Chapter 10

EXILE

Jackson has been busy since he has returned to Hongkong, his family ventured into a great deal of business sectors but entertainment isn’t one of them. Jackson had a passion in music and he wanted to create a platform for talented musicians. He and Jaebeom had shared this passion for quite a while. Unfortunately, none of their family considered it a lucrative business.

Jackson and Jaebeom has discussed about it enthusiastically over the years and they wanted to start something on their own even if it on a small scale, they wanted to start something of their own which they are passionate about and see it grow.

Jackson is travelling to Seoul for business and furthermore to talk about with Jaebeom regarding their music platform. He will be in Seoul for 3 days, Jinyoung has been updated about his brief trip.

Jackson saw Jinyoung waving at him at the arrival gate in Incheon and he waved back, seeing his best friend for the first time after they left Boston.

“Hey Jackie,” Jinyoung welcomed him engulfing in a warm embrace.

“Hey, I missed you, Jackson hugged him back.

“I’m happy that you are here,” Jinyoung replied.

“So what’s up with the abrupt travel plan? Is everything fine?” Jinyoung enquired.

“There is an issue with one supplier and I had to make this sudden trip, I was informed regarding it yesterday afternoon,” Jackson stated while both were walking to the car that is waiting.

“I hope I am not holding you up from work, you din’t really have to come and pick me from the airport,” Jackson added.

“Jacks, you don’t have to worry about it, I am where I want to be,” Jinyoung replied with a frown on his face.

“So what’s the plan now? Do you have to meet the supplier right away or do you have time for breakfast? Where are you staying? Jinyoung enquired.

“I have to meet the suppliers at 1 in the afternoon, I have time for breakfast and I am hoping to stay at the Gangnam guest house, although I am not sure if it’s in a liveable condition or not,” Jackson replied.

“Why? Is the guest house under renovation? Jinyoung enquired.

“No Henry is living there for past few weeks, I tried calling him to inform of my arrival but he din’t answer my call,” Jackson replied.

“Your cousin Henry the crazy is here in Seoul? What is he doing here? Is he in trouble again?  Please don’t tell that your crazy cousin is the actual reason for such a sudden trip to Seoul,” Jinyoung enquired with curiosity.

“Hahahaha, Nyoungie you will have a hard time believing it yet Henry has changed a great deal. He is no more that old Henry the crazy. You have no clue about how alleviated his folks and my folks are with his change. Thanks to his time in some monastery where he spent few months, it did good for him,” Jackson replied.

“So what is he doing here? Isn’t he supposed to be in either Canada or Hongkong taking care of the family business?” Jinyoung enquired.

“You know that he was a musical prodigy, right? He has been focusing on producing music for sometime and he met few other artists who are very prominent in Seoul underground music scene, so he has been spending his time here collaborating with them, in fact I want to talk to Jaebeom about Henry and his friends. Maybe we can start our dream project with introducing these guys,” Jackson replied.

“Oh god, Jaebeom will flip the moment you mention Henry, he will think you are not being serious with this passion of yours. Jacks, why would you do that? Jaebeom has been unbearable from the time he returned from Boston, I thought I struggled to settle in but when compared to how Jaebeom has been on the edge for the past four months I am an angle,” Jinyoung stated.

“Ya what’s up with Jaebeom, lately he has been distracted to say the least, he isn’t as enthusiastic as before when I spoke to him regarding the music platform. Is everything ok in your family? Lately he seems to shut himself off,” Jackson enquired.

“I truly don’t have an idea what is going on with him. He extended his stay in Boston for a month after his masters program ended and it appeared as though he din’t have any desire to return to Seoul. Grand pa Im gave him an ultimatum to be back in Seoul, so Jaebeom came to Seoul four months ago, but he has been distant to everyone since then,” Jinyoung answered.

“Jaebeom informed me he is free tonight, so will you join us tonight?” Jackson questioned.

“Sure I am free tonight, let me know the location and time?” Jinyoung stated.

“We haven’t decided where we will meet and at what time. I will give you guys a heads up once I am done with my meeting with the supplier, drop me off at the guest house after breakfast and I will go ahead with my schedule for the day and let’s meet tonight,” Jackson informed.

After their quick breakfast Jinyoung drove Jackson to the guest house and luckily the gate keeper informed them that Henry is home. Jackson bid his farewell and reminded him he will call him about tonight’s plan.

When Jackson entered the living room with luggage in his hand he came across a guy vacuuming the living room carpet, his back facing Jackson and the stranger din’t seem to notice Jackson’s presence, Jackson assumed he may be working as a caretaker for this guest house.

“Hey there,” Jackson greeted. The stranger din’t respond as Jackson’s voice got drowned in the noise the vacuum cleaner was making. Jackson went closer to the guy and tapped on his shoulder to let him know of his presence.

The stranger yelped in surprise and looked at Jackson with curious eyes.

“I am sorry I din’t intend to startle you. I just wanted to know where Henry is. Jackson stated with an apologetic smile.

“He is upstairs, may I know who you are?” The stranger replied.

Jackson is taken aback when it finally dawned on him how stunning this stranger looked. To top that he had an amazing voice deep but smooth and calm at the same time. Jackson pondered who this stranger is. He has never seen him before at the guest house, but he also is visiting it after 2 years so they might have hired someone new to take care of this place. The stranger din’t seem like he belonged here. Jackson can see that he has some Asian features, but he seemed different. Jackson din’t realize that he is staring at that guy without answering the stranger’s inquiry till Henry slapped him on his shoulder and brought him out of his reviere.

“Hey Wang Kong, what are you doing here, my dear baby brother, and stop drooling,” Henry greeted Jackson.

“Ah hey brother, it’s nice seeing you. I was just asking about you to this person,” Jackson stated, looking flustered at being caught staring at the stranger.

“I am sorry my name is Jackson, I am Henry’s cousin, I was just lost in thought I din’t mean to stare at you, sorry once again,” Jackson apologized to the stranger.

“Are you hired recently? I have never seen you before,” Jackson added.

The stranger looked more flustered than Jackson, and he seemed to struggle to come up with an answer for Jackson’s question.

“Gracious my god Jiaer, he isn’t working for this guest house, he is my friend,” Henry stated with an offended look.

“Oh, I am truly sorry, I saw you cleaning, and I assumed that… please forget I said anything, this is really awkward my apologies,” Jackson expressed in a rush embarrassment apparent all over.

“Yien, this is my maternal cousin Jackson, he is my baby brother I told you about,” Henry stated gesturing towards Jackson.

“Jackson, this is my Yien an exceptionally dear friend of mine,” Henry stated.

 

“Hi Jackson, I am sorry I din’t know who you are and Henry din’t say anything about you coming today,” Yien replied with a small smile and a slight bow as a greeting.

“Please there is no reason to be sorry, I haven’t got the chance to inform Henry that I will be here, it is a sudden trip,” Jackson replied politely.

“Yien, why are you vacuuming the place, I told you you need not do it. Why not sit and relax,” Henry stated.

“Ahh ok, I will leave you two to catch up, I will be upstairs, call me if you need me,” Yien stated.

As they saw Yien leaving the room Jackson turned to his cousin with a questioning look.

“Is he staying here? Who is he?” What do you mean by an “exceptionally dear friend of mine?” Jackson enquired with air quote gestures for the last part.

“Oh, my baby brother is all inquisitive about the entrancing mystery man,” Henry teased Jackson.

“Goodness please Henry don’t be Juvenile, you know what I mean,” Jackson feigned exacerbation at his cousin.

“All right for your information yes the exceptionally dear friend of mine is staying here with me for a few days and that is all you need to know about him,” Henry responded with air quotes gesture mimicking his cousin’s actions earlier.

To say that Jackson is curious about Henry’s exceptionally dear friend Yien is an understatement. Henry was never clandestine about anything, at least with Jackson he was an open book. Jackson is certain that Henry is into women and there is no chance of romantic angle involved in this case. The way Henry denied any information about Yien intrigued Jackson about the stranger. He hoped that Yien is not taking advantage of Henry’s generosity.

“Jiaer, stop zoning out, what’s going on? What’s with the unexpected appearance in Seoul?” Henry enquired.

“Ahh, there is an issue with one supplier so I need to be here. So how are things going on with your music and the underground scene?” Jackson stated.

“It’s going pretty well, Joonie is pretty excited after he spoke to you the last time. Do you really think you guys can kick start your dream project and launch us guys as artists?” Henry enquired with curiosity.

“I listened to the music that you guys made and I will be straightforward, you all are great at what you do. I am not saying this since you are my cousin, I genuinely accept that you folks are incredible at what you do. Every one of you has your one of a kind style of music and shading. We need to make sense of how to assemble it all in an amicable manner. The reason I din’t commit anything to Joonie or you is I need to persuade Jaebeom to see what I see,” Jackson stated.

“Convincing Jaebeom would be a mammoth task, considering me being part of the band. I am famous for being Henry the crazy and Jaebeom wouldn’t want to be part of anything that involves me,” Henry expressed with a doubtful expression.

“Don’t worry about that, I believe that your music speaks for you. I have to get him to hear your music somehow. Then I believe that I can hook him up to this idea,” Jackson replied.

“Oh, this is great then, we are playing tonight at one of the underground bars maybe you can welcome Jaebeom to see us playing perhaps it could help with the persuading part,” Henry stated looking hopeful.

“That is a good idea, I am supposed to meet Jaebeom tonight, text me the location and time we will be there for your performance,” Jackson stated with a grin.

“Cool, will let the guys know that we need to be extra prepared tonight,” Henry stated with an enthusiastic smile.

“Ok brother will see you tonight, I need freshen up and head for my meeting. Good luck with your performance tonight,” Jackson stated.

Jackson went to one of the empty bedrooms to freshen up and take his leave while Henry went upstairs to talk to Yien.

“Yien,” Henry knocked on the door.

“Come in,” Yien stated opening the door for Henry.

“I want a favour from you and you can’t deny me of it,” Henry stated.

“What is it Henry?” Yien looked at him with slight skepticism in his eyes.

“Tonight is very important for me and I want you to be there as emotional support,” Henry stated.

“I am here for you Henry, whatever you want support for,” Yien replied with a soft smile.

“Ok, now that you have promised me you will be my emotional strength on my important night, you will come with me to the venue that I will play tonight for support,” Henry stated.

“What I din’t say that I am coming anywhere with you. I said I am here with you for support. When I say here, I literally mean here in this house, not at your venue,” Yien expressed with a disapproval on his face.

“Oh, come on Yien don’t do this to me. You know how much I have been trying to succeed in making music and making it available on a wider platform. There is a potential investor who will see us playing tonight. I want you to be there for me, I am mindful of the fact that you have never been to a bar before, however trust me I will ensure that you won’t feel strange. You will be with me backstage so you don’t have to worry about anything,” Henry pleaded.

“Ok fine, I will go with you tonight, please note that this will be my first and last time,” Yien stated.

“Thank you Yien, you are an angel, I will lend you some clothes that you can wear tonight,” Henry stated with excitement.

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