“May I?” you take her phone for a closer look and sure enough, there you are. Your picture, Author Lauren Atlantic; it looked to be at the end of one of my books. Your smile grows wide and eyes mist as you tell her thank you and hand her phone back.
“I’m so flattered, but this meet and greet isn’t about me, it’s for DeLish. I would feel I was dishonoring them if I were to publicize myself. You understand?”
The smile dropped from her face and then you felt worse. You were about to ask for her information so that you could send her something when behind you a familiar voice takes control. He asks if the fan would follow him, then reaching down, he grabs your hand and takes you with them. Back in the large holding area, he let the fan know that we were now not a part of the official meet and greet so I could now give her my autograph without disrespecting DeLish or the entertainment group.
You look up in shock but only receive a smile and a wink. The fan once more has a large smile on her face and hands you her autograph book. You chat for a minute while you ask her name and thank her for reading your books. She was describing her joy at not only being able to see her favorite KPOP group but by having the extra bonus of a favorite author being present. Bows and hugs were exchanged, then we were both escorted back to the meet greet. The fan went her way and you sit back down in your spot, still reeling that someone in Korea had read my books!
Mr. Kim leans over and whispers in your ear, “We definitely need to have a conversation”.
Alright, that terrifies you. A little like being called into the principal’s office at school. However, when you look up he doesn’t seem upset, he actually seems....thoughtful and happy.
The meet and greet was close to an end, the last fans were currently up at the table gushing over the guys. You could tell they were trying really hard to not show how tired they were. Having noticed a soda machine just past the prep room, you grab your wallet and head down the hall. Six bottles of caffeine later, your arms all load up, you head back. As you arrive you step in the back of the line and follow the last fan through. As you reach each member, you place a bottle in front of them. Smiles radiate from their faces, they look up expecting a fan; little do they know you are one of their biggest fans, but that is going to remain your little secret. They had no idea what a dream it was for you to be around them, speak to them, shadow them and be accepted. One of the members jumps up, grabs your arm and starts autographing your shirt. Ones that already had their drinks, followed suit and soon you are surrounded by grown up little boys, laughing and enjoying the opportunity to draw all over your clothing. Shaking your head, you say nothing as you know it won’t do any good. Idols, no matter their age work hard and need stress relief. You seemed to be it tonight. As the last fan left, the last 2 members jump over the table to come join the ruckus. Being shorter than most of them, you try to peek around to see what Mr. Kim’s reaction is. He is over talking to the facility manager, not paying much attention at all. The members start to disperse, grabbing their drinks and heading back to the prep room. You still have two drinks left in your arms and you glance around to see who is left.
Standing behind Ae, just a little way off is Tong. Ae finishs his lengthy letter at the bottom of my shirt and rises capping his marker. He smiles, winks as he draws his knuckles across my cheek, then turns to grab his soda and leaves.
You still can't wrap your mind around Ae flirting with you. You figure it must be practice, like with the younger group and shrug it off. You watch him walk off, then turn your attention back to the man left behind. Once again his eyebrow was raised in question as he also turns to watch Ae leave.
Distraction is your only current friend, as you quickly walk over and hold out his soda to him. He comes forward a few steps and gently removes it with a bow and a thank you. He is walking around you, taking in the member’s art work and comments left on your blouse. He stops once more in front you; twists off the soda lid, and takes a good long gulp. His eyes not leaving your face and you wait for the questions you know are coming.
Replacing the lid on his bottle, he glances over at Mr. Kim, then turns to you.
“It would seem, Noona. You have some explanations for me.”
“Why, Tong; I’m not sure what you’re talking about,” you reply, unscrewing the lid on your own drink. As you turn to grab your belongings, you throw your bag over your shoulder and turn to walk past.
Your shoulder bag is taken off your shoulder and placed on the table as he grabs one of the remaining markers. He presents the marker to me as a question and you dutifully turn your back to him. You hope against hope that there is still a space somewhere back there. He seems to take a minute, then lifts and brushes aside your hair, placing it over your shoulder. After what seems like forever, you hear the top being replaced and a slight breeze against your neck. Goosebumps appear up and down your arms, while a shiver races up your spine. You quickly brush your hair back, stepping away from him, and gather your items from the table once again.
A quick twist of the bottle top and ice cold soda flows down your now desert dry throat. Not good, you tell yourself. You already fangirled over the man twice, letting him know that he affects you in other ways does not seem like a good idea.
As you head back towards the prep room, you can see out of the corner of your eye that he is accompanying you a few steps behind. He seems unphased by everything, so you take your cue from him, push away your awkwardness, and walk purposefully down the hall. You catch the tail end of the group heading back out to the cars, so you increase speed as to not be left behind. The cars were all waiting; you notice Ae looking back towards you, holding the door open. Raising your hand in acknowledgement, you suddenly feel a hand settle on your arm and lower it. You turn to see Tong gesture to Ae with a shake of his head. As you look back and forth, you watch in amazement as Ae nods; gives you a small wink and climbs into the car. Your eyes must have shown shock as the car pulls away from the curb without you inside it.