an. i’m finally back from and endless hiatus. ngl, it’s always hard to resume writing after so long. disclaimer! I have no idea how a real tarot reading works, but I wanted to included it as i found it fun. enjoy!
The first day of shooting ends. The contestants get closer thanks to a fun work dinner, when Dara discovers why Min looked so familiar.
• chapter 12 – sunflower.
Her soft panting got gradually more and more present, no matter how hard she kept it in.
“Are you okay?”. Jiwon couldn’t help but ask one more time.
“It’s you who told me… to let out the true crazy”.
“That! It’ll all be useless if you get hurt”.
“B-but!—“, Dara cut off her rebuttal as her attention shifted somewhere else; Min and Hyuk suddenly appeared beside them, quickly gaining ground over the suffering duo.
She glanced at the curly actor; her body tensed up inexplicably.
She was sure she’d seen him before, but where?
“Ugh— we HAVE to win!”, Dara whined, voicing Jiwon’s exact thoughts.
“You got this! Keep a suitable pace for you, we’ll gain ground at the next section”.
“T-that’s crazy! Isn’t Sandara going at a faster pace?”, Sook widened her eyes at the incredible scene.
“They seemed to comfort each other a lot, despite the unfavourable situation”.
“Isn’t that what a power duo is supposed to do?”.
Jiwon held onto her tight. Just how badly did she want to win to do something so reckless? Her determination felt refreshing, nonetheless. A part of him started to respect her even more.
“The first teams to arrive to the finish line are: Team Min-Hyuk leading, Team EunDara second and Team Goeun-Jongwon last. The other teams are automatically out!”. The large race flag waved triumphantly at the side of the line just crossed by exhausted the contestants.
Jiwon carefully helped himself off of Sandara’s back and immediately pulled her into a celebratory hug, both taken over a rush of sudden excitement.
“We made it!”.
They jumped up and down, screaming victory before realizing how close they actually were to each other, suddenly pulling away from the embrace with some awkwardness.
“You’re way stronger than me”.
The all smiley Jiwon didn’t even realize how proud he looked as he helped his partner fix her shirt.
She kissed her flexed bicep.
“I told you Hwangssabu-nim is the best! It’s all thanks to him”.
“We would’ve been eliminated if it wasn’t for you. I told you to trust my judgement”.
[later that day]
“Don’t blame me, okay? This dinner was organized last minute… I just thought you wouldn’t care about joining, afterall… you hate work dinners. What makes this one different?”, Jiwon’s manager spoke up, heaving yet another sigh of frustration towards his own client as he carefully parked the car a few metres after the anonymous restaurant.
The signature flowery scent hit his nose before her small figure could even enter his vision.
“Oh- Jiwon oppa, you came?”. Dara’s sulk lit up into a slight smile as soon as he entered.
“Yes, Dohyun was kind enough to drive me here in a hurry”.
The watery eyes, stiff posture; Dara clearly looked upset, it was impossible for him not to notice when he was looking at her so closely.
“Are you okay?”, His voice suddenly softened. He realized he asked her that question so many times that day.
She just nodded and led the new guests to the table where the lively dinner was already taking place
“I must be very late, am I not?”.
Cho-PD’s face broke into a contented smile at the arrival of the precious contestant.
“You’ve finally joined us!”.
“I thought I was the last one to arrive”, Jiwon pointed out after looking at the empty spots beside him and Dara.
“Here we are, sorry”, the co-actors made their way towards their seats, but Jiwon wasn’t the only one who’s enthusiasm seemed to dim, Dara suddenly grew silent too.
“Now that everyone’s here, I wanted to grab this opportunity to thank you for coming to this dinner despite the late notice” - Cho-PD raised his glass - Let’s have a toast, to the success of this shooting!”. The crowded table followed closely, making glasses clink left and right.
“You still haven’t drank at all Sandara Noona!”.
“I’m okay, thank you”.
“Just one glass, come on noona!”, Hyuk insisted.
Her nervous fingers moved the shot glass away from her. “I’m not really in the mood for it”, she refused again.
Jiwon stole the soju shot, emptying it in one swift motion.
“Ahh! I’ve been missing the taste of soju lately”.
“B-but I poured it for noona..”, the actor protested in a low murmur.
“It’s been a pleasure to meet with you all and getting to know you more. I’ll be leaving first but we’ll meet tomorrow morning for the second part of the filming. Make sure to rest well as it will be a very physically demanding challenge, don’t go too crazy with the drinking” - He turned towards his right - “Okay Jiwon?”.
A fat laughter broke at the table but Jiwon just smirked, unbothered.
The fun evening continued between delicious plates of braised meat and fried meatballs.
“Did you guys know that Jongwon-ssi knows how to do tarot readings?”.
“I’m still learning, but I do am getting better at it”. The celebrity chef humbly responded to his show partner sudden boasting.
“Wouldn’t it be fun to give it a try?”, Goeun encouraged him.
“Ask him if your bills are going to increase this year”.
Dohyun playfully nudged at Jiwon. The liquor was already brightening his grim mood.
“Come on, let’s start from Jiwon-ssi!”.
“A sunflower?”, Sechskies’ leader stared at the cards in front of him, failing to understand the link between them all.
“… that’s unexpected”, Jongweon studied what he just revealed for a moment.
“That’s the style of someone who only looks at one person. Soon, you’ll be dating”, he concluded.
“That’s nonsense, I have no luck there”.
Jiwon scoffed. Even tarot cards seemed to make a fool out of his love misfortunes.
“Is there a candidate? Or someone you’re thinking about?”.
“He has one, there is someone… “, the chef nodded.
“I have someone?”, he tilted his head.
“Someone near him”.
Jiwon’s glance naturally turned towards Dara before hanging his head low.
“Near me?! Yah! Who taught you how to read cards?”.
The work dinner naturally reached its end with people gradually leaving.
A chilly breeze awaited them outside, making Dara hold tightly onto the leather jacket she wore.
“Jiwon oppa, before you go…”, she stopped by his manager’s large car, “Thank you for giving me your lunchbox earlier”.
He desperately tried to escape her sweet gaze, “How did you?...” .
“You’re a kind-hearted guy afterall!”, her cheeks plumped up like peaches.
‘Jiwon, you got this, take a deep breath-‘
“It’s nothing”, a sincere smile won over his need of pretending to be cool. There was no point in denying it.
“See you tomorrow then, we better win!”.
Dara quietly got to her car and in its safety the smile fleeted her expression, leaving space to bitter tears. She gripped the steering wheel so hard it hurt, before sinking her face there as the heavy emotions she tried to contain all evening got the best of her.
[earlier that evening]
Cho-PD checked his phone one more time to no news.
“Jiwon’s manager still hasn’t replied. I knew I should’ve stopped them before they left! I think we should start without them at this point. Can someone call those two smoking outside?”.
“I’ll go!”, Dara gladly volunteered.
‘I must’ve seen him in that show, that must be it!’, she finally put to rest that annoying doubt of hers, excited to share this with Min.
The two actors stood a few meters away from the entrance. She recognized them immediately despite them having their backs turned towards the restaurant; Min’s curls were way too recognizable to be mistaken.
“I’ve been curious about her ever since Hyung had to suddenly get out of that club that day. She made such a pitiful scene at that party after he dumped her. See…he used to date her back then”.
A painful flashback came to haunt her once again. Of course Min was at the infamous YG after party with that opportunistic actor. She finally understood why the sight of him made her restless.
(refer to ch.4)
“Hyung said it only took 3 glasses of beer to take her home, can you believe it? One can’t be so bad at drinking, she must be pretending only to cry victim after she realizes how easy she’s been”, he chuckled after taking another hit.
“Let’s offer her some, see if what Hyung said is true”,
Hyuk threw the cigarette on the sidewalk before stomping it off.
Dara quietly backed away from the entrance door but her feet wouldn’t take one more step, no matter how much she wanted to flee from that nightmare turned reality.
The illusion of the two admiring dongsaengs happily approaching her just vanished into the disgusting truth. Perhaps that’s what the rest of the industry thought of her behind the smile and pleasantries.
What if Jiwon thought that too? She wondered.