I felt my chest tighten as all five of us bowed and walked out. Mimi cleared her throat and put a hand on my shoulder while we all walked to the practice room. As we walked through the door, I kept my head down and avoided everyone’s gazes.
“Alright girls, we need to discuss this.” Mimi said seriously. We all nodded then sat down. I tried to position myself further away from the group, but Mimi and Hyomin sat close to each side. Hyomin pulled my hand into hers as we sat there. “I don’t even know where to start..” Mimi sighed. “I guess lets say our thoughts. Who wants to try going solo? Or if you don’t want to, who do you want to nominate? I know this is a lot to put onto you guys because the rest of our careers rely on your choice, but I feel like you can make a good decision. Plus, if you don’t do well, it’s not like our careers are completely over, we can always go to another company, even if it’s not as Moonlit Flight. We’ll be alright.” She smiled softly at us. She was such a mother at times. “Alright we’ll start with Sungjin unnie. Since she’s the oldest. I’ll go last.”
“Well…I nominate Nari.” Sungjin said, pointing to me. I looked up quickly.
“You saw how well we did on the songs that you wrote. I just feel like you’d do the best.” She smiled. “I believe in you.” I looked down again.
“Okay, and Sunjoon?”
“I say Nari as well.”
“Nari?” Mimi encouraged, nudging me.
“I..um….S..Sunjoon unnie.” I said.
“Nari unnie!” Hyomin exclaimed. I looked over at her.
“And I also say Nari. Nari, its unanimous among us, are you willing to do this?” I felt a weight be put onto my shoulders as I stared at my members, all of their careers in Moonlit Flight depending on me? On the songs I can make? I looked back down at my lap and chewed on my lip.
“We believe you can do this, unnie.” Hyomin whispered beside me, squeezing my hand.
“Song Nari! Song Nari! Song Nari!” Sungjin and Sunjoon both chanted.
“You guys really think I can?” I whispered. “Are you willing to risk this? Are willing to risk everything on me?” I asked, tears filling my eyes at the thought of failing them.
“Yes we are, Nari-ah.” Mimi said, rubbing my shoulders. Sunjoon and Sungjin came closer and hugged me along with Hyomin and Mimi. “You can do this.”
“Okay..if you guys say so.” I nodded. They all smiled.
“We’ll help you out as much as we can.” Hyomin exclaimed excitedly.
“I could help out with the choreography!” Sunjoon said, clapping.
“Have you made any songs recently?” Sungjin asked.
“Not really..I’ve been practicing too much to try..I mean I have some lyrics and stuff.”
“Okay good! We’ll start tomorrow! For now let’s just talk, wind down. We still have a while until the deadline.” Mimi said, leaning back on her hands.
“So unnie, what’s it like to share the same house as Bom sunbaenim? And Chanyeol oppa?” Hyomin asked, excitedly.
“I never really see Bom unnie. We’re both working all the time. As for Chanyeol..well he’s the person I’m closest to there.” I said, rubbing my eyes. “He’s adorable to be honest. He’s almost like a puppy.”
“Oh really?” Sungjin asked, smirking and elbowing Sunjoon who smirked back at her.
“No, no, no. It’s not like that.” I said quickly, waving my hands at them.
“Mmhmm.” They said simultaneously. Even though they were born 2 years apart, they acted like twins.
“I swear, Chanyeol and I are just friends.” I said, putting up a pinkie.
“I bet it’ll take them a month, what about you guys? Let’s make it a bet.” Mimi said, smiling.
“2 months!” Hyomin chimed.
“A month and a half.” Sungjin and Sunjoon said simultaneously.
“It’s not going to happen.” I said.
“Alright then…if it does happen, which it will, how about you do whatever the person that was the closest does. And if Jin and Joon win then you guys have to decide on one thing. But if it doesn’t happen then we’ll do what Nari wants us to do. ” Mimi said, putting her hand out in the middle
“Call!” The other three yelled, putting their hands on top of hers. I sighed and put my hand on top on theirs.
“Hope you’ll have fun doing what I want. I should have plenty of things you four could do.” I laughed.
We talked for a couple more hours, sharing laughs, reminiscing our trainee days, then we finally went back to tell him the choice.
“Well, what did you decide?” He asked, not looking up from the papers he was putting into his suitcase. Mimi elbowed me and I quietly shook my head, I’ve never been able to talk to our CEO. He glanced up at us and raised an eyebrow. “Well?” His hands stopped moving.
“We decided on Nari.” Mimi said, wrapping her arm around my waist.
“Alright, Nari. You have a month. I’ll announce that you’re going solo tomorrow. Just know that if you don’t get it done in time or your solo doesn’t go well, you and your group members are out of this company. I don’t need you wasting my money.” He finished putting the papers in his suitcase before standing up walking towards the door. “Ah, right. You can do one song in English if you want.” He said, motioning for us to leave the room so he could leave. We all bowed to him before walking out and making our way to our van. We all sat in silence as our manager drove us to the dorm.
“Do you need anything from the dorm, unnie?” Hyomin asked quietly as the manager pulled up to the dorm, a couple fans were stood outside. They smiled as we got out of the van. The other girls waved and smiled back at them as the fans calmly said hello to us. I gave them a small smile and wave as a thousand things ran through my mind.
I’d need to either bring a bunch of my recording and songwriting equipment to the Roommate house or I’d have to work, then come to the dorm, work on my songs, then go to the Roommate house. Now that it’s just me, I’m not needed to practice as hard, but I feel obligated to. I’m not needed to sing our songs until I am satisfied with my voice or until my voice is raw, but I feel obligated to.
I walked into Hyomin’s and my room and went straight to my computer, grabbing a USB from inside the drawer on the desk and copying all of my files so that I could work from my laptop when I could, including in the car to and from places. My laptop will need to become attached to my hip.
“Unnie, are you hungry? Mimi unnie is making kimbab.” Hyomin said, from the doorway.
“No, I’m fine. Thank you Min-ah.” I said, switching onto my laptop and starting to work on the lyrics and music I already had mostly fleshed out, debating whether or not they were good enough.
“Are you sure, unnie? When was the last time you ate? You’ve lost a lot of weight.” She said, an audible frown in her voice.
“I’m fine, I promise. I lost weight from exercising. It’s not even that much of a difference. Listen, unnie needs to work on this. I really don’t want to fail you guys.” I said, not taking my eyes off the screen.
“Alright..” She trailed off, the door closing as she walked out. She returned in what felt like seconds. “Unnie, you should probably go to the Roommate house. It’s late and you need to sleep.”
“Let me work on this a little bit more.” I said, trying to think of a melody that would be catchy while trying to figure out if any of my lyrics were good enough.
“Nari-ah. You’ve been working on that for 3 hours.” Mimi said, from the doorway. I looked up at her then down at the tiny clock on my laptop. We left the company at 8:45 and got to the dorm at 9:24. It was 12:35 am.
“But I didn’t get like anything done.” I whispered, looking at the mess of tabs open on my laptop.
“Go home and sleep, Nari. Work on it in the morning. Go home, eat, and sleep.” Mimi said. I nodded and grabbed a bag, stuffing my laptop and some music sheets along with other knick knacks I would need.
“Goodnight everyone. Sleep well.” I told my group members, hugging each of them before making my way to the street again, seeing that my manager was long gone.
To be honest I didn’t expect him to stick around. I put a mask over my mouth and hailed a taxi, telling them the address to the Roommate house. Once I arrived and paid the driver, I got out of the car before opening the gate and standing there, feeling overwhelmed. How am I supposed to make a good enough solo to save the group? Why did the girls have to choose me? Why out of all of us, me? I was far less talented at singing and dancing than them. Shaking my head to clear it, I walked inside, feeling nervous and alert.
“Nari-ah!” Chanyeol’s voice whispered loudly from the inside door. I looked up from my shoes to see a huge smile on his face. “Well?”
I found it nice how excited he was. He was so adorable sometimes. Really like a puppy when their owner gets home. I forced a smile at him through the mask then followed him into the dining room where Ga Yeon was sat. I sighed and sat down, putting my back in the chair next to me and taking off my mask.
“I told Ga Yeonnie about it. Sorry if you didn’t want me to.”
“Mm, so what’s the verdict?”
“Its fine, Chanyeol.” I said, sighing again as I leaned back, my energy starting to fade even though I was to on edge and alert to feel even close to sleeping. “So…my CEO decided to give me a solo. He’s announcing it tomorrow. I have to write and compose 5 songs by the end of the month. I only get 1 English song I can do.” I said, my voice sounding extremely exhausted. “I’ve been working on songs for the last 3 hours and haven’t gotten anywhere.”
“How about I help you out tomorrow? I don’t have to work and I might be able to lend a hand, you know?” Chanyeol offered, I smiled tiredly at him.
“I don’t want to burden you.”
“You wouldn’t be. A month is a really short amount of time for one person to come up with 5 songs. It might go by easier if two people help. I might even be able to get some other people from my company to help if you wanted. Like Amber from f(x) or Jonghyun and Taemin from SHINee. But for now, why don’t we all go to bed? It’s 1 am.”
“Have you eaten yet?” Ga Yeon asked me.
“Mmhmm. I ate kimbab at the dorm.” I lied.
“Okay, let’s go to bed.” Chanyeol smiled brightly.
Ga Yeon and I walked into our room, Bom fast asleep with a cookie of some sort in her mouth. Ga Yeon who was already in her pajamas got straight into bed, muttering “Goodnight.” I sat on my bed and pulled out my contact case along with my glasses case and walked into my bathroom before taking out my contacts and washing my wash then held on to my glasses and squinted my eyes to navigate my way to my laptop and headphones then walked quietly into the upper living room and setting everything up, without actually putting on my glasses, because who needs to see and not look ridiculous right?
“Nari.” I heard Chanyeol say as I plugged my headphones in and got my software booted up. I looked over at him, or at least the blurry figure of him. “You need to go to bed. It’s late.” He said, sitting next to me. “We can figure this out in the morning.”
“I only have a month Chanyeol, and I need to get dances figured out and do everything else so I need this done as soon as possible.”
“We can do it in the morning. Your health comes first. Now why are you glaring at me?” He asked.
“What? I’m not glaring. I just can’t see without my contacts or glasses. I forgot to put on my glasses.” I said, grabbing the purple case and putting on my rectangular framed glasses.
“Ah, like Kyungsoo.” He commented.
“Sure.” I muttered, starting to work on the music again. His hand came to rest upon mine on the keyboard.
“I should introduce you to my group. For now, go to bed.” He said, a smirk coming across his face as he quickly took my laptop away from me and held it above his head as I reached for it.
“Chanyeol. Please. I need to work.” I leaned over him, reaching for it.
“You need to sleep.”
“Chanyeol, please you don’t understand.” I got up on my knees, reaching for the blue laptop. Chanyeol held me back with one hand and held the laptop further away with the other one.
And then I lost my balance on the fluffy couch and fell forward, our mouths colliding hard.
“Ah!” Chanyeol yelped, his puppy eyes widening as a dark blush flushed to his cheeks, matching mine. I pulled back and cleared my throat.
“S-sorry..” Chanyeol put the laptop down and put the hand that was originally holding me away to his lips.
“Nari, your lips are bleeding.” Chanyeol said, eyes widening even more, if it were possible.
“I’ll be fine.” I brushed him off.
“If you say so..”
“Will you give me my laptop now?” I asked, looking at him.
“You have to go to bed so no. I’m taking it with me.” He said, leaving the room in a rush. Guess I have no choice but to go to bed now.