I knew today was coming the moment we started recording the new album. I wasn’t waiting for it, but now it’s here, that old familiar feeling seemed to be seeping back into my heart. I knew I had already decided to forget her, but I can never stop myself from feeling that sense of comfort and longing, especially when we touched. As the shoot went on, I told myself, for at least this moment, I could pretend. After this, things would go back to the way they should be.
She was so close now, our breaths mingled, and her eyes were fixed on mine. I was painfully aware of her hand resting on my thigh. I wondered if she felt uncomfortable.
As if the gods knew I was waiting for a moment like this subconsciously, nuna’s hand slipped off my thigh, and our noses grazed each other’s. It was almost a kiss if it hadn’t missed by a centimeter. Nuna sat up quickly and rearranged her position, and her expression. I could see her flushing from the awkwardness. All these years together and she still felt shy around me?
“Sierra… look up and Skye now. Give him an expressionless look,” the director said. “And Shoei, reach out to her and try to regain her attention.”
Nuna took the opportunity to look away, and I took the opportunity to touch her face the way I never would.
A few more shots later, they removed the lounge, and we did more shoots standing around, and finally, the group shoot wrapped. We now had some individual shoots, still in the glam mode, but we had some costume changes.
Nuna was now dressed in a sapphire blue, sequined flapper dress, diamante encrusted headband around her braided upward hairdo with a feather at the back, and still with that long cigarette filter in her hand. They had created a set which looked like a ballroom, complete with antique furniture, chandeliers, tall French doors and a grand piano. For this scene, I had some couple shots with nuna, but mostly with me as a prop since the main subject of the shoot was her. I sat at the piano and started playing. Nuna was asked to pose around the piano while I played.
“Sing something, Shoei,” the director said. “It’s starting to look stiff.”
They turned off ‘Just a Feeling’, and I was left to create the mood on my own. I decided to sing one of our favorite practice songs, Alex’s ‘Very Hurtful Words’. Nuna had always been a huge fan of Alex. When he released his solo album, she practically dashed to the record store to get it. After Jae Joong hyung and Park Hyo Shin, she worshipped Alex the most.
I played the intro of the song, but jumped to the 2nd part of the song, so that nuna could join in if she wanted to.
“You are so beautiful
keudaeneun nareul oerobge hajyo
amudo saranghal su eobge
eoneudeot ap'eun taneoga waetjyo
ireohke naui kaseume
chogeumman nareul parabwajumyeon
tallyeoga nege hagop'eun mal”
I closed my eyes and allowed the lyrics of the chorus to fill my heart as I released them from my lips to form the song. It was a beautiful love song. One that never ceased to put you in a sad, romantic mood; this was how nuna always described it.
“saranghae neoreul saranghae
neul sumgigo na kamjuryeo haedo
neo-ui uimi eobneun mal han madi-e
useumjitgo nunmul heullimyeon
kkume keurineun mal”
I continued playing as I sang the last line, ready for her to join in, but she didn’t. I looked up and she was looking straight at me, her eyes glimmering with unshed tears.
“Good,” the director called out, “I can feel the love and longing being exchanged.”
She blinked, and turned away briefly as a tear escaped.
“I’m sorry,” she said, interrupting the shoot. “I need a minute,” she added as she dabbed her eyes gently with her gloved hand.
“It’s alright, Sierra,” the director called, not stopping the cameras. “That was something extra. I’d like that to be part of the MV.”
Nuna nodded, and turned back to lean and pose again.
“Kwaench’ana?” I whispered.
“I’m fine,” she replied softly.
“Shoei,” the director called.
“Ne,” I replied.
“Tashi…” he said, indicating that I played again for the cameras.
The shoot continued smoothly as we delivered more and more different shoots with many costume changes. There was one where nuna had to wear a gold dress with huge shoulder pads and they gave her really big hair and lots of eye shadow to go with it. For that shoot, Skye and I were dressed in suits ala Spandau Ballet in the MV for ‘Gold’, and we had eyeliner on.
“Wow, nuna!” Skye exclaimed when nuna walked out of hair and makeup. “You can house a family of squirrels in that nest.”
“Shut up!” she exclaimed, looking very self-conscious of her hair.
“You look the part,” I said, to make her feel a little better.
“Thanks,” she smiled.
The costumes were paired with a stage. I held a saxophone in my hand, and Skye had an electric guitar. Nuna had the role of the songstress, and stood front and center with a microphone stand. They played ‘Just a Feeling’ again, and we pretended to play the instruments while nuna lip-synched to the song, complete with diva-like gestures.
For the final shoot, we were all wearing the hanbok.
“Is this a New Year special?” Skye asked as he walked around as if he were a character in a period drama.
“Keureomhamnida,” nuna answered, and hid her faced behind a sleeve.
She’s joking and playing with Skye now, but I can’t forget the look on her face when we did the shoot by the piano earlier. I had no idea what had caused her tears. Did that song mean something to her? She’s never said anything about it whenever we used it at practice. So why did she react so differently today?
As we were completing the shoot today, a surprise visitor arrived.
It was Su Bin, with the crew from ‘We Got Married’. As soon the cameras shut off so that the PDs could discuss how to continue the shoot without interrupting ours, I pulled Su Bin aside to question her.
“What’s going on? Why wasn’t I informed?” I asked.
“It’s a surprise,” she smiled. “If they’d told you earlier, you wouldn’t look so surprised when I arrived.”
“But I’m working. Can’t this wait till the scheduled filming day?” I asked.
“Your management okay-ed it,” she shrugged. “I’m just taking instructions as well.”
“Geez…” I raised my arms, and walked off.
“What’s wrong?” nuna asked me as I approached her and Skye in hair and makeup.
The shoot was actually almost complete. We had one more scene to shoot, and we could go. Nuna and Skye were having their makeup removed and hair put back to normal for our natural shoot.
“It’s a surprise shoot,” I huffed as I sat down in one of the chairs.
“Sounds fun,” Skye quipped.
I leaned back and tried to relax as the stylist fixed my makeup and changed my hairstyle.
Su Bin and the crew hung around while we continued filming. She looked really cute, dressed in pastel yellow sleeveless blouse, denim miniskirt and sneakers. Her hair was pulled back in a ponytail, and she used very natural makeup which made her look fresh and youthful. She looked like a child next to nuna, but even if she was a child, I wasn’t going to go easy on her this time. She may not have made the call on today’s filming activities, but there was no other way for me to vent my frustrations. Yes… no more Mister Nice Guy. Shoei has gone bad…
The shoot finally wrapped, and we got off the set to change out of our costumes.
“It’s alright, I’m still filming,” I waved the makeup artist off when she approached me with the intention of removing my makeup for me.
“You have too much gunk on your face. That much makeup is only meant for MVs,” nuna said.
“I don’t care,” I grumbled. “I’m too lazy to do anything for that show anymore.”
“Incoming,” Skye sang as Su Bin and the crew walked in; the cameras were on.
“Annyeonghaseyo,” she bowed politely at us.
Skye and nuna waved back at her while I glared at her and the crew.
“Oppa… hwanaseoyo?” she asked as she lightly touched my arm.
“I just don’t like distractions when I’m working,” I said.
The cameras were rolling, and whatever I said may make the cut, but if it’s entertainment they want, I’ll give it to them.
“Mianhaeyo,” she said, sweetly. “I should have called.”
“You should have,” I said.
“Ne. I won’t do it again,” she said, sweetly. “Shall we go for dinner?” she asked
“I had plans with Skye and nuna,” I replied.
“We can all go together,” she suggested.
I looked at Skye and nuna. They were very obviously paying attention to every word that was exchanged between me and Su Bin.
“I don’t mind,” Skye offered.
“Me neither,” nuna replied.
I could say that I was thankful to them at that moment. Going somewhere for dinner would mean attracting a lot of attention to Su Bin and myself. Having the whole band come along would definitely generate more attention, but at least I didn’t have to be the main focus if they came along.
We packed up and left the studios together with the crew from ‘We Got Married’. Skye and I had decided to lend our support to Shoei since he was ambushed by Su Bin and the crew. Shoei wasn’t a particularly moody person, but I would say that he wasn’t in the best of moods today. The show must be putting considerable pressure on him.
Skye and I sat upfront since he was driving, and let Shoei and Su Bin sit at the back. A camera perched at the front of the car to film the entire journey.
“I got a mission envelope today,” Su Bin explained to Shoei. “I was asked to visit you at work and have dinner with you to get to know you better.”
“You could’ve just called to meet instead of bringing the whole crew,” he said.
“I don’t think she had any control over that,” I answered for her. “Just chill.”
Everyone was silent after that, and in an attempt to reduce the awkwardness, Skye put on a CD. Coincidentally, it was one of our personally compiled CDs, and ‘Very Hurtful Words’ started playing. Skye hummed along as we always did, Shoei continued to ignore Su Bin, who was starting to look a little bewildered, and I started thinking about the shoot earlier.
I had no idea where the tears came from. Shoei was just singing like we always did, but today, it felt very personal. As if he were singing to me, like he did on X-Man, a long time ago. This song had a special place in my heart, and to hear him sing it with his heart, it just made me immerse myself into the emotions of the song, and that’s when the tears came.
Today had been a little nostalgic of the early days… the very first few photoshoots we had where I’d always thought Shoei’s intense expressions were the result of good acting, not realizing that he was channeling his true feelings at me. Today felt no different.
It has been a long time since he’d said anything about us. When he came back from Japan, I could feel that he had put it behind him. But somehow today, it was back; especially after the almost kiss, and then, he sang this song. No one sang this song like Shoei did. Alex did it well, but when Shoei did it, you could feel the pain from his heart in every word.
I hate to admit it, but when I saw him walking with Su Bin today, I felt a little jealous. This would be the first time I’ve seen Shoei actually interact with a girl in such a personal manner. In the past, the rare harmless flirting and conversations he’s had with other female artistes never bothered me, but something about Su Bin being his ‘wife’ irked me. Was I being selfish because he had always been devoted to me but now he has someone else to turn his attention to; even if it wasn’t positive attention?
Just then, my phone rang. I turned down the music, and answered.
“It’s me…” Jae Joong sang.
“You’re in a good mood,” I laughed.
“I’m coming back this weekend!” he yelled into the phone, almost deafening me.
“Chintcha?” I exclaimed.
“What?” Skye asked, getting curious from my excited tone.
“Jae Joong’s coming back this weekend,” I said.
“Yippie!” Skye cheered, making fun of my excitement.
“I can’t really talk now,” I said to Jae Joong.
“Wae?” he whined.
“We’re on We Got Married with Shoei,” I whispered into the phone.
“Oh… araso. I’ll call back later,” he said.
“Okay… talk later,” I said.
“Okay… bye… love you,” he said.
“Love you,” I whispered in reply.
“Onni,” Su Bin piped up from the back as soon as I hung up. “You and Jae Joong oppa are just too loving.”
“But we are not married,” I joked. “So you two have a lot more freedom to be as loving as possible.”
Shoei coughed at my last sentence, while Skye grinned as he maintained his silence. We’ve decided that we’re not doing this for Shoei without getting a little fun out of it.