She took a minute to focus on her breathing; in for a 10 count, out for a 10 count and repeated this several times.
In her head the mantra replayed, “I’m a professional, this is like any other shoot, I’m a professional.”
She tried shaking her head and rolling her shoulders but the make-up artist and costumer both shot her unhappy looks.
“Sorry,” she mumbles to them in English, forgetting in her nervousness to speak Korean. Now embarrassed, she starts muttering to herself.
“Isn’t this what you came to Korea for? What you’ve wanted for the last 4 years? What you’ve worked for? Just don’t embarrass yourself in front of him.” Her eyes close as she pictures it happening and herself dying on the spot.
The photographer comes in to check on her progress. After rambling for a minute in Korean to the ladies assisting her, he turns to face her with a smile and his hand outstretched.
“Jak. It’s nice to meet you. I’ve wanted to include you in a shoot for awhile now. That hair, it’s going to be amazing against the back drop and against Jiyong’s black.”
Out of habit he lifts the camera and starts snapping pictures, laughs and drops it back down.
“Sorry, I couldn’t resist. I’ve worked with Jiyong before and was pretty excited when he approached me with this idea and asked if I could arrange it with your agent.”
Her eyes shoot up from the mirror to meet his, “GDragon set this up and asked for me?”
He props a knee up on a side chair, leaning over to fiddle with his camera. “He did. Like me, he’s seen your picture around. I don’t know anyone who isn’t fascinated with that hair of yours, thank heaven God gave you beauty with it as well. Alright, I’ll see you out there in a minute.”
She sits frozen in her chair, unsure of what to think. Feeling extremely giddy on the inside that Jiyong has even seen her picture, but finding out he knows her name and requested her? Her inner, younger teenage self is jumping up and down, screaming her head off.
“That settles it,” she tells herself fiercely, “now there can be no slip ups at all. Straight professional but not too stiff.”
She steps out from behind the curtain and onto the set that’s been constructed while they were getting ready. Jiyong has his back to her but even that sight has her eyes glazing over and the saliva multiplying. She allows herself one mere second of being her true self, than she steps forward as the professional model Jak.
Hearing the high heels on the floor, Jiyong turns to see Jak walking towards him.
“F**k she’s a tiny thing!”
He’d seen her modeling card and knew her height, even her measurements, but numbers didn’t compare to seeing her walk towards him. He matches her polite smile and goes over to introduce himself.
“Jak, right?” he asks as he offers his hand. As her small one slips inside his, he’s again overwhelmed by how small this woman is in person. At 5'9 he feels as though he swamps her, topping only 5'4 in her 3 inch heels. He holds her hand perhaps a few seconds longer than he should, turning it over and finally capping both of their hands with his other.
“Yes, it’s a pleasure to meet you.”
She’s quite proud of the fact that it came out correctly in Korean, if a bit hesitantly as he was distracting the hell out of her by keeping hold of her hand. She’d never felt so small and for once was enjoying her size, comparative to him.
His smile broadens as he finally releases her hand, “Your Korean isn’t so bad but I know English. We can speak that if it would make you more comfortable.”
Before she can stop her sarcastic side pounces, “Are we here to work or be comfortable? Because I can always take these heels off and be a whole lot more comfortable than I currently am.”
His laughter fills the studio before she can take her words back. She blushes, looks down, then clears her throat and turns to the photographer, “Where do you need me?”
As she moves past, he turns and follows.
“Let’s start with a traditional pose; face each other, closer, closer. Jiyong put your hands at her waist, Jak one hand on his coat, your other hand on his arm. Good, now both face me, we’ll just start getting warmed up and check the lighting.”
As the photographer moves around, flashes go off, adjustments are made on the camera and lights; orders are given to the assistants.
Jak is focused on being professional, unbelieving that she’s already made a fool of herself in front of her first KPOP love.
A voice above her whispers; “So, the attitude matches the hair. I’m glad.”
Without thought, her head turns and big brown eyes look up into his in shock. The photographer is now forgotten as she realizes where she is and with whom. He pushes a hair behind her ear and states, “I like an imperfect woman”.
Knowing he has no idea just how ‘imperfect’ she is, yet not willing to show him today, she lets out a derisive, unladylike snort while trying not to laugh. Her eyes close, her head falls to his chest and her hand moves from his coat to her mouth. Jiyong throws his head back in delight, then reaches down and pulls her head back up.
“The camera remember?”
She lifts her head and turns straight to the camera, “I have no idea what you’re talking about. Did you forget about it?”
A voice from behind the camera chimes in; “Whatever the two of you are doing, keep it up. The camera loves it.”