“What?” I sputtered, in response to Skye’s announcement.
“Correction; she’s moved to Seoul, as of today,” he said.
“Is there a problem with that?” Jae Joong asked. “Isn’t she your friend?”
“She is,” he sighed.
“There’s a side story to it,” I added helpfully, which only got me confused expressions from Shoei and Jae Joong.
“Okay… have you guys been not telling me something?” Shoei asked. “Am I not part of the band?”
“Sorry… you weren’t around when I was telling,” Skye said. “Didn’t mean to keep it from you. We were touring and all… busy…”
“Sure…” Shoei said as he continued chewing thoughtfully.
“So what’s the story?” Jae Joong asked.
“Yuk Hee’s a stalker,” I offered.
“Huh?” was Jae Joong’s reaction.
“She imagines that Skye fancies her because of their past and childhood and the memories… get my drift?” I explained.
“Okay…” Shoei said, his brows furrowing from the information overload.
By then, Shoei had stopped eating, Skye was staring listlessly at the kimch’i, Jae Joong looked at me with his big anime eyes and I still had my elbow propped on the table with my chopsticks mid-air.
“So what did she say? Why would she just move here? Aren’t her parents in Taipei?”
“She’s joining Sidus,” Skye said.
“No way!” I exclaimed. “Sidus?”
“And get this… she’s going to be one of the supporting characters in your series, nuna.”
“This is getting creepy,” I said.
“How do you two even know she’s back here because of Skye?” Jae Joong asked.
“I know it…” I said. “Sorry Skye…” I took a moment to apologize before I continued, “but it was a bit like back when Hae Rin was obsessed with Jae Joong.”
“It’s okay. I know what you mean?” Skye said.
“So what are you going to do?” Shoei asked.
“Hey… let’s just keep eating before the food gets cold,” Jae Joong interjected.
“Right,” I said as I stuffed a spoonful of rice in my mouth and started chewing again.
“What can I do?” Skye said through a mouthful of egg and rice. “I can’t tell her to go back to Taipei. I’m not her keeper, and I have no proof she’s stalking me.”
“You’ll just have to let it play out and see what she does,” Jae Joong said.
“Yeah… you can’t run around screaming bloody murder when there isn’t one,” Shoei added.
“Arayo…” Skye sighed.
“It’s annoying though,” I said. “How on earth did she land a part in my series?”
“You’re not the producer, honey,” Jae Joong said as he playfully patted my head.
“I can’t see how a sane minded producer would’ve picked her,” I complained.
“Well… she is tall and beautiful,” Shoei reminded me. “You’re being biased now, nuna,” he laughed.
“She’s just being protective of her little brother,” Jae Joong said affectionately as he put an arm around me while I stirred my bowl of soup whilst staring at its contents. “Don’t worry… we won’t let Yuk Hee eat Skye up.”
“Yeah, nuna. I won’t let her get to me,” Skye said.
“And Hae Rin?” I asked.
“She knows I’m true to her. I worked too hard at our relationship to allow it to be swayed like that,” he said.
“Good,” I said.
That night, I didn’t so much catching up with Skye and Shoei, because I had a more important task of getting in as much time with Jae Joong as possible before he disappeared for the next 3 months.
“Go on,” Shoei had said while I stood beside him, drying the dishes. “Go spend some time with hyung. He’s leaving tomorrow.”
“It’s just a few dishes,” I said, but my face had betrayed me as the tears started prickling my eyes.
“Skye!” Shoei yelled and grabbed the dishcloth from me.
“What?” Skye popped his head into the kitchen. “You’ve got dessert for me?”
“Wipe the dishes,” Shoei said as he tossed the cloth at Skye, and it hit his surprised face.
“Isn’t nuna doing it?” Skye whined as he picked up the cloth.
“And you’re entertaining Jae Joong hyung?” Shoei said as he looked at Skye pointedly.
“Oh…” Skye said, finally getting what Shoei was getting at. “Shoo!” he said to me and pushed me out of the kitchen, closing the sliding door shut as soon as I was out.
I quickly rubbed my eyes and turned to see Jae Joong sitting in front of the television, absorbed in a serial drama. I did a quick check in the mirror nearby, my eyes looked fine. I never realized it until my friend, Kat, told me long ago.
“I always thought the crying women on television or movies were fake because people can’t have normal eyes after so much crying. I need like an hour to wait for the puffiness to go down. But now I know it’s possible.”
She said that after I’d been crying to her for an hour over a departing boyfriend. After that, I became strangely aware of my odd ability. I guess I was just made for crying. I smiled to myself at the thought, then turned and walked towards Jae Joong.
I stood, facing his back, behind the couch, then put my hands gently on his shoulder.
“Hey,” he looked up at me and smiled. “Sit down,” he said, patting the empty space next to him.
I shook my head, then slowly slid my hands down his chest, then around his neck in a hug, until my chin was resting on his shoulder, then I turned my head slightly to kiss his cheek.
“Waegeurae?” he whispered softly as he turned to kiss my lips gently.
“Pogoshipo,” I mumbled into his shoulder, and when I looked up at him, tears were starting to form in my eyes again.
“I’m still here,” he said, then sighed. “Come on,” he said as he stood up and turned off the television. “Let’s go to your room.”
He got up and led me slowly, by the hand, to my room, and he closed the door behind us.
“I love you,” he said, in English as he hugged me tightly.
His words brought tears to my eyes because he always conveniently used Korean to express his love, but today he remembered to speak the language I knew best.
“Na tto,” I sobbed on his shoulder.
He kissed the tears that rolled down my cheeks, then covered my lips with his. I could taste my tears on his lips as he slowly and gently kissed my lips. I tightened my arms around his waist and he continued working his magic on me.
We continued kissing, the urgency increasing, like a fever rising as I started to move towards my bed. We fell onto it, side by side.
“Ow,” I exclaimed when his elbow squashed my arm.
“Kwaench’ana?” he sat up quickly and examined my arm.
“Ne,” I smiled, and laughed a barely audible laugh as I rubbed my arm.
I looked down on the bed for a moment, contemplating the situation.
“Ya…” he whispered as his fingers reached out to softly touch my hair.
“Hmm?” I replied as I looked up.
“I’ll be back soon,” he said.
“Arayo,” I mumbled and threw myself back on the bed in frustration.
“Ya!” he said a bit louder and he jumped on top of me.
“Ya!” I yelled back at him. “You’re killing me,” I laughed.
“You ignored me,” he accused.
“Onje?” I challenged him.
“Mwo?” he started tickling me as I squealed and wriggled. “Onje?”
“Mian!” I yelled as I tried to push his hands away.
“Can’t hear you!” he said.
“Mianhae…” I laughed, “mianhae…” and he stopped.
“Igot naeko,” he whispered as he kissed my forehead lightly. “Igot naeko,” he repeated as he kissed both my cheeks. “Keurigo igot…” he said as he ran a finger lightly down the middle of my body, from my neck to my belly, and I giggled a little and caught his finger in my hand, “ta… naekoya…” he said.
I looked at him, my heart just bursting with emotions and everything I wanted to say before he left, but I couldn’t speak, and my body just felt like it was aching and limp with the love I felt from his actions.
“You’re mine… ara?” he hugged me, his lips just at my ears. “I’ll come back very soon. So make sure you’re waiting.”
“Ne,” I replied, and pulled him down for a deep kiss, continuing where we had left off.
[Yuk Hee’s POV]
“Annyeong haseyo, Jin Yuk Hee-imnida,” I smiled as I bowed to the row of executives in front of me.
“More than 5 years in Taiwan. That means you speak excellent Chinese?” one of them asked.
“I am literate in Chinese and I can definitely carry a conversation in Chinese,” I replied confidently.
“Can you sing, Yuk Hee-ssi?” another asked. “Sing us a song in Chinese.”
I took a deep breath and started singing Theresa Teng’s ‘Return My Love to Me’. As I sang, I could see the nod of approvals from the executives. One of them signaled for me to stop, and there was a brief silence again.
“You won’t be singing in your first assignment with Sidus,” the one who signaled said. “But we wanted to see what else you could do.”
“Then may I know what is my first assignment?” I asked.
“You’re playing a supporting role in an upcoming drama with Sierra from S-Cube and Darren from Helix, that you already know. Before that, you will appear in Helix’s new MV.”
After a few more minutes of briefing, they finally released me. I had a MV to record with Helix first thing tomorrow, and a stack of scripts I have to memorize in a week.
“Ch’uketta…” I breathed as I walked down the corridor, oblivious to the people who walked past me.
People usually had a look of curiosity and sometimes even awe when I walked. It had to be either my physique, my height, or maybe I had a really good plastic surgeon, but here at Sidus HQ, there were plenty of stars around, but I still manage to garner some attention.
“Ready?” my agent, Jun Tak asked me when we met up at the lobby.
“Yea,” I said as I followed him.
The company had arranged for accommodations for me but I had declined because my parents had a condo that was currently empty because the tenants’ lease ended. I’ve never lived in those one room studio apartments and I never plan to. I like to have rooms. Good thing this job isn’t where my main income is coming from.
“You need to cut down that air of superiority on the set tomorrow,” my agent advised.
“What air of superiority?” I said.
“We both know you’re a rich girl who doesn’t need this job, but please don’t make it obvious to the people who are hiring you. You’re still new in the game.”
“Ne…” I sighed.
Jun Tak was a friend I met a few years back through some school mates. He and I had a short affair when he once visited Taipei and left it at that when he went back to Seoul. It was a stroke of luck that he had the right connections to get me the job I wanted to break into the industry. I wasn’t really satisfied to have him as my agent, but I had to start somewhere. Once I get on board a bigger company, he and I both know that our relationship will end once again.
“So who is Helix?” I asked him.
“They’re a band from the company, DSP.”
“Yes. 3 of them. They were formed to rival SM’s S-Cube.”
“Have they succeeded?”
“They did well in their first year, but S-Cube is gaining these days.”
“S-Cube has been working hard on publicity and diversifying their material. They’re getting fresher with each album and people tend to like that. Plus, they have 1 girl for variety. So they garner enough male fans too. By the way, didn’t you once tell me you knew the guy in S-Cube?”
“Skye,” I said.
“Oh… that one. He’s pretty popular.”
“The other 2?”
“The same… Shoei’s got that dark and brooding attitude going on, but he gets cute sometimes, and Sierra is just different.”
“Not Korean, not Japanese, just different. Can’t describe her. You’ll meet her when you start filming.”
“Then I look forward to see what’s so intriguing about her,” I smiled.