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“Onni,” Su Bin said as nuna hung up on Jae Joong hyung. “You and Jae Joong oppa are just too loving.”
“But we are not married,” she said. “So you two have a lot more freedom to be as loving as possible.”
I coughed at nuna’s last sentence. What was she doing? She knew that I didn’t care for the show or Su Bin, and she’s encouraging Su Bin to put on a bigger act for the show.
“I wanna quit the show,” I’d told her last night.
“Quit? You can’t just quit,” nuna said.
“The album launch is coming,” he said. “I can use my busy schedule as an excuse.”
“That may only buy you a month or two, like what Alex did,” she pointed out.
“I don’t wanna be on the show anymore. Su Bin freaks me out,” I said.
“You’re generating publicity for the album through the show. The management will make sure you stay.”
“Will it help if I behave like a jerk?” I joked.
“You’ll kill our album sales then,” she said. “It’s bad enough that I did it to our first album. You want us to disband after the fourth album?”
“No…” I sighed.
“Then suck it up…” she said, and gave me a thump on my back.
I sneaked a glance at Su Bin as we drove along. I’ll stay on the show, but I won’t be a doormat any longer. I’m going to assert my power this time around.
We came to a small bistro where the PDs for We Got Married have already made reservations. Since Skye and nuna were last minute guests, they had to call up to get a bigger table for us.
“Wow…” nuna exclaimed at we walked it.
The bistro was decorated like an English pub, complete with coarse wooden benches and tables, but there were also choices of proper chairs and tables which were meant for couples. Since we were a bigger party, we got a big table with benches.
“Doesn’t this place remind you of the UK?” nuna asked me, and I nodded.
“Oppa, you’ve been to England?” Su Bin asked me.
“I was there during my high school years,” I replied.
“No wonder you speak such good English,” she marveled.
“Nuna and Skye are as good,” I said.
I sat next to Skye, while Su Bin sat next to nuna. Nuna sat across the table from me. I know this sounds like an odd arrangement, but the PDs suggested it, so we just went along. I wondered what kind of situation they were trying to create. Were they trying to play nuna and Su Bin against each other? If they were, it’s only gonna work for Su Bin, since nuna didn’t care.
We ordered our food, and as soon as our salads arrived, nuna and Skye started doing what they usually did; swapping vegetables.
“Skye… take my radishes,” nuna said as she starting picking the shredded radish up with her fork and spoon and piled them onto Skye’s plate, stretching around the table to do so.
“I don’t like these purple vegetables,” Skye said, and started picking up his vegetables and putting them into nuna’s plate.
I rolled my eyes at the both of them. They were doing what we always did, but it’s going to make them look immature. I’m hoping this doesn’t make the cut.
“Shoei…” nuna looked at my plate.
I glared at her.
“Come on…” she said, raising her fork over my plate.
“Chamkan,” I sighed, and picked up my spoon.
I scooped up the pine nuts and corn from my salad, and put them on her plate.
“Cho-a?” I smiled sarcastically
“Ne…” she smiled and she started eating. “Neomu cho-a.”
I made a quick glance across the table at Su Bin. She looked lost, and uneasy at the ‘display of affection’ among us.
“Ah! Su Bin!” Skye suddenly exclaimed.
“Ne?” she turned to Skye.
“I saw your band’s video. You girls were great!” Skye said.
“Komawoyo,” she smiled.
“How old are you?” nuna asked her.
“I’m 18,” she replied.
“That makes you 7 years younger than Shoei,” Skye pointed out.
“Ne,” she nodded, and then started eating silently.
“Shoei… she’s so shy. Did you tell her not to speak to us?” nuna teased.
“Aniyo,” I replied, and continued eating my salad.
“Su Bin,” nuna looked at her, “it’s alright. You can tell us if he’s threatened you.”
“A-aniyo,” Su Bin answered.
It was obvious that Su Bin was intimidated. She was only 18 and fresh out of the K-Pop factory. Nuna and Skye were pretty scary when you put them together as a team. They don’t stop talking, and they were capable of coming up with all sorts of weird questions to harass you if they wanted to.
“Ignore them, Su Bin,” I said.
“Oooh…” Skye sang. “Someone is protecting his wife.”
“Shoei… you used to protect me,” nuna pouted. “Now you’re choosing your wife over your nuna?”
This was getting too weird. Nuna had always been so preoccupied with her own personal life. She had never so much cared with whom I flirted with or whether or not I was even in the same room as she is. But here she is, putting on a show of jealousy on national television.
“And your brother,” Skye added, just to fuel the fire.
“Oppa doesn’t mean that,” Su Bin quickly said in his defense.
“They’re just playing, Su Bin,” I smiled. “Ignore them.”
“No, we’re not,” Skye protested.
“Food’s here,” I said when I saw the waiter approaching, successfully cutting Skye off for the moment.
Dinner proceeded and ended without much more shenanigans. Nuna and Skye must’ve been hungry and decided to focus on eating.
“I’ll take Su Bin home,” I said to them as we got up to leave.
“Sure you don’t want me to give you a lift?” Skye asked me.
“We’ll be fine. We need to date, you know,” I added for fun; my mistake.
Skye looked at nuna, and he started singing as we walked out of the restaurant.
“I can see what’s happening…” he sang.
“What?” nuna asked; gleefully.
“But they don’t have a clue,” he added.
“Huh?” nuna responded, trying not to laugh.
“They’re falling in love, and here’s the bottom line… our trio’s down to 2.”
“Oh…” nuna said, pretending to sound sad.
“Keumanhae…” I warned them.
It was Can You Feel the Love Tonight, from the Lion King; the Timon and Pumbaa version. Su Bin was giggling throughout their little act.
“Bye…” they waved at us, and we waved back.
But as soon as we turned out backs, they skipped to the chorus…
“Can you feel the love tonight…” the two of them shrieked like drunkards as they walked to Skye’s car, and when they reached Skye’s car, they doubled over in laughter, bracing themselves against his car.
The production crew gave us a lift back to our apartment, forgoing the filming for the journey there. I would have to spend the night there tonight. Filming was actually scheduled for tomorrow, but I guess they decided to do it late today and follow on till tomorrow.
“Oppa,” Su Bin called to me.
She was lying on the sofa, and I was lying on a mat on the floor beside the coffee table. She’d decided to give me a facial when we got back. I just went along with whatever she wanted since I was too tired to fight already.
“Mwo?” I replied.
“Mianhae,” she said.
“For what? “ I asked.
“If I hadn’t been there tonight, you would have had more fun with Sierra onni and Skye oppa.”
“It’s alright. I have fun with them almost every day,” I replied.
She was silent for awhile, and then she spoke up again.
“Is it a burden to be married to me?” she asked.
“What are you talking about?” I said.
“You’re so busy, and I just feel that having me adds to your burden,” she said.
I hadn’t checked the script today. Usually they had a guideline on the topics that we were supposed to mention and discuss from there. I’m guessing this was part of it, so I had to respond positively.
“Of course not,” I said. “Don’t be silly. I don’t even need to take care of you.”
“What about having to entertain me? We hardly know each other, and you have to constantly spend time with me, make an effort to interact with me… I don’t want to burden you with this obligation.”
“A marriage is not an obligation, Su Bin,” I replied, and sat up. “It’s a commitment of love.”
“Then do you love me, oppa?” she asked simply.
This girl was an actress. The expression on her face was so pensive, and filled with anticipation. How would the nation react toward me if I shot her down? In the end, I was a Japanese, and for my band’s sake, I need to stay sane and focus.
“In time, I will,” I replied, and lay back down.
I caught her smiling just before I closed my eyes.
[Su Bin’s POV]
It was part of the script, but tonight, somehow, I felt closer to him than I did before.
He’d been so hostile towards me and the crew while on the set. I could see that he was stressed. With the launch of S-Cube’s 4th album coming up, his days could not be more difficult. Everyone was expecting something big from them now since they’d done so well with the last album. Even before this album is due for release, their decision to do an album of covers had been under scrutiny.
Some said they’d run out of material or creative juices, so they were taking the quick route to put out an album. Some appreciated that they wanted to honor some classics and hits, and were eager to see how S-Cube would interpret them. Already ‘L.O.V.E’ had received rave reviews after being featured on Sierra onni’s drama, ‘Girls on Top’. Darren oppa might hate their guts, but I think S-Cube have another hit album on their hands.
“Why do you think Shoei was so hostile today?” the interviewer asked me during the day’s interview session.
“I think he was just stressed and tired,” I smiled.
“Do you think he will always be like this?” she asked.
“Aniyo…” I replied. “His album will be released in another week. When he starts seeing the results of his hard work paying off, he will be in a better mood.”
“Will you always be this understanding? You yourself have just put out a new album last month, and you’ll be promoting a new single soon. How will you cope with your marriage and career?”
“We only film once a week, so we only meet once a week,” I said. “It’s still manageable.”
“So if you were to see each other day in, day out, do you think you’d last?”
“It depends on the reason we’re together,” I replied.
“If we’re in it for love, nothing can hinder us,” I smiled.
“So how much do you think he loves you?” she asked.
I mimed a really small pinch.
“This much,” I giggled. “I think he likes me this much. Love? We’ll need to work on that some more.”