2 months. It's been 2 months since Chaeyoung has started training and she's already at the top of the trainee food chain. She’s still the central topic of most trainees’ conversations. A lot of people think that she is already on the A-list a.k.a. the list of those who are guaranteed a debut.
Today I get to witness the star in action: on the stage. We have a dance showcase today, which is basically where all of the trainees are evaluated by the dance teachers in front of all of the other trainees. And, of course, Chaeyoung's performance is the main talk of the town, mainly due to the fact that she is the most recent trainee to join the company, but also because everyone has heard about her potential and wants to confirm it with their own eyes.
I’ve actually been helping Chaeyoung prepare for her first evaluation. We’ve spent some pretty long nights in the practice rooms, practicing different parts of her routine. She has never danced before, but in these last two months, she’s improved to the point where she is better than most of the trainees that have been at YG for a year now. You could say it’s because I’ve been helping her, but it’s mostly because of her hard working character. Even after all of the trainees and I have gone back to the dorms, she’s been staying behind every night to perfect her moves. She often comes home around 4 in the morning, the reason I know being that I often can’t fall asleep until I hear the sound of the door unlocking and her taking tiny, hesitant steps to her room, cautious not to wake up me and the others.
As I walked into the large practice room, scanning for my friends among the crowd of trainees, my eyes landed on a familiar face. One of my favorite faces to look at. Park Chaeyoung.
However, it was not the smiley, giggly Park Chaeyoung I am used to seeing. Instead I saw an anxious, buggy-eyed girl who looked as if she had just seen a ghost. Still cute though.
I approached her slowly, elbowing my way through the different groups of trainees, watching as she paced around the small space she had to herself in the jam-packed room.
"Hey Chaeyoung, nervous much?" I teased.
She whisked around in surprise, her dark face seemed to light up a little as her eyes made contact with mine.
"You can tell?" she questioned, sarcasm ringing in her tone.
"Yeah. You look as if you'd just seen a ghost," repeating my thoughts from earlier.
She laughed lightly. My heart danced at the fact that I was able to make her laugh in her state of pure terror.
"I've never been more scared in my life. I can't believe I have to perform in front of everyone. All the other trainees have had a longer training period and everyone is so much better than me! They are gonna judge me so much if I do something wrong, which is practically guaranteed. It's only been two months since I've joined, I can't be the laughing stalk of the company already!"
Her chestnut eyes growing even larger than they were before and her sentences getting faster with each second.
I grabbed her shoulders, pulled her right in front of me, and bore into her eyes. "Chaeyoung-ah listen to me. You are gonna do great. You have been working so hard just for this day! We’ve been practicing together almost every night since you’ve gotten the routine from the teacher a month and a half ago and I know you've been practicing every night in the dance room even after I leave. I've witnessed you fall asleep while still chewing your lunch after training day after day with no little to sleep. All of those long nights and energy drinks led up to this day, so go out there and give it all you've got. Be confident in yourself and give all of these other trainees a performance that will prevent them from ever judging you or laughing at you."
Before I even registered the fact that Chaeyoung's shoulders were no longer under my tight grip, I felt two arms wrap around me in a tight embrace, causing me to freeze.
"Thank you unnie. Not just for those kind words, but for staying up with me all of those nights, helping me to get that one turn down and make that one drop smoother. I won't disappoint you," she whispered.
And just as I was about to hug back after snapping out of the trance her flowery aroma put me under, we both heard a clap and Chaeyoung let go of her embrace to see who was doing the clapping.
Ms. Choi was at the front trying to gather our attention.
Freaking Ms. Choi.
As Ms. Choi explained how we would be evaluated and the expectations she expected from the audience, I heard two familiar voices approaching.
"Excuse us. Sorry. Excuse us," one voice said.
"Don't mind us, we're just trying to get to our friends," the other explained.
I turned my head, finding Lisa and Jisoo maneuvering through the heap of people. Jisoo in the front struggling to find a clear pathway, Lisa showering everyone that Jisoo shoved aside or squeezed past with apologies and brigh