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.
“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?