Sorry I didn't update sooner, I've been getting ready to go on a cruise for a week coming up, so I'll be out of contact all next week. Don't worry, before I disappear, I'll make sure to post more chapters to keep you entertained. Thank you for continuing to read my stories, I love getting the feedback.
I was standing casually outside of the YG building when I saw a very warmly dressed female exit the building and walk up to me, “Hi, you must be Michelle. It’s nice to meet you,” the girl’s voice said.
“Hi, nice to meet you too,” I smiled and slightly bowed, “I’m actually a huge fan.”
“Oh, thank you. Let’s go this way, there’s a café which is really good for less publicity nearby,” she explained and I fell into step beside her. She was my bias for Blackpink and I was bursting with wanting to tell her that. Of course, maybe this time I should keep my mouth shut.
We quietly entered a café, and they took one look at her and at me (I think I saw something akin to disbelief on their faces when they saw me, but it could have just been the lighting), and escorted us to our own private booth.
After ordering some coffee and shedding our layers, we sat across from each other, smiling. “There, much better.”
“Thank you for inviting me out,” I thanked gratefully. “I’m surprised you had some free time to do it.”
“Well we’ve been busy so it’s just a short time, but I wanted to meet you. You did a really good job at singing, for someone who’s never had training. I could tell. I was impressed – you did your job so perfectly, that I could learn the part really quickly. We already finished recording it and plan on releasing it in the coming months.”
“That will be wonderful. I look forward to hearing it,” I smiled, “I’m really a huge fan actually.”
“Really? You listen to KPOP then in America?”
“Oh yes. We have a smaller market there for it, but there are fans everywhere, of every age and race and gender. I know several older women who still gush over BTS and other groups, and who are highly involved in the online communities for KPOP. It’s not lost, but it’s one of those subcultures in our society. We’ve become rather xenophobic of late and so it makes it harder to break into the American music industry.”
“You seem to know quite a bit about your music industry in America.”
“Not really, but it’s the truth. I’ve thought about some ways that KPOP could be a more frequent genre of music in America, but I’ve yet to come up with the solution. I’m not exactly a normal American I guess.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“Well I speak several languages and I have contacts all over the world, but my childhood was spent in Costa Rica with my family. So I moved to America when I was very young and my perspective is different than most.”
“Oh, that’s really cool. I was born in Thailand, so I understand a little bit of what you’re talking about.”
“You speak several languages too, I believe.”
“Yes, many languages. What languages do you speak?”
“English, Spanish, Korean, and Japanese.”
“Really? Such different languages. But you did live in Costa Rica, so it makes sense that you would know Spanish.”
“I learned it side by side with English, so instead of it feeling like a second language, it feels like a part of my normal language integration. You see, when you are a child, if you learn languages side by side, like English and Spanish, it gets recorded in your speech part of your brain, not necessarily your language part of your brain. Because I grew up with both, learning Spanish wasn’t like learning a new language, it was just a part of my original language, so it comes to me with ease. However, with Korean and Japanese, that was difficult for me to learn because I was learning two different, and new languages.”
“You are very intelligent,” she complimented. “How do you retain that information?”
“I’m in education and language learning, so it makes sense, since it was a part of my degree,” I grinned. “Thank you for the compliment.”
The coffee arrived and we continued to discuss a little of my background and history, and of her background and her training time period. I asked her about working with BIGBANG and she asked me about my work at Jellyfish and we had a very nice conversation together. By the end of it, it felt like we were friends.
“Oh, let’s get a picture together,” she suggested, taking out her phone.
I was so glad that I was prepared this time. We posed and took a quick selfie, and then said our goodbyes, and parted ways. She went back to YG to continue working, and I headed back home to enjoy the rest of my day off.
“So, I heard that your song went well,” Leo said to me the next day as I stood in front of the classroom.
“Well, I suppose so. Although given the fact that it was for someone so famous I was rather embarrassed to discover. But she’s nice.”
“You met her? Lisa?” he asked.
He observed me, staring at me as if I was some sort of puzzle to figure out…it was unnerving. “Today we are having a test, so I hope you’ll remember everything I’ve taught,” I looked away from him and back at my board.
Today was going to be their first test, so I could see where they were and continue to design lesson plans accordingly.
“I’m ready for our test,” Leo entered fully into the classroom, still watching me curiously. “For never having been to Korea before, you certainly know how to get around, don’t you?”
“What are you—“
“I wonder who else you’ve been talking to…”
I narrowed my eyes at him, wasn’t he supposed to be all like, shy and stuff? Maybe he really was somewhat conniving and evil…okay, not evil, but cunning, yes, I would say so.
“Woohoo, we have a test today!” Ken walked into the classroom, followed by the others. Leo looked away from me, acting as if he was uninterested and I wondered what he was thinking beneath that brooding profile.
“Yes. Once the test has been completed, I’ll need about an hour, maybe less, to grade them, so feel free to work on anything you need to do during that time.”
“Thank you,” Ravi said respectfully and I smiled warmly at him.
My opinions of them hadn’t changed much, except that I found Ravi much more adorable than I originally believed, and Hakyeon much more personable that I thought he would be. Hyuk was playful and very friendly, and Ken was just a barrel of laughs.
Hongbin was just as fun, egging them on, though usually staying out of trouble. Leo was still as moody and brooding as I had always believed, and actually, I understood him less now than I thought I did before I met him. He was just…annoyingly cryptic and I wanted to crack that puzzle.
Still, I always found myself carrying snacks and offering them to him whenever I had a chance to. He never turned down any snacks I offered, whether it was candy (he really liked the Jelly Babies), crackers, or chocolate – and I found it endearingly adorable to watch him eat the snacks I gave him. Okay, so maybe he wasn’t as dark and brooding as I thought either, but it felt like it a few minutes ago.
“Okay, everyone settle down, I’ll pass out the tests,” I called out.
They settled down quickly (thank goodness for good students), and I passed out the test. It was a comprehensive test, covering everything we’d gone over and a little bit of extra credit to see if they could do a bit more. Not that they were like, going to get a passing or failing grade necessarily, but the test allowed me to study their learning and how much they had retained.
If I found that they had retained the majority of it, I would continue on to harder stuff. If they were experiencing difficulties in one area, I’d be sure to continue pressing that one.
I went through my facebook and social media posts while they took the test. It should take about an hour.
I had taken a few pictures and uploaded them to facebook about some of my wanderings here in Seoul. I smiled at the comments and love notes from friends and family, encouraging me to continue working hard. Christmas would be soon, and it would be the first one without my family in years.
I was still working on the scarves, since I’d met some new people, I needed to make new ones. I had one for each member of VIXX, one for GD, and one for Lisa. Of course, I did realize that all of them could well afford some decent scarves. I didn’t care if they wore it or stuffed it in a box and donated it; the point of the gift (since I was so poor right now) was the thought of it. Besides, what would anyone buy for GD? Hmmm? That’s what I thought!
Speaking of gifts, I needed to send those packages to my family. They contained all sorts of small goodies and souvenirs for them from Korea. I had them all wrapped, I just had to stop by the post office and get them sent off.
After looking over my social media profiles, I looked around at the guys as they worked hard on their tests. I was so very proud of them. Suddenly, my eyes caught Leo’s hard glare – it looked like he was trying to pierce my soul with his gaze. What had gotten into him today?
*** (Leo POV)***
Why was I jealous? What was wrong with me that I needed to know who she had been talking to, and how she had met Lisa and…I cursed silently again. I couldn’t think about anything except Michelle all the time, it was infuriating.
I had to resist following her many times, and I was only distracted whenever we were practicing or doing V Live shows, or something for our Starlights. It was annoying that she would come to my mind all the time, especially when I didn’t need her in my head.
After listening to her demo CD with Si-Kyung I had been jealous.
Sighing, I looked up and caught her gaze. My eyes narrowed in annoyance, why wouldn’t she just stop bothering me? Why did I feel so conflicted? I liked her but I didn’t, and I wanted to be with her, but I wanted to monopolize her, not share her. It was a weird feeling – I’d never felt this way for a girl before.
I finally looked back down at my test, I needed to concentrate on anything but her.
He finally released his intense gaze and I realized something terrible: Leo hated me.
What did I do to make him hate me? Why else would he glare at me like that, if he didn’t hate me? Was it my snacks? Should I pack different snacks? Did I insult him at any time when me and the guys were joking around and teasing each other a bit? Did he think I was a horrible singer and therefore I was unworthy to be a teacher? Did he think I was a terrible teacher? Maybe he hated me because I was making the class too hard?
Why Leo, why???? (The struggle is real!!! LMAO)
I felt a pain my chest at the realization that he hated me – I didn’t want anyone to hate me, especially Leo (and of course, everyone in VIXX). What could I have possibly done to him? Had I been rude perhaps? What if I asked the others? I was more anxious now than before. Curse you Leo!
I couldn’t keep dwelling on these horrible thoughts, so instead I plugged in my headphones, played some BAP, and shut my eyes to try to center myself and find my calm.
Finally, I calmed down and opened my eyes to check on the guys. Ken was centimeters from my face staring at me with a smirk.
“Ah!” I screeched in surprise and pushed back away from him. However, instead of the chair scooting back, it caught on the floor (I hate when this happens) and I fell backwards, hitting my head on the chair as it smacked into the floor. “Ow!” I cried out in pain.
A hand immediately flew to my head and I could feel a bump forming, and a headache coming on. I looked up at Ken who had a look of horror and shock on his face, as if he couldn’t believe he’d done something so terrible to someone.
I wanted to tell him it was okay, but before I could utter a word, someone picked me up bridal style and held me to their chest. “Ken, get an ice pack now,” Leo’s commanding voice said. Ken nodded and ran off. Leo turned to me, his gaze softening and in that moment I felt my heart thumping at the caring he showed in the depths of his eyes. “Are you okay?” his hand went to the back of my head and he caressed the forming bump slowly, as if trying to get an idea of the damage.
Our hands touched as he held me and I blushed, “I’m better now,” I replied quietly. Leo looked me over scrutinizing, checking for any more injuries that might have been missed.
“Leo…you can put her down now,” Hyuk said slowly. Leo realized suddenly exactly what he was doing, and blushed. He slowly placed me down in a different chair and stepped back. He cleared his throat and his face was crimson.
“Ah…yeah. Good, you’re fine,” he went back to his seat and continued writing on his test. Ken ran back in the room and placed the ice pack on my head.
“I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you, I was just going to try to surprise you. And I was curious about what music you were listening to. I’m really sorry,” he continued pressing the ice pack on my bump.
“Thank you, and it’s okay. I wasn’t mortally injured or anything. But perhaps we should step out of the classroom so as not to disturb—“
“I’m done,” Ravi stood up and placed his test on my desk. “I’ll go with you.”
“Okay,” I stood up and momentarily got dizzy. Ravi wrapped an arm around my back.
“I’ll help you,” he volunteered. And so, like a doll, I was carefully led out of the classroom and into the nearest practice studio. They placed me on a seat in the back and sat by me.
“So what music were you listening to?” Ken asked again.
“You like them too?”
“I like many groups, but I’m only a part of one fandom, and that’s Starlight, so don’t you fret, I’m loyal.”
“Good. I don’t like sharing STARLIGHTS with anyone else. I get jealous,” Ravi grinned.
“Will you sing for me Michelle?” Ken asked, crouching on his legs and looking up at me, “I’m every so sorry for hurting you.”
“You want me to sing? What should I sing?”
“Something in English, something besides KPOP,” he requested.
“Hmmm, something in English…let’s see then…” I thought about several different songs I could sing without music, and finally settled on one.
On my own, pretending he's beside me
All alone, I walk with him 'til morning
Without him, I feel his arms around me
And when I lose my way I close my eyes and he has found me
In the rain, the pavement shines like silver
All the lights are misty in the river
in the darkness, the trees are full of starlight
And all I see is him and me, forever and forever
I sang the entire song, it was one of my favorites from Les Miserables. I didn’t realize we had an entire audience until the end of the song. I looked up and blushed, “Oh…you’re all done?”
“Michelle, that was quite beautiful,” Hyuk complimented with a big smile, “You truly are a good singer.”
Blushing, I smiled, “Thank you Hyuk. I really do love to sing, I’ve been able to sing since I was a little girl. Growing up, I wanted to train properly. I actually had a voice teacher for about a month before she moved away and never came back, so I never got proper training.”
“We have lots of coaches here, and I’m sure it wouldn’t be a problem—“
“No. No, it’s okay. I’m an English teacher and therefore have no need of proper training. I don’t mind, it’s just a hobby.”
“But you have so much potential,” Hakyeon finally spoke up.
“Really, I’m quite alright. I’ll just go and grade those tests and see where you all are. It’ll take me about an hour to grade, so take that time to work on anything you need,” I stood up and set aside the ice pack. My head didn’t ache anymore, but I have Tylenol in my purse and I’d grab some with my water to dull the slightly pounding in my head.
“I’ll help you,” Ravi offered.
“It’s alright, I’m not dizzy anymore, I’ll be fine, but thank you,” I smiled at him in thanks and left the studio to go to the classroom. I needed time away to think and concentrate on my grading of the tests and that Tylenol would do wonders
Sighing in relief at finally being done, I stretched and popped a few joints here and there in the process. It had taken me an hour to finish grading their tests. They were doing remarkably well, and I was glad that my lessons weren’t too difficult.
I would take these and go to the boss tonight to see how much training he thought they’d need. Deciding to stop by the restroom, I headed out into the hallway to the bathroom, did my business, washed my hands, and was on my way to the practice studio to begin rounding up all the guys, when I stopped to listen.
I could hear a piano being played over and over again, the same parts, and always stopping at the same part. Opening the door, I found Leo at the piano, looking rathe frustrated, “Are you stuck?” I inquired.
He looked at me and nodded. “I’m sorry. May I?” I asked.
He stood up and I sat down, gently running my fingers over the white and black keys of the grand piano. “My parents have a grand piano in their house that I used to play. I can read music, but I’m not very talented. However, I do know my favorite songs by heart. Like this one,” I started off on a melody, my hands moving in the familiar patterns of the song.
At the end, I smiled, “That was from a movie called the Secret of Moonacre. It is one of my favorite movies. And this next one is also a favorite of mine. It’s from a movie called The Man From Snowy River, a classic in my family.”
I started playing a different tune this time and he just watched me. I knew that I wasn’t doing anything to help him, but he had just been so frustrated, I had wanted to distract him from his task of failing to create a good tune for his song.
“Can you play that first one again?” he asked.
I smiled at him, “Of course.”
So, I played it again for him, trying to pour more of my emotion into the piece.
On the last notes, I set my hands down on the bench beside me and looked up at his burning gaze. I couldn’t look away.
A knock on the door distracted us both, “That doesn’t sound like Leo,” Ken walked into the room. “You were playing? It was beautiful.”
“It’s just from a movie is all. I haven’t played in so long.”
“You sing and play the piano? And yet you have no career with music?”
“I have no interest in creating a career with music anymore, as I said before. This is what I do now. Speaking of which, I’d like to speak to all of you. Can you get the others to meet me in the classroom?” I stood up and stepped away from the piano. “I’ll be waiting.”
“Sure,” Ken walked away and I returned to the classroom.
After a few minutes, they returned to the classroom and I grinned at them, “You all did fabulously, as I expected. Your earnest desire to learn is helping you, and I know it will pay off for all your English speaking STARLIGHTS. Trust me, they will fall in love with you more because you’re working so hard for them. I will take these reports to the boss and see if he wants you to continue learning English, or to focus on your composing and recording. For now though, you are all free to continue working on what needs to be done.”
“So we’re done with English for today?”
“Yes. You have an entire day to be productive.”
“Great, let’s practice some choreography then,” Hakyeon immediately said. So, they all filed out and I was left in quiet. Looking down at my desk, I gathered my materials and made sure I was all packed up, before putting it aside and making my way to an empty room with a piano. While the guys practiced, I’d get some more piano playing out of the way.
When the boss returned in the afternoon I made my way to his office, and knocked.
“Good day sir,” I bowed.
“Miss Smith, you look well.”
“Thank you. I’ve come to discuss the progress of the English classes,” I explained.
“So, how is it going?”
“They are very apt at learning, of course, and they are excelling. I made them take a test today and they all passed with flying colors. I incorporated many different methods to test them and their comprehension, they did very well. I wasn’t sure if you wanted me to continue being their teacher, or if you wanted me to move on to different artists?”
“I am planning on doing Gugudan next, of course. I’ll have VIXX tested soon by another person to make sure they are actually comprehending and learning properly. Not that I don’t trust you, but you are their teacher.”
“I understand. I know what they’ve learned, so my test might be biased.”
“Yes, good. While I procure someone to come in and test them, feel free to use any of the rooms in the studio, though I heard you have already done so.”
I blushed, “I apologize for my impertinence, I just really love the piano.”
“It is fine as long as no one is using the room or needs to use it. You may also feel free to leave, your duties are done for the day.”
“Thank you sir, I do have some things that need to be done, I’ll take my leave and return back tomorrow.”
“Very well. Have a nice day,” he dismissed.
I bowed again and left his office. Now, I would be able to get my packages out into the mail and finish making my scarves. After all, Christmas was less than two weeks away.
Leo caressed the keys of the piano where Michelle had sat only hours ago, playing beautifully for him. Only for him.
He began playing the beginning of his song and got to the part where he always got stuck, but this time, it was like the music wrote itself. His hands moved across the keys automatically. He couldn’t explain exactly how or why his block was gone, but he couldn’t get the image of Michelle out of his mind.
Making sure he would remember the song, he began writing it down, making a few changes here and there, but the composition was finally done within a few hours. Now, he needed lyrics for it. This too, came easily and he felt accomplished and proud of his work by the end of it.
“You seem to have gotten over your block,” Hwang Se-Jun said at the doorway. “It sounds very good. It’s full of emotion – it will break the hearts of STARLIGHTS everywhere. Is there a particular person who inspired it?”
Leo looked away, not wanting to say much about his inspiration, “Thank you for the compliment sir.”
He smiled knowingly at Leo’s avoidance, but left it alone, “I’m glad you finally got over your block. Keep working hard.”
When he was left alone, he went through the song several more times, singing and playing, to make sure it sounded good. Once he was certain that it was perfect, he took it to the recording studio.
Another chapter down and this one was REALLY long. I thought about cutting it short but with my imminent trip and the fact that I hadn't posted in a bit AND that I'd sort of jipped you guys with shorter chapters, I decided to keep it long. I hope you enjoyed it. I was so happy when I finally got to write more LEO!
I hope you enjoyed the music too. "The Secret of Moonacre" is one of my favorite movies of all time, and if anyone wants to watch it's, it's on Netflix. I highly suggest it.
"The Man from Snowy River" is an oldie but a goodie. You'll fall in love with him and your childhood love of horses will come back to you as well. It's a fantastic movie that every girl (and boy really) should watch. It's not just a romance, it's also got adventure. Really good.
Please keep supporting me, once again, all comments and compliments are welcome. If you have any criticisms, feel free to send me a message. Thank you!