"Thank you all so much. It means so much to me," she deeply bowed. Then she went up to each member who all either hugged or enthusiastically patted her on the back while repeating their congratulations.
At Jin, he exclaimed, "Oh!" And then he turned his upper body around as if reaching for something. But nothing was behind him as it was just a facade. Suddenly, he threw his hands in the air. A shower of confetti floated down over Iris.
"Wuh—" Iris started and then burst out in laughter. Jin continued to make hurrahs with the confetti before swiping them off of Iris.
"Aww, this is so cute!" V remarked as he peered through Iris's camera lens of the video he had been taking since coming to the room. Initially, she had been worried about the footage, but thinking she wouldn't ever use it anyway, she conceded the device to Taehyung temporarily.
Iris laughed at V and waved to the camera cheerily. She stuck out a thumbs up and shouted, "Best surprise ever!" She followed it up with a bunch of flying mini thumb and forefinger hearts.
Taehyung chuckled and then moved the camera over to the other members who all waved and engaged with the camera.
Then everyone settled down at the table. They kept the camera rolling at the head of the table in order to record the whole party. Side dishes and ready to grill food filled the tabletop, and everyone dug in to cook.
"We ate all the appetizers that used to be here because they getting cold," informed Suga to Iris. "But we ordered more after Taehyung and Jimin told us that they'd bring you late."
"Aww thanks! Sorry for making you all wait though. I didn't know that you had all this prepared for me. I was eating barbecue before this too to celebrate. I also didn't want to let the food get cold and pack it up. But these two here ate most of it!"
Iris pointed accusing fingers at the two perpetrators teasingly. Everyone laughed, and Taehyung replied jokingly, "Sorry sorry, heheh. Please take more." He respectfully placed more beef on Iris's plate, making her laugh at the funny act.
Jimin joined in too saying, "Here here eat up!" And he proceeded to fill her rice bowl with side dishes to the brim.
"Ahh! I can't eat with all this food stacked up!" Iris cried out mirthfully.
And thus the party continued in this light, cheery manner. At the end, they even each bought a small gift for her. Feeling utterly touched once again, she accepted them all with teary eyes.
Later when they headed back to the company, Bang PD also congratulated her. He had booked the room and party along with BTS, but as the CEO, he couldn't join them. However, the day's events had been more than enough for Iris.
Once the BTS members dispersed to their own ways, Iris was left with Bang Shihyuk in his office. Thinking that the occasion was over, she prepared to leave. But he stopped her.
"Wait, I have something I want to discuss with you. It's about your debut."
At the mention of debut, Iris immediately tensed up. After all, Bang PD had the power to hasten her debut as well as to delay the day. It wasn't uncommon for trainees to be 'stuck in the dungeon' as the public called it. Sometimes it was years before trainees debuted. And that was regardless if it was a group or solo act.
Noticing that Iris stiffened up as she sat down in the seat in front of his desk, Bang PD laughed. "It's okay, it's not bad news." His words dispelled the anxiety that had begun swirling in Iris's pit.
"Since you're already skilled in dancing, singing, and composing, you skipped on a lot of basic training and jumped to preparation for a solo debut. However—"
Iris nearly jumped at 'however.' She gulped down the worry and braced herself. 'Okay here comes the kicker…'
"—we can't debut you this year or early next year because of our new group. It just wouldn't be the right timing. But almost two years is a long time considering how much you prepared. Honestly, you could have a mini-album out in a few months."
Iris nodded but felt her hopes deflating. 'Exactly what I expected after all… I'm the unaccounted for variable at Big Hit as well as the risk. So of course they'd want to take precaution and get the timing right. I'll have to wait a couple more years….'
However, Bang PD wasn't finished.
"So we decided to enter you into a survival contest instead. You're familiar with Produce 101, correct?"
Her heart almost skipped a beat. 'A what?! Produce 101?! No way, they're really—!!!' She looked at Bang Shihyuk with eyes like saucers and replied in a short breath, "Yes."
"Well, you'll be participating in the third season of it called Produce 48. It's a collaboration between AKB48, a popular Japanese group, this time around, but it's still basically the same format. Since this decision was on short notice though, and it was your anniversary today, I'm just informing you now. So what do you say? You'll have to prepare to leave tomorrow for the evaluation stage."
Iris was stunned into silence. After beginning to feel dispirited thinking it would take forever before she would debut, Iris suddenly was overwhelmed by everything happening so fast.
She knew that the evaluation stage was critical to the success of a contestant on the show. Not only would she have to perform well, but even off the stage she needed to stand out enough to get decent screen time. But now she had to formulate a routine and a plan on how to catch the camera and MNET's attention in less than a day!
"This… I don't know what to say," she finally responded honestly. "I want to go since it's a great chance, but I'm worried I won't be any good because I didn't get to prepare for the evaluation performance…."
Bang Shihyuk nodded at the keen assessment of the situation. "True, but I believe in you. This is probably the best path to gain you exposure while revealing yourself to the public fully for the first time. Also, you can form good friendships with other trainees as well as the trainers and practice and hone in on your skills."
"Yes, you're right. There's a lot of upside to this…" Iris sucked in her breath and stared firmly at Bang PD. "All right, I'll do it! I will make sure to make Big Hit proud!" She pumped her fist in determination.
She had to fulfill the expectations of the Big Hit label name. Everyone would be shocked that Big Hit had a girl trainee as well as sending her to a survival contest show. But with the risk came great reward and potential to spring off her idol career.
[A/N: Hey everyone the army bombs voting just started today the 14th! You can vote 5 times a day, so I hope you can support this novel! The place to vote is on the WN mobile homepage. (: ]
Well for anyone that got it, June 15 is when Produce 48 first aired. XD
Since I don't know when the performance stages match up with the 'live voting' and episodes, I had to take some liberties with the timing of everything to fit into the BTS and TXT timeline.
When I mean live voting, I mean for example, the contestants get to see the first episode's rankings, but I don't know when this is in the filming of the show since voting obviously only opens on June 15.
[ 03.29.20 Addition - Created a Discord server, join at:
Hangout, chat, be notified of book updates~ :) ]
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