L O N G L O N G W A Y
Song Mino x Lee Seunghoon. Nam Taehyun x Song Mino. Kang Seungyoon x Nam Taehyun. Kim Jinwoo x Lee Seunghoon.
13. o t h e r w i s e
“There’s not much.” I shrugged. Except I observed him well; boy was good looking and tall, built and tanned, his voice was coarse and deep. In short, he looked like…
“A lot of trouble.” Seungyoon finished my thought as he slammed on the guitar one last time before putting it aside to grab the music chords and lyrics. “That’s what he looks like. Just my humble opinion.”
“You sound challenged.” I returned to my ipad and switched between apps. “Not very into what he’s got, do you?”
“I’m sure he’s talented alright.” Seungyoon put the paper next to his laps and started playing his guitar. “Just not sure bout what he’s got to offer to our group.”
“I listened to his mixtapes. They were cool.” I scratched the tip of my nose and shrugged again. “Not my usual type of music though, honest.”
“That’s the point, Taehyunie.” Seungyoon said without looking up. “We are not Hiphop. Especially you and me. You think we’re gonna get along okay?”
“What’s the point of asking me? You should probably ask whoever brought that dude in. In this case, lord YG aka our almighty boss.” I pulled out my earphones and mumbled before putting them on. Seungyoon caught my hand fastly before I even got to do that simple thing. “Not so fast,” he said. “I’m still talking.” “When else do you not do that?” I sighed to myself and quickly responded before he heard my complaint. “Okay, talk away.”
“Do you think it’s going to change the dynamic in our group?” Seungyoon looked at me, surprisingly calm, but his facial expression said something else.
“Well, if I’m allowed to be honest…” I cleared my throat, looked around to make sure there is no one else in the practicing room but us, then low down my voice. “Do you think we got a group?” Seungyoon raised one of his eyebrows at my statement. “Just my personal feeling, but we have you, pop-rock all the way, then me, conventional gayo stuff. The other two, well, god knows they’re warm and kind people, but they are not exactly what I would categorize as song-writer singers. You know what I mean?”
Seungyoon looked elsewhere in the room; his eyes remained fixed at an uncertain spot. “You’ve got a point. See, this is why I think the Song Minho guy can be a hit or a miss. He can either put a good balance into the group and pull us all together, or he’ll be the next extreme thing that points out the fact that our group is such a mess.”
“I know what you’re talking about. He composes too. Not my, or your type of music, but I think we can at least work with him professional-wise.”
In the beginning, I truly believed that, very strongly. I have good impression of Minho, great even. I mean, have you seen his physique. The only thing I didn’t expect was that the impression about how a person looks can never be accounted for how they act. Especially when much of what came to my perception of Minho was that, well, you see, he’s the entire definition of hotness. Great built, tall, youthful good-looking facial feature with a tad of well-spread masculinity, strong eyebrows and defined jawline, not to mention, his very, very kind heart.
Later on, I learned fairly quickly that his kindness was not unconditional toward everybody. Nor does it distribute evenly toward everyone, myself included.
“That was such a shitty move though,” I heard Minho’s voice from afar when Seungyoon and I were making our entrance into the building. “You were right there in the room. They could have been nicer about it.” I slowed down and shushed at Seungyoon before he walked into the door. He looked at me dazedly as I whispered: “It’s the dancer and the rapper. They are exiting the practice room.” Seungyoon raised his eyebrows as a way to tell me that this action of mine looked ridiculous, but I decided to ignore him. The voices were getting closer, and I pulled Seungyoon into a corner to let them pass through.
“They were being nice for talking in front of me, Minho.” I heard Seunghoon’s voice this time. Seungyoon, from right behind me, whispered: “What are they talking about?” I whispered back with my eyes glued at the two older guys, not realizing that Seungyoon was this close to me; his lips were uncomfortably right next to my ears. That wasn’t one bit of my worry at the time, to be very honest. “I don’t know. I think the mean trainees are pulling shit on Seunghoon about his lack of training.” Seungyoon slightly laughed. “You mean us two?” “C’mon rocker, we are not that mean. We state the fact without being an asshole about it, and we never raised the beef in front of him.” I could feel Seungyoon’s body’s movement when he shrugged and chuckled. “If that makes you feel better, sure.”
Just then, I heard the footstep closer to where we were standing. I pushed Seungyoon back until we both hit the wall and shushed at him again. Seunghoon’s voice echoed in the hall way, “When people decided to talk behind your back, that’s when they stop being your friends.” Seungyoon quickly covered his laugh as I felt my ears getting red. “Shut it rocker.”
After the two older guys were gone, we stepped out of the hiding spot and made our way to the practice room. I still tried to listen to the conversation, by then the voices has become unintelligible sounds.
“If I haven’t known you for quite a while, Nammie,” Seungyoon gently scoffed as he watched me continuing to look at Mino and Seunghoon as they proceeded to the end of the hall, “I would think you got your eyes on one of the hyungs.” I snapped back at once without breaking my eyes from them. “Shut it, rocker. I just witnessed an interesting incident is all.”
“You are for sure having other thoughts than that.” Seungyoon’s raised his twinkling eyes at me while I was busy dismissing his teasing. “Otherwise…”
“What now, rocker?” I said without returning his gaze.
“Nothing.” He turned away and opened the door. “Good news is that we shouldn’t be discussing nor having other thoughts about our bandmates behind their back. It is a little mean to think that they cannot overcome or improve their limits now.”
“That’s not really the point, rocker.”
“No it ain’t.” But it’s better than what both of us are thinking right now, Nammie. Seungyoon’s gazed stopped on me once again a second too long, as he sat down on the chair and laid his guitar on top of the table. I turned my head away from the duo’s direction and followed Seungyoon into the room. It is going to be another long, tiring day today, I thought, and I can’t afford to be distracted. I have spent way too many years in this basement, I need to debut – we need to work shit out and debut as soon as possible. Now that we have five members, hopefully things will move along smoother.
Or at least, that’s what I thought I had told myself at the moment. (Later on, the other trainees told me to not mess with either Minho or Seunghoon because they’re like an item now. They said, when they just jokingly talked about how Seunghoon sometimes lack the understanding of music chords, but Minho got really mad and told them off. The story somehow soothed me, since I, well, never actually thought of anyone as lacking. Seungyoon then told me that not being a composing singer is just the polite version of it. I proceeded to tell him off.)
The first time Minho raised my voice at me was when we were having a discussion about song choices for the W.I.N competition. It was already shitty as is, the situation, where we were forced to participate in a nonsensical survival reality TV show against the younger trainees. Minho all of a sudden became the leader of our messy group – Seungyoon and I had exchanged looks at each other, but we kind of have expected this. Amongst the senior trainees in the group, none of us are HipHop – the only genre that the company is comfortable with, except for Seunghoon. But he is, well, not exposed to a lot of things, especially in the music production process. I wasn’t against Minho being a leader at first, he looked the part. But dude wasn’t working well under lots of pressure, I observed. And it showed, because he would turn up with the songs that potentially have nothing to do with any of the band members as song choices. Ah, how we messed up the first few rounds.
“How about you bring up a better idea then, if you hate my song choices so much?” When I disagreed with the song he chose for the round, Minho looked at me with irritation and raised his voice. I froze at the confrontation and instantly left the room without forgetting to slam the door really hard. I walked out of the building so quickly, no one was really able to react. I didn’t remember what I was thinking at the time – different opinions have never been an issue for me. I’m a Taurus, I do my own thing alright – but it doesn’t mean I couldn’t live if someone else has a different idea. I don’t back down either – I fight for my opinion.
Now thinking back, his response wasn’t too much, he still used formal language. I didn’t quite understand my reaction at the time – I for sure got into bigger fights and arguments with others, but not for silly reasons like that. There was that one time Seungyoon told me that I need to work on my vocal cord and that my singing style was cheesy and old-fashioned. I broke all hell that day – but I wasn’t feeling attacked – he was just trying to help. But when Song Minho, great-looking, (supposedly) kind, and (proven) righteous Song Mino looked at me with those combat eyes and spoke to me in that cold, mocking voice, something like a flaming anger arose within me. I was so, so mad that if I hadn’t left, I would have knocked something down (and logistically, I could afford nothing in that room). Song Minho, where is your kindness now? I bitterly thought as I made my way all the way to the back alley of the building. Could easily tell somebody off, couldn’t he? My whole body was almost shaking, but I told myself that it was just me, being under too much pressure because I, too, could not afford to lose this opportunity to debut.
It has to be the pressure as to why I was feeling that hurt. Otherwise….