“Your favorite singer is going to be present,” His amused voice stopped the excuse from spilling out the moment I hear him say that.
“You-What? Chen is coming? Like the Chen?”
Yixing chuckled from his side of the phone. “Yes. And you don’t even have to stay long, I promise. Just come. I haven’t seen you in so long.”
I bit my lips but I already know that I was going. There was no way on earth I will miss out on a performance by Chen and that too for free.
“What should I wear? It’s tomorrow, right?”
“Yup. It’s just a casual party so you don’t have to worry much.”
“Alright… I just hope that it won’t last forever like your parties usually do.”
He laughs again and it makes my heart weak. Damn it. It’s been years… get over it. “I can’t promise that but there are no rules so you can leave anytime you want.”
That made me feel a tiny bit easier. “Okay… see you tomorrow.”
“Mmm… get ready. I’ll come to pick you up at four and we can go pick up Lili.”
My smile faltered a little at that but it doesn’t waver when I agreed and said my goodnights.
“Was that Yixing?” My brother’s lazy voice asked me as he munched on Cheetos and watched a Hallmark Christmas movie on the TV. Our parents had gone out for the night at their friend’s and it was just us at home, munching on junk food and drinking an insane amount of soda even though we were already working adults who should be out and socializing.
“Yup!” I tossed a piece of Cheetos into my mouth and chomped on it with relish. It was hilarious that our parents were both extremely extroverted human beings with a lot of friends attending parties over parties but their two children sadly turned out to be two introverts who stayed at home even on Christmas holidays.
“So… you going out with him for Christmas eve tomorrow?” He gave me a slight glance before going back to the Movie.
“You two are… ugh… finally a thing?” He side glanced at me again but this time I laugh making him focus on me instead of the movie.
“How many times do I have to tell you that we’re not… like that? I mean he has a girlfriend and she’s smoking hot.”
Baekhyun narrowed his eyes at me and shook his head. “You guys act as though you’re dating though. He spends more time with you than his girlfriends- and you don’t have to defend him. I know he changes his girlfriends like you change your mind.”
I open my mouth to argue but shut it up instead choosing to eat more Cheetos. “Can’t deny that he’s a bit of a flirt but we don’t act like a couple.”
Baekhyun scoffed but says nothing more simply going back to chewing his food loudly and watching the movie.
“Wanna join me tomorrow? Chen’s coming it seems.” I asked him absentmindedly, a little worried about tomorrow night. Yixing will obviously be busy since the party is going to be launched by his entertainment company and he’s also part of the planning team. If he’s not busy, he obviously got a girlfriend to entertain.
What about me then? It’ll be cool if Baekhyun could come along because I know he will not talk to anyone as well.
“Ugh. Is that the singer you’re crazy about?” He shakes his head, “How long have you been obsessing over him?”
I frowned at that and kicked him as hard as I could making him yelp and throw me an angry look. “I don’t ‘obsess’ over him. I just like him a lot!”
He rolls his eyes, rubs his legs where I kicked and starts complaining like he wasn’t a 27-year-old architect-engineer who earns a ton of money and works with the biggest industry in Korea right now.
“Not obsessed? Who was the one that canceled a trip with me to Busan four years back so that you can attend some nonsense camp because the great Chen was going to be there? Ugh. I can’t believe my one and only younger sister will treat me like that. I’m still hurt, you know, and you still haven’t said sorry for that.”
“I did!” I cried throwing my hands in the air, “I said sorry a million times. Oh my god! You really carry a grudge forever! Just forget about that and stop mentioning that every single time and just so you know, you came with me and you said Chen was amazing.”
“Well, of course, I had to come! Who was going to drive you all the way there for you? No one! Your stupid Yixing was busy interning at that time so I had to carry your all the way there and come back.”
I shut up at that and turn to the movie with a pout. Baekhyun was the best older brother one can imagine but also the greatest annoying jerk of all time. And to think he never even leaves the house which means we are literally each other’s company.
Over the years, he’s moved out of our parent’s house but for every occasion, he comes back… which might be every day or I am over at his place because he cannot cook to save his own life.
I am sadly still at my parent’s because those three guardians I have won’t allow me to move out.
“By the way, you better come back home before 11 tomorrow or I’ll come to find you in pajamas.”
Also, he’s protective as and isn’t kidding when he said he’ll come after the deadline.
“No. Leave me alone! I’m 24, for goodness sake!”
* * *
The party was huge and I felt small at once especially with two huge presence by my side.
You see, my best friend since college, Zhang Yixing always had this mega presence about him. He was handsome, tall, and energetic. He was someone who was positive even in the darkest of times and will not tolerate anything that stood by his way. He was someone who knew what he wanted in life and went for it.
Just like his dream of being a producer.
He was just 25 but he was already a known name in the industry given that he had already 2 massively successful TV shows under his belt. Nicknamed as the underdog of variety shows amongst the entertainment world, he was a force to be reckoned with.
The first show that went viral was done in collaboration with another producer who was his guide or mentor and after that succeeded, he went on to start another show which gained so much popularity that it was now dubbed the next ‘running man’ of shows.
I watched with pride at my best friend as he went from person to person, talking and shaking hands, laughing over some jokes. Tonight he looked dashing in his dark suit and swept hair giving him a rather cold but important sort of vibe about him but when he smiles, his beautiful lidded eyes would crinkle and his pouty lips will turn up into a wonderful art of a man.
But of course, every time I look at him, I see the most gorgeous woman in the room by his side. Lili was her name and she was a megastar at the moment. She was a model turned actress who was now dabbling in variety shows and was in fact one of the guest stars in his show. They had hit it off instantly and now they had been openly dating for three months.
She was probably 29 but oh! Her skin does not look a day older than 13 and her body was definitely the result of so much hard work. Her eyes were lined with Khol defining her large pretty eyes and her lips shone brightly as though demanding attention as it should. She was stunning in high heels as her long dark hair shone brightly under the lights, her figure a sight to behold.
They looked so wonderful together that being jealous wasn’t even an option rather… it made me wonder how I was even related to them in the least.
I once had a crippling crush over Yixing but the comforting part was… who doesn’t have a crush on him? The only problem was that, unlike the other people who crushed on him, I knew him all too well that my crush began to develop into something else.
I meet him in college and although we were from totally different areas of study, our mutual friends eventually led us to become close. By the fourth year, we were inseparable so much so that everyone thought we were dating until he began dating this gorgeous sophomore girl and I was crushed.
I told myself that I shouldn’t even be crushed by that. I had seen that coming to be honest. He liked beautiful girls after all and I wasn’t in that league.
He enjoyed my company, no lie and we would spend hours together just talking and laughing over nothing. He would come over to my house so often that it pissed Baekhyun off a lot but then... there really was nothing more than just… friends or perhaps even a sibling-like bond between us.
But perhaps my lack of experience in the dating field or that he was the only guy I was that close making me feel like that.
Maybe it was his attention towards me that made me feel so many butterflies. I mean it was inevitable that I will feel my heart flutter when he calls me up to check every night whether I reached home safe and soundly or even when he was busy he will rush over and help me whenever I needed help.
He was patient when it came to me, asked me what I needed, and took care of me… much more than anyone ever did.
It made sense to me that I will… like him a lot more than I should.
But then whenever I was falling hard, I will also see sights like this, like how they were fondly gazing at each other and see where I stood in his life.
I was simply a younger sister he cared for.
Still, I couldn’t be more grateful.
Yixing joined me at my couch a little later with two glasses of my favorite wine in his hand. “Here you go, my queen.”
With a dramatic bow of my head, I claimed the glass bringing it to my lips for a little sip. “Good wine.”
He smiled proudly at that and sipped his own. “I am glad it’s to your refined taste. I was worried because I choose the wine and the couches.”
A giggle escaped me as he said that. “I was thinking along those lines as well… I was sure you had something to do with the couches all over the room.”
It wasn’t every day that luxury couches were placed all over the massive hall decked with Christmas decorations. “They are the best thing I’ve seen all night.”
Yixing gave me a heart-stopping dimpled smile at that looking like a proud student. “I’m glad you liked it. I know how much you complain about not being able to sit in parties… it looks like a hit because our biggest sponsor said she loved the couches so much.”
I rubbed my nose proudly at that making him shake his head with laughter. “Listen to momma. I always know best.”
“But-” I cut him off just as he was about to speak, “I came not for the wine and couch… I came for someone special and he’s nowhere to be seen, sis. Where is he?”
He rolled his eyes at that and playfully ruffled my hair. “NO! It took me hours to get these curls. Do not lay your hands on them!”
“I bet he’s already here. The place is fairly large and you’ve been sitting in this spot since we arrived. But,” He looked at his watch, “We’re reaching towards the of the party. He’ll be performing soon.”
I had a little celebration at that news as Yixing continued to laugh at me knowing how much of a fan I am.
At that exact moment, I notice Lili at a corner of the room giggling and cozying up with another man looking much too comfortable. “Wait… that’s Lili…?”
As though she could feel our stares, she turns a little to see me and returns to her conversation as though her boyfriend wasn’t here? I turn to look at Yixing who looks unfazed rather picked on a plate of food that I had bought over.
“Aren’t you going to do anything about that?” I asked, a little perplexed over the situation but he simply shrugs.
“She’s a public figure. She knows not to do anything that will damage her reputation.”
I bit my lips and continued to stare at them feeling annoyance crawl up. She literally had the most amazing boyfriend she could ever dream of and then she decides to flirt with someone out in public like these? Besides, what on earth was Yixing even thinking? Shouldn’t he also give her some attention and not be here?
“Go and bring her here, for goodness sake,” I grumble feeling very much annoyed. “I don’t want you both being embroiled in stupid rumors.”
Yixing pursed his lips at that and looked a little annoyed. “She’s just being… Lili, you don’t have to worry. This is how everyone behaves in this place. It’s nothing new.”
Surely it wasn’t something not to worry but as someone comes and calls Yixing away, I simply watched in wonder how Yixing was giving absolutely zero qualms about how Lili and the other guy were nearly kissing each other.
If I had been in his position, I would already have broken up with her. And if I was in her position, there was no way I would do that and I might as well die if I do it in front of them!
A minute later, he waves at me and gestured as though he had a microphone in front of him meaning that the performance was beginning soon. For a moment, I decide to put aside all my worries about those two and decided to focus on Chen.
If they don’t care, why should I be all worked up and be worried in their place? Might as well unwind and relax this wonderful Christmas night.
In fact, I stood up and took my feet to the front seating myself just some places away from the stage. Ah… I can finally see him up close and personal.
The first time I ever saw him was from YouTube. I was learning how to cook an incredibly difficult dish at that time and wanted some soothing music to help me calm down. He was a newbie at that time but his voice held so much maturity in them that I paused in my work to listen to him singing.
I smiled a little as I thought over how I had abandoned my dish and spent thirty minutes researching about Chen whose real name was apparently Kim Jongdae. He had debuted with an album called ‘Dear my Dear’ and it sealed my heart forever.
Since then there was no going back. I had the opportunity to attend a camp just two years later where he was one of the instructors for vocals. It was actually a creative camp where various skills were taught to people from all walks of life and experts were called in for helping us out.
Naturally, I chose cooking because as much as I was a fan of Chen, I couldn’t sing to save my life and he will end up being deaf so I spared everyone from that misfortune and quietly cooked while trying to catch glimpses of him.
And I must tell you. He was completely dreamy. He shone brightly even amongst hundreds of people! The camp lasted only for four days and on the last day, he along with the other musicians who had come decided to give us a mini-concert making my heart race so much. If recordings of his were good, his live was incomparable.
For the entire four days, I was able to look at him and be enamored by him although I never really got a close-up look.
We had been the cooks and naturally we were in the kitchen. I still recall that piece of memory as one of my best memory. I had come out to refill a dish for the mentors and was retreating when I got a glimpse of him looking directly at me.
I panicked, quite naturally and basically ran into the kitchen while becoming a mush of goo, nearly crying out my eyes that night.
The other was when I was visiting the temporary gallery set up for the painters and their work when I saw him on the other side, going through them and clicking photos of their work. Unfortunately just when I thought I could go and ask for a photo with him, an urgent call came from my mentor and I had to leave.
Man. But those two encounters were still a core memory for me.
Now four years from then, Chen is a household name and he had become even more popular than ever before. I couldn’t be more proud.
The lights dimmed and people began to sit down hurriedly to listen to our angel singing for us making me internally thank Yixing for giving me a heads up.
Out he came wearing a baby blue blazer, his hair dyed brown and cut short looking as fresh as the dew at dawn. He was a beautiful man and when I say beautiful, I do mean every word of it. He had the most gorgeous set of sparkling eyes adorned with the longest, prettiest lashes on mankind. He had a wonderful straight nose that balled slightly at the tip and finally his lips.
His lips were perhaps my favorite features of his. It was as though he was always smiling given that his lips were turned up at the corners giving him a definite shape to it.
My heart fluttered violently in my chest as he sits down by his chair and began singing.
There was something about his voice and the way he sang that made me fly to a dreamy place where nothing bothered me, no wonder I always listened to his songs over and over again mostly annoying the heck out of my family members.
The first time I heard him sing live, there was something so… blue about him and yet the moment he opened his mouth to sing, colors burst forth and filled out the entire hall wit