Reminder: Parentheses () now mean English is being spoken while regular text is dialogue in Korean.
"Hello," greeted Cindy shyly in Korean. Since they were by the door, she dodged the closeness and positioned herself next to Taehyung instead. She felt a little anxious about being seen with the idol, but thankfully the guards in front blocked the view from the outside.
"(Why here?)" asked V in his best English. He was curious why the girl was allowed inside of the Big Hit entertainment building. Back when Iris was a temporary composer, the guards let Cindy in to bring food. But that had been more than a year ago, and Iris was no longer anywhere in the area.
Instead of replying in English, Cindy tried speaking in broken Korean. "I'm trainee now Big Hit. Talk with Bang Producer-nim." She wasn't as fluent as Iris, nor did she have a knack for learning languages nearly as quickly as her intelligent cousin, but in the last several months since Iris departed to South Korea, Cindy self-taught herself Korean.
Taehyung was greatly surprised, not just because of what she said, but how she said it. Although she couldn't form complete sentences, her Korean pronunciation was on point.
"You learned Korean!" he remarked cheerfully.
Cindy tentatively nodded. She was actually quite happy to see Taehyung and talk to him like meeting an old acquaintance. But her stomach fluttered queasily because of how surreal and nostalgic it all felt. She was inside the Big Hit building again; however, this time, it wasn't for Iris, but for herself.
So, she quickly bid him farewell and hustled over to the elevator. Taehyung wished to speak with her further, but since she was in a hurry, and he was leaving as well, he merely scratched his head before exiting the building.
As she rode the elevator, Cindy thought back to the previous year. Without Iris's daily presence in her life, she had been restless and lonely at home. Even though she had pushed her cousin to chase her dreams, Cindy had started wondering about herself and her dreams. 'Do I have a dream? What do I want in life too?' She often asked herself.
Through their periodic phone calls that soon dwindled in frequency over time before stopping completely during Produce 48, Cindy developed a yearning to do something as extraordinary as her cousin. Lounging around at home and going to school as usual felt like tepid water. She was wasting her days away while her brilliant cousin was becoming an idol and beginning to reap the fruits of her labor.
Thus, Cindy went on a self-search for a month. She tried all sorts of activities and dipped into various career paths, but in the end, none of them gave her enjoyment. It was too boring. But one day while at home, she had an epiphany. She loved music just as much as Iris.
However, she never had her cousin's singing or dancing talent. Could she successfully chase after something with almost no talent or experience? At least Iris had years of k-pop dance covers to hone her dancing skills and SoundCloud for her composing and singing abilities before being recruited. But Cindy had nothing but what the average person had just from listening to music.
Rather than giving up the possibility, the stubborn Cindy decided to give a shot. 'Practice what you preach,' she told herself. And thus, she contacted Iris's old kpop dance cover crew and begged them to teach her. After assessing her poor abilities, the group was very hesitant to let her join their ranks, but seeing her earnest desire and focus, they decided to give her a chance.
Besides, as superficial as it was, Cindy was beautiful and would catch anyone's attention. Since k-pop in public covers were the most popular, and YouTube viewers loved seeing a large crow, the dance crew hoped that Cindy could attract passerby once she stuck a dance routine.
The journey toward her first successful dance was not pretty. It ended up taking weeks before the crew was minimally satisfied with her performance. By that time, Cindy was starting to feel depressed, thinking she wasn't cut out for this after all.
'If it wasn't for that first successful public dance cover…' Cindy thought as she exited the elevator and made her way to Bang PD's office. 'I might not be here today.'
That performance had changed her mind. The churning nervousness that accompanied the thrill of dancing for an engaged and impressed crowd had boosted her confidence and motivation. She wondered if this was how Iris felt those years ago doing the same. Then Cindy imagined a much larger audience, a true stage with lights, props, effects, and proper costumes. It excited her.
Perhaps always being the center of attention based her looks and wealth had dulled any desire of hers to be in the limelight. She had disdained the rapt attention from others because she felt it was fake and disgusting. They didn't see the real her. For as soon as they 'met' her, they were turned off by Cindy's caustic attitude.
Thus, due to her unfriendliness toward those who she deemed to have selfish agendas, like boosting their own social standing for making her acquaintance, she inadvertently created an image of being an arrogant, snobby girl with a bad personality.
Of course, those who really knew her would scoff at the fake reputation. Sure, Cindy could be headstrong, but that was because she stuck to her ideals and would support her loved ones to the bitter end.
And so her newfound taste for the spotlight drove her to practice harder. She felt that her efforts had transformed into something worthy of attention. People noticed not just because of her looks, but for her dancing.
Cindy knew this because she had been publicly mocked for her previous poor performances before the first successful one. She stood out like a sore thumb among the skilled dancers in those situations. It didn't bother her as she had iron-tough skin, but it demonstrated to her that her own hard work could be rightly appreciated once she improved.
Gulping as she laid her hand on the door handle, she rapped on the misty glass door window.
"Come in," directed a deep voice from inside.
'Here we go…' Cindy took a deep breath and entered.
Sorry for the delayed release. After leaving work yesterday, I had to take my lethargic dog to the emergency veterinary hospital. It turned out that she had chronic kidney failure, so she needed to be hospitalized for several days; otherwise, she won’t make it through this. The following morning, I had a prescheduled doctor’s appointment myself. Then I visited the dog again. The vets had called earlier that since she’s not eating, they’re really worried about her…
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