Decision Making: From Two to Six
August 1996 Seoul, South Korea
Jiwon and Sunghoon sat in the meeting room of DSP Media waiting for Mr. Lee. They were going to be introduced to the board today, as the newest addition to the agency. For the past two months they’ve been training with the agency, trying to finesse their dancing and singing skills. They have to admit they still have a long way to go, but Mr. Lee always assured them that their contrasting charismas would do the job. They were set to debut by the end of the year, after all preparations for their album and performances are done. They were, according to Mr. Lee, “DSP Media’s present to all teenage and young adult girls of Korea.” Jiwon thought it was a lot of BS, but he’d go with it if it meant debuting.
Jiwon tentatively reached for Sunghoon’s hand beneath the table. He was nervous, and he needed to calm himself. Sunghoon looked at Jiwon and smiled, squeezing his hand gently in reassurance.
Mr. Lee came inside with a worried look on his face. Jiwon and Sunghoon both stood up, bowing to the owner.
“Sit down Jiwon-ah, Sunghoon-ah.” Mr. Lee said as he took a seat in front of them.
Jiwon and Sunghoon sat down, both confused. There were no board of directors behind him, which meant either the meeting was canceled or there’s something going on.
“Hoejang-nim, is something wrong?” Sunghoon asked politely while Jiwon sat silently beside him.
Mr. Lee sighed heavily, crossing his hands on the table while looking at them. “We actually have a problem. You see, we heard that SM Entertainment is going to present a group of young boys by next month. This doesn’t bode well for us. You do know that SM goes for looks and talent, so if we’re going to go up against them, I’m sorry, but you both will be no competition.”
“Wait a minute, you’re saying that you won’t let us debut is that it?” Jiwon asked, trying to keep his cool.
“No, Jiwon-ah, what I’m saying is that if we were to go up against SM’s artists, we must also have our own group. You see the brilliance of Lee Soo-man, he’ll be the first one to release a group of teenage boys who sing and dance. If we go up against them with only two of you, you’ll both be swallowed whole.”
“So, you’re saying that we’ll no longer be a duo, instead we’re going to be part of a group?” Sunghoon clarified.
“Yes, and I heard it’s a group of five, so we should add one more to the team. We’ll be forming a 6-member group. They’re actually mimicking the Backstreet Boys who’s really popular now and I must say, it’s brilliant, because it’ll mean that they’ll be the first agency to venture in that field.”
Sunghoon frowned. This wasn’t what they had decided on. He couldn’t hide his disappointment. “Hoejang-nim, with all due respect, I don’t like it. Jiwon-hyung and I, we came back here because you assured us that we’ll be debuting as a duo not a group. I won’t do it. We don’t want to waste all the time we spent preparing just to be set back like this.”
Mr. Lee looked at Jiwon. Jiwon shrugged. “If Sunghoon’s not doing it, I see no point in doing it also.”
“What’s wrong with being part of a group Sunghoon?” Mr. Lee asked Sunghoon calmly.
Sunghoon pouted. “It’s different. Jiwon-hyung and I have been together for three years so we know each other really well. You’re going to pit us with people we barely know and we don’t do well with strangers. It’ll be a disaster waiting to happen. Not to mention we’re going to start from scratch. I won’t do it. I’d rather not debut than be forced.” Sunghoon fiercely said. He hated the idea of a group, he really did. Both he and Jiwon are not as sociable, and since they’re so used to each other, Sunghoon felt that having other members meant their privacy might be compromised.
“That’s a problem then. The board wanted me to present a group by this month or there’ll be no funding at all.”
Jiwon just watched Sunghoon, noticing how seriously he despised the idea. He didn’t like it too, it meant having to share their space with others, a space he wanted only them to have.
Watching them thoughtfully, Mr. Lee’s face suddenly brightened up as if an idea just popped into his head.
“What if you can pick who’ll join you? I’ll give you the right to choose your members.” Mr. Lee suggested.
Jiwon and Sunghoon looked at each other.
“I’ll let you two talk it out. Let me know of your decision. I’ll be in my office waiting.” Then Mr. Lee stood up and went out of the meeting room, with Jiwon and Sunghoon bowing to him politely.
Sunghoon sighed as he slumped back to his seat.
“Cheonsa-ya, what do you think?”
“I really don’t like it hyung.” Sunghoon pouted.
Since they were alone, Jiwon had the privilege of showing more affection to Sunghoon. He turned Sunghoon’s chair to face him and cupped his face with his hands.
“You wanted to become a singer right?” Sunghoon nodded reluctantly. “Then why not do it? I don’t want to take that dream away from you. Besides he’s giving you the right to choose. Honestly, it’s an opportunity.”
“It’s your dream too.” Sunghoon said as he held Jiwon’s hand with his, feeling the warmth against his skin. “Hyung, it’s not just that. What about us? They’ll notice us for sure. We’re not exactly discreet.”
Jiwon had to smile at that. Yes, they’re not discreet but their public display of affection can be mistaken as that of brothers. In public all they do is have their arms around each other. “My dream is to do things that I love to do with you beside me. It doesn’t really matter if there are other people around. I can always show you my affection under the pretense of being your brother. We’ll be fine. They don’t have to know. How about this, we’ll get to choose the members, and we’ll get to stay in our own homes. No dorms for us, besides I don’t think the agency can even manage to get us a dorm.”
“Why do I feel like you want this group to get formed.” Sunghoon complained. Didn’t Jiwon understand his reaction? He wanted to reach their dreams together, is it so hard to understand?
Jiwon smiled at him, “I’m just trying to let you see the advantages. As for me, I’m okay as long as I get to be with you. Besides, you’ll do all the choosing anyway not me. I know what you’re thinking.”
Sunghoon raised his eyebrows.
“You’re thinking that if there are other people around me I might abandon you right?” Jiwon knew that was what’s really bothering Sunghoon. He knew that Sunghoon was bothered his attention might get divided if there were other people around.
“It’s just that…”
Jiwon cut him off with a smile. “Have you forgotten how I’m all yours? Didn’t we promise each other that?” he reassured Sunghoon. “You don’t want to share me with anyone machi? Aren’t you greedy?” Jiwon teased.
His teasing though did relax Sunghoon. “Ya, I’m not greedy. It’s just that you might pay more attention to them not me.” Sunghoon said glumly. Jiwon was right about his reason. It was Jiwon he didn’t like to share with anyone. Greediness aside, Jiwon fares socializing better with other people. He was scared Jiwon’s attention might divert away from him. He knows he’s being selfish, but Jiwon was his. “I’m just saying that don’t forget you’re mine.” said Sunghoon possesively.
Jiwon looked at him in surprise. “Yaa… neon jinjja… neo yogsimi mwonji mollasseo. (Wow… seriously you.. I didn’t know you were this greedy.)”
Sunghoon smiled sheepishly. But he couldn’t also forget that it wasn’t just his dream that was on the line. Despite not being vulgar with it, Sunghoon knew Jiwon also wanted to stand on stage. He saw how passionate he was towards music and he didn’t want to be the wall that separates them from their dream. If having extra members meant singing on stage, then he’ll do it, for both of their sakes. He’ll be with Jiwon still anyway and that’s what mattered.
“Arasseo hyung. Fine, I’ll agree to a group. But we get to choose the members and there’ll be no dorm. What else?” Sunghoon finally gave in.
Jiwon smiled widely his eyes twinkling with mischief. “Since it’ll be a 6 member group, make sure we have good dancers and back-up vocals. And make sure I’m the oldest. You all have to follow my lead.”
Sunghoon laughed. “I’ll make sure of that so no one can go against you.”
Jiwon turned serious. “Hoon-ah, it’s the only way I can protect you. If I’m the oldest, I can do it on the pretense of looking out for everyone and no one would think otherwise.”
Sunghoon quietly held Jiwon’s hand, touched by his statement. “Arasseo hyung, I’ll do that.”
Sunghoon finally smiles a genuine smile and Jiwon couldn’t help it. He looked so delectable just sitting there, a heavenly smile on his face.
He kissed Sunghoon suddenly. Just a peck, but it set his insides on fire. Just a peck, but Jiwon could feel the softness of Sunghoon’s lips against his. He broke away, clearing his throat in the process, and noticing Sunghoon frozen in place, surprised by the sudden action.
“Ahem…” Sunghoon was still looking at him with wide eyes. “It’s your fault, smiling at me like that. I get tempted and I forget where we are.”
“Hyung…” Sunghoon finally managed to find his voice.
“Let’s go see Hoejang-nim and inform him of our decision.” Jiwon said, standing and pulling Sunghoon up with him.
Sunghoon shook his head to clear it. He tentatively felt for his lips with his fingertip, a motion that didn’t go unnoticed. Jiwon smirked.
“Was that your first kiss?” Jiwon asked teasingly.
Sunghoon punched his shoulder gently. “Yes, and you took me by surprise.”
“Aisssh, I should’ve done properly.” Then, putting his arm around Sunghoon’s shoulder, he whispered in his ear. “Don’t worry, I’ll do it properly later when we’re alone.”
Sunghoon’s blush was enough to make Jiwon chuckle.
“Ya hyung! Stop teasing me!” Sunghoon whined.
“I’m sorry, I like it when you blush.” Jiwon said, still chuckling.
“Aissh… Kaja, Mr. Lee’s waiting.” And Sunghoon went out of the meeting room first, Jiwon trailing behind him.
Jiwon’s smile was authentic. He wasn’t joking though. He’d show Sunghoon later the proper way to kiss. He followed Sunghoon quietly, trying to calm his heart. He didn’t realize that a simple kiss could send his emotions into haywire.
‘Later, cheonsa-ya. I’ll kiss you properly later.’
With that thought in mind, Jiwon happily went inside Mr. Lee’s office to inform him of their decision.
Sunghoon and Jiwon arrived at Jiwon’s home in time for dinner. They came from the agency informing Mr. Lee of their decision and conditions. Surprisingly Mr. Lee agreed. They set the auditions for new members by next week so both of them had three days to rest.
Since they’ve been in Korea for only two months, they didn’t have much time with their families, as they were busy preparing for their debut. Upon hearing of their short break, Jiwon’s mom requested that she and her husband meet the person who changed Jiwon’s life the most. Sunghoon’s mom also made the same request so they both scheduled a “parent-meeting” dinner for the next two days. The last day they agreed on spending alone together.
As they entered Jiwon’s home, Sunghoon was understandably nervous. Who wouldn’t be? It’s his first meeting with Jiwon’s parents.
Jiwon could see Sunghoon’s nervousness and he couldn’t help but smile. He held his hand as they entered the house reassuring him by saying, “There’s nothing to be nervous about Hoon-ah. My parents adore you. They say you’re an angel from heaven sent here to set me right.”
“That doesn’t comfort me at all hyung.” Sunghoon whispered.
Jiwon just smiled at him, and Sunghoon couldn’t help but relax a bit. Jiwon’s smile always made him feel calm, despite the mix of emotions raging inside him.
He took a deep breath and straightened his shoulders. Jiwon’s parents may not know about their real relationship but he doesn’t want to make a bad impression. With a reassuring nod from Jiwon, they went inside to meet his parents for dinner.
Next chapter’s a side story: Sunghoon meeting Jiwon’s parents for the first time, and after, well, let me warn you, it’ll be a bit hot…🔥🔥🔥
Thanks for being patient. I’m still currently busy but I’ll be uploading the next chapter early morning tomorrow (well, in our standard time that is). I’ll try not to keep you waiting too long. Anyways, here’s a quick teaser. I already said what the next chapter would be about. The chapter after that would focus more on the audition process and the next next next chapter would be their first encounter as a whole group. Stay subscribed for updates! Saranghae!