Second Try Idol - C.129: The Singer in the Memories (14)

Second Try Idol

C.129: The Singer in the Memories (14)
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It was the day before Halo’s Music Bus shooting. As expected, we were swamped with work, leading up to the year's end, and we barely had time to take care of ourselves.

Gathering in the conference room after a long while, we all looked fatigued. In a heavy silence, everyone either flipped through their notebooks or let out deep sighs. It was clear that we were facing tough days ahead but felt fortunate for the amount of work we received.

“Firstly, Yoo-Joon and Hyun-Woo, make sure to smoothly handle tomorrow's schedule."

Of course, the most worn out among us was Supervisor Kim. With the aftereffects of the Flying Man’s broadcast, end-of-year preparations, comeback preparations, and the launch of the fan club, Supervisor Kim looked as though he needed five bodies to manage everything.

“If the reaction to the Tenten performance tomorrow is positive, we will plan additional schedules. This is a rare opportunity for rookies, so make sure to make a strong impression."

“Got it!"

“And how's the song coming along, Producer Do?"

Hearing Supervisor Kim's weary voice, Producer Do nodded affirmatively. “I will let you all hear it once it's complete. Joo-Han has found his rhythm."

Then Joo-Han chimed in, “Hyun-Woo has been a big help."

Smiling slightly, he then hesitated a bit and added, “Well, um, I actually have a suggestion related to this."

“A suggestion? What is it?"

“Considering Hyun-Woo has many excellent ideas... I was thinking why not add him to the composers' list and involve him fully."

"Me?" I asked, startled, and Joo-Han nodded firmly. He seemed to have been mulling over this suggestion even before entering the meeting room, his face etched with seriousness.

Producer Do glanced over at me and asked, “Will Hyun-Woo's schedule allow for this?"

“Putting in the same amount of work as of now is fine. Even having him share what kind of vibe he prefers would be beneficial for the song creation."

At that moment, I felt the enormity of the upcoming schedule looming under Producer Do and Joo-Han’s gaze, but I still nodded in agreement. “Sure, I am down.”

Seeing my name on the composers' list was something I had been eager to experience, and this busy period presented a perfect opportunity for me to dive into the deep end.

Supervisor Kim observed our exchange and then made a note in his notebook. “Let us know once it’s complete. Also, Su-Hwan, please update us on any contacts regarding the year-end stage."

The manager immediately flipped open his notebook and responded, “We’ve received all proposals for the year-end stage as of yesterday. UNET proposed a collaboration with the participants of Pick We Up. Since it was part of the contract during the program, I’ve scheduled a meeting."

Furthermore, there were plans for collaborative dance stages featuring Lee Jin-Sung with other groups, myself with other groups, and a vocal stage showcasing artists like me and Goh Yoo-Joon, who were coming of age next year.

Preparing for stages proposed by various award ceremonies, while also giving extra effort to Chronos's unique stage, would certainly be exhausting. This applied to other artists as well, not just us.

The recent silence in Team D’s group chat was likely due to this reason.

“...The schedule is packed, but Su-Hwan, you are adept at managing schedules, so please pay attention to the kids' conditions as well. It's going to be tough on you, Su-Hwan."

“Got it.”

“And how is the fan club inauguration progressing?"

At Supervisor Kim's question, the planning team started bustling. “We've gathered the profiles and Q&As from the members. Also, I have a suggestion. We are planning to drop hints related to the Chronos universe with this comeback."

The planning team leader handed out copies of a document to everyone.

“...Napolitan Ghost Story?"

“Our Chronos team’s story writer provided this. It's foundational to the universe's narrative, but we are debating whether to include it in the fan club package or this album. Either way, it's bound to spread on social media, and we are aiming for that."

Listening to the planning team leader, Supervisor Kim pondered over the ghost story-filled paper and then decided, “Include it in the album and just post it on the BlueBird official site before its release. It will also serve as a teaser for the music video."

Today, the conversation rapidly shifted from one topic to another as usual, with decisions being made quickly. Joo-Han seemed accustomed to participating in the meetings, and I quietly read through the ghost story, finding no moment to interject.

“But Hyung."

“Yeah?"

“What exactly is our universe about?"

Hearing Jin-Sung's question, I shook my head. “I have no idea."

Ever since the ghost story was introduced, understanding the universe and music video story became quite perplexing. Up until "Parade," it was a narrative of reality and fantasy worlds. So, why suddenly introduce a ghost story?

Moreover, the song itself had a bright and energetic vibe. While I understood that the ghost story was set in a school, aligning with the admission concept, I couldn't help but wonder about the rationale behind its inclusion.

“Why is this ghost story called 'Napolitan' in the first place?" I asked, to which Yoon-Chan replied quietly, “I will search what 'Napolitan Ghost Story' is about and tell you once we're back at the dorm.”

“Thanks.”

As we whispered amongst ourselves, Supervisor Kim finished discussing with the planning team and wrapped up the meeting. “Let’s keep up the work this week as well.”

With Yeong-Yee and Allure’s comeback, Chronos’s fan club launch, comeback preparations, and the year-end award ceremonies, YMM was in the midst of its busiest days.

***

We were at Chronos's practice room in the evening.

“It’s perfect!” While Yoo-Joon and I savored the lunchboxes Yeong-Yee had thoughtfully prepared, she enthusiastically reviewed our dance video and couldn't help but praise us.

“Both your expressions and choreography have improved remarkably in just a few days.”

“Thank you so much!”

“I’m truly proud of our agency’s talents. It’s astonishing how this small agency managed to find such gifted kiddos, and not one of them is lacking in looks either!”

It was evident that Yeong-Yee was genuinely fond of us. After wiping off the sweat from her face with a towel, she sat across from us.

Yoo-Joon and I, who were in the midst of enjoying the rice balls, instinctively paused and observed Yeong-Yee. She then noticed our hesitation and pushed the lunchbox closer with a warm smile. “Is it tasty? Don’t hold back, eat up.”

It seemed that she recognized and appreciated our diligence. Despite her charismatic and sometimes intimidating demeanor, there was warmth in her.

“We are really grateful for all the care you’ve shown us, not just with these lunch boxes but everything,” I expressed gratefully.

“It’s no big deal. It’s heartwarming to see young ones working so hard, and that makes me want to look after them.”

We had to seem like children to her as we were younger than her son and just slightly older than her grandchild. Yeong-Yee spoke in a soft tone while looking at us. “You need to take good care of yourselves now. Make sure to eat properly, and don’t hesitate to say if the schedule gets too taxing. Don’t just endure it in silence. Manager Su-Hwan isn’t one to overwork people, but still.”

“Sure thing.” I pondered the reason behind Yeong-Yee’s complex expression with her eyelids drooping slightly.

“...I envy your talent, truly.”

“Pardon?”

“Never mind. Just enjoy your meal. I need to call Ro-Ah now. I didn’t want to interrupt our practice session, so I have been avoiding that until now.”

“Okay!”

“Gosh, I’m exhausted.” Yeong-Yee stood up, massaging her shoulders, and then left the room.

Yoo-Joon and I exchanged a wordless glance.

“...Let’s eat and then practice a bit more.”

“Sounds good.”

We decided not to dwell on Yeong-Yee’s unusual mood from earlier. It wasn’t something we needed to concern ourselves with. Yeong-Yee, who had initially left to make a quick call, ended up concluding the day's practice. Our practice was already flawless, and any more rounds of practice would just wear us down. Hence, after a few more run-throughs, we returned to our dorm.

***

The next day was the long-awaited day to present the Tenten medley, which we had practiced in secret while hinting to our fans about it. I wore a brown beret exuding a cool autumn feel, paired with an oversized white t-shirt and a knit vest. Though slightly adapted to fit modern times, the outfit carried an unmistakable 80s and 90s vibe.

While I dressed comfortably, Yoo-Joon daringly exposed his arms, wearing a tank top vest reminiscent of the 80s era. It was a bit startling at the beginning, but Yoo-Joon's muscular arms were sure to look better on camera.

“Wow, noona. With dreadlocks, this would be straight out of the original 90s, wouldn’t it?”

“Oh, Yoo-Joon. You look just fine.”

Yoo-Joon crossed his arms, evidently not too pleased with his revealing outfit. “I’d rather have something cute like Suh Hyun-Woo’s.”

Yoo-Joon kept grumbling in front of the behind-the-scenes camera, while I slipped on a silver bracelet and neatly tucked my stray hairs under the beret.

“Kids! Wow, you’ve completely taken us back to the good old days! Though your outfits are more refined than what they wore back then,” said Yeong-Yee as she entered the dressing room. She was also dressed in bright, era-appropriate attire.

We took photos with Yeong-Yee and greeted Senior Halo, who had come to visit our waiting room. “Oh, Chronos. I’ve been keeping an eye on you guys lately.”

“Thank you, Senior!”

“I even listened to Reina’s radio show. Everyone sings really well.”

Halo was the guitarist from the 70s band, Cosmos. Although he no longer actively pursued music, he was more renowned as a music critic in contemporary times.

After a brief exchange with us, Halo left the waiting room to chat with Yeong-Yee.

“Hyun-Woo, Yoo-Joon, let’s go through the choreography one more time.” Following the manager's suggestion, the staff made space for us to practice.

“As Supervisor Kim mentioned, this is one of the few golden opportunities for rookie idols to showcase themselves, especially for those from smaller agencies. Please give your best.”

“Of course!”

After spending minutes that felt like hours in continuous practice, Yeong-Yee entered the waiting room. Soon after, a staff member came in to announce the start of the recording. “Chronos, please wait in the waiting room. Ms. Yeong-Yee, you will head backstage.”

It was a moment filled with both excitement and nervousness.

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