“Another drama?” I exclaimed.
“It’s just a drama CF,” Shoei said. “The script came in this morning. They want you to go for a screen test.”
“We need this now, nuna,” Skye said. “We’ve been doing variety shows, but a drama would put us in the headlines for awhile, and we get to put one of our new songs in the OST.”
“Araso, araso,” I nodded. “So who’s my hero this time?”
My last drama experience was fun since I got to work with Kim Jae Wook, but it was hell to work with Darren from Helix, speaking of which, Helix had disbanded. It was during TVXQ’s months of turmoil, so it didn’t really make the headlines. Darren had since joined E! Entertainment Asia as a TV presenter, Nakata is now a model in New York and the only one we still see around is Min Jong, who had since begun a fairly successful solo singing career and also as a DJ. I’ve not heard from Darren since the last time we clashed.
“It’s a surprise!” Skye said.
“It’s a CF for a vacation spot on Cheju-do,” Shoei said. “It’s gonna be very dramatic and scenic at the same time, and I think you’re gonna go nuts when you find out who your leading man is.”
And I did. I almost fell over when I walked into the room for the screen test. Sitting in the panel with the director and producers, was Hyun Bin.
“Annyonghashimnikka,” I said as I bowed to them.
“Sierra-shi oso-oseyo,” the director greeted me.
“Yeolshimhi-haeyo,” the producer smiled at me.
“Ne, kamsahamnida. Chalputakhaesseumnida!” I said and bowed again.
Hyun Bin picked up the script in front of him and got up to join me at the front.
“Choeum poebkeseumnida,” he said to me.
“Na-do choeum poebkeseumnida, Hyun Bin sonbae,” I smiled.
“Ah… you don’t have to call me sonbae,” he laughed. “Makes me feel like an old man.”
“Well, you have been in the business for so long. I’ve been your follower since Spin Kick,” I smiled.
“I see. I doubt I was any good back then though,” he replied.
“But you were always cool,” I replied, and he just grinned back.
“Let’s start then,” the director said. “The script is just temporary. We may change it later on as we’ve not finalized the whole storyline for the CF.”
“Ne, kamdongnim,” I replied.
“Shijak!” the director yelled.
The test camera rolled, and I read the lines as convincingly as I could.
“Kajima,” he said as he grabbed my hand.
I pulled my hand away from him and took a step back.
“I can’t,” I said in a half-whisper.
“Why? What would it take to make you stay?” he asked me.
“Nothing,” I replied.
“Why? Why won’t you give me a chance?”
“Why should I? You’ve never given me the reason to. You’ve been acting so different lately. I don’t think I know you anymore.”
“I have my reasons, if you’ll let me explain.”
“And after that, where does that lead us? What sort of foundation have we built this relationship on?
“We have. Me. Lean on me. Trust me. I will be our foundation. The pillar that holds our home up, the stable ground you step on and the comforting bed you sleep on each night.”
“You seriously think you can do that? Isn’t it too late?”
Hyun Bin pulls me into his arms and hugs me tightly.
“No. Don’t say it’s too late. It’s never too late for us. Never!”
“Never…” I whispered back as my arms slowly came up to return his hug.
“Cut!” the director yelled.
I nearly hyperventilated during the last 2 lines. I was in so much shock that I think I played the role right at that last line where I had to sound like I was giving in. How could you not give in when Hyun Bin was holding you tightly in his arms? This was a zillion times more exhilarating that watching the sit-up scene from Secret Garden, and I was totally wondering how it would be to have a kiss scene with him since I heard that he was a superb kisser from his Secret Garden credentials. I am definitely a fan girl in this moment.
Hyun Bin was riding high on his Secret Garden success. He had 2 movies out and this was probably going to be his CF before he joined the marines for his mandatory military service. I couldn’t hear the sound of breaking hearts all over the world when he has to disappear for 2 years. I wonder how his girlfriend, Song Hye Gyo, felt about it. I suppose she’s too busy to care anyway. Then again, the rumours are that they had broken up, and he didn’t seem too happy the last time reporters asked him about it. I really do wonder if it’s true.
“Chal-haesseoyo,” Hyun Bin said when the scene was over.
“Komapseumnida,” I replied. “I hope we will have the chance to work together.”
“I hope so too,” he smiled. “Since I’ve heard a lot of good things about you.”
“As an actress, as a singer or as a person?” I asked.
“Hmm… a little bit of each,” he replied.
“Good to hear then!”
I was so nervous while talking to him. My whole body felt like it was shaking with excitement. I hope the vibrations weren’t actually visible.
Skye and Shoei were more excited than I was when we met up after the screen test. I’m definitely considering padding our office walls at the rate they bounce of the walls in excitement whenever we get a gig of some kind.
“How was it? How was it?” Skye asked.
“I think it was alright. Nothing spectacular though.”
“When will you know?” Shoei asked.
“Soon, I guess?” I shrugged. “They mentioned that they need to start filming ASAP since Hyun Bin would be off for his military service in March.”
We were in the middle of discussing our upcoming activity schedules when a familiar figure walked into our office.
“Hyung!” Skye yelled and jumped out of his chair to greet him.
“Orae maneyo,” Yun Ho smiled.
Dressed in jeans, t-shirt and a smart casual jacket, he still exuded a presence that was strong, yet warm. That was his signature style. But he did look a bit overworked and thin lately, as did Chang Min.
“Oneul an papeunde?” I asked. I thought he would be crazy busy since he and Chang Min had just put out their new album.
“I was in the neighbourhood,” he said, “thought I’d pop by. Nideul chal chinaesseo?”
“Oh… we’re alright,” Shoei replied.
“Cho-a,” he smiled. “Sierra… Can I speak to you for a bit?” he asked.
“Sure,” I stood up and walked towards the informal meeting room we had set up in our office.
The room was meant for informal meetings mostly with friends we had projects with and we’d set it up as our lounge so that the staff could chill out there during breaks. A bright red couch lined one wall and in the middle was a sitting area designed like the ones at a Japanese restaurant, where a space is made under the table so that you could dangle your feet under it instead of having your legs fall asleep from sitting cross-legged for long hours. The new super slim Samsung flat-screen TV completed the room, along with several game consoles; a Wii, a Playstation and an Xbox.
Yun Ho closed the door after me and sat down on the couch, while I sat on the cushions that surrounded the center table.
“What is it?” I asked him.
“Has Jae Joong contacted you?” he asked me.
“Do you need to know?” I replied.
“Why do you think I’m asking?” he said.
“I dunno. This is really something you people need to work out,” I said. “Don’t drag me into this.”
“You’re the biggest link between me and Jae Joong. Who else can I ask?”
“Why don’t you reply his texts then?”
“He never texted me. Did he tell you he did?”
“I read it in online,” I said, truthfully.
Jae Joong has never explained in detail what the situation between JYJ and the remaining 2 of TVXQ was at this point. We had too much issues of our own to be including this in our conversations.
“You can’t believe all you read,” he said.
He was starting to sound agitated and upset. While I feel for him, I just didn’t know what else I could do. It wasn’t just Jae Joong who had disappeared for months on end. This was the first time Yun Ho had come to me since TVXQ’s breakup. I guess he was desperate and concerned now. How do you forget the brothers you suffered and succeeded with for almost a decade? You don’t. While they may be estranged at this moment, the front they are keeping is just a shield to protect themselves from the media.
“Ara…” I said, and I reached out for his hand.
He squeezed my hand in what I’d call gratitude, and smiled at me.
“It feels good you know?” he said, his voice softer now.
“Mwoga?” I asked.
“To hold your hand again,” he said. “I’ve not had any comfort like this for so long and it surprises me that I am still feeling our closeness.”
“Well, I know we didn’t even make it till a year, but I was your first,” I laughed.
“Your first foreign girlfriend,” I added.
“Ah… keugo,” he laughed softly. “You were a breath of fresh air.”
“And you were the one who killed my fantasies of Korean idols,” I joked.
“Cheongmal?” he said, and made a sad face. “I must be the disgrace of my nation then.”
“Ani… you have your redeeming qualities,” I said. “Don’t feel too bad about it.”
“Haha… kowawo,” he smiled.
We chatted for awhile and filled each other in on our current progress. He held my hand all throughout the conversation. I know I should probably feel a bit uncomfortable, but I didn’t. Maybe I was just as lonely as he was, or maybe we really did still share a connection. In that time, I just wanted to be his friend again, and even though my loyalties are supposed to be with Jae Joong, I chose to be a neutral party at this point. There is no reason for me to take side and shun either one of them at this time. I was sure that in time they would resolve their issues and move on.
“Take care,” he said as he hugged me.
“You too,” I said. “I know you’re really busy with all music shows and variety shows, but do remember to eat well and rest.”
“You too,” he said. “Congratulations on your successful comeback.”
“Successful my foot,” I laughed. “One win counts for nothing.”
“There’ll be many more opportunities as S-Cube grows. It’s still early. You guys have a talent that has been suppressed for too long.”
I agreed with him. Skye and Shoei were superb musicians, composers and lyricists. Being in SM kept them on a tight reign. It wasn’t because they had no appeal that made us a mediocre band for so many years. It was because they weren’t allowed to prove themselves. Now that we were free, we aimed to have success, and if not in the mainstream masses, we didn’t mind the selective crowd. Companies like Fluxus, where Clazziquai and Winterplay were signed, inspired us. They did the kind of music that may never conquer the charts like an idol group would, but they still had enough success from the support of people who truly appreciated their music style.
Later that evening, we received a call. My CF with Hyun Bin has been confirmed, and S-Cube would have 1 song from our new mini-album as the title track of the 10 minute drama CF. Looks like we’re on the roll for the coming month or 2.