Kevin could feel his heart on the verge of jumping out of his chest at any moment. It was the first time he had to act sexy in a performance. Sure it was easy for Kiseop but to Kevin, it was harder than learning Korean in America.
'Hyung,' Dongho called from behind Kevin. 'Don't worry so much! You're going to get more wrinkles than you already have.' Kevin turned around and looked at Dongho.
'Easy for you to say! You don't have to be at the front of the stage pulling your shirt up!' Dongho stuck out his tongue at Kevin childishly and starting talking to Hoon.
It was hard enough to act 'sexy' for the photo shoot but for a live performance? That was too much to ask from Kevin. He had an image of himself being cute and innocent. Being sexy was way out of Kevin's "league".
Kevin ruffled his hair in frustration and scrunched his face. He leaned forward on his chair and let out a big sigh.
'What's wrong?' Kiseop asked, sitting on a chair beside Kevin. 'Still nervous about lifting your shirt in public?' he laughed half-heartedly.
'How do you do it, Kiseop? Don't you feel some sort of exposure when you do these things?' asked a very puzzled Kevin.
'Look, just imagine the person you like…no. Imagine the person you love is the audience and you're trying to seduce them into falling in love with you. That's my secret.' Kevin looked at Kiseop briefly then turned to look at the ground.
Before Kevin could say something back, one of the event's staff stuck her head in at the door of the waiting room.
'U-KISS, you're on in five! Get ready to go on stage now.'
Looks like it's time, Kevin thought to himself, standing up and walking towards the door.
Only screams could be heard from the stage. The stage lights were dimmed but it wasn't hard to see the fluorescent coloured signs that had 'U-KISS' written in bold Korean letters. As everyone hurriedly got to the starting position on the stage before it lit up again, Kevin kept thinking about what Kiseop had told him.
Imagine the person you love is the audience and try to seduce them? What a weird technique but I might as well try, he thought.
The lights finally lit up the stage and the music began to play. Their fans could be heard screaming from a mile away. Soon came the time for Kevin to be in the middle of the group, lifting up the corner of his shirt just as Kiseop had right before. As he did it, Kevin could hear the girls screaming even louder as his shirt went up. His heart was now racing, his face sweating from, not the lights, but nervousness; and although not realising it, Kevin was thinking about a certain someone who he loved for a very long time.
Before long, what seemed to be a two-hour performance had ended. Everyone was sweating and panting as they quickly walked off the stage.
'That went well, didn't it Kevin?' Kiseop smiled, walking next to Kevin as they prepared to leave the event venue. There was no reply. 'Tell me who you were thinking of back there,' he suddenly said. Kevin's eyes widened and turned to Kiseop with a shocked expression on his face.
'Wait, what?' Kevin said, looking startled at the question. Kevin had been worried Kiseop was going to ask him that. 'I was just thinking about…' His voice suddenly faltered.
'What was that? I couldn't really hear you.'
'I was thinking about Eli!' Kevin yelled. His face was red and his eyes were shut tight, trying not to give direct eye contact with Kiseop. 'You finally got my secret out. Are you happy?' There was a long silence before Kiseop replied.
'So he likes Eli, huh? I suppose it's not like I didn't expect this coming.' Kiseop muttered to himself. 'Anyway,' he cried aloud. 'Let's go before our manager leaves us here. We wouldn't wanna be run over by our fans right?' Kevin just grunted and walked ahead of Kiseop.
Within an hour, U-KISS had returned to their dorm. Kevin had fallen asleep in the car on the way, leaving Kiseop to carry him since he was the only one who volunteered.
'You owe me one, Kevin." Kiseop whispered to Kevin softly as he carried him to Kevin's room. The room was dark except for the small gap left by the door that was letting in a little bit of light from the corridor outside. As Kiseop put Kevin on his bed, Eli entered the room. Eli and Kevin shared the same room, their beds on opposite sides of the walls.
Eli walked up to Kiseop and said, 'I can put the blanket over him, Kiseop. You don't have to do that. You can just get some rest.' Kiseop looked at Eli and just smiled and nodded.
'Okay, sure. G'night then.' Kiseop patted Eli on the shoulder and just as he was about to leave the room he stopped momentarily. 'Oh, and one more thing. You don't need to worry about me, Eli. I can take care of myself…and Kevin.' Kiseop walked out of the room and closed the room door behind him gently.
The whole room became dark and the only thing that lit the room now was the moonlight coming in from the open window. Eli walked to his bed and laid down.
'What can I do with Kiseop? He's so persistent. Maybe he should learn to give up on things like these," Eli sighed to himself and went to sleep.
The next morning was quite troublesome. Instead of having time off of their normal schedule, U-KISS had more dance practice.
'Are you joking? I made plans with my family!' Dongho cried, obviously annoyed with the sudden change.
'It's more like the other way around. The only time you would see your family is when something bad happens or something good happens,' the manager laughed.
The arguments became louder and louder which eventually woke Kevin up from his sleep. He dragged himself to the living room where all the commotion was. Eli looked behind him and spotted Kevin, giving him a big smile. Eli pranced to Kevin and leaned towards him.
'Did all the noise wake you, Sleeping Beauty?' Eli ruffled Kevin's hair and laughed. Kevin was particularly surprised since Eli had never acted like that before, especially towards Kevin.
'Hey Eli,' Kevin began, still half-asleep and rubbing his eyes sleepily.
'What's everyone so loud for? I could hear Dongho all the way from the room!'
'Oh, right. The manager decided to change our schedule. You know how we're meant to have some time-off today? He's making us do dance practice instead. I'm pretty sure the manager wants us to learn a new choreography,' Eli explained.
It was very rare for their manager to change their schedule so suddenly. The only members who seem to be arguing against the change were Dongho and Soohyun.
The manager sighed and under his breath he said, 'why does it always have to be these two that are the most troubling when it comes to schedule changes?' and laughed, shaking his head in dismay.
By the time everyone had changed out of their pyjamas and reached the practice room, it was already 11am. Everyone started warming up while waiting for the choreographer to arrive. It was half-past 11 by the time he came.
'Okay, everyone. Let's start. Have your back facing the mirrors…'
'Kevin,' Kiseop whispered. Kiseop stood directly behind Kevin, being at least a metre back. 'You owe me one, okay?' Kevin looked back at Kiseop and scrunched his eyebrows.
'Owe you for what? You didn't do anything for me did you?' Kiseop just stood there looking dumb-founded.'What?'
'Don't worry about it. Just concentrate on the choreography.' Kiseop mumbled. As Kevin turned to face the front again, Eli turned to Kiseop. He opened his mouth but closed it again as if he forgot what he was going to say.
Even before an hour, U-KISS were already resting and were starving.
'Soohyun hyung, let's order chicken!' Dongho exclaimed excitedly. Soohyun licked his lips and nodded his head in agreement. On the other hand, Kevin's head was filled with confusion.
What do I owe Kiseop for? He didn't even do anything for me these days but…wait, Kevin thought carefully. Don't tell me it was for that little bit of advice he gave me yesterday! Why would anyone owe someone because they gave them a little advice?!
Eli had been feeling concerned for Kevin ever since last night when he was with Kiseop.
He mumbled to himself, 'why was Kiseop so protective over Kevin? "I can take care of myself and Kevin", huh? It's not like Kevin belongs to him, right?' Eli groaned loudly with frustration.
'Hyung, the chicken's coming! I know how hungry you are but you just have to wait,' Dongho explained, trying to sound mature.
'Hey Kevin,' Kiseop began as he dragged his butt against the polished dance floor. 'If you're thinking about what you owe me, just forget about it. It's not that important.'
Just as Kevin was about to say something, the chicken arrived. The room quickly filled up with the smell of freshly fried chicken.
AJ's face lit up and screamed, 'food!'
'Wait, who's paying?' Soohyun mentioned. Everyone went quiet. Before anyone volunteered, Hoon stood up and reached in his pocket. He pulled out his wallet and searched for money.
Soohyun and Dongho looked amazed, both saying 'wow, didn't think you would pay! I thought you were going to pay!' Dongho and Soohyun turned to each other pointing a finger at one another. Kevin laughed along with everyone else except he faked his laugh. On the inside, all he could think of was Eli.
After the dance practice, everyone was just about to leave when it started to rain. Kevin was feeling particularly nervous because every time it rains, something bad is bound to happen.
'Um, you guys go ahead first. I'll just wait 'till the rain stops.' Kevin said uneasily. Eli and Kiseop suddenly turned to Kevin.
Eli quickly made up an excuse and said, 'No, it's okay. I'll stay too since I don't want to get wet by the rain.' Kevin looked at Eli who smiled slightly. He then looked away from Eli and turned to look at the floor.
This isn't like Eli. He's never complained about getting wet from the rain, he thought. Maybe he…no. It's probably just my imagination.
'If Eli's staying then I'll stay. Who knows what will happen between these two lovebirds!' Kiseop joked. Eli and Kevin blushed.
'If you guys were all staying until the rain stopped you could have told us quicker! The rain's starting to get heavier now!' Soohyun complained. 'Well the rest of us will go first. Don't get back too late or else the manager might yell at us.' Soon everyone but Kevin, Kiseop and Eli were gone.
'S-so what do you want to do now? It doesn't seem like it's going to stop any time soon.' Kevin said nervously.
Even though all three of them had a close relationship with each other, it seemed a little awkward and tense in the room.
'Let's play a game! It's too quiet so we have to make some noise.' Kiseop suggested.
'If you want to play a game at least suggest one.' Eli mumbled. The room became silent again.
'Instead of games…c-can I ask the both of you something?' Kevin asked hesitantly but seemed to get Eli and Kiseop's attention. 'Why did you both stay here?'