"Hm? This is?" Iris saw them slowing down at a large building with various signs above several different doors. One of them distinctly read 'Big Hit Entertainment' in hangul.
"Where? Why?" She was confused along with Cindy why there was another building with the Big Hit name.
They exited the van cautiously, but the man cheerily gestured for them to follow him. A few other staff were at the front dressed in similar clothes. Seeing this, the girls hesitated.
Cindy clutched her cooled-down tteokbokki and leaned over in Iris's ear. "This doesn't look too sketchy to me? Although the men at the front sort of worry me… Maybe they're just guards?"
Iris furrowed her brows. She seriously wished she had more time to improve her Korean. Then, they could easily converse with them all and ask why they were taken here.
Glancing about the area for locational signs, Iris noted that they were at Floor Yangjin Plaza at Hakdong-ro, 30-gil. Thinking that the area and building didn't look shady and people were going about normally in the streets, the two girls entered the building.
They were led to the fifth floor, and it was then that Iris let out a sigh of relief. This was Big Hit Entertainment after all. All the glass, shiny floors, and plaques said as much including the various staff with identification cards around their necks.
The man halted in front of an office and knocked on the door. "Bang PD-nim! (I brought over Iris Huang from the old building!)" After getting the okay, the man opened the door for the two girls and then left.
Almost immediately, the girls spied Hitman Bang at his desk. He greeted them as they walked over, and Iris extended her hand in a shake while deeply bowing. She was nervous being in the presence of the mastermind behind BTS's creation and success.
But thankfully, Bang PD was friendly even while being formal. When Rap Monster had shown him Iris's song, Bang Shihyuk was impressed by the rookie's composition abilities. It reminded him of Rap Monster and the early BTS members.
At first, he was worried about Rap Monster wanting to give her a shout out on Twitter, but BTS being BTS, he knew that this was a part of who they were. Even though BTS remained polite and humble, they weren't afraid of getting close to their fans and expressing themselves.
So he allowed Namjoon to share the song publicly. And seeing the good response as well as Iris's diligent attempts to improve herself by posting new original songs on Soundcloud, he was very pleased with the result.
It was then that he had a semi-informal phone conference with BTS and some staff on the idea of hiring Iris as a temporary composer for the new album scheduled for release in the fall of 2017 this year. They already had a tentative tracklist, but the album was still incomplete. Additionally, BTS was on tour and could only work while overseas or when they returned briefly to South Korea for recording.
Before the interpreter arrived, Bang PD and Iris engaged in a slightly awkward conversation of broken Korean and English. It was just typical formalities like how she found Korea to be and made her way around.
When the interpreter arrived, Iris and Cindy learned that Big Hit Entertainment had indeed moved to another building, but they were to be informed later that day. But just in case, a staff member, the man that drove them here, was placed at the old building. They didn't expect Iris to visit the building today, but figuring they might as well jump to business, they invited her over today.
"Iris-ssi, BTS will return to Korea after the first half of the Asia part of their world tour. They'll be here for about a week, and then they'll tour in Australia and Japan starting May 26th. Their next break to Korea will be the second week of July before finishing the rest of their tour."
Iris nodded as she listened. She already knew BTS's tour schedule from researching beforehand. Actually, it was Cindy who insisted on finding out whether BTS would be able to personally work with her on the song composition because they were on tour.
"So, the mission is to start the composition process in order for them to provide feedback when they arrive in Korea in one week. Then we'll continue and have the songs ready by end of June. Is this ok?"
Iris confirmed her understanding of the plan and timeline. She was a tad disappointed that she wouldn't be able to work with BTS more, but she already expected this somewhat after looking at their tight schedule.
Regardless, she would give it her all in order to present something worthy of praise for when they returned in a week. Bang PD also showed her where she would be staying—a little room inside the building on the same floor as the recording area. In this way, she could furtively stay inside without catching anyone's attention to why she was coming and going from the building so often.
Usually, she would dorm elsewhere at a nearby apartment like trainees or idols usually would. But since she was only a temporary worker, this was the best living situation to safeguard her identity and connection to Big Hit. It would do no one any good if any fans passing by caught wind of Iris.
And thus began her summer job as Big Hit Entertainment's new composer. For the first few days, she was zealously engrossed in her work. Filled with inspiration and passion in being put in such an extraordinary situation, she composed various tunes and arrangements.
Bang PD would visit her every once in a while to see how she was holding up. Instead of visiting her cousin Cindy and Bella more often, Iris took her task almost too seriously—much to the disgruntlement of said cousin. So, on the fifth day, Bang PD suggested for her to take a break and get some fresh air.
Sheepish, Iris complied and visited Hakdong Park as recommended by one of the staff. In these short few days, Iris's conversational Korean improved tremendously on account of being exposed to it daily and forced for smoother communication.
With a black cap and face mask—she was acclimating quite quickly on the quirks of native Koreans—she strolled the park with Cindy and Bella.
"Umm..Iris? Do you really need to wear that getup with us in the park? I feel like people are looking at us strangely…" commented her cousin while casting looks back at the people staring.
"Ahh, I don't think that's the reason why…" Iris laughed lightly. Her cousin was sometimes rather dense. If anything, it was Cindy herself that caused passerby to stare. They barely noticed Iris who was hidden by the cap, mask, and casual apparel of a gray hoodie, black jeans and vans. And Bella looked like just another tourist to them.
Cindy was actually quite striking with her foreign-asian looks. Her rich, wavy chestnut-honey hair paired with her hazel eyes that had distinct flecks of green really demanded one's attention. Although Cindy knew she was pretty, she never paid much mind to it.
Iris really liked her cousin's one-mindedness at times. Cindy was blunt and straightforward and spoke her mind whenever someone criticized her or someone else unfairly. If she went for something, she'd go all in. That also included pushing others, something that Iris really needed in her life.
Seeing Iris's mirthful smile, Cindy raised a curious eyebrow. "What?"
Iris shook her head. "Nothing!"
"Hmm…" Cindy didn't push it, but her cousin was acting silly again. Sometimes she really didn't know what was on Iris's mind, just like how she insisted on wearing her "disguise" in case some obsessive fan figured out she was working at Big Hit.
Cindy gave a soft chuckle. This girl was beginning to resemble a trainee with her clothes and hard-working attitude. And combined with her straight, long black locks and clear skin, she could pass off as one too if someone asked.
"So how's work so far? You've been cooped up in the dungeon!" The reference to a trainee being stuck in company's basement and not debuting made Iris giggle.
"It's been great, Cinds. I've learned a lot and got to work with super fancy equipment! I'm super pumped up for when B—" Iris caught herself before saying BTS lest some Korean person could understand English.
This made Cindy roll her eyes at Iris's extreme caution before smiling brightly and saying, "That's good to hear, cuz!" She nudged her in the side. "Don't forget to get us signatures okay? You missed last time!" She winked and the two of them burst out in laughter.
As the two chattered along with Bella, they were unaware of someone secretly watching them.
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