Jaeduk curled up his fingers when he heard Jiwon say “Saranghae.” Jaeduk chuckled when Jiwon finally ended his call and said, “Woah…uri Jiwonnie has changed.”
“Satisfied?” Jiwon asked when he returned the phone to Jaeduk, “Please tell the others that I’m fine.”
Jaeduk nodded, “Should we go back?”
“I’ll drive you to Duck Bar first.”
Jiwon’s House, 1998
“So, the first song is Road Fighter…”
“And the second song is Come to Me Baby.” Sunghoon continued, “Well, the song is not bad, but I don’t like that there are so many empty sections on Road Fighter.”
“It’s not empty, I just have to fill it with rap to make it a whole song.”
“Hyung, do you already have an idea? I saw you write something when we were both listening to the song.”
“I have to hear it several times to make the rap match the feel of the song.”
“Hmm…” Sunghoon said, “I think I can divide everyone’s part today, but I may be wrong. It’s hard to do line distribution without me knowing the others voice characteristics.”
“I’ll do my best to write the rap section too.” Sunghoon said.
“Did you bring a Walkman?” Jiwon asked.
Sunghoon nodded and took the Walkman from his bag.
“Since you said that you don’t like Road Fighter, I hope you’d help me write the rap for the other songs.”
“With pleasure.” Sunghoon said while a smile.
Both of them put on their headphones and focused on their work, not making any noise. Jiwon was focused too much on the rap section of Road Fighter he didn’t realize Sunghoon was calling him.
“Hyung. Jiwon hyung.” Sunghoon patted Jiwon’s shoulder and called him again, “Jiwon hyung.”
Jiwon looked to his side and took off his headphones hurriedly, “Wae?”
“Sorry if I bothered you, but…I finished writing the rap part.” Sunghoon said, showing his paper to Jiwon, “I want you to review the rap if that’s okay.”
“Oh?” Jiwon said in surprise. “You’re so fast…”
Sunghoon shrugged his shoulders and said, “I don’t know if it fits the song or not.”
Jiwon took the headphones from Sunghoon’s hand, “Let’s see.”
Jiwon played Come To Me Baby and sang his rap quietly. He wrote off a few sentences from what Sunghoon made, and wrote his review on the paper, “Not bad.”
“The real meaning doesn’t come out” Jiwon said as he removed his headphones, “The rap is flowing, synchronizing with the lyrics, but I think it sounds boring. Please don’t be offended.”
“No, I’m not. Since it’s the first time I wrote rap.”
“Sometimes rap is not related with the content of the song itself. Sometimes it looks like it has two totally different meanings, but actually it’s still related. Or if you want to make it easy, just write your feelings.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, if you feel the same way as the song. What do you feel? What do you want to say?”
“Ah ~~ okay I understand.” Sunghoon excitedly said, “I’ll fix it now.”
Jiwon watched Sunghoon who was busy with his paper and Walkman for a moment before he went back to his rap writing again. He didn’t know how many times he repeated Road Fighter until he’s finished writing the rap for it. Jiwon took his headphones off excitedly and said, “Sunghoon-ah, I…”
Sunghoon fell asleep. His face on the table. Jiwon shifted his chair carefully and tapped Sunghoon’s shoulder several times, “Sunghoon-ah, let’s get up.”
No reaction. Jiwon shook Sunghoon gently and called him again, “Sunghoon-ah. Let’s get up.”
‘He is fast asleep,’ Jiwon thought. Jiwon has no choice but to carry Sunghoon to the bed. Jiwon lifted Sunghoon cautiously bridal style to the bed and slowly laid him on it. Trying not to wake him up, Jiwon covered Sunghoon with the blanket.
Seeing Sunghoon’s sleeping face, Jiwon smiled and said, “Well, let’s called it a night Sunghoon-ah.”
Jiwon laid down beside Sunghoon, and closed his eyes. It was an eventless night until he felt something different and woke up. He and Sunghoon were hugging each other tightly.
Nishikawa family house
“Oppa! I’m home ~”
“Eung ~ I’ll open the door.” Sunghoon answered through the intercom. After what happened the past few days between him and Jiwon, Sunghoon decided to tell her everything that happened over the phone. Either Yoonji already knew something or Yoonji is like Jiwon, doesn’t like listening to long explanations. But he was quite happy when Yoonji decided to go home even if she was busy making her album.
“Oppa! I’m glad you finally met Jiwon oppa again.” Yoonji said hastily, hugging Sunghoon as soon as Sunghoon opened the door.
“Yeah… Finally, my prayer came true after 15 years…” Sunghoon said, patting Yoonji’s back slowly before releasing her.
Sunghoon realized there’s someone standing behind Yoonji, and for some reason, he looked familiar, “You…”
“Ah sorry…” Yoonji said after realizing Sunghoon recognized the person behind her. “He insisted on coming with me, he said there was something he needed to say.”
“Ah…yes please come in.”
Sunghoon invited him in towards the living room and served hot coffee. “So what do you want to tell me?”
“First, let me introduce myself, I’m Song Mino, Yuki-san’s personal manager as well as a lyricist and composer for Yoonji noona’s upcoming album,” Mino said, “Ah, I’m Korean so we can converse in Korean.” he continued hastily after seeing Sunghoon’s astonished face.
“Ah…That’s why I think I’ve seen you somewhere, can I help you with something?”
“It’s…about my cousin, Eun Jiwon,” Mino said slowly, “I want to apologize to hyung because I’ve been hiding something from hyung all this time.”
Sunghoon tried hard not to widen his eyes when he realized Mino is Jiwon’s cousin. He looked at Mino who was now bowed deeply and said, “I don’t understand.”
“Hideo-san and Yuki-san also offer their apology to Sunghoon hyung. The three of us are really sorry.”
“Did something happen?”
“Hyung and noona’s adoptive mother, Terumi Nishikawa-san once made an absurd agreement with Hideo-san when Yoonji noona insisted on continuing her career as a singer at Hideo-san’s agency. She appealed to Hideo-san to hide the true identity of hyung and noona as Korean-Japanese. Also wished for Jiwon hyung, Jaejin hyung, Jaeduk hyung and Suwon hyung to never find any information about hyung and noona.”
“Wait, if it’s about hiding our identity as Koreans, we know about that because Mama told us, but I never knew Mama hid Sunghoon oppa from his friends.” said Yoonji.
“But why did Mama go that far?”
“Hideo-san doesn’t know anything about it either, so he thought it must have something to do with the Nishikawa family.” Mino continued.
“Why are you telling us now?”
“The agreement between Hideo-san and Terumi Nishikawa-san ends when Terumi Nishikawa’s will is read in front of the entire Nishikawa family which will happen in two months, but Sunghoon hyung and Jiwon hyung met before the will is read, so Hideo-san thought the agreement is void and he sent here. ”
“I understand if Hideo felt guilty, but why do you and Yuki feel guilty too?”
“Because of this.” Mino said while his hand reached into his pocket, getting a photo, “Hyung do you still remember this?”
Sunghoon took the photo from Mino, “It’s…the photo that Mama showed me when I insisted on staying in Korea until Jiwon hyung comes back from Paris, right?”
“Hyung doesn’t realize who the woman sitting next to Jiwon hyung is?”
“How can!?” Yoonji yelled in disbelief.
“Until this moment, she’s still hoping Hideo-san will give her permission to come over and explain everything she knows about the stupid agreement. But she has to go to Belgium for a personal schedule this afternoon and it cannot be delayed.” Mino took a deep breath, “About the relationship between Yuki and Jiwon hyung, only they can answer it.”
“Okay.” Sunghoon said slowly, “Yuki owes me an explanation when she gets back from Belgium later…So what do you want to explain to me?”
“Jiwon hyung and Yuki-san are the people I really care about. Both of them treat me like their own younger brother and…” Mino took a deep breath, “It’s hard to stay calm and work hard in Japan, knowing Jiwon hyung’s admitted into a hospital because of a rumor that hyung was staying in China…”
“At that time, I was just an ordinary staff member, until Yuki-san saw the potential in me. She promoted me to be her personal manager. As I transferred my personal items from the staff room to Yuki-san’s studio, she saw my photo with Jiwon hyung. Yuki-san asked what my relationship with Jiwon hyung is.”
“Yuki-san was surprised when she found out I’m Jiwon hyung cousin. She was shocked when I told her about Jiwon hyung’s condition since his return to Korea, when he had to get intensive treatment due to severe depression, and when Jiwon hyung lost his Mercedes Benz just to get information which turns out to be false. Yuki-san just listened to my story until I was done speaking.”
“Yuki-san just said she knew Jiwon-hyung and promised me she will do her best to help Jiwon hyung find clues about Sunghoon hyung. Later, I found out Yuki-san was persuading Hideo-san to help Jiwon hyung. Hideo-san insisted he didn’t want to help Jiwon hyung until Yuki-san threatened him she will leave KM Ent.”
“I and Yuki-san were summoned to his office and he explained about the agreement. He was willing to help Jiwon hyung and he promised to contact someone he knew to help Jiwon hyung about Sunghoon hyung’s whereabouts.”
“Hyung, do you know Danny hyung?”
Sunghoon nodded briefly, and Mino continued his story, “He’s the one Hideo-san contacted, and I still don’t understand how they know each other, but Hideo-san said Danny hyung was the right person because Danny hyung probably knows the reason Terumi Nishikawa-san wants hyung to move to Japan hurriedly.”
“All of us can only pray that Jiwon hyung will contact Danny hyung as soon as possible. When Jaejin hyung joined one of Lollipop Kiss projects as a photographer, I tried to get information from Jaejin hyung whether Jiwon hyung has asked help from Danny hyung or not. It turns out Jiwon hyung still has a grudge at Danny hyung because of the boyband project, so Jiwon hyung won’t ask Danny hyung for help. ”
Mino sighed again, he was trying to stay strong, “And if we are to tell Jaejin hyung, Terumi Nishikawa-san will reveal the secret that Yuki is French-Japanese and that Takemura’s family has inherited dirty business and of their information network which is incredibly powerful.”
“With a threat like that, we can only give in. Even if Yuki-san and Hideo-san were ready to throw everything away just to cancel the stupid agreement, it’s still too risky. I’m the selfish one here, I convinced Yuki-san and Hideo-san that the three of us knew nothing about Sunghoon hyung’s whereabouts. The three of us had to act as if Hideo-san had never told me and Yuki-san anything about the stupid agreement. I wasn’t ready to see Yuki-san and Hideo-san lose their dreams just when Lollipop Kiss’s name started to be known. So please forgive me hyung. ”
Sunghoon took a deep breath, tried to understand Mino’s story. Yoonji calmed Mino down by rubbing Mino’s arms, she stared warmly at her older brother and said, “At least, we’ve found the missing pieces of the puzzle, haven’t we?”
Sunghoon nodded, “I always thought Mama will use Nishikawa family name for dirty things like this, but I didn’t think Mama would have gone this far. Mino, it’s okay. Please don’t feel guilty anymore. The important thing is me and Jiwon hyung have met.”
“Jiwon hyung isn’t the type of person who likes to listen to long explanations over the phone, so I hope hyung can explain everything when you meet him later.”
“Yeah, I know. He said he wants us to meet and I have to explain everything. He doesn’t like us talking about it over the phone.”
“This.” Mino said handing over a bundle of documents, “If Jiwon hyung still doesn’t believe what Terumi Nishikawa-san did in her attempt to hide Sunghoon hyung in Japan, just give him this. Hideo-san gave all the evidence he has to hyung. I also recorded all we’ve talked about today, so don’t worry, I’ll do what I can to make Jiwon hyung believe. ”
“Thanks, I’ll read the document later.”
“Can’t hyung start reading now?”
“Sunghoon hyung and Jiwon hyung will definitely meet in the near future, I’m sure.”
“I cannot say it now, but it’s time for Jiwon hyung’s love story to end happily”
“So in the end you run away.” Jaejin said while he was exhaling his cigarette smoke. “I cannot believe that in two weeks you decide to fly to Germany, not to Japan.”
“I’m not running away,” Jiwon said irritably as he light his cigarette, “It’s what my job demands.”
“Job demands,” Jaejin scoffed, “Maybe you want to pretend you’re being a professional but we all know you’re running away.”
“Oh shut up.”
“How long do you plan to keep going on like this?”
“What do you mean?”
“Being a workaholic.” Jaejin took a long drag on his cigarette and exhaled it slowly, “You worked really hard because you needed money and opportunities to travel around the world to search for Sunghoon, but isn’t it pointless now since you’ve found Sunghoon?”
“I don’t know. I still don’t understand why I feel I need to keep myself busy. Maybe my heart’s still not ready.”
“Ready for what?”
“To accept the fact that I have found Sunghoon normal, with a healthy body and mind.”
“Shouldn’t you be grateful?”
“I should be.” Jiwon exhaled out his cigarette smoke, “But somehow I feel betrayed.”
Jiwon took a long drag on his cigarette and exhaled it out before continuing, “I thought he’d be just as depressed as I am, I thought his life would be just as messed up as mine, but I was wrong. How can he be so calm and live, not even trying to find me? How can you call that love? ”
“Sunghoon must have his reasons.”
“I know, but I feel it isn’t fair.” Jiwon said staring at the sky hopelessly, “I cannot look at Sunghoon the same way after finding him so normal.”
“At least you should be grateful, that Sunghoon is alive.” Jaejin said seriously, “What if after all your struggles, all you got was his grave?”
“That’s why I’m uncomfortable about this. I know I have to adapt quickly to the situation, but my heart still cannot accept that it’s not what I expected.”
“Life is sometimes not fair. Well, if you want to adapt quickly, think this is your karma because you were late to realize your feelings for Sunghoon. Or because you made Yuki confused because of your attitude in France.”
“I will try.”
“You have to adapt quickly, Jiwon.”
“I have good news for you after my business in Belgium is over.” Jaejin said, “I hope you’ll look forward to it.”
“I hope so too.”
YG Academy, 1998
“Hyung, seriously, nothing happened when I slept over at your house?”
“Hn? Kang Sunghoon don’t you get tired of asking that almost every day?”
“I’m wondering when I woke up the next day I was at the mattress and then hyung has been ignoring me since then.”
“I’m not ignoring you!”
“Hyung is ignoring me!”
Sunghoon pouted his lips and said, “Okay I believe you’re not ignoring me, but why is hyung acting weird?”
“I’m not acting weird!”
“CAN YOU PLEASE STOP SHOUTING AT EACH OTHER?” Jiyong shouted frustrated.
“You guys,” Jiyong said as he pulled at Jiwon and Sunghoon’s hands, leading them out of the room, “Settle your business now because tomorrow morning is the evaluation and you’re still fighting over what happened at Jiwon hyung’s house two weeks ago!”
“Jiyong-ah we don’t…”
Jiyong slammed the door before Sunghoon was able to finish his sentence. Sunghoon turned to Jiwon and said, “Hyung, you know, Jiyong is right, it’s been two weeks and I cannot focus on vocal or dance training.”
“Just because you woke up on the bed the next morning?”
Sunghoon nodded, “Because it’s impossible for hyung to carry me to the bed.”
“I carried you to the bed.”
“Hyung carried me to the bed!?” Sunghoon asked in surprise, “And hyung ignored me just because hyung carried me to the bed? Am I that heavy?”
“Aish…It’s not because of that…”
“Well, did I do something to hyung during my sleep?”
“Did we do that?”