Our Secret Melody

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Lyric: Fifty-Six

Kai’s POV:

“One, two, three...and release.”

With my coach helping me with my reps. I finally took my break and laid my weights back down.

This whole week has been just chaotic for us, every morning me and the guys would have to do our workout routine in the gym. This followed by practicing our choreography and improving on our vocals when we sing while dancing. It’s been tiring and taking most of my time out of the whole day, I haven’t been able to see Rose in these last few days. Though I make sure to at least call her every night to see how her day has been.

“I hate doing push-ups...it makes me realize how lazy I am to working out.”

Said Zack who rested himself on the ground, his heavy breathing along with his sweat showed how worn out he was.

“You should at least try and do 5 more reps-”

“You’re obviously trying to kill me...so I’ll just ignore you- ouch!”

Zack responded with an immediate grunt of discomfort when our coach lightly kicked his leg.

“Honestly, out of being the youngest one in the group. I would think you would be the one with more energy than the rest of the members. So will stop here for today. When you three come back next month will continue where we left off, I understand that you will be leaving to go on tour tomorrow. I really don’t know how you boys do it, I feel like it was only yesterday you three came back from touring in America.” Our coach explained in a bewildered expression before packing his bag.

“What we do isn’t easy, nor is it something that anyone can just do. It takes a lot of strength, not just physically but mentally as well.”

I heard Jin say before he wiped the sweat off his forehead with a rag.

“Yeah, I believe you. I could never do what you guys do. It seems too stressful for me... alright then. Well, I’m heading out, I’ll see you guys later. And Zack, you’re still on the low carb diet so no sweets, understand.”

And with that, we all waved our coach goodbye before he left. But in the very instant he was gone, Zack immediately hurried himself up and rushed towards his bag. At first, I figured that he was grabbing his water bottle, but Jin and I couldn’t believe what Zack was doing!

“You can’t be serious.”

Jin voiced out as if he was about ready to scold a child. Rolling my eyes in disbelief, I gave out a sigh before sitting myself down.

“Jin, just let him be. We already know Zack has a sweet tooth.”

I muttered my words before taking a swig of my water bottle...

“Listen, I obviously have a problem but...there’s no harm being done. Besides, it’s only one lollipop and these are my favorite brand from Italy. I had my sister send me some-”

Zack gradually stopped his words the moment he brought up Lily. Even the sight on Jin’s face shows how awkward it was. When Lily left to go back to Europe a few days ago. I haven’t really thought about her since we last spoke at the library, though I do hope she’s doing well. But I could see why Zack and Jin would be hesitant on talking about her.

“You guys don’t need to feel weird about bringing her up, Lily is always gonna be a part of our lives because she’s family. Zack...how is she?”

I asked him in a nonchalant matter as I stood back up.

Grabbing my things, Zack looked surprised about me asking about Lily’s well-being. Though Jin and Zack both began to pack their belongings as well as we were all prepared to head to manager Sang’s office. From the email that he sent us earlier, he wanted us to stop by real quick to go over some things before we leave Korea.

“She’s been doing well...for the most part, she’s been keeping herself busy with work. She...also asked how you’ve been doing...”

Zack explained as we entered the main elevator.

“That’s good to hear, I’m glad she’s keeping herself busy...it will make things easier for her. And...the next time you talk to her, tell her that...I’m happy.”

I said in a tender smile as I grabbed onto the heart locket around my neck.

For the first time in a long while, I feel at peace in not having to take my medication. My anxiety still comes and go but I know I could handle it as long as I hear Rose’s voice. I long to hold her, kiss her...touch her. My heart will instantly smile and I’ll have no more worries. With the elevator opening, we approached Sang’s office. Expecting to only see him in the room, I was flabbergasted the minute my eyes locked gaze at the man staring back at me!

“Dad? What are you doing here?”

I asked in a serious tone. Confused at what was going on, I looked over at Sang for some answers.

“Alright, before you start giving me the death stare. Let me explain, right now we’re dealing with different sponsors that want to promote ExEx Idol. Your father is in charge of signing those contacts, so that’s all he’s here to do. But other than that, there’s somthing important that I need to discuss with your three.” Manager Sang said in a frustrated tone as he began to pull out the drawer from his desk.

“Kai, how have you been? I could see that you boys have been working hard in these past few weeks. You three will be leaving tomorrow night, correct? Do your best and-”

“So you only came to make more money off of us-”

“Kai.”

Feeling Jin quickly grip my shoulder to calm my tense shoulders. I tried to calm my anger...

But it’s difficult to handle when you hold so much disappointment. Jin is right though, even if he’s not saying anything else, just by his gesture alone. I could tell that he wants me to compose myself, so I will. I need to be the bigger person, and not let my father’s actions disturb me. I got where I am with my own strength, and I’ll continue to do so...

“Kai, don’t start right now with your attitude. Show respect to your father, he built this company from the ground up and-”

“That’s okay Sang, these boys don’t need to do anything to thank me. If anything, I should be thanking them...they are the ones that changed the music industry with their talents. And it’s because of them that this company has grown into a success...I hope you three continue to work for us. Manager Sang and I have made new adjustments to the contract coming up. By the end of this year, we ask that you work 8 more years in being ExEx Idol. But that is entirely up for you boys to decide...will discuss more of this later. I’ll be taking my leave now... goodbye.”

With my father done speaking, he looked at me one last time before exiting the door...

“8 more years? I’ll be in my 30′s at that point!”

Zack voiced out sounding bewildered...

“Yes, well in those 8 years were going to do a lot of changes in this company,” Sang explained in a strict tone before taking out the file that was on his desk.

“What do you mean changes? What more do you want us to do?” I asked in frustration while approaching where he stood.

I’ve already signed more than my life away, unable to have a normal life. Having to make my image be perfect with the group and pulling away from what I really want. Music... it’s the only thing I want to do. Or at least, it used to be... the passion of grinding my words into lyrics for the world to hear. That was my muse... the fans that I’ve adored...I thought it was all worth it. To go through the pain of self-isolation, to numb the trauma in my heart and mind. But it’s different now...I’m changing. Ans it’s all because of-

“Her. Who is she? Jin, care to explain.”

My eyes locked at the woman who was clinging to Jin’s arm in the photo that was placed in front of me, it was Rose!

“Where did you get that photo!? Who took it-”

“A few days ago, a reporter came to me and showed me these pictures of you and this mysterious woman at a festival. Do you have any idea how much money I had to pay for him to hand over all of these? I would think after what happened with Kai a few months back, that you would learn from his mistakes. But you boys can’t follow simple instructions, relationships are forbidden. They will only get in the way of your work and it will only cause a distraction. Not to mention the amount of harm that could happen if this girl’s identity was exposed! So I’m only going to ask you once, Jin. Who is this girl in the picture?”

He asked in a cold demeanor, bringing my hands to a fist. I clenched my jaw tightly and looked at the disgust at how close Jin was to kissing Rose in these photos. I’m just glad that she kept her face mask on the whole time, however...with Jin’s blond hair and tall stature. It’s obvious to point out who he is in the crowd, these photos were obviously taken during the festival that Lily brought me to during our date back then. But what manager Sang said was right, if anyone ever found out that Rose and I are dating. I know the damages of what I’m costing on her life...

“She’s only a friend... nothing more.”

I heard Jin say as he walked up next to me as he grabbed one of the photos.

“A friend? Do you really expect me to believe that-”

“She has a boyfriend that she loves, I...just wanted to take her out somewhere to make her happy. I’m sorry, this won’t happen again.”

Jin apologized as he took a deep bow, but looking over at Zack’s expression. I’m certain that he knew who this girl was...

“You’re right...it won’t happen again. Because I will be changing the staff by the end of the year. I thought that hiring married women would be more than enough to set your fans at ease. But clearly, that still isn’t working, so I’ll be having an all-male staff. I’ll also be setting you boys on a strict schedule. You three will also have security following you where you go when you leave to the public eye-”

“What the fuck are saying right now?! This wasn’t in the contract that we signed!”

Zack shouted in anger. He then snatched the picture away from Jin’s hands and roughly began to tear it apart!

“It will be enforced in the new contract. If you three think that these next few months will be enough to hit the billboards and become the artist of the year. Then you’re wrong, it’s going to take longer than that to make ExEx Idol world known. You’ve come so far, but there’s still so much left to do.”

Sang explained in a tiresome sigh before taking a seat...

My heart felt like it dropped to my stomach when I heard the new rules that were ready to be set in motion. This can’t be...I truly thought that we made more than enough progress to reach our dreams. Just how much more should I bleed and break for this? If I give up now...then I’ll be going against everything I said to the guys and Jin’s mom...

“Look, now isn’t the time to be discussing the contract. That’s still far to come when the year ends, what I called you three here for is to tell you that if we stay ahead of schedule when you’re touring. Then you should be able to finish a lot earlier than expected and we should be able to come back to Korea within 3 weeks. Kai, Zack your makeup artists are all ready and set to go tomorrow. However, Jin...Mrs. Lee is still yet to hand me the documents of her marriage license. It’s been a while since she’s been working here and I can’t have her go on tour. I’ll be risking her identity if any reporters or some of your fans find out about her whenever we have to go through the airports. I’m even beginning to question if she really is married. She’s very young for her age and I rarely see her, I can’t help but feel like she’s avoiding me.”

After hearing what Sang had to say, my throat was caught in a knot! It’s like everything that could cause my anxiety is now beginning to drown me! I have to think of something quickly before-

“Mrs. Lee is very passionate in her work, so I highly doubt she avoiding you. And from what she tells me when she’s doing my makeup, she married right after graduating college. Her husband is a hard worker so they hardly have time to talk with one another, especially since he’s in America. But, Mrs. Lee... truly loves working here. So please, try and be understanding. I’m sure she’s been just overwhelmed working here that she just hasn’t had time to hand you the paperwork...I chose her to be my personal makeup artist because I wanted to give her a chance. And so far...I have no regrets picking her and I’m telling you here and now. That I won’t accept anyone else to do my makeup when we go on tour if it isn’t her-”

“Alright Jin, I understand what your trying to say. Very well...at this point perhaps it doesn’t matter since this will be her only year working for us along with the rest of the female staff. I just don’t want this type of incident to happen again, ExEx Idol is not worth losing over something this ridiculous. You’ve all come too far to ruin it now...you boys may leave. Remember the protocol you three must follow when you enter the airports. We leave tomorrow night, so get some rest.”

And with that being said, Sang had us leave the room. Yet all I could do was stay silent as I followed Zack and Jin down the hall. Looking down, the taste of iron touched my tongue. It was then that I realized that I still had my teeth clamped shut which caused my gums to bleed! Am I this furious that I can’t feel my own pain?

“Hey, Jin...that girl in the picture... was that Mel-”

“Rose and Jin are just friends... nothing more. So don’t start getting the wrong idea. Jin, you didn’t have to say anything to Sang-”

“I think I did because you weren’t saying anything-”

Grabbing Jin by the collar, I pinned him against the wall! With Zack hurrying in trying to separate us, I was far from being in the right headspace! It’s like one thing after another just keeps piling up for me. Why can’t the world just give me a break? Just how much longer am I supposed to endure more challenges being thrown at me!?

“You should have never taken her out that day...it’s because of you that-′

“Because of me? Or because of you. Kai, if you were more honest with your feelings back then. And told MelRose how you felt sooner, then maybe I wouldn’t have had to take her out to make her feel better...she was already thinking that you and Lily were together. She was breaking in front of me...so how can I just stand there and watch her sink in despair? She needed someone to make her smile...I told you before. That I would take responsibility, I’m the one that brought her here to work in Korea. So I will take that duty on my shoulders so she could keep working here...and it’s your job, to make sure she’s happy.”

Hearing what Jin had to say...I loosened my grip in defeat and took a few steps back until I backed myself against the other side of the wall across from Jin.

Just what the hell am I doing? I have no right in being jealous, Jin is the one that wanted Rose from the beginning to be here. So only he can convince manager Sang to have Rose keep working here. But, what am I suppose to tell her about this news!? If I sign the contract...then Rose will no longer be able to live here...

“Jin...Kai, I know that what manager Sang said was a lot to take in. But right now, we can’t afford to be distracted by this news. Bedside...it’s still a year from now when these new changes might happen. And I honestly don’t care to know the issues of what happened between you two and Melrose. What’s done is done...let’s not let the past break our focus. We’ve been working our ass off nonstop and all I wanna see by the end of this tour is the results of how much ExEx Idol has grown. So let’s make your mother proud along with our fans.”

Zack spoke out with determination as he stood between me and Jin.

“He’s right...we need to push our conflicts aside and prepare for tomorrow. Kai, I know full well that you’re not one to ignore things easily. But just for a while, let’s give our best performance...I’m sure that’s what Melrose would want from us. And I’m certain that she will like to see you most of all... because you are the only one that can make her smile now.”

With Jin fixing his disheveled shirt that I caused. I ran my fingers through my hair and leaned my head back and closed my eyes.

The image of Rose’s smile popped up in my head and the unsettling feeling of my heart was slowly starting to pace normally again. I have so much on my plate, but I can’t let myself waver. Calming my nerves, I agreed with what Zack and Jin had to say as we all headed back to the dorms. Entering my room, I laid in bed and stared at the clock ticking away the hours. Feeling restless, I closed my eyes and whispered the last few lyrics of the song I wrote for her before drifting off to sleep...

“A love for you...a song for you...I’ll shine for you...Rose.”

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