[ Taehyung ] : Finished our last concert in the US! Times flies by fast, hope you and everyone are doing well, fighting!
Cindy's eyes narrowed at the message shown across her lock screen. 'WTF?!' she internally screamed. 'Why tell me about your concert status?? Why not just say this in a message to all of us?? Why me???' Her head spun, and she inhaled sharply. 'You're past puberty, honey. Calm thyself!'
She glared at the screen with her right fingers hovering over it in agitation. 'Respond. Don't respond. What do I say? Damn it Taehyung, you're too nice! Seriously, did Iris ask you to keep an eye on me or something?? Haah…'
Placing a palm over her forehead, she took a deep breath. 'Buying into niceties won't do anyone any good. Let's focus now.' So much had to be done that Cindy couldn't give even a speck of attention toward anything else except increasing the chances of success upon debut.
It was something she would've never foreseen several years ago, to ignore her favorite musical artists and idols. But for the sake of finally finding something fulfilling and which gave her joy and a chance to better herself, Cindy reframed her mindset.
Jiyeon peeked over at Cindy's phone upon seeing an array of emotions flash across the brunette's face. The girl deftly turned away her screen and stated, "BTS is on tour. IZ*ONE will be on tour in Japan soon sometime in June. So let's get the new performances rolling besides lessons and practice."
Jiyeon blinked at Cindy. She opened her mouth to reply but then closed it again. The blonde decided to put aside her concerns and accept Cindy's declaration. The trio had little time to distinguish themselves before Iris joined.
No one wanted a group where only one person shined, no matter how much Cindy loved Iris or Ahreum was her biggest fan, or for Big Hit, their first female artist in a long time. It would do no one any good, including Iris.
Thus, alongside maintaining their YouTube account, which had organically broken past two hundred thousand subscribers, each girl strove to find their own individuality and talents to showcase. Thankfully, Big Hit had prepared them for publicity, so they had good ideas of how to gain and sustain the spotlight.
Meanwhile, the last member was busy preparing for IZ*ONE's Japanese comeback with their new title track, 'Buenos Aires.' As usual, Iris gave her all toward any performance or piece of music. But to be honest, she disliked the title track and music video.
Although the Japanese market was different from Korea, she felt that the musical quality and video quality were lower in comparison. Still, Iris cast aside her personal bias and studied how the company and management differentiated the music and concepts for each country. One day, she was sure that her observations would be of proper use.
"Yuri, how would you sing this powerfully but still in a cute, youthful manner?" asked Iris, pointing to a highlighted section on her music sheets.
The main vocalist peered at the section intently, running her eyes swiftly across the notes and bobbing her head slightly up and down. After a few moments, she started singing from the beginning of the section while continuously going back and adding more each time. Then she run through it once in her best on-the-spot rendition.
"Huh!" exclaimed Iris in satisfaction and enlightenment. "That's our talented main vocalist, all right!"
Jo Yuri smiled bashfully. "Oh stop unnie~ haha!" She looked back at the sheets with high interest and inquired, "Is this a new piece you're making, Iris?"
"Mhm!" Iris grunted in confirmation. "I'm trying to blend what Japanese people prefer along with something a little different from their usual tastes too."
"Huh, you never rest, do you?" laughed a sudden voice from behind the two huddled girls. It was Yena. The girl curiously joined the two and peered at Iris's musical sheets.
"Wuh. You outdid yourself again, Miss Composer. This melody is great! Super catchy!" complimented Yena enthusiastically. "Please teach me your ways, and while you're at it, how to film too Producer-nim!"
Yena was referring to Iris's hand in the making of the Dionysus Special Video along with the song itself. While Iris didn't make a cameo in the music video, she was listed as the part of the management and directing crew in the ending credits under a different pseudonym: Everland.
It combined her SoundCloud name, "IrisEverglade," along with the title of her first song to Namjoon, "Neverland." While her hardcore fans caught onto the possibility of a hidden connection to Iris, rumors of who this person bounced around for a bit before settling down and refocusing back to BTS as usual.
Iris chuckled and squished Yena's adorable cheeks that everyone loved to pinch. "Maybe after the contract exclusivity period is over, we'll be allowed to self-compose and influence our music more."
"That would be pretty cool. Like the concept evaluation mixed in with the position one where we had to self-arrange parts of the song or performance!"
Iris nodded at Yena's words. "Exactly! I bet the Japanese trainees would love it too for the Japanese comebacks. I doubt they get to do much of that in their AKB48 or regional groups. Then again, their management is quite interesting in terms of how they can express their individuality, so there's that too."
"For sure, we learned a lot from the Japanese trainees on Produce," agreed Yuri.
Yena wistfully sighed as she thought back to the musical survival show days. "I miss Produce 48 and everyone. It was so stressful but fun too. I hope we can reunite in some way again."
The two other girls slowly tipped their heads down in thoughtful agreement while pursing their lips into a half-smile. Those kinds of experience were once in lifetime. Even though it only spanned a few months, it was the most impactful event that had ever occurred in any of their lives. Those days, those friends, and those memories, would forever be cherished in nostalgia.
"Everyone~! Time for dinner!"
Eunbi's voice resounded in the dorms, making the trio instinctively turn their heads toward the door upon hearing their group leader.
"Coming!" Yena and Yuri all called back while departing to the common area to eat.
Before she left the room, Iris set aside the sheets on her desk and stared at her newly made schedule of events lying on top of her journals.
'July 14th. I wonder how long you'll be able to rest before going away again. Maybe we'll be able to meet up, but maybe not. I hope you'll still remember me after another year passes.'
Despite having eleven lovely other girls around her almost 24/7, Iris released a lonely, longing sigh. As much as she loved her newfound success as part of a increasingly popular girl group, she also was starting to miss her quiet times back at the Big Hit company building. BTS. TXT. Heck even ahjussi (uncle) Bang PD.
She joked to herself that just like the first time coming to the Big Hit building as an employee, when she returned after her IZ*ONE contract expired, Big Hit would've found another new building to relocate. Little did she know that it would actually be true, and Big Hit would occupy several more floors of the yet another new building than last time.
'Okay!' She pumped her fist in determination. 'I'll work hard so that we'll have so much to talk about and learn from one another. If I can even return an ounce of the support that everyone gave me, that will be enough for me. So y'all better be watching me!'
She tapped on the single photo of BTS taped to the wall above her desk.
"Until I see you again."
Get ready for a time skip ladies and gents (too?).
We are now about to go past the current real time. So from here on in, events won't be based on past happening as much anymore. It'll still be realistic in the sense that I'll make estimates of what's likely to come.
(Hey, did you hear that I predicted that Big Hit might possibly be forming a new girl group?! Jk on that, but the possibility is true under a subsidiary label, so that was kind of spooky for me while making this story. XD)
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