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Chapter 16 : Respect

I think it really went downhill when I told Jimin about what Haneul told me.

The two quit talking all together, raising suspicion in their fanbase and more dedicated netizens. They are noticeably the closest members. I think it's because they both grew up in Incheon but they keep to themselves.

Yoohyun, the leader is more involved, and blamed me for it although he let it go when he realized it's not my fault that Jimin didn't tell me he was gay. What did he expect me to do? Stay with him even though he's not attracted to me and cheating with a guy? I don't think so.

Anyway after that the other members lost their focus on the actual work they're supposed to be doing.

Woosung, Haneul, and Jimin aren't focusing. Being the youngest members, it's understandable that their minds are more focused on the social status of their dynamic. They're skipping dance practices and vocal practices.

With Yoonhyun hating me, Jimin and Haneul hating each other, Sangwoo not bothering to leave his house unless I motivate him, and the other three all together not caring netizens are calling me the girl that destroyed ADL.

Today is dedicated to fixing my image. Not only is it bad for me but it's bad for Royale, my group.

Our album sales have simply stopped. "I don't have much time. We have a concert tonight. It's only our fourth but I'm still not really getting the hang of it." I swivel my hips a bit in order to get a good grip on his shoulders, but then settle for gliding my hands across the expanse of his exposed back.

"Mhm, right there." Sangwoo groans before he catches himself. "Oh, I was still nervous by my fourth show. Just go out there, concentrate, do your best, and be yourself." He finishes half-heartedly.

"Do you have any less generic advice?"

"Focus on my shoulders." He keeps his eyes closed, lost to my actions. I knew where the conversation was going the minute he got back to his place where I'd be waiting, and the first words out of his mouth were, 'You know, one day you might really be Min Yerin. I've always wanted my wife to be good at giving massages. Come practice?'

Thats how I knew he wouldn't be able to take me seriously.

"Sangwoo..." I whine, and stop rubbing his tight muscles. "Please help me. I'm really afraid for tonight."

He hears the waver in my voice. "Okay, babygirl. Listen to daddy."

He gets up and positions me on his lap, starts fiddling with the hem of my shorts, looking as though he's holding himself back from pulling them down.

"I'll be backstage the whole time. I'll be there as soon as you get on and as soon as you get off stage. You're going to go up there and be your adorable self. Your performance is going to be perfect and then we're going to come here so I can pound into you like you deserve. Alright?"

"You know, we're really fucking up our friendship." I grace the outline of his ever present abs. "Again."

"I hope I don't sound bad when I say this," His hands lightly smacks my thigh but not that hard. "I don't care."

I plant a kiss to his lips, something we've been doing a lot and helping me get over the news about Jimin.

"Neither do I."

•| intermission |•

Happiness doesn't just fall into your lap. You either did something to deserve it or it's a deception.

You'll have to pay the appropriate price in order to keep it.

•| intermission |•

"Hold still!" The artist forcefully grabs my chin, most likely leaving a red mark to cover and causing me to wince in pain.

"Hey," Sangwoo holds his hands up forcefully, warning the older woman that she'd better let go. I think he's about to yell, fight the way he usually does and not bother fighting down his temper but he takes a more tolerant approach. "I'll take it from here." He simply provides a smile, forcing the make-up artist to give up and take her leave.

"They can't be harsh on you guys like that. You're still a fresh face." He takes hold of the steaming hair straighteners and starts sectioning off my hair like he's done this before. I can't help but feel a tinge of jealousy. Those years in which we weren't on speaking terms, was he out there playing with other girl's hair or something? How else can he explain this unnatural skill?

I won't let myself linger on this subject.

"It's nothing new." I mumble, uncaring. "The other three have complained about it but it's useless."

I recall a time that Jihye, who's stage name is Jiye, was burned on the back of her neck by an angry artist. Taeri saw the whole thing and had to console the girl. She burned her there because her hair would cover it. Even after the harsh punishment the artist wasn't fired or even punished. Hyeseong, who's going by Yessie (like Jessie, she told me) on stage, complained to the receptionist of the CEO of YS Entertainment but he wasn't available to hear her. That really reminded me that we're not exactly special around here. Royale is a rookie idol group out of the already at least twenty other girl groups under the label. They could drop us and it wouldn't even make a dent in their profit margins.

"Why don't you complain? You're the group's leader. You'll get shit done. Plus, you're kind of a bad ass."

Yoongi's compliment forces me to wave him off but my face's temperature rises and I feel it degree by degree. He notices it, that once faint pink turned full-face crimson, and instantly comes to match the hue in the same way.

That leaves a sweet feeling in the pit of my stomach. Even if he had ever been with another girl during our separation, I'm positive I'm the only one that can make him blush like this. I'm the only one that can make him lose that stoic demeanor.

"I'm not really that much of a... thank you." I give in and accept that comment, hoping that it'll give me some confidence for when I do confront management about our testy makeup artists.

"Baby, you're an idol now. You have to demand respect."

I'm about to interject about how my experience so far hasn't been this way, but I cut off instantly.

"Yerin-ssi, can we talk?" Jimin rests a hand on my shoulder standing on the opposite side of Sangwoo. He tenses up at the new presence but concentrates more on finishing the last couple of strands of my waist length hair. "Just hurry so I can work on your colors." Sangwoo holds up the palette of pale powders that should be on my face right now.

Jimin takes that as permission to pull me from the vanity chair and into a more secluded backstage room.

"Where are we right now?" He asks, pulling a ceiling string in order to illuminate a single lightbulb in the cramped room.

"It's called a closet Jimin." I cross my arms over my chest.

"I mean in our relationship," He rolls his eyes. "I haven't seen you in nine days. Are we over?"

It's my turn to roll my eyes. He brings this up right before a concert? That's a stupid move. "I thought I made that clear."

Jimin grabs my shoulders forcefully but not in a threatening way. Another harsh assault is enough to bring a fresh batch of unshed tears to my eyes.

"What did he tell you? What kind of lies did he feed you?"

"Who?" I try to squeeze out of Jimin's grasp, now shedding the tears.

"Min Sangwoo!" He throws his arms up in exasperation. "Yerin, don't be stupid. He's fucking with you. He's psychopath."

"You sound more like the crazy one here." I look him in the eyes to really exaggerate and drive the point home.

"You don't believe me? Wow," He looks offended but shrugs it off in a sarcastic way. "Fine, you'll regret not listening to me when you realize who he really is."

I give Jimin a simple and half-hearted whatever, then take my leave because I only have about two hours left before we have to get on stage.

If I'm being honest here, I would've been surprised if Jimin didn't freak out like this. It's just like him to try and make Sangwoo look like the bad guy here so he could win.

I'm over it. I deserve to be happy, and I deserve to be happy with Sangwoo.

He might really love me.

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