Music Hyperlink: Two Lovers, by Davichi.
It was slightly terrifying how quickly Yena had gotten accustomed to the world of entertainment in just a year or so. During her first day on the set, every little thing was fascinating to her, from the smallest waiting rooms to the giant studio set she would soon be a part of. It had been so long since then, just too long - or at least it felt that way. But now, with Yuri gasping with child-like wonder, her fear forgotten as she took in the sights and sounds of everything backstage, Yena started to remember what it felt like being amazed at the simplest of things.
A refreshing feeling, to be sure.
“Come on.” Yena tugged on Yuri’s hand, leading her to the emcee’s assigned waiting room. “This is where we have to wait until we’re called onto set.”
The room, to Yena’s eyes, was small and cramped, especially when another emcee and their stylists were all huddled up in the same place. She started to apologise to Yuri, but Yuri only shook her head as she hid behind Yena’s back, too shy to meet anyone’s eyes. “This is really amazing,” she whispered to Yena, clearly trying to hide her excitement. “You have a whole waiting room and everything.”
“Oh, hey, you’re here!” A friendly voice called out. Yena’s co-emcee rose from where his stylist was fixing up his hair and gave them a little wave.
“Seungkwan?” Yena grinned at him, relieved to have another familiar face around. “You’re the special emcee today, huh?”
“Yeah, my group’s making a comeback soon so they got me to come in this week. Gotta get the crowd hyped, you know?” Seungkwan’s gaze flitted over to Yuri. His eyebrows winged up and he quickly gave her a little bow. “Oh, did you bring your girlfriend? Hello, my name’s Seungkwan. I’m Yena’s friend.”
“I-” As Yena stumbled over her words, she glanced at Yuri, a nervous grimace growing on her face. “We’re not-”
“Nice to meet you, Seungkwan,” Yuri replied, returning the bow. “I’m Yuri.”
Yena caught a glint in Seungkwan’s eye - the same one that appeared whenever he was going to start a lengthy, inescapable chat - and wisely decided to steer the conversation away before it could start. “Hey, I think we should start practising our comments, Seungkwan, don’t you think?” Her quick, well-calculated move had him deflating like a leaky balloon, and with a quiet grumble he shuffled off to grab their cue cards.
“Oh, you need to practise,” Yuri murmured. “I shouldn’t disturb you two, then.”
“It’s fine, Yuri.” A few polite words had a stylist scooting over a seat. Yena eased her companion into the now vacant spot and plopped herself down in the adjacent chair. “We just need to run over our lines a few times, and the staff should be calling us out in about ten minutes or so. Shouldn’t take too long.”
Reluctantly, Yena turned to Seungkwan and shook her head at his suggestive grin. “It’s not what you think,” she hissed. “We’re friends. Just friends.”
“You might think that, but Yuri didn’t correct me.”
So maybe he had a point. But there could be a multitude of reasons why Yuri didn’t correct him - she could have misheard him, for example, or maybe she expected Yena to clarify their relationship instead. Yena stuck her tongue out at Seungkwan. “Whatever. Either way, we’re not dating.”
“Mhm.” Seungkwan dragged the sound out as he flipped through his cue cards. “Sure. Whatever you say.”
Huffing, Yena plucked her own cards from their dressing table. It didn’t matter; she’d just let Seungkwan think whatever he wanted to think. And if she thought about it, perhaps his initial guess wasn’t as bad of an idea as one may think. After all, Yena was already falling for Yuri since the first time she heard her voice that autumn night. Sighing, Yena forced herself to stare at the words printed neatly on card, brushing wishful dreams away from her mind.
When the staff members finally knocked on their dressing room door, Yena couldn’t be happier. It was so hard to focus with Yuri around, even when all she was doing was fiddling with her phone or staring at the stylists fixing Yena’s hair and makeup. Seungkwan had caught her not-so-subtly swiveling around in her chair just to catch a glimpse of Yuri and couldn’t stop quietly teasing her about it.
Getting to her feet, Yena tapped Yuri’s arm. “Time to show you the big stage,” she announced, offering her hand gallantly. Chuckling, Yuri put her phone away and place her hand in Yena’s, allowing the older girl to pull her up.
On their way to the stage, they passed by a number of waiting rooms housing mostly idol groups as well as a couple of solo artists. Some of them even Yuri was familiar with, while others were just newly debuting artistes, chattering among themselves as they tried their best to quell their stage fright. Occasionally Yena would pop her head into a waiting room to greet the singers, both new and seasoned, as if they were all friends. After giving a debuting girl group a hearty pep talk, Yena caught a grin stretching across Yuri’s face.
“What’s up with that smile?” Yena asked.
“You’re actually really nice, going out of your way to greet everyone and cheer them up.”
“She’s always been like that,” Seungkwan commented as he danced up behind them. “In every show she’s on, whether as a cast member or an emcee, she’s made it a point to make sure everyone’s as comfortable as can be.”
Hearing that, Yuri started to swoon. Yena sniffed and shrugged it off, pretending it was no big deal, though her reddening ears gave her away. “Anyway, where were we?” Saying that, they stepped out of the corridor into the looming darkness backstage. Yena could feel Yuri freeze up next to her, her grip on Yena’s hand tightening.
“Why is it so dark?” Yuri whispered.
“It’s to focus the lights on stage,” Yena explained. “So people won’t get distracted by us backstage.”
“I don’t like it. Everything’s too dark.” Yuri’s voice trembled. The colourful lights were too dim for her, Yena realised, and in this stark emptiness they would probably only seem like tiny grey spots, negligible spots, in Yuri’s vision.
“Don’t worry.” Yena squeezed her hand, hoping to provide some sense of comfort to the terrified girl. “I’m here.”
After announcing the winners of the music show of that week - a group of twelve girls Yena was a big fan of since their survival competition days - she returned backstage to where Yuri was waiting for her. Now that everything was properly lit up, she could see the clear relief on Yuri’s face. She thanked the staff member flanking Yuri and waved goodbye to the idols passing by backstage as they left for their next schedules.
“How was it?” Yena asked. “Hope I didn’t take too long with the announcements on stage.”
“It was fine,” Yuri assured her. “Thanks to you, the staff were all really nice to me. They even gave me a small flashlight!” She waved the torch in her hand, grinning as they made their way back to the waiting room.
Even just waving a torch around made her look so cute. Yuri talked about all the things she was so fascinated by backstage (everything, really), the little stories that friendly idols and staff told her while they passed by or were waiting for their turn. Yena listened, enraptured, though not with the stories themselves - Yena was more than familiar with them - but with the sound of Yuri’s voice. Despite listening to her almost everyday, Yena never grew tired of Yuri’s husky voice, but how could one ever resist such dulcet tones?
As they walked back to the waiting room, crowds passed them by, idol groups leaving the building or meeting their friends briefly, staff that rushed to take things down or reset the stage. Yena’s naturally friendly demeanour made it impossible for her to ignore them.
Perhaps this was her curse.
A familiar figure strode down towards her, each step louder than the last. A familiar voice echoed through the corridor, Korean heavily laced with a Japanese accent. Long locks cut into a shoulder-length bob, straight hair made into waves.
Yena opened her mouth in greeting.
Lips, familiar in touch and taste, curved upwards in polite greetings. Polite, but knowing, unspoken secrets shared between two.