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Dear My Devil

2 | you are?

Her name is Hera; pretty face, long hair and stupid plump lips. I first met her at the changing room alone during orientation, and the first thing she said to me was 'oh my god, that limited-edition Gucci bag'.

We had a small conversation talking about my bag and I admitted to being rich when she asked. She wanted to go shopping with me afterward, which I found absolutely strange, so I shunned her immediately and walked away without another word.

My thoughts at her sudden friendliness turned to distaste as I learned too well that people normally approach me for my money, and I was not going to be used this way.

Since that happened, a lot of trainees weren't so welcoming to me anymore. A rumour had spread, and I think it was something about me being born with a silver spoon and that I treat people according to their status. They were wrong about me being born with a silver spoon though.

I, Kim Jisoo, was born with a spoon of gold.

I stared back at Hera through the mirror and we made eye contact but she quickly broke it off. "Come on, let's sit at the other side," her friend whose name I don't know dragged her away, and she flashed her wide smile to her friend as they continued their conversation.

I really hate those plump lips of hers, it makes me want to slap her face.

A girl from nowhere suddenly tripped and dropped her coin purse in front of me, spilling her coins over as she crashed to the floor, hands first.

That must've hurt, I thought.

Several coins came rolling towards me and I made eye contact with her. What a timing. She sent me a thankful look like I was supposed to understand.

Was she expecting me to help her up or pick those coins? Because that was her own business and I wasn't planning to get entangled with that.

I got on my feet and walked away before she could even talk to me. "What the heck? She's so..." I heard her even though she was muttering to herself.

If picking up coins for her was supposed to be an act of kindness, then being kind was not who I am.

The girls started gathering in the centre of the room when our usual briefing was about to start. I found myself the right corner of the front row and silently waited. Soon enough, the door opened and in came our representative manager, Sohee. She was responsible for the trainees of this program so any information on upcoming projects or enquiries would go through her.

"Hope you've been having a great week," Sohee spoke as she busily flipped through some papers in her hand. "Before we start, you know the rules. Surrender your phones here," she put a basket in the front and all the girls started to grumble.

For this program, our personal phones were substituted with a spare one that mainly had the call function. We wouldn't be able to surf the internet and were forbidden to make secret calls back home as long as we were within the premises. Sohee also warned that our calls could be traced and there were consequences if we were caught.

When everyone was done surrendering their phones, Sohee continued. "We've got something interesting this weekend. Anyone wanna take a guess?"

"Debut!" One girl among the 16 of us squeaked in a joking manner. As usual, I don't know her name.

"Nice try, but you're not there yet. This weekend we've got vocal group evaluation. Do you know what that means?"

Group evaluations... I sighed because I didn't see this coming so quickly. Worst is that I have no one.

Small whispers arose but Sohee carried on. "You'll form groups, be given a random song and you're required to pull off a team performance. Evaluation is heavily based on team coordination and creativity, so do some homework, feel free to add your own colours to the song, and practice a lot."

More whispers came from the girls.

"We don't give second chances. It's a group task but you'll be graded with individual scores. From now on, every evaluation is cumulative to your overall trainee performance so you better take each project seriously. Whether or not you are good enough to stay with us till debut depends heavily on this."

More whispers came from the sides and I turned to my left giving the girl beside me a glance, a glance wanting to talk to someone about the upcoming project, but she looked awfully quiet. Was she alone like me?

I wasn't planning to start a conversation until she suddenly spoke up. "This is gonna be tough," and she turned to make eye contact with me. "Don't you think so?"

I tried not to show it but I was a little surprised that she talked to me first. "Yeah," I said.

Her hair was short to the ear giving off a boyish look, but her face was small in proportion to her petite figure that made her look really cute overall.

There was a short period of silence thanks to my one-word reply until I decided to start another conversation. "What's your name?" Basic question to getting to know each other, but this was so unlike me. I don't ever make friends, not to mention making the first move. But I guess I have to make an effort for the groupings if I wanted a quiet girl to be on my team.

"Lia," she said. "You?"

"Jisoo," I offered a friendly smile, and her lips curled up a little more too.

"Get into groups of 4," Sohee instructed us, "it's the first team project so I'll give you the benefit of choosing your members. In 5 minutes, I want your groups to appoint one leader and the leaders to come forth and report to me again."

I looked at Lia again and she looked at me too. I don't know about her but I was already hoping we could team up because she was the only one so far who hasn't given me a judgy look and I like that.

"Can we..." I slowly asked.

"Sure," she agreed with a better smile this time. "We need 2 more though. Who will join us?"

"I don't know," I sighed because I wasn't confident that the other girls would choose us when they see me. I wonder if Lia knew that not everyone likes me because she might not have approached me if she did... but whatever, I shall not think too much now.

The teams formed faster than I thought and it was my least expected. Hera's friend apparently dragged her over to team with us and I couldn't say no because Lia seemed more excited when people wanted to join us. After a minute of ice breaking, I learned that her friend was called Yuri.

So it was decided that me, Lia, Hera and Yuri were a team. We also agreed that Yuri was the team leader since she volunteered so passionately. For the first hour of team bonding and preparation, I avoided unnecessary girl talks with Hera and Yuri and focused only the song we had to prepare. The song we have to perform was 'Decalcomanie' by Mamamoo.

"There're a lot of parts we need to sing in sync but we don't have much time to practice tomorrow so memorise the lyrics by tonight, okay? I've already allocated the parts to you guys so you can start practicing." Yuri led and distributed the song sheet to us.

I took a look at my part and, what the hell? I was assigned to the rap parts only, and it hit me that none of us in this team knew how to rap.

"Hey, I don't rap." I told Yuri calmly hoping we could figure something out. But she only cast me one short glance, almost to the point of ignoring me. I scoffed at that while trying to understand the situation. "Is this why you guys came to team with me?" I frowned, eyeing between Yuri and Hera.

Lia looked up when she sensed my frustration and took a look at my song sheet. "Oh? That's all rap... Yuri, isn't this a bit unfair?"

"We all don't know how to rap," Yuri tried to reason.

"I don't know how to rap either." I looked her in the eye and she was staring back.

"Hera and I thought you'd be the best candidate though. You have the... rapper vibes," she smiled fakely at me.

Hera again.

I clenched my teeth and resisted a fight. "Change it," I demanded, putting my song sheet on the floor.

Yuri turned to Lia who looked completely lost in the situation. "Lia, are you okay with your part?"

"Yeah... I am okay with mine, but-"

"Hera, what about you?"

"Yeah..." Hera slowly replied.

"Then that's good. We're all okay with our parts, no one else is complaining except you." Yuri shot back at me and the anger inside me grew.

Everyone is okay with it so I have to be? I don't deal with such nonsense. Nor was I expecting Yuri to have such a shit attitude but I guess birds of the same feather flock together.

"I said change it," I repeated myself in the same firm tone.

Yuri kept a straight face, "no, that's not fair to the rest."

My fists formed. "And how is that fair for me? You're being unreasonable here."

"Hey, just because you're rich doesn't mean you get to do what you want in here. You have no right to be choosy over the parts you want."

How is this even about me being rich? She was obviously trying to stir shit with me. "I can't work with a selfish prick like you," I said.

Yuri's face turned black at my label and was ready to argue back when Sohee walked in on us. "How's it going?"

"Jisoo's being very-" Yuri sighed, suddenly dropping her agitation. "Nothing. It's all my fault."

OH MY GOD. Is she trying to act pitiful now?

I scoffed in disgust. "Jesus cut the act, Yuri. You're the one who dumped the rap parts on me."

Sohee looked at me. "Watch how you speak, Jisoo. That's not very nice of you."

"I'm serious, she's obviously screwing with me. Look at the parts she assigned me!" I raised my song sheet for Sohee to see but she blocked it down with her hand.

"I'm not going to participate in your discussion. It is your duty to sort out the parts yourselves. You two have to talk it out and adjust to whatever is best for the team. May I emphasise that teamwork is a heavy component in this evaluation?"

I chuckled at this nonsense. Talking to Sohee was like talking to a rock. What did I do to end up with such shitty teammates? Besides Lia. "I can't work with them," I crossed my arms, glaring at Yuri and Hera.

"Hey, it's normal to face problems like this. But you need to learn how to take one step back sometimes even if you hate it. I left you guys to choose your teammates and you chose to be with them, so you should try to work this out instead of backing out so easily. At least try, do you understand?" Sohee said to me.

Now I'm the bad guy?

I wore a pretentious smile and faced Sohee with the least sincerity. "Thank you for your advice, they were really helpful. I guess I have to deal with this myself." I said, also adding a pinch of sarcasm because... I want to.

A few more words of encouragement from Sohee was given to the team before she finally walked away. I looked at Lia for hope, maybe she'll say or do something...

"I wish I could help but I really can't rap..." She said timidly when she knew why I was eyeing her.

I can't rap too dude...

I sighed in defeat. Things are already tough on me so let's not make things difficult for her too.

"Yuri, how about we just distribute the rap parts among all of us?" Hera suddenly suggested.

"Don't you get it? The song gets messier if we break the rap into smaller parts. If someone just learned to cooperate and take the rap, there wouldn't be so much headache." Yuri flashed me an annoyed look and I wanted to dig those eyes out.

Who the hell does she think she is?

"Take the damn rap yourself and I will shut up. You're just giving me shit that you can't do." I inched forward, challenging her space.

"You're the one whining because you can't do what's given to you. If you're gonna keep acting like a spoiled princess, you shouldn't be here in the first place." Yuri stepped back a bit when she felt me invading her bubble.

I crushed my song sheet into a paper ball. "So what if I'm a spoiled princess? At least I'm not a cunning prick like you. Call yourself a leader when all you do is take advantage of your role and act pitiful in front of Sohee. Two-faced bitch."

"You!" Yuri inched forward like she wanted to fight me.

"What did I just hear?" Sohee came walking back to us. "I hope I didn't hear you just cursing at Yuri." She looked at me. What a perfect timing. "Jisoo, if you can't talk to others with respect and refuse to cooperate, I'm afraid I'll have to dismiss you."

"She's the one giving me trouble! Why can't you see that?"

"And this is how you deal with trouble? You disappoint me, Jisoo."

I held back even though I wanted to argue, realising that nothing was going to change no matter what I say. One thing that I hate and can never, ever tolerate is people saying that I disappoint them, and that was all it took for me to surrender. I clenched my jaw and took in a deep breath, sucking up all the unfairness.

"Fine," I exhaled grudgingly. "It's just a rap. I'll do it."


Staring at the song sheet in my hand, I cleared my throat and voice tested to myself. "Ah ah ah, oh oh." I was studying the rap lyrics that I memorised over half an hour, but no matter how much I read and remembered it, it always looked unfamiliar. If only there was a melody to sing to, it would have been way easier to follow.

But rapping is just... no.

The thought of Yuri challenging me back then flashed across my mind. Thinking about it makes me want to strangle her for the shit she was putting me through. I threw several punches to the wall, picturing her face right there. If I could do so without being disqualified, she would have been beaten into a pulp by now. I had left the team to be alone in a practice room and it was just a small confined space perfect for trainees like us to rehearse, but my rehearsal was about to turn into an anger-venting session.

"Stupid cunning two-faced bitch," I cursed to the wall. "I should've known better through that fake smile of yours. I hope you get punched in the throat so you won't be able to sing! UGhHHh!" I ended up throwing more punches to vent my frustration.

Each time, I punched the wall harder and harder. I thought it would make me feel better but the more I did, the angrier I was at myself for being so helpless. I promised myself that I would never be taken advantage of again and I would never allow others to control me, but here I was. Before I knew it, tears spilled out due to the stress. I wanted help but I didn't know how or who to ask. I never needed anyone's help, in fact, and it suffocates me now because I didn't have the confidence to pull this through myself.

I crashed down to the floor and hugged my legs, head down. This was only the beginning and it was already so hard.

"Hello?" Someone sounded and made me look up.

In my teary vision, I could only recognise a guy in black cap, holding the door open and looking back at me. I rubbed my eyes a little to get a clearer look at him.

This guy is...

"You are?" I muttered under my breath. I know him, I totally do, but I just don't remember his name.

He hooked his hand at the doorknob and shifted a bit. "I'm sorry to interrupt but-"

"No, I'm sorry," I quickly apologised. "I didn't know you booked this room. You can have it now," I hastily gathered my belongings and stuffed them into my bag.

"No, I don't mean that. I came by because I heard loud noises coming from here."

I carried my duffel bag over my shoulder and stared at him for a blank second. "Oh." The look we were exchanging was making me nervous somehow. "It's not me."

Why did I lie?

"It's not you?" He raised his eyebrows. "Oh, then maybe I heard wrong."

"Yeah. Bye!" I exhaled a century worth of breath and made my way out.

"Wait," He stopped me by my shoulder, just an arm's length away from him and we locked eyes the second time. His eyes were deep black and so intensifying that I felt my heart beat a little faster. With that jawline so defined, casually parted fringe, milky smooth complexion, and kitten-like lips, this dude looked really handsome upfront...

"I don't need the room, you can keep practicing," he broke me out of my thoughts and I stopped staring even though I wanted to admire more.

"Me neither," I replied calmly, internally scolding myself because I did want the room.

Why did I lie again?

"But you were just..." he paused to think for a bit and I silently waited for him to continue. "Never mind, I'm just going to leave first. You do your thing." He took a few steps back and quickly closed the door between us. I dropped my bag down to the floor and blankly faced the door.

What just happened?

I expected the guy to leave but he suddenly opened the door and popped his head in again. "Do you need help?" He asked out of nowhere.

"What?" I let out softly, taken aback by his question. "No I don't," I replied, frowning slightly. Our entire conversation was so stuffy and awkward.

"Cool. I'm saying just in case you ever need help," he said slowly and my heart beat a little faster.

Is he gonna offer me his help? Should I accept his help? Confiding in a stranger might help in this case...

"I'm sure the people around you will be glad to help you," he continued.

Okay, I overthought that one. What was I even thinking?

"If you're having a hard time, just reach out to someone." He added.

Someone who?

Thinking about the people around me made me want to laugh. Girls like Yuri and Hera would only want to see me fall, Sohee was a rock, Lia knew about my troubles but she was not helping in any way. Someone in here offering sincere help was the last thing I would ever believe.

I chuckled at my pathetic self realising that I had no one by my side. "Okay," I wiped my ugly smile away when I noticed the guy still looking. Our awkward conversation ended with me thanking him for his concern and we exchanged a little smile before he left for good. I didn't know his name but I was really, really sure I saw him somewhere.

Whoever he was, I wondered about him a little more that night.

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