Thursday, September 9, 2010

Moving On

I write this after Sukkie's Seoul FM. A year after they started filming for Minamishineyo, there they are onstage again, the ANJELL minus Hong Ki. What difference does a year make! I will forever miss them together as the fictional band ANJELL. But individually, they are doing so good right now, I think that they merit our constant support and devotion, as true YAB fans. I hope you agree with what Yong Hwa has to say in this fic. :)

 Moving On

You see Park Shin Hye look at Jang Keun Suk with that beaming smile and you feel something familiar tugging at your heart. Her smile reminds you of someone you badly miss this moment. She, too, smiles at you that way.

You see them exchange sweet glances like they are just the two people in the restaurant full of make-up artists, managers and staff, and you stifle a smirk. Another proof that love does really blossom in the workplace is staring at you right before your very eyes.

Has it been almost a year now since you last saw these two together, you ask yourself. How time flies. You know you have a lot of explaining to do to them. You have been missing in action since forever they said and you are guilty of it. But you have valid excuses, you see. Starting out in the music industry is no mean feat. Leading a pack of wide-eyed boys with raw yet still unknown talent has nearly driven you to your wits' end if not for the support of your family, friends and fans. Life has been good to you these past months but it surely robbed you off of your personal time to meet up with friends like them.

"To Jung Yong Hwa, for finally, finally showing up, after a long, long hiatus," Keun Suk takes a jab at you, raising his soju glass. "I feel honored that CN Blue's mighty leader has accepted my request to grace my fanmeet at last."

You give him an apologetic smile. "I'm sorry, hyung. It's just..." you try to find new words to answer him but finds none. They both know the answer to that already. Schedules always get in the way of your life as a private person. And yes, you have come to realize, schedules can also form cracks between friends and relationships if you are not careful. So you really pulled all stops to let your management agree when invitations were sent out for Sukkie's final FM in Seoul. Especially when they said Lee Hong Ki won't be able to go due to conflicts in schedules, as usual . "Just send me then. I owe ANJELL a lot already, sajangnim," you pleaded and bargained. That group, fictional as it is, certainly helped a lot in putting you within the public radar early on before your band's debut. "Let me just return the courtesy and give me the chance to reconnect with my friends even just this once."

Sukkie gives you a knowing nod. "Don't worry, dongsaeng, I know how hectic your life has become. And although it sucks not to see you each time I organize a party or event, we understand. Right, Shin Hye?" he asks the girl sitting beside him with, you note, an unmistakable warmth in his eyes.

"We missed you, though," Shin Hye, her heart in her eyes, tells you. You have never seen her so beautiful like this before. Eyes alert, cheeks flushed, smiles blinding you. And you know she does not owe her make-up artist unni anything for this. Someone else is responsible. Someone whose hands are busy grazing her back as you speak.

"I have long forgotten how good you look in person, you know.The TV does not give you justice," she proceeds to joke with you.

You chuckle. "And it seems I have missed out alot during my absence," you tease back, giving her a playful smirk. "It's nice to know life has been imitating art for the both of you," you tell them meaningfully.

Sukkie gives a loud laugh. "Are you talking about yourself, Yong Hwa?"

You laugh back. A year ago, you knew something was already brewing between these two. The subtle flirting on set, the late-night talks, the girlish giggles and loud, boisterous laughs exchanged between the two leads in Minamishineyo were an open secret in the set. You even remember betting with Lee Hong Ki on who would fall for whom first. You placed your bet on Shin Hye that she would fall first if she was not careful about it. You already saw the signs even back then. There was something different on the way she would look at Keun Suk. With you and Hong Ki, she had no qualms laughing her heart out, getting rowdy, joining in your silly guy antics, refusing to act like the girl she really was. But around Keun Suk, she would act coy, shy and girly. She fell first, you were certain about that.

"You picked a very good song, by the way, hyung," you say, changing the topic, steering it away from you. You know these two are out to grill you tonight about your own personal affairs and you want to dodge it for now. It's still new, this special thing you have with that special someone in your life. And you just want to protect it for now, keep it under wraps, even from your friends.

"Your cover of Narsha's song is really fantastic, arrangement wise. And well, it definitely blew your fans away," you tell him.

Keun Suk looks at Shin Hye with a goofy grin on his mouth. "It was a special song, indeed," he nods, eyes never leaving Shin Hye's face.

If she had been the first to fall, he is steadily catching up now, you muse. You know that look on your hyung's face - the way his eyes darkens when he looks her way, the way his hands can't stop patting her back or brushing her arms, the way he sits closer to her, the way his lips automatically curl upward whenever he addresses her. You know what those little details mean. You do that, too, a lot these days.

You have noticed, too, during your brief performance onstage earlier, that during your absence, something remarkable might really have happened between these two to merit the change you saw in Shin Hye. She was still a little shy in singing, just like before. There was still a tinge of nervousness, of awkwardness, as she belted out her part in the song...but unlike before when Keun Suk would cover her shyness with his strong stage presence and unfaltering confidence, he surprisingly had willingly prodded her to sing confidently, even stopping to sing during the chorus part to let the audience hear her voice clearly, to let her shine more. Thankfully, you quickly picked up his cue and did the same, giving Shin Hye the floor for a few moments.  

You felt a sense of pride surge within you for Keun Suk at that moment. He was taking the backseat for her, in his own FM. It was a gallant act which you did not fail to notice. This guy is really smitten, hands down.

"I hope we can do this again in Taiwan," Shin Hye tells you, putting sushi rolls in Keun Suk's plate like it is the most natural thing to do in the world for her.

"I wish it, too but we are busy with our Asia tour now and FT Island I think is also swamped with work until next" you trail on, feeling guilty again for missing yet another Fan Meet for ANJELL.

"Stop feeling guilty, Yong Hwa," Keun Suk laughs at you. "We might miss you and Hong Ki in every FM we do but we can manage. We are doing just fine. Right, Shin Hye-yah?" he nudges the object of his affection and she bobs her pretty head in agreement, giving him the sweetest smile you have ever seen on her. 

"Just don't forget to send your video greeting again, ahrasso? For the fans." He reminds you before his eyes  gawk at Shin Hye again.

You gulp down your tea as you force yourself to look away and hide your smile. Yeah, these two are definitely doing just fine on their own.

You have heard about clamors for a season 2 of Minamishineyo from fans. They said they need to know more about what happened to ANJELL after the love story of Hwang Tae Kyung and GO Mi Nyu finally unfolded. You smile at their craving. Unknown to fans of the drama, season 2 has already started after you guys have wrapped up the drama in November.

Kang Shin Woo has moved on after experiencing heartbreak from Go Mi Nam. He started his life anew, became the leader of his own band and eventually met his own piece of heaven with a lovely girl he can claim as his own, not anyone else's.

Jeremy has grown up to be a wiser, more mature person and singer. He now has the ability to think of more profound thoughts such as love, girls, career options and... well, love. Sometimes, if you're lucky and wait long enough on the right spot, you can still catch a glimpse of him in his magic bus contemplating about life and its complexities... in the rare chance that he is back home in Seoul from his busy schedules abroad.

And...Hwang Tae Kyung and Go Mi Nyu? Well, looking at them now, in front of you, you will be happy to inform the fans that they have continued their love affair away from the spotlights. Mi Nyu has managed to curb Tae Kyung's arrogance and selfish tendencies. Tae Kyung, in return, has been able to rub off on Mi Nyu some of the confidence he has in excess.

Will you be willing to do a sequel of the drama again? This question still sometimes crop up in interviews, especially when you are overseas.

Why not? If it means working again with your friends. But you think, right now, there is really no need for that anymore.

Season 2 has been going for quite awhile now for the ANJELLs. In real life.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Trouble with Kisses

I wrote this for fun. I've been cheating on KS2H with Sweet Potato couple lately, so I felt guilty and did this on a whim. I missed connecting with this couple.

The Trouble with Kisses

“I don’t want you to do it.” Keun Suk tells her bluntly, the poor script squirming in his hands.

Wae?” Shin Hye pouts, ignoring his curt tone. “It’s an interesting script. And I know Kim Hyun Joong-shi. I have worked with him before. It’s a great opportunity, oppa,” she points out to him squarely, grabbing the script out of his hands.

Keun Suk’s brows reach the ceiling at her reply. “Wae? You are asking why? Did you even read the script?”

“I did. I even watched the drama, both the Japanese and the Chinese versions. And I’m starting to read the manga,” she says, smoothing the now crumpled script in her hands. “I already did my homework in this one, don’t you worry, oppa. I’m ready to take on the role.”

“The role will only typecast you with these generic storylines, Shin Hye. It’s about a stupid girl who falls in love with a more stupid guy. It’s a stupid story and I think your portfolio would be a lot better without it. You have done this in Minamishineyo. And that’s the best story ever for dimwitted characters like this girl in this script. This is just rehashing Go Mi Nam all over again. Don’t do it. Find something worthwhile to do, not this one,” he reiterates his opinion, scowling.

Shin Hye rolls her eyes. “Excuse me? It’s a cute love story. I don’t see any Go Mi Nam in the character. And it’s popular. The fans will love it. And I’m sorry to say this, but I think a noona adopting a grown man as a pet is yet to be the most ridiculous plot I have ever read. It’s not even realistic!”

“At least, the role is challenging,” Keun Suk quips pointedly, his knuckles tapping softly the steering wheel of his khan.

Shin Hye turns to him, checking to see if he is serious about what he just said. He looks at her squarely, his face is humourless. “Oh, you think wearing tutus and doing aegyos as a pet to a noona character is challenging?” she asks sarcastically. “Oh. I didn’t know that.”

“That’s not a nice thing to say, Shin Hye,” he tells her, suddenly cold. “Fine. If you so badly want to do this project, then do it. I’m not stopping you.”

“Oppa, you just did,” her voice calm but she is not cowering to his glum mood. Not this time. “And you weren’t saying exactly nice things to my potential project yourself.”

“Why do you like this role so much?” His voice is getting more irritated everytime he opens his mouth.

“I don’t like this role so much,” Shin Hye laughs drily. “I just want to do it, that’s all. I think I can interpret the role of the girl in a new way. Give it a fresher perspective. And you know I’m a sucker for love stories.”

He glares at her, his nose flaring. Why can this girl be so blatantly clueless when he desperately wants her not to? “What’s the title of the drama again?” he asks her, his eyes piercing hers like a knife.

“Playful Kiss,” she answers him, not flinching from his deathly glares.

“I see. Kiss huh?” Keun Suk asks, losing his grip on his sanity. “Kiss, Shin Hye. Are you even thinking? Did you even read this?” he points to the script on her lap. “Did you really watch the dramas? There are kissing scenes in almost every episode! Does that mean nothing to you?”

Shin Hye smirks. “We are actors, oppa. It’s part of the job description. Chill.”

“Chill?” He murmurs, almost to himself, pursing his lips so hard they are starting to have a life of their own.  “Yeah, watching you getting kissed every week will definitely make me chill.”

Shin Hye tilts her amused face towards his. “Why are you making a fuss over this, Keun Suk? It’s a role. I got an offer. I’m mulling over it. I want to accept it,” she sighs. “Aissh, I should have not told you about this if I knew this would happen.”

“Don’t do it. Just choose another one.”

“It’s the only offer I got so far,” she replies coolly.

“Then wait until a better offer comes along. End of discussion. Let’s go, I’ll get you home,” he says, revving up the engine.

Wae? Why  are you being difficult about this? I’m an adult now. I can do this kind of stuff. And are you my manager now? Since when did you start calling the shots in my career options, oppa?”

Keun Suk steps on the brakes even before he eases the car out of its parking spot.  He adjusts his whole body to face Shin Hye. His face contorting into a torn, unexplainable expression.

“Kim Hyun Joong-sshi is an idol. You will get more anti-fans being paired up with him,” he tells her lamely, plucking his reason out of nowhere. 

“Tsk. I can deal with it. I’m made of harder stuff, right?” she snorts. “And last time I checked, Kim Hyun Joong-sshi is having a career shift, I think. I’m sure his fans would understand.”

He grits his teeth in exasperation. “Shin Hye!” Turning his face away from her, he shakes his head in defeat. “Fine, do it. Just do whatever you think is right. Whatever you want. I’m…arrrggh! I’m out of this.” He runs his fingers through his hair, composing himself. “You’re right. I don’t have the right to dictate you.”

Shin Hye hides an amused smirk. “Well, if you only give me a beautiful reason not to accept the project, I would reject it in a heartbeat,” she baits. “But all you’ve been giving me so far in this argument are just lame, oppa. You’re looking like a typical jerk of a boyfriend, you know that?” she tells her bluntly, her face deadpan, her voice sweet.

Two flaring eyes probes Shin Hye’s for a minute, luring her into a staring contest she knows she would win. She meets his probing gaze nonchalantly, bravely and confidently.

“You are making a fool out of me, aren’t you?” he hisses, turning his eyes away, defeated.

“No,” Shin Hye corrects him, fighting the urge to baby his bruised ego. “You, oppa, are making a fool out of yourself.”

“What do you want me to say?” he asks her, his eyes fixed on the windshield of the car.

“I don’t know,” she murmurs softly. “Just the truth, maybe?”

He heaves a long sigh before he speaks. “I’m not ready to share you. It is selfish and it makes me a cold, chauvinist Neanderthal, I know, but I just can’t share you. At least, not yet. The project is good. I know you will have no trouble nailing the part. But I’m uncomfortable with the storyline and the kissing scenes,” he says in a low voice, phrasing the words slowly.  “And I mean it when I said you will only risk being typecasted in such roles if you accept this one, Shin Hye. You ought to tap your versatility as an actress by choosing projects carefully.”

Shin Hye throws him her genuine smile for the first time that night. “Now you’re talking.”

“It’s an unsolicited advice,” Keun Suk is quick to point out. “But if it will make you happy doing it, then go. If your management says it’s right for your career and you agree with it, then it’s fine with me.”

Jeongmal?” Shin Hye asks, wanting to make sure. “You will respect what I want?”

Keun Suk nods and looks at her straight in the eyes. “I will. I will just deal with myself later.”

It is then that Shin Hye laughs, her eyes twinkling, her face beaming. “Aigoo.”

Then she tells him sheepishly, “Well, my management and you seem to be on the same wavelengths, lately, oppa. Because they told me the same thing you just did.”

Keun Suk furrows his brows. “What do you mean?”

“I just rejected the project this morning. We think it’s a good role but it’s not for me. When I was reading the script, I see a lot of Go Mi Nam in the lead girl’s character. I don’t think it will be wise to reprise the role again, in another project, in another story,” she explains, her eyes dancing naughtily. “Besides, the kissing scenes are indeed a handful. I don’t think we are ready for that yet.”


“You and I. I don’t think you can see me doing those scenes this early. And I am not ready either,” Shin Hye admits. “To kiss Kim Hyun Joong-shi, I mean,” she clarifies, kidding.

Keun Suk drops his head on the steering wheel and lets out a little scream. 

Then, raising his head to face her, he says in a vindictive tone, “You do know that you’re going to pay for this little prank, right?”

Shin Hye nods coyly, her heart reflecting in her eyes. “I am ready, oppa.”

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Free Falling

Browsing photos from the Japan FM, something odd stood out for me. Shin Hye's sad eyes against Sukkie's radiant smiles. I was not there so I don't know if it's just me and my hyperactive imagination doing their usual exercise, but pictures don't lie (at least, not the PS-ed ones). Fans like me can speculate all we want but we will never get the definite answer to our questions, won't we? So allow me to hypothesize. I have literary license to do that. 

 Free falling

Not again, Keun Suk flares inwardly as he scans the message on his phone.

“Thank you noona,” he smiles politely at his make-up artist, checking his reflection on the mirror.

He checks his watch. He has twenty minutes left before the show starts. He taps his phone absently on his forehead, deliberating on what to do. Then as his gaze falls on Keunsama’s broad back talking animatedly to a staff, a decision comes to mind.

“Hyung,” he taps his manager’s shoulder. “I’ll be at Shin Hye’s dressing room.”

What did he do this time? What did the world do?

“Oppa, let’s tone down the fan service a bit, shall we? Let’s just be professional about this. Thank you,” Keun Suk recites the message he received earlier to Shin Hye, his face searching hers, trying to be calm as possible.

She avoids his eyes. “You heard me, oppa,” she says pursing her lips.

“We already talked about this, right? A hundred times,” he tells her patiently. “We need to do this, Shin Hye. And trust me, no one will hate you if I sing a song with you onstage.”

She looks at her with a serious expression on her face. “But not too much, please. I don’t want people speculating about us after this fan meet. I know I said I would be okay for anything but…” she trails on, hoping he would understand what she wants to say.

He doesn’t. “Relax, Shin Hye. No one’s going to eat you alive. You see those fans out there? They came here for you, for me. Let’s just give them a good show, shall we?”

“Just promise me not to let them know about us. Not a hint.”

He smirks. “Watch me. They won’t even know the difference.”

She shakes her head. “I’m serious, Keun Suk. I don’t want you pulling a stunt onstage for me. No, please. Just stick with the script and the programme.”

A cloud passes through Keun Suk’s eyes. “So we will do another SBS Awards stunt, then?” he says, his playfulness gone. “That’s not possible here, Shin Hye. You know that.”

Her lips quiver. And his heart twists at the sight. “We made an agreement. You will protect me, right, oppa?”

He clenches his jaw, his eyes locking gaze with hers. Why is it so easy to say yes when he is lost in those eyes?

“I never forget that. But you still don’t trust me,” he says, unable to veil the little edginess in his voice.

She shakes her head in protest. “You know my reasons.”

I memorize them even in my sleep, he tells himself silently. You want to build a wall between your private and public life. You want to forge a career path totally different from mine. You don’t want to attract antis. You don’t want us to be constantly associated together.

“And I know them by heart,” Keun Suk points out, forcing a cheery smile. “But this fanmeet is all about Go Mi Nam and Hwang Tae Kyung, Shin Hye. The fans will expect us to relive their characters for at least a couple of hours. And we will just have to cater to that. Loosen up, allow yourself to have fun. Please?” he asks, begging her with his eyes.

She looks at him anxiously, still unconvinced. Still scared out of her wits.

“Listen, I’m going out there as Jang Keun Suk,” he tells her sternly, his eyes probing hers.  “And I’m going to reminisce with the fans about the drama. With you. I will do some fan service, maybe at your expense, maybe not, if I can help it. But I will not talk about the Park Shin Hye I know personally. I will not tell them personal things about you and me. No ma’am, I will never do that. Fair enough?”

“I don’t know, oppa,” she heaves a sigh. Her eyes are still anxious, he can tell.

He checks his watch. “It’s almost time. We can do this. You will love interacting with the fans, believe me. I’m here. I got your back. You trust me, right?”

De,” she gives him a little nervous smile.

There, that’s a start, he muses. He looks at her affectionately, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. “I’ll see you onstage then,” he says, giving her a beaming smile, before making his exit from her room.

He understands where she is coming from. He can relate to her fears. But can you learn to trust me more? Can you bring yourself to believe that I am for real? That I am not using you just to feed other people’s fantasies?

He exhales heavily as he waits for his cue backstage. I guess I still have a lot to prove to you, Shin Hye. But I’m not going anywhere, that’s for sure.

Fall with me. Let yourself go. I can be worth it, Keun Suk wistfully tells Shin Hye silently as the familiar melody of Still wafts into the concert hall.

Fan Letters

This is a part of a collaboration I did with my fanfic partner, earthprincess, for the piece we submitted for the ANJELL FM in Japan. Now that the madness is over, I think it's now okay to share. Read this with this. Kamsahamnida.

Fan Letters

June 10, 2010
10 PM
Rehearsal Room


I write this with mouth slightly agape as I watch you dance. You move and my eyes follow your body in a trance. Have I told you that you remind me of a swan? Not only when you dance but just about every time you move, act and talk. Your body is graceful, your moves precise, in sync with the rhythm, in rhyme with the beat.

I look at your reflection in the mirror and laugh, you have been practicing the same routine nonstop for an hour and still your focus hasn’t faltered one bit -- one of the reasons I am drawn to you. You are dedicated and passionate with just about anything you set your eyes on and you inspire me each time I work with you. Like with this fan meeting in Japan.

It excites me to share the same stage with you again, Shin Hye-ah. Since the SBS Awards night last year, we haven’t got the chance to share the limelight until now and it thrills me to no end to face the fans of the drama with you and only you. Oh, I know, I know, A.N.JELL won’t be the same without Shin Woo and Jeremy. But those pretty boys are so busy with their idol lives that we just have to make do with the both of us. And who is complaining? I most certainly am not.

Oh yeah, I am with you when you said you missed Hong Ki a lot these days. The boy has been busy practicing how to properly sing Japanese songs with his band, so I heard. And Yong Hwa…well your Bolmae Jung has been busy dominating the airwaves yet again with his dongsaengs, right? And maybe a little caught up charming SNSD’s maknae, you know, that tall girl who loves to eat sweet potatoes? I guess you should stop worrying about him being sick now. He’s being taken care of, I am sure.

So, no, I don’t think Shin Woo and Jeremy will be in Japan to defend you from Tae Kyung’s advances this time. Haha.

Are you afraid of me, Shin Hye? Because I think I should be the one who should be scared…scared that you might slip from my grasp as easily as you have charmed your way to my heart. You are a joy to work with and you always magically lure people to your web effortlessly. I have lost track of the guys who have sworn their fascination about you. Yes, I have been keeping tab and I am not sure I like what I have been seeing so far. But that keeps me on my toes, gives me more reason to focus on you more so I think that’s a good thing.

I am blabbering again, I know. And yes, you’re right, if I don’t watch it, I think I will lose on our bet come fan meeting day. I don’t think I will be able to keep my eyes and hands off you onstage. I don’t think I can stop myself from saying embarrassing things about you on that day either. I will probably lose it, Shin Hye. I just know it.

You know why? Because as I sit cross-legged on the floor watching you dance, sweat, laugh and smile, I feel right at home and it scares me a bit. It scares me because I have never felt so at home like this with any girl before. I wait for you to catch my eyes and hope for a smile in return, feeling like a lovesick schoolboy ogling his crush from afar. I am done for.

So, yes, this coming fan meet, please do me a favor will you? Bring out the Hwang Tae Kyung in me. You know, the guy who doesn’t do or say mushy things, even at gunpoint. I need to channel that guy again, Shin Hye. And be Go Mi Nam, the girl who hiccups at the very sight of me. I missed that girl. I miss seeing that girl in you.

Let’s go back to our favorite roles once more – the characters that led us to each other.



Sunday, July 4, 2010


Five years ago, I lost a friend the way Park Yong Ha's friends lost him a few days ago. I remember feeling lost and confused with all the questions left unanswered. I remember being scared, of frantically reminding myself and my other friends that there are a million reasons to live,not end, life. I wanted to channel those feelings through this fic. And yeah, suicide might be too serious for a fanfic you might say, but I lived through what my friend did and the only sane thing that blossomed from such tragedy was the realization that love is really all you need to live and appreciate life. Nothing else matters. Only love. It sustains you, even through the most tragic of circumstances, such as death. 


From a few meters away, you can see her sitting solemnly on a bench, hair tucked neatly in a red beanie, something you previously owned, you note with a smile. She wears her hair long nowadays and you love it when it just falls freely on her shoulders like a silk veil, taunting your senses, giving off a faint vanilla scent that you love so much. But for tonight, as part of the drill when you meet in public places such as Cheonggyecheon, she neatly ties her hair in a ponytail under your old, trusty beanie, in an attempt to be incognito.

Cheonggyecheon at 11 in the evening is a place of serenity. You can hardly hear the traffic on the street 15 feet above. All you can hear are the soft murmurs of the water from the stream and the small waterfalls around. It is perfect for people like you who want to avoid attention. A few couples are walking at a leisurely pace, some people stroll alone deep in their own thoughts, and others, like Shin Hye, sit peacefully on the stone benches, eyes on the sparkling water illuminated by the lights, as if on a trance.

But you know why she is in a pensive mood tonight. Her silhouette radiates a sadness you can understand. It is the reason you asked her out to meet you despite your busy schedule. You want to see her at times like this. You need her as much as she needs you. Maybe even more.

“That beanie looks good on you,” you say softly, sitting beside her, adjusting your cap to a comfortable angle. She looks up with a ready smile that fails to hide the clouds in her eyes.

Touching up her head self-consciously, she gives a small laugh. “It feels comfortable, oppa. It covers my head snugly. Not too large, just enough for a cover up.”

You smile, your eyes feasting on how her round eyes reflect back the lights around you. “I’d still recognize you, though, even from afar,” you say, patting her head affectionately, “because of this beanie.”

She lets out a small chuckle then bows her head silently. You let your hand linger on her shoulder a little longer, savoring the silence with her.

Then she speaks gently to the wind. “The water is pretty with the underwater lights on, right, oppa?” She points to the stream before you. “Everything looks beautiful in the limelight. Everybody gets attracted to the light.”

You nod, following her gaze. The LED lights in the fountains and in the stream indeed add charm to the place.

“Like we do,” she adds in a whisper, sadness coating her words. “But when the lights are turned off, nobody really cares about the water anymore, what goes underneath, except for maybe a few. The imperfections carefully tucked away, shoved under the surface…just because the water is not really beautiful when it’s pitch dark.”

You turn to look at her, studying her profile. “But as you said, there are still a few who would really care, Shin Hye. And that is all that matters. That is all we need.”

She nods absently. “When I think of sunbaenim, I hope I was there for him, oppa. I hope he felt that somebody was there for him, at all cost. Maybe it could have changed his mind. Maybe…” she trails on, sadness weighing her every word.

You reach out to hold her hand. It is warm and it fits yours perfectly, comfortably. “We all feel that way, Shin Hye. But he made a decision. I’m sure it was a painful choice to make.”

She turns to you, eyes glistening with unshed tears. “Oppa, promise me one thing?” she asks.

You hold her gaze for a few seconds, giving her your answer before your mouth moves to say the word, “Anything.”

“Don’t lose me,” she breathes, her voice shaking. “Find me even when the lights are off. Find me in the dark, search for me when I’m lost. Even when I say everything is okay, when you feel that I am not, please don’t believe me. Even if we are no longer together, even just as friends, don’t lose sight of me. I promise I’ll do the same.”

You see the fear in her eyes, hear the alarm in her voice and you forcefully swallow the lump in your throat as you reach out to caress her cheeks gently. “Ya,” you scold her, attempting to be playful, “That’s a given. I will never lose you. I promise.”

This is the first time you see her vulnerability up close. She is still shaken by the sad news, you can see that. You were, too. Everybody was, or still is. But as you hold her in your arms tonight, as you listen to her long-drawn sighs, as you feel the frantic beating of her heart, it dawns on you that this is the first time she has verbalized her need for you.

“I can easily pick you out in a crowd. Of course, I can always find you,” you assure her, pulling her close to you, letting her head rest on your chest. “I will always remind you that life is beautiful. I will relentlessly try to make your life more interesting. And, down the road, if we will ever go our separate ways, whenever you feel lost, look back to this moment and think of my promise. If you ever feel lost, know that someone will always be willing to find you. That would be me.”

“The lights can do tricks to the eyes, oppa,” she answers slowly. “Just like how fame can fool the best of us. But when the lights go off, when the applause dies down, the heart can feel empty and the soul can feel alone. We need to be reminded that we are never alone. That there is always a reason for us to be here.”

You lean back to catch her eyes. Twitching your lips to a goofy grin, you tell her, “You’re one of the reasons why I love being here.”

The tears that have been threatening to flow finally escape from her glistening eyes. She shyly brushes them with her hand. “And this pretty face will always remind me that I am blessed,” she stares back at you, her heart on her sleeve.
You feel your ears burn at her sincere words, rendering you speechless for a moment. All you can do is bring your lips to her temple and kiss her solemnly.

Yes, life will always be wonderful, you tell yourself. And someday, on your last curtain call, when your own star has finally dimmed, when the applause of the fans and the shrieks of the crowd are all but a wonderful memory, you know you will never feel empty. Your life would never be a waste.

Because once upon a time, on a starry, summer evening, a beautiful girl clung to you with tears in her eyes, poured her heart out and said she needed you. She asked you to find and never lose her. She let her guard down. She made you feel needed and wanted.

That alone makes this life worthwhile.

Friday, July 2, 2010


My favorite people are back. So they really did meet in Japan, eh? Minus my bias, Yong Hwa, who I knew was back in Korea by Sunday for a show in Busan, his hometown. Too bad. Then days later, the 3 of them, YH, SH and KS had to show up at PYH's wake to pay their last respects. It was a sad event. I don't even know if they were there at the same time. Hong Ki wasn't able to go as he stayed behind in Japan (but per his Cyworld update, he was really devastated, too, of the sad news). But this fic is a happy one, don't worry. Here's Hong Star, Bolmae-Jung and KS2H.


“Watch the sake, Hong Ki. This is not Seoul. I’m not going to take responsibility for you, ahrasso?” Jang Keun Suk glares at the goofy FT Island vocalist as he tinkers with his camera, prepping up to take some pictures of him, Shin Hye and Hong Ki. It takes a miracle to even get them three in one room all at the same time and he is not going to let this moment pass without capturing it in pictures.

Wae, hyung?” Lee Hong Ki pouts, his face full of pretend innocence. ‘I’m not even touching that tonight. I don’t need another hang-over to haunt me in the morning. I’m going to get kicked out of the dorm, I’m sure.”

Click. Keun Suk discreetly captures the pout on Hong Ki’s face with his camera.

“Ah,” Park Shin Hye plays along, an amused smile on her lips. “So is this plain water, then?” She picks up the half-full sake glass in front of Hong Ki and smells it. “Cute. You drink water from sake glasses now? Aww, you are assimilating well with the Japanese,” Shin Hye says, deadpan.

Hong Ki throws her a sneer. “Aissh, so you are ganging up on me now? I should have known better than show up here with the both of you. Yong Hwa was right, we should show up in meetings like this together so we can level the playing field. I’m no match against you two!”


“Ah, tell Yong Hwa to show his face to us first before giving unnecessary comments like that,” Keun Suk says dismissively, distracting Hong Ki’s attention from his camera. “Where is that guy anyway? I thought the four of us could finally meet here in Japan. I’ve even purposedly stayed longer just to have a chance to bond with you guys.”

“Hyung, stop making up stories. We both know why you decided to stay longer,” Hong Ki says, his eyes glinting with malice as he looks at Shin Hye.

Shin Hye throws him an innocent look but her sparkling eyes are a dead giveaway that makes Hong Ki smirks proudly.

“Shin Hye-yah, are you drunk? Why the red face?” he rubs it in, enjoying his prank.

“Stop annoying her, Hong Ki,” Keun Suk warns playfully. “Or I’ll post all your awkward pictures in the last ten minutes online.”

Ya! Don’t you dare, hyung!” Hong Ki tries to wrestle the camera out of Keun Suk’s hands unsuccessfully.

Ya! Who are you calling Ya, dongsaeng?” Keun Suk asks forcefully, power-tripping over his hoobae.

“Don’t post it on your official site, please hyung!” Hong Ki begs, his mouth drawn to a pitiful pout. “The Primadonnas will never look at me the same way again if they see how dorky I am offcam.”

“Hey, you have already shamed yourself a lot with that homeless picture, Hong Ki,” Shin Hye deftly throws a punch. “Another set of embarrassing photos will no longer matter much to your fans. Trust me,” she says sweetly.

Hong Ki looks at his two friends helplessly and absentmindedly curses Yong Hwa and his darn schedules. “Hyung, don’t post it on Twitter, please,” he whines. “And don’t you dare post it on your Me2day,” he warns Shin Hye with his eyes.

“I have no Twitter account, you punk,” Keun Suk glares at him, pouring himself a glass of sake.

Hong Ki heaves a sigh of relief which immediately evaporates into thin air when he hears Keun Suk quips evilly, “So maybe I’ll ask Heechul hyung to post these on his account.”

Shin Hye giggles triumphantly. Hong Ki whines louder only to be interrupted by the ringing of his phone.

Picking up, he mouths “CN Blue’s manager-hyung” to his two friends. Keun Suk arches his brow while Shin Hye’s eyes twinkle giddily. “Yong Hwa!” she shouts excitedly, her girly voice filling up the private booth they shared.

Yobosaeyo?” Hong Ki greets as he presses the loudspeaker button.

Yobosaeyo, Hong Ki-yah? It’s Yong Hwa,” a soft, low voice crackles out of Hong Ki’s phone.

“Ya, you punk! Why call only now? I’ve been waiting for your call all day!” Hong Ki snaps at him, venting his annoyance to an unsuspecting Yong Hwa.

“Yong Hwa!” Shin Hye calls out again, grinnig from ear to ear.

De? Shin Hye-ssi?” Yong Hwa asks excitedly. “Annyeonghaseyo!” Then he answers Hong Ki with an apologetic tone, “I know I said I’d call sooner but we just got back from taping a show. Besides, you said you would call me first when you’re already with Keun Suk-hyung and Shin Hye-ssi. You never did, man.”

“Shin Hye-ssi?” Shin Hye interjects, a little taken aback. “So are we on formal terms now, Yong Hwa-ssi?”

Yong Hwa laughs on the other line. “Aniya, Shin Hye-yah,” he shifts to non-formal language quickly. “It’s just that it has been a while since we talked. I am not sure if you still want to talk to me after such a long time. Mianhe,” he explains contritely.

Bogoshipo!” Shin Hye exclaims, ignoring Keun Suk’s discreet little glance at her.

Yong Hwa chuckles shyly. “I missed you, too.”

“Well I don’t miss you, you little devil!” Keun Suk’s voice booms. “You’re practically everywhere but how come we can’t even be granted a meeting with you? Are we even friends now?” he asks, the warmth in his voice belying the sharp accusations he throws at Yong Hwa.

“Keun Suk-hyung!” Yong Hwa calls out, giving an embarassed laugh. “Aigoo, I know I owe you guys a lot this time. The ANJELL Fan Meet, this dinner, aissh, but what can I do hyung? I have to work. Ya, Hong Ki, didn’t you tell them why I have to get back to Korea immediately after our concert?”

Hong Ki shrugs, thinking quickly what he forgot to tell. “I told them you have shows lined up. That’s it, right? Is there any other reason?”

Yong Hwa clucks his tongue. “I knew it. You were not listening when I was telling you about it, right? Anyway, hyung, Shin Hye-yah, we had to get back because we had to do a show in Busan. And it was really important for me and Jonghyun to perform there. It was our first time to perform before our parents and friends. I just couldn’t miss the chance,” he explains.

“Hong Ki didn’t tell us that!” Shin Hye tells on Hong Ki, wagging her finger at him. “It’s good to know you performed before your parents for the first time. They must have been so proud of you.”

“Oh, is that so? Well, for a second there I thought you were just ditching ANJELL for CNBLUE,” Keun Suk jokes.

Ahrasso, it’s my fault again then,” Hong Ki throws a mock tantrum. “Naega, naega, naega! It’s always mine, anyway.”

“Don’t put words into my mouth, punk. I’m not blaming you for anything. I just wish you can learn to listen well when I’m talking to you,” Yong Hwa cuts him off. “And hyung, I will always be a part of ANJELL of course. I’m still gearing up for another chance to perform with you three again. I hope my schedule clears up pretty soon so I can come and play with you, too.”

“In your dreams,” Hong Ki snorts sarcastically. “The rate things are going, you guys will only have a break by next year,” he teases. “Your manager told ours, that’s how I know.”

“Stop bursting his bubble, Hong Ki!” Shin Hye tags his baseball cap. “Oh, maybe with the next FM, if it pushes through, we can reunite again onstage. The four of us,” she tells Yong Hwa hopefully.

“How are the nosebleeds going, Hong Ki? Nihongo wo hanashimasu ka?” Yong Hwa grabs a chance to irritate Hong Ki. Do you speak Japanese?

“Don’t start with me, dude. Your Japanese is as awkward as mine,” Hong Ki points out, irritated. 

Yong Hwa laughs out loud. “I missed you, too, punk. I’m sorry I missed hanging out with you last time when the boys watched the World Cup game with FT Island.”

“You sound tired, Yong Hwa. Are you even getting enough rest?” Shin Hye points out.

“Don’t overwork too much. Play a little,” Keun Suk reminds him.

De, hyung,” Yong Hwa replies back. Muffled sounds interrupted his speech. The faint sound of screaming fans can be heard from the background before Yong Hwa speaks again. “Ah, hyung, I’m sorry but I have to go now. We have just arrived at our next gig. Shin Hye-yah, I’m really sorry I haven’t been in touched for awhile,” he apologizes profusely.

Ani, ani. I understand. I know you are very busy. I hope to see you soon. Soonest, if that’s even possible. I’d like to ask for an autograph,” she teases with a sweet laugh.

“Ah, you are being very kind. I hope to see you soon, too. All of you. Take care and come home safely,” he bids them goodbye. “And Hong Ki, I’ll see you around, ahrasso? Go easy on the sake. Annyeong!” Then he hangs up.

Hai,” Hong Ki answers back cheekily which makes Shin Hye rolls up her eyes at him.

“Seriously? How Japanese can you get?” she jabs at him playfully.

Keun Suk rolls into a laugh. Hong Ki shoves down a piece of meat into his mouth. With his mouth full, he starts to whine again at Shin Hye. “Will you two stop ganging up on me? I’m already tortured enough being a third wheel here. Can you at least give me some time to enjoy my dinner in peace?”

“Ah, Hong Ki. Stop being a drama king,” Shin Hye reaches out to pinch his cheek. “No one’s ganging up on you and who says you’re a third wheel? You’re not!” she winks at Keun Suk.

“I saw that wink!” Hong Ki accuses like a child robbed of his favourite toy. “Oh please. Stop being so cheesy. Hyung, I know you two are dating but must you rub it on me? Do you have to?” He gulps down another glass of sake.

Pabo-ya! We’re not rubbing it on you. You’re just hallucinating,” he grabs the empty sake glass away from Hong Ki, “Or you’re getting drunk. This is not water, Hong Ki. Stop drinking it like one.”

“I’m not drunk. And this sake tastes sweet. It’s harmless,” he goofily grins at them. “But I have to admit, you two really look good together. I suddenly miss my favourite noonas.”

Noonas? Are we talking about a lot of girls here?” Shin Hye asks curiously, her brows shooting up the ceiling.

Hong Ki gives her a toothy smile. “Secret.”

“You disgust me, Hong Ki,” she says in jest.

“Hey, they are just my fans. I can’t possibly have just one noona fan,” he tries to cover up his blunder.

“So you are dating your fans now? Sink lower, Hong Ki. There’s still plenty of room.”

Hong Ki gives a nervous laugh. He looks at his hyung, silently asking for redemption.

Keun Suk pretends not to notice, aiming the camera lens at him instead. “Ya, hyung!” Hong Ki covers up his face frantically. “Stop making an album out of my embarrassing photos!”

Then he turns to Shin Hye who has been eyeing him quizzically. “I was talking about my ex-girlfriend, Shin Hye. Who happens to be a noona. There, satisfied? Can I eat in peace now?”

“Don’t play with people’s hearts, Hong Ki. Don’t use that pretty face to hurt people’s feelings,” Shin Hye tells him solemnly.

“I don’t. I swear,” he stares at her squarely. “Seriously now, you actually think I have the time to date with this schedule I have? I don’t! I’m not a superhuman like that punk Yong. Besides, I haven’t met a girl I really like yet. So I’m okay.”

“Yong Hwa is dating someone?” Keun Suk asks, incredulous. “With that killer schedule? You’ve got to be kidding me.”

Hong Ki shakes his head. “You didn’t hear it from me. My lips are sealed. You should ask him yourself. He will kill me literally if he knew I spilled out his secret.”

Jeongmal? Who’s he dating?” A curious Shin Hye asks proddingly.

“Well, I’m glad it’s not you,” Keun Suk can’t resist to quip which earns him a gentle shove from Shin Hye.

Oppa! It’s not funny anymore. Stop it,” she admonishes.

Hong Ki rolls his eyes for the nth time that night. “Come on, hyung. Your jealous streak over Yong and this girl is really getting old,” he motions to Shin Hye.  “Can’t you see they are just friends?”

Keun Suk laughs, embarrassed. “I know, I know. I just can’t resist it sometimes that you seem to share a connection even from the start.”

Shin Hye sighs exasperatedly. “Oppa, apparently, it turns out, our connection is more potent. Or has it not occurred to you yet?” she pouts, her forehead creases almost involuntarily. “My connection with Yong Hwa is just as potent as my connection with this dork,” she points at Hong Ki. “But not as special as my connection with you,” she whispers almost inaudibly, aware of Hong Ki’s presence.

“Kyaaah! Omo! Are you having a lovers’ quarrel before my presence? Oh please, spare me the kiss-and-make-up, okay? I can’t stand it,” Hong Ki laments, scared.

Keun Suk taps Hong Ki’s head, pulling his cap down to hide his eyes. “De, I know that. I’m sorry, I was just playing cute,” he tells Shin Hye with a smile.

“I still can hear you!” Hong Ki protests.

“Deal with it, kid,” he pulls the cap over Hong Ki’s eyes even lower as his free hand reaches out to cradle Shin Hye’s head, pulling it closer towards him.

Then, tenderly, almost reverently, he plants a kiss on her forehead as Shin Hye closes her eyes. “Mianhe, Shin Hye. Komapta. Saranghae.”

Hong Ki flails his arms helplessly, head still buried in Keun Suk’s hand, as he catches Keun Suk’s words. “You have no shame, both of you! Really!” he gags, oblivious to the magical moment unfolding before his very eyes.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


It is Yong Hwa's birthday today, the 22nd of June. And I just saw hilarious pictures of Hong Ki on Twitter. Then Shin Hye just playfully made a jab at Yong Hwa on a recent video interview, hinting that she's been missing her beloved Shin Woo. And well, there's the Japan ANJELL FM this it's ANJELL week right now, eh? I miss them a lot. And oh, give some love to Seo Hyun, will you? :)


"Is he even coming?" Shin Hye asks impatiently to a yawning Hong Ki who is slouching beside her on the table, bobbing his familiar blond hair with the music blaring from his headphones.

"Bo?" Hong Ki asks back, putting down his headphones to catch what she is saying.

"Pabo-ya! First time we're meeting in months and you can't even give your full attention to me!" She pouts, swatting his arm playfully.

"Ahrasso, ahrasso! I'm putting it down now. I'm just listening to a Japanese song I have to sing in the album," he smiles shyly, a little chastised. "Japanese makes my nose bleed every thirty seconds!"

Shin Hye laughs despite her impatience. Hearing Hong Ki cracking up jokes after their friendship suffered a long hiatus is making her giddy tonight. How she has missed this dorky, adorable guy! She can forgive his little insensitivities anytime. Now, if only Bolmae-Jung is already here, her happiness will be complete.

"Yong Hwa. Are you sure he is coming?" she asks again. She and Hong Ki have been waiting at the small cafe for half an hour now and Yong Hwa is supposed to join them for a surprise birthday party he didn't know about. She glances nervously at the buffet table laden with food and drinks, afraid that her little preparation would all be spoiled because Hong Ki messed up with his task to get busy idol boy Yong Hwa to meet with him for a few drinks. Supposedly.

"He is! I'm sure of that. He gave me his word. I've checked with his manager-hyung. His schedule has been cleared for tonight. I have checked with Jong Hyun too and he said they don't have any gigs scheduled for tonight either. So he has to be here, not anywhere else."

Shin Hye eyes Hong Ki skeptically. "What did you tell him exactly, blondie?"

"I said Sukkie-hyung and I are treating him for a round of drinks for his birthday! That's what we planned, right?"

"Did you specifically tell him the place, the time and that Sukkie-oppa won't accept no for an answer?" she grills him a little more.

"De!" Hong Ki says, fishing for his phone in his pockets. "I told him he's not gonna see the sun rise on the 22nd if he ditches us for anything else!"

She laughs at him. "Ya! That's morbid, Hong Ki-yah. It's his birthday, be nice to him!"She admonishes.

Hong Ki's eyes turn to slits as he pauses from dialing on his phone. "Times like this, I really can feel where your loyalty lies, Shin Hye-ssi. And it's not with Sukkie-hyung, that I am sure of."

She jabs him with chopsticks. "Oh don't start again, please. Coz I know where your loyalty lies, too," she banters back.

"My loyalty lies with you, of course!" he snaps back with a poker face. "Among the three of you, it's only natural that I will side with you, no questions asked. You're the girl, after all."

Shin Hye smiles at him warmly. "Aww...since when did you learn how to sidle up to girls so smoothly like this?"

He smirks. "Yong Hwa! That guy is a smooth criminal, I tell you. His weapon is his sweet words. He's got a bagful of them!"

She giggles in acknowledgment. "Yeah, yeah. I know what you mean. I always knew that guy has some pretty deadly charms buried down somewhere in those timid looks."

"Which reminds me to dial his number now," he says, dialing up. "I've got a feeling that country bumpkin got  lost on his way here."

Shin Hye shakes her head in amusement.

"Ya! Where are you now? Are you lost?" Hong Ki asks as he connects with Yong Hwa on the phone. "Bo? Still in a cab?...What's taking you so long?...Sinchia?! You’re not pulling my leg, are you, dummy? I knew it! Aigoo…You sneaky punk...Get your shameless butt here before I walk out on you…Pali, Pali! Yeah, the cafe near the mall. You can't miss it…We've been here before, pabo-ya!...Yes, five minutes. I'm giving you five and I'm out of here. Hyung is already pissed!" Hong Ki threatens then hangs up, laughing.

"Where is he? Is he coming?" Shin Hye asks curiously.

"That punk!" Hong Ki is beyond himself, smirking like crazy, shaking his head in disbelief. "I knew he would do this. I just knew he would. Hee Chul hyung and I were just discussing the possibility last time. But I was skeptic at first...but that little devil...aisssh! What a sleazy punk!" He blabbers incoherently almost to himself.

"Hong Ki! Stop the gibberish! Is Yong Hwa coming or not?!" Shin Hye asks in exasperation. "Sukkie-oppa is arriving any minute with the cake. I don't want to waste his efforts in buying that cake for someone who's not coming!"

"Who's not coming?!" A familiar voice booms from the doorway as Shin Hye turns to it with a ready smile. Keun Suk comes in balancing a large box on his hands. "If Yong Hwa is not coming, I swear I'm going to bad mouth him to all the idols I know starting tonight!" He threatens, putting down the box on the table.

"Aniya. He is on his way here, hyung. I just talked to him," Hong Ki informs his hyung. "But I have to warn you both. He's bringing with him a little surprise."

"Bo?" Keun Suk and Shin Hye ask in unison.

Hong Ki gives them a toothy smile, eyebrows dancing excitedly.


Hong Ki, sitting opposite Yong Hwa and beside his Keun Suk-hyung, stares at Yong Hwa with a malicious smirk on his face. Keun Suk shakes his head slowly, suppressing a knowing smile. Undaunted, Yong Hwa meets their stares squarely, trying to be smug and shy at the same time which Shin Hye finds endearing. She throws Sukkie and Hong Ki a warning stare, chiding them with her eyes, then shifts her focus on the lovely face that is smiling timidly at her across the table, beside Yong Hwa.

"If I had known I would meet you today, SeoHyun-sshi, I should have brought with me my SNSD CDs and ask you to sign them," Shin Hye says with a smile, her eyes dancing. Ah, so this is the surprise Yong Hwa brought with him. Well, I am surprised, indeed! "I am a big fan."

"Kamsahamnida, Park Shin Hye-ssi," Seo Hyun bows shyly. “It’s my pleasure to finally meet ANJELL. I’m a fan, too,” she says which draws laughter from everyone.

Hong Ki nearly chokes on his chapchae when he hears this.

She looks so innocent, Shin Hye notes.  And witty.

"Call me Unnie, please," Shin Hye encourages her. Seo Hun bows again, grateful for the warm welcome.

"I am sorry for coming here uninvited, Shin Hye-unnie. Yong Hwa-oppa said he was meeting Keun Suk-oppa and Hong Ki-sshi for a drink. I didn't know it was a party for him," she explains, her words full of honorifics. She gives Yong Hwa an accusing stare which makes Shin Hye suppress a smile.

"Aniyo. This is for Yong Hwa as much as a small reunion dinner for all of us. The only reason we didn't invite you for this is because we weren't aware you are with him...for real," Shin Hye winks at Bolmae-Jung who beams proudly at her. The smug little rascal, she smirks.

“I thought you were just busy with work, Bolmae-Jung. It never crossed my mind that you would be busy…with someone,” she teases further, eager to make Yong Hwa squirm a little on his seat.

“Aigoo,” Seo Hyun sighs. “You really do call him Bolmae-Jung,” she exclaims.

“Now, she’s really a fan of the drama if she even knows our pet names!” Keun Seuk exclaims.

“Oh, I do,” Seo Hyun confirms. “Avant Hye,” she says, motioning to Shin Hye.

“Hong Star,” she points at Hong Ki. “Renai-jang,” she refers to Keun Suk.

Yong Hwa claps his hand proudly. “Way to go, Hyun,” he smiles, giving her a pat on the back.

“Yong-oppa told me about it,” Seo Hyun sheepishly confesses. “I really feel sorry to be an intruder tonight. I know you haven’t seen each other for a long time. I really didn’t know about this.”

Kenchana,” the three of them assure her. “We love having you here. This is a wonderful surprise,” Shin Hye gives her a smile.

"I didn't know it, too. I swear," Yong Hwa reassures Seo Hun softly which earns him a loud snort from Hong Ki. "Shin Hye-yah, komawoyo for this. I didn't even know that you remember my birthday. But here you are, planning a party for me. Ah, I am so happy my heart is bursting right now."

Hong Ki and Sukkie both let out a loud yelp, springing out from their seats. They exchange high-fives, laughing hysterically at their friend. "Yaaaahhh!"

"My heart is bursting right now," Hong Ki imitates him, clutching his heart with his face turned  forlornly at Sukkie. They cringe at the same time. "How mushy can you get, you rotten punk!" Hong Ki exclaims.

Yong Hwa throws a fish fry at Hong Ki who deftly catches it with his hand before popping it in his mouth. "You're just jealous, bastard," he quips.

"Does sajangnim know about this?" Hong Ki asks with an evil glint in his eye, referring to FnC's (CN Blue and FT Island's company) president. "Sajangnim, yoboseyo? De, this is your favorite talent calling. I have to report a crime," he playfully calls on his phone.

Shin Hye sees how Seo Hyun's eyes grew big and how anxiety momentarily clouds her clear eyes. "Ya, stop it, Hong Ki. You're scaring Seo Hyun."

Four pairs of eyes shift on Seo Hyun and she blushes. "Aniyo," she laughs nervously."Lee SooMan sajangnim doesn't know this, too. So we're even," she quips matter-of-factly which makes everyone laugh.

Sukkie shakes his head, chuckling. He gives Yong Hwa a loud high five. "I have to give it to you, buddy. Your courage among idols is very, very commendable. It is legendary."

"You're bringing idol dating to a higher level, my friend," Hong Ki concedes. "Why didn't they consider me for WGM, darn it!"

"Because you're still young and immature. You can't handle a marriage yet," Yong Hwa rubs it in.

"And you do?!" Hong Ki snaps back at him. "Seo Hyun-sshi, I'm sorry but you made a terrible mistake. He's a faker, this one. He may appear to be shy and timid but he is really not. He talks like-"

"He talks like an ahjumma? Yes, I notice that, too. He loves telling stories so much that sometimes he reminds me of my omma with his nonstop talking," Seo Hyun volunteers innocently.

Shin Hye lets out a little scream. "Omo! You notice that, too? And you are not yet running away?" she asks teasingly.

"Run SeoHyun run!" Hong Ki chants, dodging another fish fry from Yong Hwa.

"He is funny and he makes me laugh," Seo Hyun points out, as if to explain why she is staying put. Yong Hwa looks at her wistfully, a little smile on his lips and a lot of appreciation reflecting in his eyes.

Shin Hye catches the tenderness of the gaze Yong Hwa is giving Seo Hyun and she sighs. It was such a private moment that she felt like an intruder gawking at them. She instinctively let her eyes roam towards the person beside her and catches Sukkie's eyes looking back at her. They exchange knowing glances.

Sukkie reaches out to hold her hand under the table, squeezing it tightly. Her heart lurches unexpectedly. Ah, there, she has her own piece of heaven, too, see?

Hong Ki lets out a gagging sound, breaking the spell in the room. "Where is Hee Chul hyung when I need him?! Get me out of this hell, please!" He begs as he dials a number on his phone.

"He's on air right now, I think," Sukkie informs him. "And stop whining, you brat. Go get a girl for yourself. But grow up first, will you?"

Yong Hwa lets out a guffaw. "Hong Ki-yah, mianhe," he says with a smile, belying the sarcasm in his voice."I didn't mean to bring Seo Hyun along to spite you. Believe me," he promises with a smirk. "It's just that we were really planning to go out tonight to celebrate our birthdays together. Her birthday is on the 28th," he informs his friends.

"Sinchia?" Shin Hye asks Seo Hyun who nods at her in return.

"So I brought her with me tonight. This is the only free time we got before I fly to Japan later this week for our shows. I didn't know you guys planned this for me."

"You have to thank Shin Hye for this," Sukkie says. "She says we ought to throw you a party to make up for not being there with you when you were hospitalized. I hope you understand, I am always overseas and Shin Hye is filming a movie now.And you gotta admit, your schedule is really a killer. It is so hard to book an appointment to see you."

“And you never ever call,” Shin Hye can’t resist to chime in.

Mianhe, Shin Hye-ya. I…you know, the life of an idol,” he looks at Hong Ki for some help. Hong Ki gives him a sad face then burst out laughing. Yong Hwa kicks him on his shin.

“Hey, I know, you’re busy. I’m just joking,” she gives Seo Hyun a smile. “I’m sorry you have to put up with this. We just haven’t seen this guy for…what, 6 months?”

“We were just worried when we heard the news that you were sick and we can’t make a visit,” Keun Suk says. “I mean, wow, you’re starting early with the faint spells, huh? Just debuted and you’re driving yourselves crazy already.”

"Kenchana, hyung. It's okay, we are all busy. And I was not allowed to have visitors anyway. Even Hyun was not allowed to get near me," he explains.

"But you are fine now, right? Your voice sounds normal to me. Can you idols please stop fainting one after the other? You are giving me the creeps," Shin Hye asks, a little concerned.

"My singing voice is still a little strained. The doctors said I ought not to sing for a while. But how could I not sing?! It's like telling me not to breathe."

"But you can let Jong Hyun sing the vocals for now and just concentrate on the guitar for a while," Seo Hyun interjects, speaking her mind. "He's so stubborn. He feels he needs to do everything," she tells his friends.

"But I am the leader, Hyun," Yong Hwa calmly answers her, his eyes begging to be understood. "I need to be responsible for them. I need to show them that I will not abandon them no matter what."

"Even at the expense of your own health?" Shin Hye reacts for Seo Hyun, seeing how the latter's face is now clouded with worry. "Come on, Yong Hwa. Your voice is your passport to success. Without it, you will not have everything -- your members, your band, your dreams. So take care of it. Make it your priority."

Hong Ki nods in agreement. "She's right, you fool. Take it from me. Don't sacrifice yourself too much. Take care of yourself. In this industry, you're the only who can do that for you. Everyone else thinks you are a machine."

"Step on the brakes, sometimes. Learn how to say no and mean it," Sukkie adds.

Yong Hwa looks at his friends' faces and smile gratefully, then he takes a jab at them. "Ya, look who's talking now? You are all my sunbaes and you all have fainted at one point in your career, right? I want to experience that, too!" he jokes, earning him a quick swat at the head from Sukkie.

"Well, not me. I haven't fainted due to exhaustion or fatigue even once," Seo Hyun muses out loud. "And that's because I am stubborn when it comes to my health. You, oppa, have to be stubborn for the right reasons. Not the wrong ones," she wags a finger at him.

Sukkie chuckles out loud, amused by their exchange. "Seo Hyun-sshi, you vaguely remind me of someone I know," he throws Shin Hye a meaningful look. "Someone who loves to order me around and someone who I just cannot win over no matter how I try."

"De?" the ever innocent Seo Hyun asks, her eyes curiously eyeing Yong Hwa to help her figure out what Sukkie is saying. Yong Hwa playfully averts his gaze from her, refusing to indulge her curiosity.

Shin Hye blushes at Sukkie's words.

Hong Ki snorts out loud. "Oh, do I really have to put up with you the entire night?! What did I do in my previous life to deserve this?!” He asks to no one in particular as he scoops a plate full of food from the table, retreats in a corner chair at the opposite side of the room and puts on his headphones.

“Hong Ki-yah, saranghae!” Shin Hye calls out to him playfully and he makes a heart gesture with his hands, then throws her a grimace. “Leave me alone with my nosebleeds!” he says with a straight face.

And it is true. The nosebleeds he gets from memorizing Japanese songs have never sounded more appealing.

Ah, but he is with his friends and they are happy. That’s all that matters for now.