“Yoo Hyeseon, 20 years old,” she remembered saying to the person at the counter.
“Okay miss, here is your number, please stick this onto your T-shirt and proceed to the waiting room.”
It was all pretty new to her. She had never been to an audition before. The people already in the waiting room were all over the place; some were seated on chairs, some were pacing about, some were in groups and some were alone. Quite a lot of them were practicing or warming up their voices.
As she looked around her, one person caught her eye almost immediately. With his dirty blonde hair, he stood out from the other contestants. Unlike the others in the waiting room, he was seated calmly in a corner, eyes closed and earphones in his ears as he tapped his feet to the music. Eventually he was called in, and not too long after, she saw him walking out with a sheet of blue paper, which meant that he got through. Her turn soon followed, and afterwards she found herself holding onto a sheet of blue paper as well. She had done it!
As the singing competition progressed, she learnt that his name was Daehyun. He never had much to say, but he had powerful vocals that left her in awe, and with every round of the competition he stood out with his voice and his looks. As time passed, and the number of contestants began to dwindle, those left were no longer strangers. Some had met rivals, and some had made friends. Hyeseon had made friends with three people: a boy by the name of Changyup, a girl named Younghee, and unexpectedly, Daehyun. The four of them were nicknamed by audience members as “The Four”, because they were always seen together. Changyup was Hyeseon’s age; he was friendly, witty and humorous, and always kept the mood up. His hair was dyed a vibrant orange, bright like his personality. Younghee was the youngest, being 18 and two years younger than Hyeseon. She was small in stature, and had a baby face. She was also a good listener, and Hyeseon liked her very much. Daehyun was the eldest at 21, and he smiled and joked a lot after making friends. He kept them in line and took care of them like an elder brother. Though they were each competing for the winner’s spot, they had worked in groups, gone on tour, practiced together, helping each other to improve. The four of them had found their way to each other, forming a circle of friends that stuck together and supported each other.
Fast forward: it was now down to the top three. Not surprisingly, with each other’s help, the top four had been none other than The Four. Now, one of them had to go home. Changyup and Younghee were safe, leaving Daehyun and Hyeseon competing for the last spot. The two of them stood a few arms’ length from each other, waiting anxiously. Hyeseon hung her head and squeezed her eyes shut. She was afraid to hear the results.
“Hyeseon,” the host began, “Many have said that your performance last night topped everything else you have ever done in this competition. The judges praised your skill, and if you continue to improve, you just may win over the audience.”
The host took a breath and continued.
“Daehyun,” he said, “Last night, you had trouble standing out. The judges weren’t too excited over your performance, saying you were unable to pull off the different genre. Your fans, however, disagreed.” Cheers and shouts of encouragement for Daehyun came from the audience.
"Our viewers have voted; the one going home today… is…" the host paused dramatically, and in the silence Hyeseon could hear her heart pound. She braced herself. She knew her name would be called. She couldn’t compete with Daehyun, whom the audience had favoured from the start.
Hyeseon’s eyes shot open. She looked up in shock, then over at Daehyun. His head was down, and Changyup rushed up to him with Younghee. Hyeseon wanted to follow, but she found herself unable to. Daehyun couldn’t fight back his tears, and she spotted a drop falling to the floor. Her heart sank.
"Hyung, you’ve done well," Changyup was repeating, patting Daehyun on the back. Younghee stood worriedly before Daehyun, giving words of encouragement. Hyeseon brought her gaze to the floor.
"Daehyun, you’ve grown a lot through this competition. Your votes weren’t too far behind Hyeseon’s, and I hope you have gained new knowledge and skills to bring home with you," spoke a judge.
Daehyun got hold of a microphone and replied through his tears, “I have, and I’ve gained three great friends as well. Thank you to the judges and staff for taking care of me through these five months.”
Backstage, when Daehyun had dried his tears, Hyeseon found the courage to go up to him.
"You’ll keep in touch, right?" she asked, looking up at him.
"Of course," he replied with a smile.
Daehyun fought back another round of tears. It was embarrassing enough to have cried onstage; he wasn’t going to cry again. He kept a smile on his face as Changyup came over and gave him a hug. He kept a smile on his face as he bade farewell to the staff and the judges. He kept a smile on his face as he got into the van and headed to his apartment. However, the reality hit him again as he packed his things. He had to go back to his family in Busan, his last performance in the competition not up to standard. He’d have to leave all this behind; the spotlight, the stage, the audience and the friends he’d made; the fun of just being in the competition, being a part of something big. He knew he’d have to eventually, but he hadn’t imagined it to be this way. He had made so many mistakes in a single performance and that had cost him his chance to win.
After Daehyun left, Hyeseon, Changyup and Younghee constantly felt his absence. The three of them were now competing, with one last performance, to win the competition. They were friends, but each wanted to win. They wanted to help each other, but they also wanted to help themselves.
The next afternoon, Changyup called the girls to meet him at the cafe nearby the apartments they were staying in, saying that he had something important to tell them. Hyeseon met Younghee on the way and they went to the cafe together.
"Hyeseon, Younghee," Changyup began once they arrived, running a hand through his signature orange hair. His expression was solemn, and his usual smile was absent from his face. "We’re now fighting for the title of winner. In one week, we’ll perform, and then they’ll announce the results. One of us will emerge as the winner, but let’s remember that the other two, and Daehyun hyung too, aren’t losers. We’re The Four, our own Fantastic Four, so let’s still stay friends."
Hyeseon nodded, and Younghee smiled brightly. Changyup’s smile slowly returned to his face.
"We can do this!" Younghee said, stretching out her hand into the middle of them. Changyup placed his hand on hers, and Hyeseon followed suit.
The next day, Hyeseon was in her apartment listening to the song she had chosen when her phone rang. Checking the caller ID, she saw Daehyun’s name and picked up immediately.
"Daehyun oppa! Have you reached home safely?"
"Yup, everything’s fine. How are you guys? I miss all three of you."
"The apartments feel emptier now," Hyeseon replied with a half-hearted laugh. "We’re having a bittersweet feeling about the final stage."
"Ah, it’s inevitable," Daehyun said, and Hyeseon could hear the smile in his voice. "I’m kinda glad I’m not in your shoes."
"Who do you think will win?"
"Are you seriously asking me that?"
Daehyun laughed. “Hmm… you. You’ve got potential, Hyeseonie, and your style is what the audience likes. You can do it, but don’t tell this to the other two, alright? No gloating.”
Hyeseon smiled at the compliment. “And you’re still taking care of us all the way from Busan.”
"Actually, I’ll be on my way to Seoul soon," Daehyun chuckled.
"Yup, got a call from an entertainment company and I’m going back to meet the CEO."
"Yeah, it is. I’ll be staying there for a week to catch your final stage, and maybe by then I’ll have signed a contract with the company."
Just then, Hyeseon had an idea. “Do you want to add another thing to your work experience?”
"Helping me with my performance."
Once Daehyun arrived in Seoul, Hyeseon asked him for help every day. She hadn’t told Younghee or Changyup about it, but the three of them had decided not to contact each other until the day of the performance. She and Daehyun met up often to discuss ideas and practice the song. Often, they would spend a whole day together. When one of them suddenly had an idea, they’d call the other and talk about it. If they weren’t working together, they were on the phone with each other; the only time they were away from each other would be when they were sleeping in their beds at night. Spending so much time together, they became closer, and talked as if they had known each other forever.
From the start, Daehyun had caught her attention, and they became good friends, but now she knew she was genuinely falling for him. His charisma onstage, his bright and cheerful self offstage, his creative mind overflowing with great ideas, and even his flaws made him seem perfect to her. She knew it sounded ridiculous, but he seemed to glow and the time they spent together made her feel like she was walking on air.
The week flew by and before they knew it, it was the day of the competition. Changyup had called Hyeseon that morning, wishing her all the best. Younghee had left her a text, to which she replied. After lunch, Daehyun called to ask her over, and so Hyeseon made her way to the motel Daehyun was staying in.
“Hyeseon! Are you ready?” Daehyun asked with a smile once he opened the door.
“Yes, but a little nervous,” she admitted as he let her in.
“Wasn’t the dry run yesterday alright, though?”
Hyeseon shrugged and plopped herself onto the couch. Daehyun was staying in a studio apartment, and it was small, but it was all he needed for the week.
“Want a drink?” Daehyun asked, handing her a glass of water. She took it and gulped it down, placing the empty glass aside. Daehyun sat down beside her, a can of coke in his hand.
“Hey! Why do you have coke?” she asked, crossing her arms and looking at him with a frown.
Daehyun chuckled. “Coke is bad for you—hey!” he cried, as she tried to get the can from his hand. He raised his arm so that it was out of her reach. She made a face and sat back down on the couch. “You’re performing tonight, you shouldn’t be drinking coke,” he insisted, laughing at her expression. “Listen, let’s have some fun today. You’ve practiced enough; I know you’ll do well. Besides, the neighbours must be wondering why there’s so much singing going on in here.”
After Daehyun was done with his can of coke, he took out a game of snakes and ladders from the cupboard. “Let’s play with this,” he said. “I found it yesterday.”
They spent the afternoon in the studio apartment, playing games and watching TV. Time passed in the blink of an eye, and soon Daehyun sent Hyeseon on her way.
“Go back and get ready, alright? I’ll meet you there,” he said, placing both hands on her shoulders and looking her in the eyes. “You can do this, Hyeseonie, don’t worry.”
“Hyeseon, you’re up!”
Hyeseon had been waiting nervously backstage for what felt like a long time. She was the first to perform, and Daehyun wasn’t there yet. Where could he have gone? She was nervous, and she could feel her heart pounding in her ears. It was beating quickly, and it got even faster as she followed the staff member to the stage. She stood in the wings as she waited for a signal from the staff member to go onstage. Just as she was about to step on the stage, she heard her name being called. Whirling around, she spotted Daehyun, grinning from ear to ear. “Fighting!” he called in a whisper-shout, giving her a double thumbs up. She gained confidence and smiled back, rushing onstage to her position, feeling determined to perform well.
The music began, slow and steady, her spotlight slowly fading in and soon she was entirely visible to the audience. The first verse was a little slow, and she could feel the audience’s energy waning. She smiled to herself as the music suddenly began to pick up. The show had begun.
The stage lights went on, and she got the audience clapping along, enjoying the music. The crowd was cheering, and Hyeseon was thrilled. Everything went according to plan. Before she knew it, her performance ended, and after bowing to the audience, she hurried offstage into the wings, where Daehyun was waiting.
“No mistakes! No mistakes!” she cried, overcome with relief as she ran up to Daehyun and hugged him. However, after a few seconds, it got awkward and she let go, muttering an apology. They never actually hugged each other, and it was weird. “Never mind,” he mumbled in reply, scratching his head. They ended up pretending it never happened, and watched the live feed of Changyup’s performance through a television screen backstage. When Changyup was done, he came backstage and gave each of them a warm hug. Changyup was never awkward with hugs. The three of them watched Younghee’s performance together, and it felt just like being The Four once again.
Not long after, Hyeseon found herself onstage again with Changyup and Younghee. The three of them anxiously held hands as they stood in a line, facing the audience.
“Welcome back to the live broadcast of our grand finale,” the host announced, and the audience erupted into cheers. “After five months, these three finalists are standing here today because they have earned your love. For the last three months, you, the audience, has had the power to decide who stays and who goes home. In our finale, our beloved judges decide on the winner. Remember, the winner wins a cash prize and also a chance to record a debut album.”
The lights dimmed and the audience grew silent. Hyeseon knew this atmosphere only too well.
“And the winner,” the host read from the little card in his hand, “of Star Idol 2012 is…”
Hyeseon tightened her grip on Changyup’s hand. He gently squeezed her hand in return.
Daehyun watched from the wings in anticipation. He couldn’t take the suspense. Crossing his fingers, he watched Hyeseon intently. He didn’t want to see her disappointed, or upset as he had been when he was eliminated. It would hurt his pride as the one who helped with her performance, and also… his heart.
Streamers and confetti flew into the air, the audience applauded, her fans celebrated, and Changyup gave her a hug. Younghee joined in, and they just hugged each other for a while as the confetti floated down and landed in their hair. Hyeseon was handed a bouquet of flowers, along with a microphone. The feeling was overwhelming.
Daehyun grinned to himself, but he clung tightly onto a pillar. It was all he could do not to run out there to congratulate her.
“I…” she began, not sure of what to say. “I would like to thank everyone who has voted for me and helped me reach the top three. Thanks also to Changyup and Younghee, for being great friends and supporting me all the way. Special thanks also goes to Daehyun oppa, who has always supported me and spent the week planning tonight’s performance with me.”
The host took over from Hyeseon, who quickly followed Changyup and Younghee to the wings. She walked in behind them, and saw their families surrounding them, hugging them, comforting them. Hyeseon knew her parents would be proudly watching her from heaven, but watching their families made her a little sad. She smiled a little when she spotted Changyup blush as his girlfriend kissed him on the cheek. Younghee’s little brother ran up to her excitedly, and she carried him in her arms. She didn’t seem so much like a baby any more. Then, they left. Soon, she was the last one there, amongst the staff and crew who were scurrying all over the place to end the show.
Daehyun had been standing beside her, but she didn’t seem to notice until he placed an arm around her shoulders. She jumped, and upon seeing him she began to tear up, probably from relief, or joy, he couldn’t tell. Not knowing what to do, he hugged her tightly, repeating, “You did well, Hyeseon, you did perfect” as she cried into his shoulder.
“Why are you crying, Hyeseonie?” he asked as he let go, holding her hands and looking into her eyes. “I wanted you to win so I wouldn’t have to see you cry.”
Using his thumbs to gently wipe the tears from her striking brown eyes, he leaned in for a kiss.
With the hullaballoo of the technicians and staff members packing up, no one bothered about the young lovers in the corner. It was the end of one chapter of their lives and time for another: one they would continue together.
Woohyun/OC oneshot - song-based
We can’t cross over
This cruel wall we’ve encountered
We must be separated
I’m telling bad lies
For your sake I’m telling lies
“Call me if you need anything,” I said, holding my hand to her face and caressing it for what would be the last time.
“You! Get away from my daughter! You dirty scoundrel!” I could hear her father shouting at me from his window.
Looking into her eyes one last time, I slipped away into the shadows, leaving her alone in the dimly-lit street. I hid, unseen, watching her try to find me in the darkness. Eventually, she gave up and went home. Once I was satisfied that she had reached home safely, I escaped into the dark winter night.
The darkness was my friend. I could see in the dark just as well as one could see when there is light. Navigating through the network of dark alleyways of the city, I made my way home.
It wasn’t that I hated the light. Where there is light, there is darkness; where there is darkness, there is light. One cannot be without the other. To have the darkness, there must be light. Shadows are not shadows if there is no light. To have the light, there must be the darkness. The light cannot be any brighter if there is no darkness to compare it to. And though they contradict each other, they coexist in this world.
She was the light. I was the darkness. We could coexist in each other’s worlds, but we could never be one.
And she could never be mine.
I only love you
Those feelings haven’t changed
We have our lovely memories
That we’ve piled up together but
Because we can’t spend tomorrow like we did today
I’m going to tell you a big lie
I stared at the phone. It was midnight. Why would anyone call this phone and not leave a message on my cell? I hesitantly moved over to pick up the receiver.
“Woohyun?” It was her. I gulped quietly and took a deep breath.
“Yeah?” I tried to sound uninterested.
“Are you free right now? I’ve got some food for you.”
“I…” I closed my eyes and mentally kicked myself for wanting to say yes. “No, you can keep it.”
“Are you sure?”
There was a brief silence. I decided to seize the opportunity to say the words I couldn’t bring myself to say to her face.
“I have something to tell you.”
“…What is it?” I could hear the worry in her voice. I felt my nose start to sting as a tear escaped my eye. I steadied my breathing and hardened my heart.
“I don’t love you.”
She didn’t answer.
“I never did. Your dad is right. I am a dirty scoundrel. But guess what, you can hate me all you like because I’m never going to change.” Lies, all lies! The voice in my head screamed. Take that back! Take it all back! She doesn’t deserve such pain!
“Well… you heard me. Don’t look for me anymore.”
And then I hung up.
Because you’re not thick-headed,
I say goodbye
I was sure that I’d be exposed right away
We have no choice, if we stay like this
We are falling down, and you say what
My tears just kept falling. I thought of her, sitting in her bedroom, alone, broken-hearted, crying her eyes out. I thought of her, probably in her own world of misery. I thought of her, perhaps wondering if it was something she had done. I wanted to call her, to tell her I didn’t mean any of it, that I loved her and that she was perfect. But I couldn’t. It was better that she fell and rose again stronger, than to be in a hopeless situation like ours. I wanted her to find a man she could spend the rest of her life with, happy and free. I didn’t want her to spend each day worrying that we might be seen together. I didn’t want her to have to hide her beautiful face in the darkness. Most of all, I didn’t want her to have to suffer an unhappy life because of me.
She’d find a great man for her, and move on.
I took my cell phone and deleted every photo, every text message, and finally, with much hesitation, her contact.
I’m burdened with a crime
Tell me all, inside my heart
That I want to resolve
I couldn’t sleep that night. Whenever I closed my eyes, I saw hers. Her deep, brown eyes that always looked at me as if I was the light in her life. I couldn’t stop my mind from thinking back to my memories with her. She lit up my life like the light she was. A bright, shining beauty who deserved better than the darkness.
It made my heart ache to think that I had once sworn never to hurt her. To protect her from anything.
I felt like a failure.
Right now, your eyes
Are staring at me in this moment
Don’t cry, don’t cry, come on
You get hurt from my lies, you baby
When did I do that? Yeah, and then I kissed you, oh
Her eyes were shining as they looked at me, but they were shining with tears. Sorrow washed over me as I watched her cry. I reached out my hand and caressed her cheek.
“I love you,” I whispered, leaning in to give her a kiss.
I woke up to the buzzing of my cell phone on the bedside table. Picking it up, I saw a single message from her. Sure, I had deleted her contact in my phone, but that didn’t mean that I hadn’t memorised her number.
Will you at least tell me why? It said.
I deleted the text and threw my cell phone away, not caring where it landed. It made a terrible sound as it came in contact with the concrete floor. I sat on the edge of the bed, massaging my temples. Nam Woohyun, you are a terrible person.
I proceeded to rummage through my tiny apartment for anything that would remind me of her. The gifts she had gotten me for my birthday, for Christmas, or just because… I tried not to take a second look at them as I put them all away. Even if it was the only clock in the entire house. Even if it was the most comfortable pair of gloves I owned. If I looked at it and thought of her, I packed it up in the box. I was going to start afresh, and hopefully she was too.
I packed whatever that was left of my belongings in a backpack, and I carried both down to the lobby. The old landlord was already awake, and I greeted him politely.
“You’re going somewhere?” He asked, pointing to my backpack.
“I’ve decided to move,” I explained.
“Oh? Did you finally marry your girl?” He asked with a grin.
I forced a painful laugh. “No, no.”
“Well then, you’ve already paid your rent for this month, are you sure you don’t want to stay till the month ends?”
“Yes, I’m sure,” I said as I returned to him the keys to the apartment. “Please have a good day, sir.”
I bowed and left before he could say anything else.
I’m burdened with a crime
Tell me all, inside my heart
That I want to resolve
After dumping the box near some caravan parking site, hoping someone would be lucky enough to come across it, I adjusted my scarf and quickly walked the few miles to the train station. I didn’t have much money, but I hoped I would at least scrape a living in the next town.
Looking up to the sky, I mumbled, “Mum, dad, please watch over your foolish son.”
To lie, I shall sing it for you through the night
To lie, I shall be turning on the broken light…