Your first week in South Korea still has you in a bit of a shock. Every day is one or two different videos, small section recordings and the same will happen for the next two weeks. Different parts of the same videos, and at the end of it all they will decide which scenes turned out the best to mash together for the comeback video.
Mornings start early, up at 5 am, on site by 6 am, and back to the hotel by 6 pm. For the first few days you skipped dinner settling for sleep instead. Mistakes made from lack of sleep or jetlag are not only frowned on but could end your career. Directors were not so forgiving, no matter how tired, sick, or on your death bed you may be.
The week had also been full of specialized coffee each morning from Junho, an invitation to eat lunch with the group – whether you could or not, and a nightly Skype call. The Skype calls were getting rather interesting and humorous; it seemed he looked for any reason he could to call. The first time he called was about call times; other excuses soon followed like, was the scene for the next day definite? It wouldn’t be changed last minute? Did you have any anti-itch cream in your ‘tool belt’? He just knew something was going to irritate him skin wise the next day. Where he came up with these excuses was beyond you, but you now looked forward to your phone ringing around 10 pm each night, no matter how tired you were.
The weekend was now upon you, free time for the first time in South Korea. Different crew members were getting groups together and heading in different directions. Each group had invited any who wanted to come, the problem was, you couldn’t decide between the locations where they were headed.
The idols had another appointment that Friday and had headed out early. The crew stayed to rework sound and go over the equipment again. As a celebration for a successful first week, the director takes everyone out to a local Korean BBQ place. Everyone is relaxed, happy, and possibly getting slightly drunk, burning off the stress of the week.
The party doesn’t start breaking up until around 10, just as your phone rings. You excuse yourself and head into the restroom for a little privacy.
“Annyeonghaseyo,” you comment as a smiling face greets you.
“Annyeonghaseyo,” he replies back. He may have mentioned around the middle of the week how cute he thought you sounded trying to speak Korean. So you’re a fangirl, you never said you weren’t.
“It sounds noisy, are you partying without us?”
“Director took everyone for dinner to celebrate a great first week,” you reply quietly.
“So noisy, can barely hear you, where are you?” he grumbles.
“Umm, the restroom,” you admit a little sheepishly.
This brings a full laugh out. “Well, I can’t say I’ve never been inside the ladies restroom but on a cell phone is a first,” he grins wickedly at you.
You eyeroll, men. “How about we finish this conversation when I get back to the hotel?”
“Very well, I have items to discuss with you, it will be soon?”
You nod, “should be, everyone was getting ready to leave when you called.”
“Yaggan-ui,” he states and logs off.
The car ride back to the hotel seemed to last forever. You were rather impatient as people seemed to drag their feet gathering their items, paying their drink tabs, and loading into the vans. It ends up being an hour later before you get to the privacy of your room to call him back. Should you? It wasn’t too late now was it? You throw your head back to the wall in indecision and sort of sit there wondering what to do. A text buzzes your phone,
“Are you in your room yet? Call me!”
You smile at the demand, well that decides it, he isn’t asleep. Except for that first night after you arrived, he has always been the one to call, it makes you nervous to be the instigator tonight. You take a deep breath, click on his picture and hit send.
No hello, just “That was soon? I must not understand the meaning of the word.”
You smile at his grumpiness, if he had sounded anywhere near as grumpy as his words and face tried to be, you might have believed it.
“Not my fault; I had no control over it,” you pretend to pout, just to play along.
“Alright, alright, I’m sorry. Hmm, you look cute when you pout.”
That stops you, what?!? Instead of questioning it you decide to ignore it and change the subject. “You called me first, it’s the weekend, I’m off, you can’t ask for any favors until Monday.”
“I can’t huh? Well, if you don’t want to spend the afternoon, evening with me tomorrow…”
“I said you couldn’t ask me for a favor, I didn’t say you couldn’t invite me out,” you reply with more guts than you knew you had. You look everywhere but at the screen, saying it out loud is one thing, looking at him while saying it is totally different.
It is silent for a bit, then you hear a tapping noise and glance back to the screen to see him tapping it on his end. “There is no ‘poke’ on this, I have your attention?”
You have the grace to look embarrassed, how can flirting with this man reduce you back to an adolescent?
“Yes,” you reply and again, wait.
He gives you one of his best smiles, bringing out the dimples, “Good. Would you like to join me tomorrow or you have plans?”
“None that I’ve committed to,” you admit, “a couple of different groups are headed to some tourist places, I hadn’t decided who to go with yet.”
“Excellent! You come with me than, right?”
You raise your eyebrow, “Go with you.. where ..exactly?” you want to say yes, but this seems too crazy to be real. You try to quiet the butterflies that have suddenly stirred into a frenzy.
He just smiles, “Are you coming or not?”
You quickly nod before he can change his mind, “Sure. What time?”
“I will be out in front of your hotel around 4? Good?”
“Sounds great,” you nod, still unbelieving that he had actually asked you out on a date. “Wait,” you try to catch him before he can say goodbye.
“I don’t have anything fancy to wear, we can’t go anywhere fancy.”
He just stares at the screen for a minute, he then nods his head.
“Da-eum eul chamjo gusnais,” he says, and you repeat in English, “See you then, goodnight.”