Do Wook, who privately called Ahn Hyung Seo to one of the empty rehearsal halls, handed him a bag with a handful of custard filled bread.
“I ran into one of your fans in front of the office, and they asked me to give this to you. This is the type of bread you like, right?”
KK hadn’t debuted yet, but there were situations where some members had fans. Female students who were Monster fans or specifically liked trainees who haven’t gotten popular yet would wait for KK members in front of the office building and give them presents.
Ahn Hyung Seo, who had been a trainee for a long time, and Jung Yoon Ki, a former student rapper, had a couple of fans who were regular to the point their faces became familiar.
“Really? Oh, it is. Th…Thanks.”
Ahn Hyung Seo, who irrationally became awkward with Do Wook in his own head, took the bag of bread with a stiff movement. Still, his expression lightened up when he heard it was from a fan. Of course, Ahn Hyung Seo typically would have been more excited, running around saying it’s delicious bread.
There were plenty of times where fans really gave them gifts, but actually, Do Wook asked to buy this bread. Ahn Hyung Seo’s face was sunken because he wasn’t eating well these days, so Do Wook got concerned and asked Oh Baek Ho to buy him some bread.
“Why were you looking for me?”
“Hyung*. It looks like you have a lot on your mind lately…”
(TL Note: hyung is how males refer to older males)
“N…No. Just…It’s all in my head. Don’t worry about it!”
Ahn Hyung Seo had his own pride as the older person. He didn’t want to put his burdens onto Do Wook.
Do Wook could understand how Ahn Hyung Seo was feeling.
“I also have some worries these days too.”
“You? What kind of worries?”
Ahn Hyung Seo looked puzzled when Do Wook, who seemed perfect in every way, said he had worries.
“I can’t sing as well as I would like.”
“What?! If you say that, what does that make me?!”
Ahn Hyung Seo yelled as he burst into tears.
“What does that make you? What are you talking about? When I first became a KK member, I was so relieved that I wouldn’t have to worry about singing since you were there.”
“That’s how you felt?”
“Of course. You’re not only good at singing, but you also have lots of outstanding talents as an idol. Of course, to be honest, I did think that you’d be a difficult opponent if I wanted to fight for the lead vocal position later…But for now it’s not an internal competition…”
Do Wook’s serious vibe overwhelmed Ahn Hyung Seo. He knew he was sincere and had a lot of thoughts, but he didn’t know he would have these kinds of thoughts, or that he would be honest and open like this.
“The team is what’s important. The future of our team once we debut.”
Ahn Hyung Seo was stunned. Everything Do Wook said was right. He was thinking only about himself too much.
However, at the same time, he was still angry. He knew that Do Wook is a hard worker, but Ahn Hyung Seo also put in a lot of effort. Still, it felt like all the blood, sweat, and tears he poured into it was for nothing compared to Do Wook’s natural and effortless talent.
“Hyung. I believe in you.”
Ahn Hyung Seo simply watched blankly as Do Wook left the rehearsal hall.
Then that day, early in the morning.
Ahn Hyung Seo tossed and turned all night as he dwelled on what Do Wook said. After tossing and turning for a long time, he finally fell asleep.
Ahn Hyung Seo opened his eyes to the sound of the front door opening. Out of habit he checked his cell phone that was by his pillow and saw it was 5:30 am. The other people were fast asleep without a care.
‘Who could that be…?’
Ahn Hyung Seo didn’t think he could go back to sleep anyways, so he got out of bed and climbed down the ladder. He carefully opened the door and left the room and caught a glimpse of someone going into the bathroom.
It was Do Wook.
‘That’s right, Do Wook goes to work out in the morning.’
He was aware of it, but he didn’t know that he would still be keeping up with it without missing a day.
When Do Wook first said he was going to start doing morning workouts, Hyung Seo also joined him a few times. However, there was too big of a gap between them for him to keep up with Do Wook’s course. He tried to keep up with even just half of it, but Hyung Seo promptly ended up giving up.
Of course, exercise wasn’t mandatory for KK members who were already rehearsing. However, Do Wook was keeping up with additional morning workouts day in and day out on top of the rehearsals.
In the pitch dark living room, Ahn Hyung Seo sat on the sofa silently.
When Do Wook came out of the bathroom after washing up, Do Wook, not noticing Ahn Hyung Seo, headed to the dining table, turned on the light, and booted up his notebook computer. He put on his headphones and watched the screen intently.
‘I wonder what he’s doing?’
Ahn Hyung Seo headed toward the dining table. On the notebook screen was a composition program with a video lecture on the program playing.
Ahn Hyung Seo tiptoed back into the room so as to not disturb Do Wook, who was focused.
Ahn Hyung Seo, who was lying down on his bed again, blinked. He felt stupid for his actions the past few days. Do Wook had been trying significantly harder the last few months than he has for the past few years.
It wasn’t a matter of how long. He was starting to feel a sense of defeat, that there’s nothing he could do even if he gets overshadowed by Kang Do Wook.
‘And what Do Wook said is right. Now is not the time for infighting between the members.’
Once his heart was a little more at ease, all the sleep he’d been deprived of the past few days hit him all at once.
‘I should be thankful that a member like that is in the same group as me…Instead I’d been acting like an idiot. I should be working even harder…’
Ahn Hyung Seo fell into a deep sleep as he made a new pledge to try as hard as Do Wook does.
Right before the new year, December 31.
Major figures of HIT Entertainment were gathered in the Director’s office to decide on the arrangement for the title song as well as the overall organization of KK’s 1st album.
Team Leader Im Sung Ahn from RDT, who planned KK, Team Leader Shim Jun from the Album Production Team, Kwon Heung Jo, the Production Director, and Yong Soo Chul, the composer. When the four of them sat around the conference table prepared on one side of the Director’s office, they certainly felt the force.
The team leaders had each gathered their team members’ opinions for this meeting, and Director Kwon got the President and Vice President’s orders.
“First, Composer Yong Soo Chul, thank you for your hard work in doing the arrangement.”
“Not at all. It’s not even completely finished yet…”
“Both versions were outstanding, but you had added a sonata piano sampling to one of them. It was a really great idea! It’s harmonious too. Anyways, I’m surprised. I kept saying that I was surprised. All the other team members too!”
Team Leader exclaimed as he brought up the topic of the arranged ‘Sorry(Working Title)’. Yong Soo Chul scratched the back of his head as if embarrassed, which did not fit his large physique. Production Director Kwon Heung Jo also chimed in.
“The President and Vice President, the higher ups, both responded to it extremely well. As soon as they heard the introduction, they were saying it’s a masterpiece for the ages before the first verse was even over. It’s to the point that they’re already praising Team Leader Shim for bringing in such a good composer.”
“Haha, really? To be honest, the person who brought in Composer Yong wasn’t me but one of the KK members.”
“What do you mean by that?”
Team Leader Shim explained the relationship between Yong Soo Chul and Kang Do Wook. Director Kwon thought about Do Wook and thought, ‘As expected’. Then Yong Soo Chul started to speak.
“He’s also the one who had the idea for the intro arrangement.”
Not only Director Kwon, but also the team leaders all looked at Yong Soo Chul in surprise. They couldn’t help but be surprised. Everyone was astonished by Yong Soo Chul’s explanation.
“I didn’t know that Do Wook was interested in that field too.”
Team Leader Im murmured in pure admiration. It felt like picking Do Wook at the audition will be something memorable for the rest of her life. Although, to be honest, Do Wook probably would have been chosen anyways even if it were anyone else instead of her. After thinking it over for a bit, Director Kwon suggested,
“That’s truly surprising. The higher the member participation in the album, the more publicity and talk there will be…I think it’d be good to teach him more composition professionally so he can participate more.”
“Oh, yes. I’ll look into it.”
Team leader Shim Joon eagerly replied. Yong Soo Chul also nodded his head because he thought what Director Kwon said made sense.
“I briefly spoke with Team Leader Shim last time, but I’m even more certain after listening to the arrangement. Mr. Yong Soo Chul, what do you think about producing this entire debut album for KK?”
“What? You mean me?”
Yong Soo Chul, who expected to only produce his song, asked out of surprise over the unexpected suggestion. Director Kwon asked Yong Soo Chul again to produce the entire album.
It’s a single album, so they only planned on having Yong Soo Chul’s song ‘Sorry (Working Title)’ and ‘You’ in it anyways. The overall theme would have to match ‘Sorry(Working Title)’ so it was an obvious choice. Yong Soo Chul mulled it over briefly and accepted the offer. He had no reason to refuse the offer.
“Thank you for the offer, Director. I was scrambling on the streets and now look at me…”
Yong Soo Chul quit his job as a nightclub DJ not too long ago to start on his new path as a composer.
“Look at that, you’re a PD now! I look forward to working with you, PD Yong Soo Chul.”
“It’s not Yong Soo Chul, it’s PD ‘Brave Only Child’.”
“Haha. Ok, ok, PD Yong!*”
(TL Note: Yong is his last name but also the first character of ‘brave’ in Korean)
Team Leader Shim Jun smiled and replied to Yong Soo Chul, who had a half serious, half joking expression. Everyone burst out in laughter over Yong Soo Chul’s serious expression.
The meeting continued with the slightly lightened atmosphere. The only serious part was the topic. They established the direction and concept for the entire album. Going off that, they decided to hire a new designer who was the most popular street fashion stylist.
Once it became the new year, Yong Soo Chul immediately gathered all the KK members. It was the day they would distribute the title song parts.
“PD Yong, it’s nice to see you again. Happy New Year.”
“Happy New Year~!!!”
Oh Baek Ho said New Year’s greetings to Yong Soo Chul first. The members also wished him a happy new year as they entered the studio.
“Thank you. Happy New Year to you too.”
It was an ordinary greeting, but when Yong Soo-chul, who was wearing a gold chain necklace, said it, it became a somehow meaningful greeting.
He looked like the bravest person in the world and his name was also ‘Brave’ Only Child. That was the thought people unanimously had when they heard Yong Soo Chul’s PD name.
Ahn Hyung Seo and Park Tae Hyung, who had the weaker spirits among the members, quietly walked behind Oh Baek Ho so they wouldn’t be noticed. So far, they just barely said hello and couldn’t make proper eye contact with Yong Soo Chul. It seemed like it would take some time to adjust.
“So we’ll be listening to the arranged song today?”
“Yes. I also plan to do some of the part distribution too.”
He was answering Oh Baek Ho, but all the members were listening with their eyes shining. The song was already good so they looked forward to how the arranged version would be.
“Let’s listen to the song first before we begin.”
Yong Soo Chul settled into the chair in front of the booth and operated the buttons. They all sat on the sofa with their hands neatly on their knees to listen attentively. The piano started to play without any beats.