The MV finally ended, and the crew applauded. Yun Ho and I stood up and clapped our hands with them, bowing, and thanking them for their efforts.
“Komapseumnida,” we said at interval as we bowed.
“Everyone is invited for some refreshments in the next room,” the producer said as the applause died down. “Sugohaseyo,” he added before he walked out.
“Kaja,” Yun Ho said as he stood beside me and waited for me to get up from my seat.
I got up from my seat and he held me lightly by my elbow as we walked out of the room.
A small conference room had been set up with food and drinks. We walked towards the buffet and Yun Ho picked up a plate and handed it to me. I picked up some mini kimbap and some cold glass noodles mixed with vegetables.
“That’s all you’re eating,” Yun Ho asked me as we huddled in a corner with our plates.
“You know me,” I smiled. “Picky…”
“And you’re gonna go home and have instant ramyun?” he said.
“Might not,” I said as I slurped the noodles. “I should go on a diet. Ever since Yoo Chun’s birthday, it’s like I’ve caught the glutton bug.”
“I’ve been eating non-stop since then. I keep snacking. I’m gonna get really huge if I keep this up.”
“Not if you spend enough hours in the gym,” he said as he chewed his food.
“You know I’m not into the gym, or yoga… or any exercise…”
“You dance…” he pointed out.
“Dancing is different. It’s not exercise to me cos I like doing it.”
“So you should increase your training hours,” he smiled.
“Don’t you dare,” I wagged my finger at him when I saw the glint in his eye. “If my training hours are increased, I’ll know it’s you behind it.”
“Araso…” he laughed. “I was just thinking it was a good idea since you loved dancing so much.”
“I love it… so don’t kill my love for it,” I said.
“Sure…” he smiled and sipped his drink.
We’d just finished filming another episode of Now Music, and we’re packing up for the day.
“Yo, Skye!” Vanness called out as he walked towards me. “Did Yuk Hee call you?”
“Nope,” I said. “My phone was off.”
“Dinner at her place, tonight,” he said.
Ever since I came back to Taiwan, we’d been having lots of dinners with Yuk Hee. Most of the time I obliged was because Vanness was interested in her. I was trying my best to keep my distance to avoid her further misunderstanding our relationship.
“If you want, I can skip it, then you can spend some quality time with her,” I joked.
“Would you?” he exclaimed happily. “You’d do that for me?” he said. “Aww… bro…” he added, and hugged me.
“Yea… I’d be crazy, if I believed you,” he laughed. “So are we leaving yet?”
“Sure,” I said.
He didn’t know how much I’d wanted to get out of tonight’s dinner.
“Skye! Vanness!” Yuk Hee smiled when she opened the door.
“Why is it always Skye before Vanness?” Vanness complained as we walked into Yuk Hee’s apartment.
“Erm… doesn’t ‘s’ come before ‘v’ in the alphabets?”
“It does,” I smiled.
“See,” she laughed.
“I should’ve named myself Robert... just to be 1 alphabet before Skye.”
“Don’t be childish,” I said, and he made a face at me.
“Come on, guys…” Yuk Hee said, and we followed her into her dining room.
Yuk Hee lived in a spacious 3 bedroom apartment in one of the wealthier districts of Taipei. Her parents lived in the penthouse of the block next to hers.
“Are your parents home tonight?” I asked her.
“I’ve not visited them in awhile, and I probably should before I head back to Seoul next week.”
It’s been more than a week since I got back to Taipei. I have a week more to go before my assignment with the music program ends and I will leave Taipei for Seoul. I felt quite relieved that my duration here is ending soon. I’ve missed home, I’ve missed Hae Rin and maybe it’s because of our time together, I’m missing nuna and Shoei a lot too. Days without Hae Rin and not being part of S-Cube have been pretty drab. Not that being with Vanness was a drab, but I still didn’t feel as close to him.
Yuk Hee’s attitude has been nothing short of confusing. I’ve given her plenty of signs that our relationship was not what she’d expected of me, and yet, she seems as happy as always to be around me, and Vanness, whom I felt she had been using to get me to meet up with her. Whenever Vanness met up with her, I was obliged to follow since she was my friend.
“Mokja,” Yuk Hee said as she sat down, after placing the last dish on the table; a bowl of steamed egg.
“As usual, you’ve outdone yourself,” Vanness praised Yuk Hee, and she smiled.
“This is nothing. So many girls are much more capable than I am when it came to cooking,” she said modestly.
In actual fact, for someone with a life as fortunate as hers, it was quite a surprise to find that she was able to do so many domestic tasks. I’ve always pegged her as the rich girl who’s never lifted a finger, but she has so far proved me wrong.
“Whatever it is, I think Skye and I feel lucky enough to be served so well,” Vanness said.
“Easy on the compliments, dude,” I laughed. “You’re gonna make her big headed.”
“Nah… Yuk Hee is a modest girl,” Vanness smiled and he continued to eat.
“So you’re leaving next week?” she asked.
“Yea. That’s why I wanted to meet your parents; at least to say ‘goodbye’.”
“They’re away on business, in Japan. But they might be back during the weekend.”
“Good,” I said. “Just keep me posted.”
After dinner, Vanness and I relaxed on Yuk Hee’s couch; in front of a huge plasma television. Some Jacky Wu game show was on and Vanness was laughing like crazy as he watched it. Jacky Wu was a funny guy. I’ve met him once or twice, but because of the language barrier, we never got far. I missed out a lot of good television programs because of my poor Chinese.
“What are you watching?” Yuk Hee asked as she came to sit down with us after cleaning up in the kitchen.
“Something that I don’t understand,” I said.
“We could always put on a DVD,” she suggested.
“It’s okay. I wouldn’t dream of tearing Vanness away from Jacky Wu,” I said.
“What?” Vanness said and turned to look at the both of us.
“Nothing,” I said. “Pay attention to Jacky,” I laughed.
“No, no, no… I want in on the secret. Spit it out. What were you two talking about behind my back? Don’t think just cause you’re speaking in Korean I can’t guess what you’re saying,” he said.
“We’re just talking,” Yuk Hee giggled. “No one’s bad-mouthing you.”
“I don’t believe you,” Vanness said.
“Sui bien ni ba,” Yuk Hee replied in Mandarin.
“Ya… who taught you that?” Vanness exclaimed.
“I’ve been living here for 3 years. You think I wouldn’t have picked up any Chinese?”
“Not bad… not bad,” he laughed. “I guess I can take you home to meet my mom now,” he said.
“Who’s meeting your mom?” Yuk Hee said and made a face at him.
“You heartbreaker,” he said as he got up from the couch.
“Where are you going?” I asked him.
“Kotjongman… I’m just going to the loo,” he said.
“Michoso…” Yuk Hee laughed the moment he closed the bathroom door.
“He likes you though,” I said.
“He’s just a player,” she said as she swirled the red wine in her wine glass.
“I still think he’s kinda taken by you,” I said.
“Are you trying to match make me with Vanness?” she asked me.
“Maybe,” I smiled.
“I already have someone in mind,” she said nonchalantly, and sipped her wine.
“Nugu?” I asked her.
“Time will tell,” she said cryptically.
A few hours later, we left Yuk Hee’s place and headed back home.
“Wanna go for a drink?” Vanness asked me.
“Where?” I asked.
“I know this quiet bar,” he said.
“Sure,” I said as I stretched in my seat. “I’m not that sleepy yet.”
“Great,” he said, and off we went.
The bar was almost a private one. They played chill out music and the booths were designed in a way that provided some privacy to its occupants. It would be a great place to make-out in since each booth had a small canopy surrounding it. Too bad Hae Rin was back in Seoul. I should bring her here someday.
Vanness and I each ordered a bottle of beer and we just sat there, slouching and sipping from our bottles.
“So what’s up with you?” he asked me.
“What do you mean?” I said.
“You seem a bit down lately,” he said. “And you’re avoiding people.”
“I wouldn’t go to her place if I were avoiding her,” I pointed out.
“No… but you try to. And you’re speaking less to her. You used to be really animated and talkative with her. Did something happen when you guys went back to Seoul?”
“It’s nothing,” I said.
“Come on, brother… You can’t keep me in the dark like this,” he said.
“You’d hate me if I told you,” I said.
“Why would I hate you? Unless you’re telling me that you have a crush on Yuk Hee,” he laughed.
“The opposite actually,” I said, and he stopped laughing and stared at me.
“Mworago?” he said.
“I suspect that Yuk Hee is trying hard to get close to me,” I said.
“Whoa… how sure are you?”
“The paparazzi took some pictures of her hanging on my arm at the airport; my girlfriend wasn’t happy.”
“And then after nuna pointed out that Yuk Hee might be trying to get close to me… to turn the friendship we had in the past into a relationship.”
“Now why would she do that?”
“I don’t know, but she’s behaving very weird. She called me up almost every day when we were in Seoul, asking to meet up and all.”
“Are you her only friend in Seoul?”
“I don’t think so. And I did tell her about my girlfriend.”
“So what’s the problem now?”
“I told her on our way to Seoul, and when we got there, she still called me each night, even when I told her I needed to spend time with my girlfriend.”
“Dude… maybe you’re being a little too paranoid,” Vanness laughed.
“I just don’t want to lead anyone on,” I said. “Better safe than sorry,” I added.
“Shall I take her off your hands then?” he joked.
“If only she liked you more than she did me,” I joked back.
“I’ll make her,” he said. “Just wait… I’ll relieve you of this beautiful pain in your butt,” he winked, and we cracked up.