“What? What?” Jae Joong exclaimed, pausing his game.
“You have got to listen to this song,” he said, passing the player to Jae Joong and replaying the song for him.
It was the same reaction with Jae Joong; a few seconds of silence, then he burst into laughter as well.
“What inspired this song?” Jae Joong exclaimed. “Not me, I hope.”
“I didn’t write it,” I smirked.
“This is some work,” Tae Goon laughed. “I can only picture me with a doggie collar, trailing after you wherever you go in the MV.”
“Not a bad idea,” Jae Joong said.
“No!” Tae Goon exclaimed. “You didn’t have a dog collar in my MV.”
“There’ll be no dog collar!” I said.
“Then tell me what will I be doing,” he said.
“I don’t know for sure,” I said. “But I have been told it’s going to be a light-hearted video. Most probably you get to ‘man-up’ by the end of the video.”
“I’m picturing you with your hair combed flat and wearing glasses, knitted vest, shorts, and socks that cover your shins,” Jae Joong laughed.
“I think that would be the general good boy image,” I smiled. “We may go differently. We’ll try to redefine a good boy’s look.”
“So you’re giving me no choice,” Tae Goon said.
“I’m asking you as a friend,” I said.
“Then as a friend, I’d have to agree,” he smiled.
“Thank you!” I exclaimed, and gave him a quick hug.
“Hey! Is that a prelude to what you 2 will be doing behind my back on set?” Jae Joong said.
“I’ll take real good care of her,” Tae Goon said in a suggestive tone and slung his arm around my shoulder.
“Ya!” Jae Joong exclaimed, and I quickly scooted away from Tae Goon, over to him.
“Chagiya… I love you, and you alone,” I cooed, as I wrapped myself around his arm and clung to it.
“Araso… araso…” he laughed.
“My turn,” Tae Goon said and grabbed the controller from Jae Joong’s hands.
“So we’re on?” I confirmed with Tae Goon once again.
“Sure,” he said, his eyes stuck to the television screen now. “Just contact my manager. I’ll tell him I agreed.”
Tae Goon went off after our game session, so Jae Joong and I decided to have dinner together before he dashed off on the last flight of the day.
“Himdeureosseo?” I asked him.
We decided to have barbequed meat for dinner since Jae Joong missed it, along with his extra spicy kimch’i chiggae. I had seaweed soup as always, and jabchae.
“I’m fine,’ he smiled, and held out the pork he’d just wrapped in lettuce, indicating for me to eat it.
“Do you always have to make me such a big one?” I laughed, but allowed him to stuff it in my mouth.
“The size of the wrap represents the volume of my love for you,” he said, and laughed at his own cheesiness.
“Tokyo is bad for you,” I laughed. “It’s making you all sappy and girly.”
“I just miss Seoul, and you,” he smiled.
“You’ll come back soon,” I said, and started making him a wrap as well.
“I think we’ll be spending half our yearly schedule in Japan from now on,” he said.
“Chintcha?” I said, and fed him the wrapped up barbequed meat.
“You know we’re doing well there. They don’t want to miss out,” he said, while he chewed.
“Yes… I know… the most No.1s on the Oricon chart for a foreign artiste,” I smiled.
S-Cube has never gotten a No.1 song on the Oricon chart. We once peaked at No.5, but that was it.
“Well, coincidentally, we’ll be going to Japan as well,” I said.
“Good,” he said. “It’s for the 4th album, right?”
“Yes, but that would be next year, after the awards season.”
“It’s better than not being able to see you,” he said. “So what’s your schedule like for the next month?”
“Hmm… the 4th album is done. We’re launching on Thursday, then there’ll be a few live performances on music shows. The mini-album is almost done. I’ll be squeezing in the filming of the MVs between promoting the 4th album, and we’ll probably release it by the end of October.”
“This looks like one of the fastest productions I’ve ever seen,” he said.
“Yea… I thought they’d take their own sweet time with my solo debut, but they’re really speeding through it. They’d chosen most of the songs I’d written, and Ji Yong did all the composing and arrangement. Only 2 songs were written by Ji Yong,” I said.
“The one with the ‘good dog - bad dog’ lyrics?” he asked, smiling.
“Yea… I was a bit skeptical at first, but once I did it, it sounded really fun. It’s something different.”
“Different from the usual idol groups. It sounds more like a song After School would sing,” he laughed.
“They’re going for the ‘versatility concept’,” I said. “They wanna show everyone that I can do anything.”
“And you can,” he said.
“Everyone tells me I can,” I smiled.
“We’ve been through this again, and again,” he said, and reached out to tweak my nose.
“Oi!” I exclaimed, and rubbed my nose.
“You’ll be fine,” he said.
“Ara…” I replied.
After dinner, Jae Joong dropped me off at my apartment. He will meet someone who will send him to the airport and send his car back to his apartment.
“You should really get your license,” he complained, and kissed my forehead.
“I will,” I said. “On my next break.”
“I know you’re afraid of driving on the right side of the road,” he said. “But you need to get around.”
“Ani… I’m afraid of driving on the wrong side of the road,” I joked, and he smacked me on my butt.
“Be serious,” he laughed.
“You’re the one who’s laughing,” I giggled.
He pulled me into a hug, and I rested my head on his shoulder.
“You’re getting thinner again,” I murmured into his ear.
“Cos I don’t get any good Chinese food there,” he replied.
“I’ll visit soon,” I said. “Eat well while I’m not there.”
“Mm…” he replied, and tightened his arms around me.
“Chalga,” I said, and kissed him lightly below his ear.
He released me a little, so that we could face each other to share a kiss. He slung his arms on my hips as we kissed, and I reached up to cup his face with my hands, to pull him closer and deepen the kiss.
“I’ll call you later,” he said, when we finally broke the kiss.
“Okay,” I replied, and stepped back a little.
We held on to each others’ hands, as we slowly stepped apart, until we were too far to hold on any longer. We let go, and I waved. He waved, then got into his car. I watched as he drove off.
There were times I’d forget how Jae Joong made me feel. How his smile brightened the room when he was there. How his laughter infected me, and made me laugh along. He may be the most beautiful man I’ve ever known, and the pressure of living up to the role of his “other half” can be demanding, but at the end of the day, the love he gave me just made everything worth it. I go to sleep everything, knowing how blessed I am to have him in my life, even if he wasn’t there 24/7.
We’re launching our new album today. We’ve been sitting in the holding room for about half an hour, waiting to enter the hall where the press conference would be held. Our style concept for this album was classic glamour, so Shoei and I were in suits, while nuna wore that flapper dress she had worn for the MV shoot the other day.
“Are you guys ready?” Shi Kyung hyung asked.
“Ne,” we replied.
Until today, he still liked to ask if we were ready. It was his way of giving us a pep talk without having to make a speech.
“5 minutes,” he told us, and walked off to talk to one of the producers.
“Ready?” I asked nuna, imitating him.
“Ne!” she replied in an extra perky voice.
“Ready?” I asked Shoei.
“Ne!” he yawned, and laughed.
We started getting up and ambling towards the door.
“Aaghh… pins and needles!” nuna exclaimed, and hopped on one leg.
I laughed and reached out to slap the affected leg.
“Aaah!” she exclaimed. “Skye!”
“That’s supposed to get the circulation going and end it quickly.”
“It hurts!” she punched my arm.
Just then my phone beeped.
“Turn it off,” Shoei reminded me.
I smiled and put it on silent, then checked the message that had just come in.
Yeobo… you can do it! Hwaiting!
I smiled at the text message from Hae Rin. With her support, I can do anything. But of course, I need nuna and Shoei’s support as well.
The doors opened, and we walked in. The press clapped politely, while our fanclub, S3, cheered crazily from behind. Not all of them were here today, because there was limited capacity in the hall. There was a lottery system to decide who could attend our press conference. They’d been given strict instructions to behave since the conference was mainly meant for the press.
“Thank you for coming,” nuna spoke into the microphone in front of her. “To start off the press conference, please enjoy our new MV, ‘Just a Feeling’.”
The music came on, and the MV started with a slideshow of our photos from the photo shoot, taken in sepia mode. When the first line was sung, the screen showed nuna getting the final touches of her makeup done. The camera cuts to Shoei, who’s getting dressed by a coordinator. Finally the camera comes to me, staring at notes on a piece of paper, rehearsing.
The video then jumps to scenes of our photo shoots, heavily focusing on the theme of me and Shoei being rivals for nuna’s affections, and me being left out. I wondered what went on in the producers’ minds when they decided the concept. It seemed like they liked to create speculations about our relationship with each other. If nuna wasn’t attached to Jae Joong hyung, everyone would definitely believe that she had some kind of scandalous relationship with either Shoei or me.
I just noticed now in the video, when we were doing the ‘Hollywood glamour’ scene, that Shoei was doing his lovesick look again. It has been a long time since I’d seen him look at nuna like that, but I suppose since we were doing an MV where he and her were a couple, he felt free to wear his real emotions on his sleeve. I’d always wondered how he could bear it. We’ve been together as a band for almost 5 years now, and he still felt the same about nuna as he did from the day he’d met her.
If it had been me, I’d had left the band long ago or I’d have found another girl so that I could forget her. Being Shoei, he stuck around, willingly torturing himself with his emotions, and up till now, he has not dated or even looked at any other girl. The closest thing he’s done which bordered on removing himself from nuna was to be paired with Su Bin on ‘We Got Married’.
Perhaps it’s karma. Perhaps in their past lives, it was nuna’s love for Shoei which was unrequited, so he was paying for it in this life. I’m a big believer of the phrase ‘what goes around comes around’. How else can you explain why a man would willingly stand by a woman, waiting to be her safety net when she needed him, fully knowing that no matter how many times he’d saved her, she would never belong to him?
I looked at the both of them. They were watching the screen with serious looks on their faces. I wondered what was going on in their minds.
At the chorus, the scene cut to the one where nuna had on her big hair and gold dress with huge shoulder pads. My lips twitched, trying not to laugh at the memory of what she looked like when I first saw her off camera. It was a pretty extreme look, but she pulled it off onscreen. I felt a light kick under the table, and I looked at nuna. She’d noticed that I trying to hold back my laughter. She glared at me, and quickly turned away so that no one else noticed.
The last scene of the MV was the one of nuna with tears in her eyes, while Shoei sat at the piano in front of her. I still haven’t gotten a chance to ask her what prompted the tears that day. Nuna was quite an emotional junkie. She laughed and cried easily, but there had to be a reason for her to laugh or cry in the first place.
The screen faded out at the end of the song, and the verdict was in… the new MV was well received, judging from the positive response of the press and our fans. Now would come the most tiring part of a new album launch; answering questions…