Suddenly, the white light, pouring to the heads, disappeared and coal-black darkness prevailed the space. Nothing was in my sight, even Yi Ruda, sitting beside me. I stared at the stage.
A bright light then flooded in the stage. A moment after, only a dim red light remained as the whole space sank into the dark again. It was such a weak light to figure out the faces but, at least, enough to see their silhouettes. In front of the slender shadows, there stood a familiar black long hair shining purplish under the red light.
After a second, the five silhouettes pumped their bodies alongside the rhythms and, at the same time, shouts of exclamation came out from the crowds.
Someone yelled out loud, “OMG! It’s Boom Boom Pow!”
‘Holy Christ!’ I gazed at the front while breathing in deeply. Kids would’ve selected those who were good dancers for the performance, so everybody on the stage had great moves; however, none of them were as outstanding as the girl in the middle. Her arms were so slim and slender like those of a bird but her dance was surprisingly powerful.
When the white lights turned on, her face was completely exposed. The girl in the middle’s beautifully curved white forehead, small straight nose, and transparently black eyes came into my sight. She was indeed Ban Yeo Ryung. From everywhere, I heard the crowds taking their breaths.
The pouring roars during the dark vanished in a flash, and soon the entire space became quiet as if it got sunk in water. I understood the sudden change of atmosphere. It was an immediate silence that Ban Yeo Ryung’s magical charm brought in.
And the next moment, a massive exclamation broke the ice. I, however, forgot to cover my eyes and just stared at the stage in front.
It wasn’t a sexy dance that girl groups mostly performed; however, Ban Yeo Ryung did wonders in her moves while following the choreography. Her long hair waved and scattered to the music beat. When a bizarre electronic sound came out, their heads hung down slowly as if someone turned down the switch.
After their stage, it was absolute madness.
Someone raised his head and shouted, “Ban Yeo Ryung, marry me!!”
Some kids looked at each other in excitement chatting, how amazing Ban Yeo Ryung’s moves were and how brilliant she was in everything.
The lights turned off again and, at the same time, a few kids, who sat on the corner of the stage, ran into the middle. There were sounds of firm metal hitting the wooden floor but it soon turned silent. I bit my lips tightly and saw that direction.
When the bright lights turned on, everyone screamed at once. This time, the girls shrieked overwhelmingly to the stage, which was deafening.
“Wow, can you believe that?”
“How could all the four be on stage?”
Some kids murmured like that. I agreed to them at some point then looked in front again. On the stage, there were six chairs and each of them had a boy sitting with his legs apart. They had their elbows on their knees while resting their chins on the hands.
Each wore jet-black dress pants on the bottom and a contradicting white dress shirt on top. It was then when the speaker sent out a loud thud. They moved their knees a little then tapped the floor gently with their shoes.
A moment after, screams poured out from the crowds again.
Wild Eyes, a song by SHINHWA. The song boasted the legendary chair dance performed by each member of this boy group.
Instead of showing his face to us, Eun Jiho dropped his gaze at the floor with his characteristic cold eyes, which he mostly had to strangers. When his feet moved a little again, his silver hair twinkled under the light. Kwon Eun Hyung, sitting beside him, didn’t show any hint of a smile on his face. The lighting illuminated on top of Yoo Chun Young’s jet-black hair and spread a source of blue light over.
The one who surprised me the most was no other than Woo Jooin. He was over 170 cm tall now, not short, but his adorable character made me think of him as a small and cute boy. Wearing the jet-black dress pants, his legs stretched long and his golden eyes under the golden-brown lashes didn’t show any signs of a smile.
I always thought he had friendly eyes but from the pose he had, resting his chin on his hand with no smile, he looked like a total stranger. At that moment, his eyes seemed to be directing this side. The music then started with an intense beat.
The lighting went on crazily. My ears rang from the prolonged shouts of glee. When I glanced at my side, Yi Ruda was fastening his gaze on the stage. ‘Oh, yeah, since Yoo Chun Young is on there,’ with that thought in mind, I felt a bit off.
‘I don’t know, it’s just…’ I clenched my fist. The boys on the stage looked so different than usual that I dropped my gaze at Kim Hye Hill’s back.
‘I don’t know… they can always look and act differently like that no matter how I am…’ That was why I felt complicated.
Their performance ended with a shower of screams. Dragging the chair down to the stage, Eun Jiho smiled at this side as if he felt quite satisfied tonight. Yoo Chun Young, who still looked uninterested at all, fixed his blue gaze at the front, and Kwon Eun Hyung had a generous grin on his face.
As soon as Woo Jooin came back to his class, a few girls poured out some words to him while grabbing his arms. Woo Jooin then bent his knees for the girls to talk comfortably. He was especially nice to his classmates, which was why kids liked him so much. As I looked at Woo Jooin, Yi Ruda, next to me, asked in a cheerful voice.
“Then, should we stand up now?”
“Ladies and gentlemen, the next stage is Class 1-8! The title of their performance is… let’s see… it’s ‘Love & War.’ Wow!”
‘What is he talking about?’ I turned my head to see Yoon Jung In while pausing my steps after Yi Ruda. ‘Who made that title?’ I asked with my eyes to Yi Ruda. She just shook her head as if she also had no idea.
Before I walked up to the stage, I stood at the staircase and took a deep breath out of nervousness. Shin Suh Hyun, beside me, spoke in his usually nonchalant tone.
“Don’t burden yourself. The script is so bad that we can’t get any worse.”
“True. We already screwed up.”
“We invited danger to this stage.”
“Hey, if you say like that, what are we supposed to do?”
Those who wrote the script shouted complaints from the side. Furrowing one of his eyes, Yoo Jung In introduced loudly, ‘Our future screenwriters!’ and, at the same time, crowds burst into waves of laughter.
We became a little chilled out. I clasped and opened my sweaty hands back and forth. While the stage became completely dark, we all rushed onto the stage. And, at last, a white light streamed into our heads.
Grabbing a mic in my hand, I was sitting on an old desk that looked as if it got right out of the supply room.
Hundreds of eyes were looking at this side. I felt like someone was snatching my heart; however, I tried not to expose how stuffy I was.
A kid who played the role of a teacher tapped the whiteboard with a pointer.
He said, “Oh, there’s a new student in our class. His name is Yi Ruda, the heir of Songsam Group and the nationwide Number 1. His IQ is 200, so he’s always the top student in school, but he can never fall in love because of a sad past.”
A moment of cold silence hung in the space as if it struck a sore note. The boy then continued his words while looking behind the whiteboard.
“Ok, come in!”
At the same time, Yi Ruda walked out of the back of the whiteboard without having a hair out of place. She then stood in front of me. The boy then said while waving his pointer.
“You, take a seat next to Ham Donnie.”
With that short reply, Yi Ruda walked toward me then suddenly stretched out her arms and grabbed my shoulders. Her wild action made everyone inhale deeply. Holding my breath, I stared at Yi Ruda, who got closer to me.
Standing against the audience, Yi Ruda spoke on the mic. Her voice sounded like profound grief.
“You… you remind me of my half-sister, my first love who passed away.
“Let you be mine.”
Yi Ruda then pulled my head into her arms without reason. A moment of silent soon arrived, then a burst of laughter and shriek came over from Yi Ruda’s shoulders.
‘Bahahaha, what the hell is that!’
Some kids talked like that while looking dumbfounded, whereas some just screamed in a reddened face. ‘Are they really in a relationship? Is that just acting? How can he hug her so tightly like that?’
Regardless of what they said, I dusted my hair off and got up from my seat.
“What are you doing? We met just now. I don’t like this.”
“Geez, she’s almost reading a book!”
With that remark, people laughed out loud again. Leaving Yi Ruda there, I strode toward the whiteboard. The boy playing the teacher role was already gone.