yet? Skye’s going to leave for Taipei tomorrow, and I can’t do anything but trust that he’s not going to cheat on me with her while he’s there. I know he would never betray me, but still… Yuk Hee makes me uncomfortable.

I took a deep breath and still kept my eyes closed. I was listening to Clazziquai, which was chill out music for me. I was very much into pop until I heard the version of ‘Insa’ that Jae Joong oppa did with Sierra onni and Clazziquai. I began to love the unconventional sounds that Clazziquai made with their music, and as much as I still love pop and R&B, I listen to Clazziquai when I need to relax.

I was deep in meditation when someone tapped my shoulder. I opened my eyes slowly and looked up.

“Hae Rin!” she smiled.

“Su Bin!” I exclaimed and stood up. “Omigod!”

Su Bin was my best friend back when I was a trainee with SM. She was the only person who stuck by me when the others shunned me because I’d gotten a contract with SM and a guaranteed debut. She’d left SM suddenly last year, and today is the first time I’ve seen her since then.

“What are you doing here?” I asked her.

“I’m on the show today,” she said.

“On the show? You’re in Eoduun Cheonsa?” I asked her.

“Yea… how’s that? We’re sort of rivals now,” she giggled.

Even though it did seem funny, and a little warped, I am not liking the idea of being pitted against my best friend, for popularity. She looked so different now, standing in front of me today. She used to be quiet and sweet, but there was an air of feminine power about her today. Was she still the same Su Bin I knew?

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Chapter 111: Cyber Love

The 4 of us looked at each other when we heard Isak’s question. We were racking our brains trying to think of the right answer to her question when Isak spoke.

Isak: Sierra… could this song be inspired by your breakup with Yun Ho? The fact that he was gone for so long, and you’ve now ended up with Jae Joong?

Sierra: Gosh, Isak… that was so long ago. That definitely wasn’t the inspiration for this song.

Isak: But it feels like they’re related… the song and the incident.

Hee Chul: I think all of us have a relationship that had ended and we’d move on. It’s unhealthy to dwell on it, and experts have said that for relationships, not including marriage, one should take about 3 months to mourn, then you move on.

Isak: Really?

Hee Chul: Yep.

Isak: So when did you go through such a relationship, Hee Chul?

Hee Chul: I guess you can say that I went through this with most of my failed relationships. Most people do. You end it or the other person ends it when there’s nothing left to salvage, and you move on. And if you love the person, you might wait for awhile, hopeful, but as time passes, you’ll realize you can’t keep waiting. This is what ‘Waiting for You’ is about.

Shoei: Well put, Hee Chul, I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Isak: So what’s happening after today? Where is S-Cube and Hee Chul headed?

Skye: I’ll be leaving for Taipei again, and Shoei back to Tokyo.

Hee Chul: I’ll be emceeing and working on more projects with Super Junior.

Sierra: And I will be preparing for my collaboration with Yun Ho, and I’ll be counting on your support when our single is launched.

Isak: We’re all looking forward to it. Are you going to let us in on the project today?

Sierra: You’ll be seeing some promotional videos on the television soon, so look out for them.

Isak: We will… What about Skye? Tell us more about your music program with Vanness Wu.

Skye: Well… it’s really been a challenge so far… living in a country where I hardly speak the language, but thankfully Vanness has been around to help me. He’s been a very good mentor.

Isak: I can imagine that Vanness had the same problem as you did when he first came to South Korea to work with Kangta.

Skye: Yes… he’s told me about the stuff he went through while in Korea, but I think he adapted pretty well, and I’m learning from him… how to adapt in Taiwan.

Isak: That’s great. What about you, Shoei? I bet you enjoy being back in Japan.

Shoei: Well… Tokyo isn’t really my home…

Isak: Ah yes… you’re from Kyoto.

Shoei: Right… but it still feels like being home, eating the food and speaking the language. Even the city smells different.

Isak: Smells different?

Shoei: It’s a quirky thing… but I always think that different places have a different odor in the air.

Isak: So what does Seoul smell like?

Shoei: I really can’t describe it… (laughs)

Isak: We heard you’re in Mika Nakashima’s new video…

Shoei: Yes…

Isak: How did it feel like, meeting her?

Shoei: I was a little awestruck, since she’s pretty famous, and she’s very talented and beautiful.

Isak: And your role is only to appear in the PV?

Shoei: Yes, and I’ve also been requested to attend the premier of her new album since I’m starring in the PV with her.

Isak: And this PV is scheduled for release next week?

Shoei: Yes, and I’ll be flying back to Tokyo in 2 days, in time for the release.

Isak: Would you consider going back to Japan as a singer someday? When your S-Cube days are over?

Shoei: We don’t even know for sure when S-Cube will be over. Better still, we hope that S-Cube will always exist, because nuna, Skye and I love being together as S-Cube

Sierra & Skye: Ne!

Hee Chul: Me too! (everyone laughs)

Isak: Hee Chul… you’ve been so quiet that we’ve almost forgotten about you.

Hee Chul: I was just being polite.

Isak: So what was it like for you, Hee Chul? To work with S-Cube.

Hee Chul: Enlightening…

Isak: How so? I know that Super Junior, TVXQ and S-Cube hang out together very often, so how it felt to be working with friends.

Hee Chul: We like to call ourselves family… (smiling) because at SM… most of us in SM, and you should know since you were also from SM… we’re really close-knit and we take care of each other. So I’d say that our relationship is like the kind siblings have.

Skye: Except for Jae Joong hyung and nuna… cos if they were siblings… (laughs loudly)

Hee Chul: We don’t wanna imagine that, Skye (rolls eyes)

Skye: Well… these things do happen…

Hee Chul: On KBS dramas they do… in real life… I’m not so sure.

Sierra: Yah… keumanhae… the two of you are taking up all the airtime with your squabbling.

Isak: So are you always the mother of the group during this whole collaboration project, Sierra?

Hee Chul: I’d say she was mostly an ajumma, more than a mother.

Isak: What’s the difference?

Shoei: A mother is more nurturing, and an ajumma just nags.

Sierra: Are you saying my nagging are for no good reason?

Skye: We all have our reasons… (winks)

Sierra: Watch it, kid…

Isak: Alright… let’s keep the family feud off camera (laughing). So do you guys have any future projects planned? Will we be seeing another collaboration between S-Cube and Hee Chul?

Sierra: Well… Hee Chul is a very talented rapper, and also a talented singer. Perhaps in our next collaboration, he can sing instead.

Skye: And I’ll rap!

Isak: Hee Chul?

Hee Chul: It was a pleasure, and a great experience working with S-Cube. They’re all talented singers and people with great character and caliber.

Sierra: Aww… Hee Chul… (reaches out to pat Hee Chul on the head)

Hee Chul: And despite us having our occasional disagreements and the times we annoy each other… I do hope that we will be able to work together again.

Skye: Group hug! (pulls everyone together; S-Cube and Hee Chul hug)

Isak: Aww… you guys are so sweet.

Shoei: We’re always sweet… (smiles)

Isak: Well… thank you for you time. It has been a great interview session.

S-Cube & Hee Chul: Ne!

Isak: Say goodbye everyone…

All: Annyeong! (waves)

“Phew…” Skye said. “That’s over.”

“Was it so difficult?” Isak laughed.

“No… but I was pretty tired already, and I had to be extra perky for the camera.”

“Yea… we could tell you were overdoing it for the camera,” Shoei said.

“Chintcha? Was it that obvious?” Skye asked and we all nodded solemnly.

“Let’s go,” Shoei yawned.

“See ya, Isak,” Hee Chul said.

“See ya,” Isak replied.

“Bye…” Skye and I said as we walked out.

“Bye,” she smiled and waved as we left.

After dinner, the guys decided to follow me back to TVXQ’s apartment. Initially they’d wanted to drop me off and head home, but decided to come along just for the heck of it. I punched in the code to unlock the door and stepped back so that the guys could barge in before me.

Skye rushed in and dived onto the couch, landing on top of Yoo Chun.

“What the hell…” Yoo Chun exclaimed.

“Yah!” Jun Su yelled and the both of them pushed Skye off the couch, onto the floor.

“Yah… appuh!” Skye whined.

“Hi kids,” I said as I walked in and stopped by the fray Skye had created in the living room. “Where’s appa?”

“In the workroom,” Jun Su laughed. “Hyung!” he greeted Hee Chul as Hee Chul plopped down on the armchair beside the couch.

“What are you guys watching?” Shoei asked as he leant onto the back of the sofa with his arms hanging over Jun Su and Yoo Chun, and his chin on top of the sofa.

“We got a new DVD today,” Jun Su said.

“Where’s Chang Min?” Skye asked.

“Playing some online game in the workroom,” Yoo Chun said.

I walked down the corridor outside their rooms and opened the door to the workroom discreetly. Yun Ho and Jae Joong both had their headphones on and were glued to their computer screens. I tiptoed behind Jae Joong and tapped him on the shoulder before ducking out of sight so that he couldn’t find me.

“What?” Jae Joong said as he turned to look at Yun Ho.

Yun Ho turned around and looked at Jae Joong with a puzzled expression.


“You tapped me,” Jae Joong said, and that’s when I came out of hiding.

“I didn’t,” Yun Ho said with a straight face, even when he saw me. “She did,” he said in a creepy voice, and he pointed at me.

Jae Joong practically jumped out of his skin when he realized I was there.

“Hi honey,” I said, and I hugged him.

“Yah… michoso… the both of you nearly scared me to death!” he exclaimed. “She did…” he imitated Yun Ho’s tone.

“I thought you’d guess it was her,” Yun Ho laughed.

“I was so disorientated from focusing on the screen… you think my brain would work that fast?”

“Aaa… Chagiya… mianhae…” I said sweetly as I massaged his shoulder.

“Is that all I get? A massage?” he smiled cheekily.

“I think I’ll leave you guys alone,” Yun Ho said and he stood up to walk out of the room.

As he opened the door, we heard a shriek.

“Who was that?” Jae Joong said, surprised.

“I’ll find out,” Yun Ho laughed as he closed the door.

As soon as the door closed, Jae Joong pulled me into his lap and hugged me.

“Pogoshipo…” he sighed.

“Are you sure? I thought you were busy having fun while I was gone,” I said.

“I had fun… but I still missed you.”

“Kojimal…” I said as I pretended to stab his eyes.

“Chintcharo… I wouldn’t lie to you. I’m afraid of getting killed.”

“You’d better be afraid,” I laughed, and leaned in to kiss him.

“Did you miss me?” he asked when we pulled apart.

“I’ll tell you later,” I smiled, and he frowned at me, then pretend to shove me off his lap. “Hajima…” I giggled, and he laughed with me.

“You’re torturing me from the moment you come back.”

“Isn’t that my job?” I smiled. “I’m gonna go shower and go to bed,” I yawned.

“I need to finish up here. See you in a bit,” he said as he tilted his head up, and I leant down for a kiss.

“Don’t be late,” I said as I walked out.

“Araso…” he smiled.

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Chapter 110: Last Zone

We’re at Inch’eon, our last stop for our tour to promote the new single. Inch’eon is another metropolitan city like all the others we’d promoted in and it is also a major seaport on the west coast of South Korea. In fact, Inch’eon is regarded as part of the greater Seoul metropolitan area because it was very close to Seoul, and that’s why it was also our last destination of our promotional tour since it was convenient for us to zip back and make it on time for a show taping we had at the end of today.

“Wassup Inch’eon!” Shoei shouted as we ran onto the stage they’d erected within the grounds of Inha University in Inch’eon.

An impressive crowd had assembled in front of the stage, probably consisting of some of the fans who’d traveled here from Seoul. Blue-silver balloons were seen everywhere, and there was even a mini hot air balloon which was made of blue and silver stripes at the corner of the field they’d set up the stage on.

“Inch’eon is the last destination of our nationwide tour, and we couldn’t be prouder of the turnout today,” I said.

“Ye… we’d like to thank SM for giving us the opportunity to do this tour, cos if we didn’t, we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to get closer to our fans,” Skye added, amidst squealing from his fans.

“Let’s not forget the Super Junior fans too,” Hee Chul piped in.

“You mean Hee Chul’s fans,” I laughed.

“Them too,” he said, and the crowd screamed his name.

“Let’s get on with our first song,” I said. “I know this song is already seriously overplayed over the years, but it was without any doubt the best song we had, and today, we get to sing it with another great rapper since Jun Jin isn’t around…” the crowd cheered at the reference to Jun Jin’s name, since they recognized which song it was already.

“Yeoreobun, we give you… 'Ghosts'!” we announced together.

Hee Chul: This is Hee Chul, baby, puttin’ it in for S-Cube…
Sierra baby… do your thing…

Sierra: I turned around as I felt your presence
I was disappointed when I saw, there was no one there
I continued to walk and I heard you whisper
The ghosts of our past are haunting me, haunting me

Skye: I was walking in a crowd when I saw you
Standing right in the middle, as people passed by
I called your name and all at once you disappeared
The ghosts of our past are driving me mad, driving me mad

Shoei: Why can’t I exorcise these thoughts away
They’re driving me to insanity,
Why do they torture me
Sierra: I scream in silence as the ghosts ravage my mind
I wish I can end this torture by ending my life

S-Cube: I wish you didn’t walk away
Without a word, without a care
The memories we shared are suffocating me
Only if you came back, you’d be able to save me

I wish you didn’t walk away
Without a word, without a care
The times we spent together keep reminding me
Only if you came back, you’d be able to save me

Hee Chul: Yeah~ yeah~ here we go…
The ghosts of our pasts just won’t go away
How much more do I need to beg
For you to come back, to stay
Only you can save my sanity, baby
Only you can cure me
Without you I’d go mad
As I drown in my screams

Shoei: Why can’t I exorcise you from my head
You’re driving me mad, you’re torturing me
Sierra: I scream in silence as your ghosts ravage my mind
Stop haunting me, I beg you, if you’re not coming back
Skye: Just take my life, and end this right now

S-Cube:I wish you didn’t walk away
Without a word, without a care
The memories we shared are suffocating me
Only if you came back, you’d be able to save me

I wish you didn’t walk away
Without a word, without a care
The times we spent together keep reminding me
Only if you came back, you’d be able to save me

Hee Chul: You heard me, baby…
Come back to me

The audience cheered wildly as the song ended and the four of us bowed.

“Kamsahamnida!” we said as we took our bows at the 3 sides of the stage where the audience crowded.

“Since this is the last destination of our little tour, we’ve decided to give you a little entertainment,” Hee Chul said.

“Who wants some entertainment?” Skye shouted, and we could hear lots of screaming.

“Actually… the entertainers today will be the guys,” I added. “So without much ado, here’s the special performance for today. I give you… Skye, Shoei and Hee Chul!”

Music to a famous children song, ‘the tadpole’ started playing, and the 3 of them did this really goofy dance that got the crowd screaming with laughter. As the song progressed halfway, the beat changed to a strong Hip Hop beat and the guys changed their stance and each jumped into a ‘freeze’, which is a breakdance technique of holding a pose, whether balancing on hands, elbow or head. Everyone clapped and whooped when that happened, and the song changed into Ice Cube’s ‘You Can Do It’ and they started dancing in unison. At every interval, they’d all stop and pose and there was even a bit where Skye did the ‘windmill’, and Shoei did the ‘caterpillar’.

The song eventually ended with a bang, as always, and they each ended their routine with a ‘suicide’, which meant they’d do a flip or a pose and end up falling on the ground. It looks really painful, but when done by a pro, the main is minimal or almost non-existent. The last time I attempted to learn such moves, I ended up black and blue all over.

“I don’t think you’re cut out for it, Sierra,” Lex oppa told me. “You really need that lower body strength.”

After that, I gave up trying to learn freezes and suicides, in case I broke anything for real, and that meant that I'd be stereotyped as a ‘style-head’ since I focused more on choreography and sharp execution of it, while Skye and Shoei were able to alternate from ‘style-head’ to ‘power-head’. ‘Power-head’ referred to those who specialize in gymnastics and forgo the focus on the neatness of choreography. For today’s performance, they did a mixture of both choreography and simply showing off their moves, which was usually how the audience liked it. The ‘freeze’ bits and ‘power moves’, like Skye’s ‘windmill’, they did today were all unplanned. They decided what they wanted to do there and then.

“Whoo!” I jumped in front of the guys who were still in position on the ground and they started to get up slowly. The three of them were breathing heavily. “Was that some entertainment or what?” I asked the crowd, and they cheered.

“Kamsahamnida…” Shoei said breathlessly into the microphone as soon as he received it from the stagehand.

“Did you like that?” I asked the crowd and I could hear a few scattered ‘Ne’.

“Aww… come on…” Skye said. “Is that all we get for such a great performance? Or did you think we were bad? Did you like it?” Skye shouted.

“Ne!” the crowd shouted loudly in reply this time.

“Good… cos now we’re gonna sing the song everyone’s here for today,” Hee Chul said.

“This is ‘Waiting for You’,” Shoei said and the music started playing.

Shoei: My mind tells me to go
But my heart says stay,
You’ll never know

Skye: Won’t you tell me to stay
Ask me again tomorrow,
and I may not be there

Hee Chul: Battle after battle, we fight each day
Every night before I go to bed for you, I pray
Do you still need me, baby, the way you used to
Tell me quick, baby, for I still love you
Let’s have it out, let’s pick it up, where we left off
Don’t play with me, honey, for you I care for
I don’t have much time, for us to play around
If you truly love me, then just say it out loud

Sierra: Baby turn back, if you don’t know what lies ahead
Don’t go too far, or you may be lost forever
Tried to tell you, no matter what you do, you’ll have my love
But time does not permit, baby I may not be waiting for you

Skye: My plane takes off in an hour
I kept waiting for you,
But you never showed up

Shoei: When I woke up this morning
I was suddenly reminded
that you belonged to me no more

Hee Chul: I look around, don’t see you there
I tried to pretend that I didn’t care
But I feel so lost, I feel so sad
You were the kind of love I wanted to have
Pick myself up and walk again
I swore to myself it wasn’t the end
Each day is a new day in this world without you
No matter what happened I’m grateful for you

Sierra: Baby turn back, if you don’t know what lies ahead
Don’t go too far, or you may be lost forever
Tried to tell you, no matter what you do, you’ll have my love
But time does not permit, baby I may not be waiting for you

Sierra: Baby turn back, if you don’t know what lies ahead
[Shoei: Baby, yeah…]
Don’t go too far, or you may be lost forever
[Skye: Forever…]
Tried to tell you, no matter what you do, you’ll have my love
[Shoei: You’ll have my love]
Sierra: But time does not permit, baby I may not be waiting for you
[Skye and Shoei: Waiting for you]

After singing ‘Waiting for You’, we had out autograph signing session. The fans lined up to get our signatures, pictures taken with us, and some of the girls asked for hugs from the guys and from me as well. Some of the fans came bearing gifts for us. There were stuffed toys, wrapped up packages, flowers and some offered us food and beverages, which we set aside for later. Ever since Yun Ho’s incident with the anti-fan, we’ve been instructed to never consume food given by fans immediately without first inspecting it. Instead of tossing them out immediately, we put them aside and we’d check them before we consumed them later on.

It was almost 6pm by the time we started packing up. The 4 of us sat in the van with the doors open while waiting for Shi Kyung hyung to wrap things up before we headed to our next destination, an interview taping at Arirang, which would be aired on one of the coming episodes of Pops in Seoul. Interviewing us is VJ Isak. In case no one remembers, Isak was one half of the duo, Isak N Jiyeon, created by SM. Jiyeon is now Lina of TSZX, and Isak is now a VJ and DJ for Arirang TV and she also emcees for other cable television programs.

Initially, they’d planned to come to Inch’eon to interview us as it is more common for them to interview us on location, but since we wanted to head back to Seoul earlier, we asked to be interviewed at the Arirang studios.

“Welcome, welcome!” Isak said as soon as we walked into this small waiting room where they were interviewing us.

“Hi Isak!” I greeted her.

I’d met Isak on several occasions and have managed to have short conversations with her. Sometimes it’s a bit hard for me to imagine that she’s younger than me; 2 years to be exact. She always seemed a bit more mature to me, probably because of the years she spent in the entertainment business. She’s a great VJ, and I say that because ever since she replaced VJ Julie on Pops in Seoul, I’ve started watching it again. VJ Julie put me off because she was so stiff, and there was nothing personable about her.

“Hey Sierra,” she greeted me in English. “How’s it going?”

“Same old,” I smiled. “So this is the setup?”

“Pretty much,” she said. “Hey guys!”

“Isak…” Hee Chul drawled. “Wassup momma!”

“I ain’t your momma,” Isak replied, and that cracked us up.

After getting our makeup touched up, the 4 of us squeezed onto the longer couch in the room, while Isak sat in the armchair beside us.

“Ready?” she asked us, and we nodded.

“Action,” the producer called out.

Isak: Hey there! This is VJ Isak and I am here now with this season’s hottest R&B act, S-Cube, and a special addition to their latest project, Hee Chul of Super Junior.

S-Cube & Hee Chul: Annyeong haseyo! (bowing)

Sierra: S-Cube-ui, Sierra-imnida.

Skye: S-Cube-ui, Skye-imnida.

Shoei: S-Cube-ui, Shoei-imnida.

Hee Chul: S... I mean, Super Junior-ui, Hee Chul-imnida. (everyone laughs)

Skye: I knew it… you want so much to join us permanently, don’t you?

Hee Chul: You wish…

Isak: So… I understand that you guys have just completed your weeklong nationwide tour for the single, ‘Waiting for You’. Tell us a bit more about it.

Skye: ‘Waiting for You’ is a song that all 4 of us wrote together.

Sierra: I wrote the rap, which is a first for me.

Hee Chul: And us guys wrote the rest.

Isak: So what’s the meaning of the song? I’ve seen the MV and it looks rather serious and pensive.

Hee Chul: I’m gonna explain the meaning in the first person perspective, so please imagine I’m the only one singing this song. (laughs) This song is about telling this person that I love, or loved that as much as I love her, I can’t wait forever, and even though it’s difficult, eventually, I will have to get over her.

Sierra: Yep… that’s about it. So it’s like, ‘if you love me, then you’d better not be playing with me now, cos eventually, I will forget about you… I will try to forget about you’.

Isak: Anyone in particular in your life who inspired this song?

[To be continued…]

Sunday, 5 August 2007

Chapter 109: L.O.V.E

[Skye’s POV]

I walked out of the room as the program ended. Today had been eventful and I was ready to go to bed, but first, I had to call Hae Rin. I’d only had yesterday night to spend with her, and it felt like I hadn’t come back at all.

“It’s me,” I said as soon as the call was connected.

“I saw you on Sound Bites,” she said.

“Did I look okay?” I asked her.

“Is that all you think about?” she giggled.

“Kinda,” I laughed.

“Tired?” she asked me.

“A little,” I said. “I’ll head back to my room after this.”

“Where are you now?”

“We’re all in nuna’s room, watching TV.”

“I see,” she said and was silent for a moment. “You know…” she started. “Seeing you just for that few hours yesterday… it feels as if you never came back from Taiwan,” she laughed softly.

“Arayo…” I said. “I miss you too.”

“Skye…” she said. “There’s something else I wanted to ask you about.”


“Have you seen the tabloids today?”

“No I haven’t. I was traveling and performing all day. What’s wrong? Is it something about nuna again?”

“No… it’s you. There’s this photo of you walking out of the arrival hall, with a girl hanging on your arm.”

“What?” I exclaimed.

“Who is she, Skye?”

“I really didn’t think they’d put that in the tabloids.”

“Well they did, so who is she?” she said, and I could sense she was getting impatient.

“That’s Yuk Hee,” I said.

“So you know her?”

“She’s a childhood friend of mine. I met her in Taiwan and we decided to fly back together.”

“Looking at the photo, you guys looked more like a couple just returning from their honeymoon.”

“Don’t say that, Hae Rin. You know it’s not true. I’d never betray you like that.”

“I’m just saying… that’s how it looked to me.”

“So what would you have me do? Do you want me to send our photos to the tabloids so that they know it’s you I love? Are you willing to put your career on the line just to quell your jealousy?”

“Mian… I was a little…”

“It’s alright,” I said. “Just have a little more faith in me, in us. Okay?”

“Araso…” she sighed. “So does she know you have a girlfriend?”

“I told her about you. She knows I’m very serious about you.”


“How was your day?”

“Same old… they’re working on a new song for me, and I have to dance in the new MV.”

“That should be fun… since you’ve been singing mostly ballads for so long.”

“I guess…” she said. “You know… you should go to bed. It’s almost 12am.”

“Yea… I’ll wash up and go to bed. I’ll call you tomorrow night?”

“Ne,” she said, and there was another moment of silence on both sides.

“Hae Rin-ah…” I said.

“O…” she replied.

“Saranghae,” I said.

“Saranghae,” she replied, and I could hear a hint of happiness in her voice.

I opened the glass door that closed off the balcony and the room, and walked in. Hee Chul hyung and Shoei had gone back to their room.

“They went to bed?” I asked nuna.

“Yea,” she answered. She was already in her pajamas and toweling-dry her hair, which meant they had left sometime ago. “You look troubled. What’s up?”

“Hae Rin saw a photo of me and Yuk Hee in the tabloids today.”

“You and Yuk Hee? Was it taken at the airport?”

“Yep,” I said as I flopped onto her bed. “She sounds upset.”

“Well… she was kinda hanging on you. Even we were a little agog when we saw the both of you together.”

“I could hardly shove her off me, right?”

“Hmm… does Yuk Hee know you’re dating Hae Rin?”

“She knows. I told her on the plane.”

“Do you think Yuk Hee likes you?”

“Come on, nuna! We’re just childhood friends. It’s platonic.”

“What if she doesn’t think so?” she said as she hung up her towel on the rack in the bathroom.

“What do you mean?” I asked her.

“You know… since you both had such a bond when you were younger, she might want to rekindle the relationship and make it something more.”

“That’s crazy!” I exclaimed.

“That could be what she was thinking. You should know what Hae Rin was like back when she was obsessed with Jae Joong. Why would Yuk Hee be different?”

“I just don’t think it’s possible.”

“Skye… you’re no longer Skye Jang Kyu Jin from Kwangju. You’re Skye of S-Cube now… you shouldn’t be surprised if girls throw themselves at you; even those who used to laugh at you or ignored you when you were a kid,” she explained.

“Keundae… ottoke!” I yelled in frustration as I covered my face with a pillow.

“Stay away from Yuk Hee. That’s the safest route. Don’t allow her to even imagine she has a shot at you.”

“You seem to be speaking from a very personal point of view,” I laughed.

“I am…”

“Does this have anything to do with what Hae Rin did in the past?”

“It does. But I know Hae Rin is true to you now. You’d better be true to her too.”

“I am!” I protested. “What makes you think I’m not?”

“Don’t blame me… people would generally see you as a playboy, even if we don’t.”

“Nuna…” I whined. “How can you say that about me?”

“Just telling you the truth.”

If that was what nuna thought the world thinks of me, I wonder how warped Yuk Hee’s perception of me would be. Do I really need to sever ties with her? Have I really been giving her the wrong signals?

[Hae Rin’s POV]

I hung up the phone and tossed it aside. It’s been another taxing day at work, coupled with me seeing that stupid photo in the tabloids. I’d been holding it in the whole day, waiting for Skye to call before I could ask him about it since he didn’t have the time to call me or answer my calls for the whole day.

I used to think that I could only love 1 person, and that was Jae Joong oppa, but Skye changed everything. I could feel my feelings for him grow deeper and deeper as the days go by, even though we hardly had time to see each other. Still, that would be only part of whole picture of our problems. The main issue wasn’t really our schedule, but the fact that we had to keep our relationship a secret, for me. Skye’s career will not suffer much if he has a girlfriend, but for me, since I was a newcomer, and still building my fan base, I couldn’t afford to reveal my personal relationship with Skye to the world. That, and the fact that my manager, Ryu Ji Tae, will kill me for that.

I owe Ji Tae oppa the world. He was the one who saw the star in me and worked hard to make sure I graduated from SM Academy and secured me a contract with SM. If it wasn’t for his faith in me, I’d still be a trainee, or someone’s backup dancer. I never listened to anyone’s instructions other than his, but this time, I had another instruction to follow… my heart’s.

It’s still unexpected how Skye won over me with his sincerity, and now that I feel that this Yuk Hee girl is threatening our relationship, I finally know how Sierra onni felt when I had designs on Jae Joong oppa. Even if you’re pretty confident that this girl has nothing on you, it’s still hard to sit back and just let it play out or go away. You’d want to do something to stake your claim. How do I do that?

I sat up and slid to the edge of my bed, then I opened my bedside drawer and took out a box, in it was a locket. Skye had given the locket to me on our 100th day.

“Igot mwoya?” I asked him when he thrust the package at me.

He’d asked me to meet him on the rooftop of the studios’ building.

“What do you think? Seunmul, of course,” he laughed. “It’s for you.”

“Yea… what’s inside?” I asked him.

“Aigoo… just open it,” he said. “Like this,” he added as he reached out and ripped open a corner of the package for me.

“Araso… araso…” I laughed and I continued where he’d left off.

The first layer of paper was off, and beneath it was… another layer of wrapper.

“What the…” I said and he laughed.

“It’s to add to the suspense,” he said.

“This is so not environmentally friendly, and a waste of time,” I complained.

“Yaa… where’s your sense of adventure?”

I ripped the next wrapper open to find another layer waiting. The package, at this moment, was the size of a brick. I wondered just how many more layers did I have to go?

“Jang Kyu Jin!” I yelled at him and tossed the package at him. “You can unwrap it, or I’m not accepting it.”

“Hae Rin-ah… how can you do this? It’s our 100th day! Must you spoil the romantic purpose of the gift?”

“You spoilt it by wrapping the gift with a hundred layers of wrapping paper!” I protested. “Shiro… I’m not gonna unwrap it myself,” I said with a stomp, for effect.

“Araso… araso…” he grumbled and started unwrapping the gift himself.

After, literally, a hundred layers of wrapping paper ripped off and strewn all over the floor, he finally handed me a velvet box; the gift itself.

“Komawo,” I smiled sweetly as I accepted it, and I kissed him on the cheek.

“Is that all I get?”

“You were close to getting nothing with that stunt you’d just pulled,” I said as I stuck out my tongue.

I opened the box and inside was a locket. A triangular locket engraved with our names on it, in Hangeul; 규진(Kyu Jin) and 해린(Hae Rin). The idea was a little cheesy, but I loved the locket anyway. Inside was a black and white photo of the two of us that we’d taken sometime back. He was kissing my cheek, his eyes looking at the camera, and I was laughing, my mouth wide open and eyes scrunched closed because he was actually tickling me when the photo was taken.

“I love it,” I said as I turned to him. “Komapda,” I said as I leaned towards him and kissed him on the lips.

I was sitting on a railing and he was standing beside me when I kissed him, and he wrapped his arms around my waist to pull me closer so that I leant on him. I’ll never forget that kiss, even if it wasn’t the first. It was one of the most romantic occasions we’d ever experience.

I lay back on the bed and swung the pendant on its chain like a pendulum, willing it to hypnotize me into forgetting about today, about how much it hurt to imagine Skye would leave me for another girl. She was pretty, and tall… not that I’m not pretty. I know that I’m pretty, but something about her screams uljjang. She could easily get popular if she had the right connections and opportunity. She could easily work her charm on Skye if his love for me isn’t as strong as I thought it was.

I slowly drifted to sleep, a dreamless slumber… the next morning, I woke up feeling more tired than ever, but I had to toughen up and face the day. There’s no room for self-pity when you’re a kasu. You either move on, or get left behind.

[Yuk Hee’s POV]

I roamed the stores alone today, and shopped like crazy to cure my boredom. As I walked past a music store, I saw S-Cube’s new MV playing on the huge LCD screens at the display window. Skye looked hot as usual, and I couldn’t help but wish I could see him again at that moment. He’ll be gone for the week, and by the end of this week, he’d be heading back to Taipei. Maybe I’ll go back with him, and work from there.

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Chapter 108: 노을(You...)

The lights brightened as the MV ended, and all those present started clapping, and some were whooping.

“Ye… That was S-Cube and Hee Chul’s new single, ‘Waiting for You’. I understand you will be performing it live at the end of today’s event?” the emcee looked at us.

“Ne,” I said as I leant into the microphone in front of me, and there was another round of enthusiastic applause.

“Right… Before we continue with the autograph session, we’ll have a Q&A session with S-Cube and Hee Chul. Earlier on, we’ve asked those present to fill out their names on numbered papers we’ve provided and we shall do a draw to determine who should be given the chance to ask S-Cube a question. After the event, these lucky few should come forward and you will receive a special poster autographed by S-Cube and Hee Chul, so listen out carefully for your number… the first number is 104… 104.”

A girl raised her hand and was handed one of the many cordless microphones that the assistants are holding. They’ve positioned them around the crowd so that they could facilitate the Q&A session.

“Annyeong haseyo,” the girl greeted, and the 4 of us greeted her in return. “My question is for Hee Chul oppa,” she said, and Skye started poking Hee Chul and smiling suggestively, which made the girl laugh nervously.

“Ne,” Hee Chul said into the microphone. “Your question.”

“Who’s your favorite member in S-Cube and why do you like him/her the most?” she said, and we all turned to look at Hee Chul, eliciting laughter from everyone.

“Yah… Hee Chul… who do you like better?” I said.

“It’s me, isn’t it, hyung,” Skye said as he wrapped an arm around Hee Chul’s shoulders.

“Erm…” Hee Chul started. “The S-Cube member I like best… would have to be Shoei,” he said.

“Why?” the emcee asked.

“He doesn’t say a lot… he doesn’t bug me. He lets me have peaceful times… unlike the other two,” he laughed, and everyone laughed with him. “Is my answer alright?” he asked the girl.

“Ne. It’s good,” she smiled and returned the microphone to the assistant.

“Okay… that was a fun question. Next number is 43,” the emcee announced. “Another young lady…” he said as another girl raised her hand holding her paper with the number. “What’s your question agasshi?”

“Can you tell us about a difficult experience you faced while filming the MV for this single?” she said.

“Hmm… difficult experience,” Skye said. “What was difficult?”

“I think the last part there,” I piped in. “The part on the platform.”

“Oh yea…” Hee Chul said. “That was difficult.”

“How so?” the emcee asked.

“Well…” Shoei said. “I know it looks fine, but the platform wasn’t very stable. We could move a little and all, but we were told not to jump or whatever, and it wasn’t really wide, so it was pretty scary. We could’ve fallen into the water.”

“No one fell?” the emcee asked.

“Skye nearly fell,” Hee Chul said.

“Being the monkey he is,” I laughed.

“Yah…” Skye exclaimed. “I didn’t almost fall. I was just kidding with you guys.”

“Sure you were,” Shoei said. “And your face looking deathly pale after that was just the makeup, right?” he laughed, and we all laughed with him, except for Skye.

“Next question please,” I laughed into the microphone, and the emcee drew another number from the box.

“233,” he announced, and this time, a guy raised his hand.

“This is for Sierra,” he said, and the guys started nudging each other, as if it were the most interesting thing to have happened today. “Will you marry me?” he said, and laughed, “I was joking,” he smiled, and everyone laughed.

“Please don’t do that again,” I said, pretending to sound like I was short of breath. “You almost gave me a heart attack.”

“Ne,” he smiled. “My question is… being the only girl in this band, and having to work with one more guy apart from Skye and Shoei… is it taxing?”

“You mean physically or mentally?” I asked him.

“Both…” he laughed.

“Keunyang…” I started. “Working with 2 guys is never easy, but since Shoei is a good boy, and Skye is… well… the opposite, they cancel out each other’s negatives. Throw Hee Chul into the fray, and you have an imbalance,” I smiled.

“And on which side does Hee Chul tip the scale?”

“Well… it depends,” I said. “Some days he’s all business, so he makes the atmosphere a bit more somber. Some days he goes nuts, and he makes the atmosphere lighter. But when he teams up with Skye… you can imagine the mayhem they cause,” I laughed.

“So does he make things more taxing for you?”

“I don’t think so,” I smiled. “I’m Sierra,” I said. “I hold my own against them… be they men, or boys.”

Upon hearing my last statement, Skye and Hee Chul stuck their tongues out at me.

“Don’t listen to her,” Skye said. “I’m a very professional kasu.”

“She’s the one who’s always fooling around and disrupting our work,” Hee Chul said.

“Do you think that’s true?” the emcee asked the crowd, and his question was met with a resounding ‘No!’.

“See! People believe in me,” I laughed as I clapped my hands. “Yeoreobun… kamsahamnida!” I stood up and bowed while the crowd cheered for me.

“Alright! Let’s not waste precious time… next question will come from No. 135! Yes, the agasshi in the pink dress.”

“This is a question for Shoei,” the girl said shyly. “Why don’t we ever hear rumors of you having a girlfriend?”

“That’s because I don’t have one,” Shoei replied coolly.

“Chintcha?” the emcee exclaimed. “Ein opso?”

“Opseumnida,” Shoei said.

“Shoei’s very focused on his career now,” Skye interjected. “If he ever wants a girlfriend, we can probably have a special competition on television where we allow girls to audition and fight to be his girlfriend, ne?”

“Ne…” Shoei laughed.

“Shoei! Aishiteiru!” someone shouted from the crowd, and we all laughed.

“Aishiteiru,” Shoei replied, and the person squealed in delight.

“What about you Skye?” the emcee asked. “You’re teasing Shoei… but what about you? We’ve heard lots of whisperings about you having a girlfriend, but up till now, no one has guessed who she is.”

“Keugo… Skye chintcha paramdung-i,” I said, and everyone laughed. “He’s seen with so many different girls, so you’ll never know which the real girlfriend is.”

“It’s just my tactic to keep you all in suspense,” Skye said.

“So are you saying that you do have a girlfriend?” Hee Chul said.

“No… I didn’t say that… you can keep guessing,” Skye said, and everyone let out exclamations of disappointment.

“And here I thought we were on to a huge exposé today,” the emcee laughed.

Time passed on, and we were finally at the last question of the session.

“So the last question will be from No. 333, nice number,” the emcee announced. “333, where are you?”

“That would be me,” a familiar voice said, and I wasn’t surprised to see who it was… Jae Joong.

“Yong-ung Jae Joong!” the emcee exclaimed and we could hear squeals from the crowd.

“Ne!” he smiled. “Pangapseumnida…”

“I’ve so often heard of you appearing at album launches to support Sierra, but this is the first time I’ve witnessed it myself,” the emcee said.

“Then you should buy yourself a lottery ticket today,” Jae Joong smiled.

“That’s so typical of you, Jae Joong,” Hee Chul exclaimed. “You even picked your favorite numbers.”

“I picked my ticket, but it was still luck that the emcee picked mine,” Jae Joong smiled.

“Let’s not get sidetracked,” the emcee said. “Jae Joong… what’s your question?”

“My question is a question I’ve wanted to ask for a long, long time, but I know that if I asked Sierra in person, she would brush me off. Here, she can’t,” he smiled mischievously.

“Kim Jae Joong,” I said. “What do you think you’re doing?”

“Please continue Jae Joong,” the emcee cut me off.

“Here’s my question… if I were to ask you to marry me, and because of contractual issues, you’d have to quit S-Cube if you married me, would you?”

The moment Jae Joong asked his question, the whole room became silent, and everyone waited, all eyes trained on me as they anticipated my answer.

“Yah… what kind of question is that?” I said.

“You see,” Jae Joong smiled. “I knew she’d try to brush it off.”

“Hyung,” Shoei piped in. “How can you ask her to choose between us all? You know how much she loves both S-Cube and you.”

“You know what?” I said. “I have my answer ready.”

“Ne,” the emcee said. “What’s your answer, Sierra?”

“Until I’m ready to quit S-Cube, I won’t marry anyone,” I said, and the fans started to applause. “If you love me that much, you’ll wait for me, Jae Joong. Ne?”

Jae Joong looked straight at me, and he smiled.

“Ne,” he replied, and the applause became louder.

He handed the microphone the assistant standing by, and started to weave his way through the crowd to approach the table. He walked up to me and I stood up to face us, with the table between us both. Then he reached out and pulled me into a hug amidst deafening the applause.

“Good answer,” he whispered into my ear.

“You’re crazy,” I laughed.

“I had nothing better to do, and I missed you. You’re gonna be gone for a week,” he said.

“Michoso…” I said as I pulled away, and I poked him on the forehead.

“Don’t worry,” he addressed the crowd. “I’m not taking her away so soon. She belongs with S-Cube… for now.”

“I’m wondering,” the emcee said as he faced Jae Joong and me. “Is this a publicity stunt devised by your company?”

“Animida,” Jae Joong laughed as he shook his head. “This is just me having nothing better to do today.”

“I see,” the emcee laughed. “We look forward to more days like this in the future.”

Jae Joong left after that and the autograph session commenced. During the sessions, I received lots of comments from our fans.

“You shouldn’t let him go, Sierra,” a girl told me. “Jae Joong is a good man. Make sure you marry him.”

“Onni!” another said. “If I were you, I’d just marry Jae Joong oppa now and stay home for him all day.”

Most of them encouraged me to marry Jae Joong, but some did tell me I made the right choice.

“You did the right thing, onni… I can’t imagine you not singing with S-Cube and staying home to be just Jae Joong’s wife.”

Later that evening, after a few more appearances in Seoul and traveling all the way to Taejon, we were all lazing in front of the hotel room television watching the coverage of our first appearance today on Sound Bites, a new entertainment program hosted by newcomers, Choi Na Yung and Park Kwon Je.

Park Kwon Je: Annyeong haseyo, Park Kwon Je-imnida.

Choi Na Yung: Annyeong haseyo, Choi Na Yung-imnida.

Both: It’s time for Sound Bites!

The program continued with various entertainment news and the last one of the day was the coverage of our launch event earlier today.

Choi Na Yung: This is the hottest news today… S-Cube and Hee Chul’s single launch.

Park Kwon Je: Ne… S-Cube and Hee Chul of Super Junior were present at the first appearance of their single, ‘Waiting for You’, launch early today and if there was one way to describe the whole affair, it would be one of a kind.

Choi Na Yung: How so?

Park Kwon Je: Well, as usual, S-Cube had really interesting and fun answers to the questions the fans had, not matter how difficult they were, and the icing on the cake was the appearance of Yong-ung Jae Joong of TVXQ.

Choi Na Yung: Whoaa!! I wish I was there! But since we couldn’t be, let’s check out some footage of the event we’d managed to obtain.

Cuts of our interview session were shown with vocal narration in the background, then the footage zoomed in on the scene where the emcee was asking Jae Joong if his presence was a publicity stunt.

Choi Na Yung: You know… this is not the first time Jae Joong has showed up at such promotional events, and everyone can’t help wondering if he’s doing this willingly or at the instruction of the management.

Park Kwon Je: Sierra and Jae Joong are the most public celebrity couple in the business. It’s a little baffling because most of the celebrities, even after announcing their relationship, would try to keep their displays of affection and such private.

Choi Na Yung: We’ve relayed the question to SM and their representative has reported that the management has never intervened regarding their relationship and Jae Joong’s choice of appearing at such events are entirely his own.

Park Kwon Je: So they didn’t even suggest it to him?

Choi Na Yung: Nope. It seems Jae Joong is just being a devoted and supportive boyfriend. How I wish I had one…

Park Kwon Je: I could be the one.

Choi Na Yung smacks Park Kwon Je with her cue cards.

Choi Na Yung: We look forward to seeing more good things about Sierra and Jae Joong. They are a constant reminder to everyone that love is so powerful and important in our lives. Really, Sierra, you should marry him already. Don’t let him get away.

Park Kwon Je: Gosh… you’re making me tear now… I feel so lonely.

Choi Na Yung: You can’t blame anyone but yourself for being alone.

Park Kwon Je: You know… you don’t have to be so forward… you’re hurting me…

Choi Na Yung: Ara… ara… this is Choi Na Yung.

Park Kwon Je: And I’m Park Kwon Je… Tune in tomorrow for more updates from Sound Bites!

Both: Annyeong!