Soon after Chang finished his little rundown of himself, Byeol started to speak. Her tone was excited. Her giddiness towards their close birth dates brought a real smile to his face. One thing he hadn't done in a long time. He faked smiles all the time, when on camera or with friends. He laughed and joked, but the majority of it wasn't a genuine portrayal of happiness. It was a pretense set up so that no one would ask questions. But right now, seeing her happiness over the smallest of things, brought a small genuine smile to his face. All he could think was cute. "I don't think I would have guessed that either," He told her gently.
Then Byeol went on the explain some things about her. His smile widened slightly at her mention of never wanting to find out if she was any good at dancing. Even if she was blind, he would love to teach her a few moves. Chang believed, even if he didn't know her all that well, that if she wanted to do anything, Byeol could do it. The phrase "I'm sure working in the entertainment industry must be really fun..." stuck in his mind. It caused his smile to drop slightly, it's genuineness slipping away. It was nice, for a moment, to just smile and mean it. His job used to be fun. Chang had especially thrived when he had been a part of a group. Now, when he was one his own, he felt more and more alone. Thousands, if not millions, of people watched him all around the world, yet they didn't know him at all. The people around him didn't either, neither did they care to know about him. Nobody warned him that when he would make it to the top, that he'd develop a fear of heights.
His attention was pulled when she asked him a question. Byeol wondered if Hwan would like her music. Yeah, he loves it, Chang thought to himself. If only she knew that she didn't have to worry. That as soon as he met her, she was hired. No matter what he was going to help her. He felt his heart sink while she continued to talk about how she had faced rejection. Did they only reject her because she was blind? Shouldn't that make her skill that much more impressive? Her dedication that much stronger? She apologized for venting her problems about rejection to him. Chang wanted to hear about her problems. He wanted to help her. It helped distract him from his own demons that plagued his mind. Knowing he was in a position to make things better for her made him feel like he had some sort of purpose in the current moment.
Byeol had absolutely nothing to be sorry for.
"No, it's okay. It's kind of-" Chang paused, not sure how to put the next phrase, "a distraction." He shifted in his seat to face her better. He wanted to tell her so many things, but he knew he couldn't. "Hwan is going to love your music. I don't just think so, I know so. You are exactly what he needs on his team," He told her reassuringly. Of course, he had to get approval from his managers, but he had his ways to get what he wanted. Chang didn't do it often, he just shut up and did what they told him to do for the most part. This time, though, even if they tried to reject Byeol, he couldn't let them. He'd fight tooth and claw for her spot. She deserved it, not anybody else. She actually deserved more than just a seat on a production team, making songs for someone else to sing, but eventually, hopefully, she could make her own name.
At her statement that she was just plain, he shook his head. "I think you're more interesting than you think," He responded quickly. Chang began to try and figure out what he wanted to ask about her. Well, what he wanted to ask her first. Maybe he should start with something they had in common. He looked over at her, finally asking, "What got you into music?"
Byeol wasn't sure if talking about her problems was a good idea, why would Chang-hoon like to know about them, he already had enough on his plate to now deal with the problems of a blind girl, but when the guy that was sitting next to her reassure that it was okay that she vented her feelings, she felt a little bit more relieved.
When Chang-hoon mentioned that Hwan was going to love her music, a shy smile appeared on her face, was this really the start of her making her dream reality? But what if they decided that Byeol wasn't a good fit, someone would choose a person that already made their name on the industry than just a random girl that hasn't achieved anything, the fear of rejection was still lingering on the back of her mind even if Chang-hoon was completely sure that they would accept her so, for now, she would trust blindly in him and believe in his words.
"I have so many songs and melodies written! I can't wait to show them to him, I'm not sure if they are good enough for someone like him, but I guess he would like one of them although I'm not sure if he is going to be able to understand them, I write them in braille is easier for me to know what I'm doing. What if everyone thinks that's a burden?"
When Chang-hoon mentioned that she was more interesting than she thought, she felt a little embarrassed, how could he think that she was interesting? She just had a routine that she followed every day without missing anything to fear of trying new things, her craziest actions had been going to auditions and that hasn't gone the way she wanted it to, but here she was having a complete stranger on her apartment that meant she was stepping out of her comfort zone, well, and because she knew that if she left Chang-hoon alone the outcome wouldn't be a happy one.
As she continued thinking of all the outcomes that could happen if she left him alone, Chang-hoon talked again "What got you into music?" after those words the girl smile, that was a question she could answer easily "I guess, it was something I was always interested in, my parents used to have this old piano and I would spend hours playing even if I didn't have a clue on how to play it, just as my parents found out that I loved music they also found out that I was losing my sight, but even with that they continue to support all my dream, you could say that music has been my partner in difficult times, I guess it's not easy to say you still have some sight but at the same time not being able to see a lot of things like a normal person so playing the piano and writing songs has been something that makes me feel like a normal person" she admitted shyly.
After the girl said those words a knock on the door was heard, did time pass that quickly? Maybe Chang-hoon's presence made everything go faster and she was feeling comfortable that she didn't notice that time passed "I'm sure it's the food, I'll go and get it" she said with a smile as she stood up and walked towards the door, she picked up her wallet from the same place she always left it and open the door she received the delivery guy and paid for the food after that small interaction she closed the door and walked towards Chang-hoon was "Food is here! It smells delicious"
Byeol really was used to being pushed aside for her lack of vision. She had the mentality that she was always a burden. Who dared to say that to her? Well, they wouldn't anymore, Chang wouldn't let them. He wouldn't let her feel like an inconvenience. Byeol was far from that. "They shouldn't, but if you have a problem, just let me know, I'll take care of it," He told her. Oh, he'd take care of it alright. He, of course, always treated his staff with respect. If there was ever a problem, his managers normally took care of it. He wouldn't let them take care of things for Byeol. They often didn't have people's best interests at heart. They cared more about money than they did humans. Which was why he was like this to begin with. Chang wouldn't let them strip away Byeol's humanity, the thing that made her shine.
He couldn't wait to hear the rest of her songs. He was sure that everyone was as good as, if not better than, the one he had heard. Chang could tell she was eager to answer his question about music. He was glad to accept the smile that returned to his face hearing her say that it made her feel more normal. He liked that a lot. Music had been his escape as well. When he was in middle school, he'd dance for hours and he loved to be in the spotlight on stage. It helped him forget about everything else going on around him. Maybe seeing her in her element could spark something in him. Chang hoped so. He needed to feel that again. That blissful excitement when releasing a new tract. Or that energetic glee that came with a comeback show.
His attention snapped to the door. Byeol got up to go get the food that was delivered. When she came back, she expressed how good in smelled. He could feel his stomach gurgle and his mouth water at the sent. Even if his mind told him that he didn't need to eat, that he'd suffer more to satisfy his hunger, his body still pleaded for it. Hunger had gotten easier as time went on. Easier to forget, to push through. It was impossible to stop. "Yeah, it does," He replied shyly, "Thank you for the food, you didn't have to." He took the bag from her as she came closer, setting it on the coffee table. He pulled out the two containers of noodle soup and set them down. It looked really good. He hadn't had kalguksu in forever. Mostly because rice and noodles had too many carbs.
Grabbing utensils, a spoon and some chopsticks, he handed them over to Byeol, as well as her food. He opened the lid of his own, he decided that he'd take a sip of the broth first. As he did so, he pulled his head back. "Ah!" He winced. Ow, that was hot. Apparently food hated him back. "Careful, it's hot. I burnt my tongue," He warned her with a chuckle. May as well laugh off his stupidity. Chang set his food back on the coffee table to cool down. "So, um, what's a funny story about you or a friend or a pet...? I think my soup was cooked in a volcano, or something. It's like, magma hot."
Byeol smiled as Chang-hoon agreed with her that the food smelled amazing, she could feel her stomach gurgle, she only hoped that it wasn't loud so he would listen to her stomach, she would be completely embarrassed if that happened. "Is okay so don't worry about it, as long as you are happy with it, I'll be happy too and I won't mind doing it"
She felt how he took the bag from her and with the vision she has she managed to realize that he had put the bag on the coffee table, she took a seat next to him as she listened to him taking out the containers of the food when the sound stopped she understood that the soup was set on the table along with the utensils, she carefully touched to know where the soup was located and then open the lid she grabbed the chopsticks as she grabbed some of the noodles carefully since she knew they would be hot.
As she was grabbing some of the noodles, she heard the voice of Chang-hoon as he made a noise because the food was too hot "Are you okay? Did you eat the broth right away? You should have waited until it cools off a little bit" she said worriedly "I'll eat it carefully, I promise not to burn my tongue" she reassured him with a smile.
She went back to grabbed her chopsticks with the noodles and made sure to eat carefully so she wouldn't burn herself as Chang-hoon did that's when she heard his voice again "So, um, what's a funny story about you or a friend or a pet...? I think my soup was cooked in a volcano, or something. It's like, magma hot." she let out a small chuckle when he said that his soup was cooked on a volcano, she gave a small thought before talking.
"I'm not sure is this really a funny story, but when I was sixteen, I decided to bake a cake for my parents anniversary. My mom always kept the sugar and the salt on the place in different containers I got distracted because the phone rang so instead of grabbing the sugar, I grabbed the salt so you can imagine how that cake tasted, I was super excited because I baked a cake for the first time, but when we ate it, we just wanted to throw up I also did a big mess in the kitchen when I turn on the mixer and it was in high speed I was completely covered in flour, now thinking about it I just laugh because I didn't want to ask for help" she said with a small laugh.
She continued to eat as she thought what she could ask to Chang-hoon should she do the same question or ask something else? Maybe talking about funny things that happened to them would be okay "What about you? What funny story do you have about yourself? Did you embarrass yourself in front of a pretty girl when you were younger or something else?" she added jokingly "You can always tell me something else if you want"
Byeol scolded him for drinking the broth right away. Yeah, that was dumb. Chang was too distracted to really think that one through. "Yeah, that was dumb wasn't it," He replied with little chuckle. "I'll be more careful next time Eomma," He joked. She told him that she would be careful, and he was glad she would end up with her food tasting like rubber because of a burnt tongue. He grabbed the lid to his soup container and pulled noodles out and set them on top for them to cool.
Byeol went on the tell him the cake story. He laughed at the part where she said to imagine what it tasted like. He was sure it would have been terrible. "Wait, did you ice it too? Salty cake with sweet icing must have been the best combination," He laughed. And it got even better. Seeing her covered in flower would have been hilariously adorable. Could they bake a cake just to make it a disastrous mess? Chang wanted to do normal people things, like make cakes and play games with people he liked. The fact that Byeol believed him to be a, somewhat, normal person made him feel accepted. He was just Chang to her, and that was a relief.
Forcing down the guilt and anxiety, he finally pulled the noodles he set aside to eat. His mouth a little full, he heard her question to him. Chang snorted at the question about embarrassing himself in front of a pretty girl. That was funny. If he had time to embarrass himself in front of someone he liked, then he probably would have. If he didn't have a schedule, he was practicing on his own, or just resting. That left his love life very neglected ever since he started pursing stardom. Chang guessed that he had a one tract mind and that a girl was a distraction from what he was working for. Now all he wanted was a distraction.
What was a funny story he could share? He had plenty about being on stage. Chang couldn't count the number of times he tore his pants. They were so tight and his kicks were so high. It was bound to happen. After thinking for a few seconds he found one. He swallowed his mouthful of noodles. "Some friends and I were playing volley ball on the beach back home in Busan. All the guys I was playing with were super competitive. They were really good too. It was sudden death, so the next point won. They were really into it, so they were diving, spiking, and stuff like that," As he was about to begin his next phrase, he let out a small chuckle. "I, being stupid, thought that I could do it too. The whole game I was the worst. But I had this one last chance, on the last match. So I jumped up to spike the ball right? Just so you know, I have terrible aim. Me, having god-awful aim, jumped high up to hit the ball. Well I missed with my hand," He shook his head slightly as he remembered, "But I didn't miss....with my face. I got drilled so hard that I fell to the ground with screaming going on around me. I even had a bloody nose. But the best part? The ball actually went over the net and our team won. We laughed so hard we cried." It felt nice to remember funny little stories. Good times from before Chang felt so lost. Could he ever feel that free again? He sighed quietly to himself. He wished he could. It was quiet again, giving them the opportunity to eat, which he wanted to avoid. "Have you ever been to Busan?" He asked suddenly, "The beaches there are beautiful, I could sit and listen to the ocean for hours. It's so calming."
Byeol let out a small chuckle when Chang called her Eomma, maybe the girl did worry more than she should "Don't be silly, don't call me Eomma, I'm Byeol, just Byeol, not Eomma" the girl told Chang-hoon as she continued eating, she was hoping that this time he would be more careful and wouldn’t burn his tongue again otherwise he wouldn’t be able to eat anything if he continued like that.
She felt embarrassed when Chang-hoon teased her about the cake she felt her cheeks getting warm and made a small pout because of the embarrassment "I put frosting on the cake too, I really thought it was going to be the best cake but it ended up being a complete mess we had to throw it on the trash" she said, would he think that she would have thought better before doing a cake by herself when it was difficult for her to begin with it seemed that wasn't the case and just imagined the mess that Byeol did that day.
She continued eating as she waited for Chang-hoon to tell he something embarrassing that he did, she thought it was fair after he told her about her accident while she tried to bake a cake. Maybe a funny story would make him feel more lighthearted and remember those memories that made everyone laugh at any moment.
As soon as he started talking, Byeol put all her attention to what he was saying and his story about beach volleyball, Byeol thought that must have been fun she always avoided sports mostly because all of them weren't made for blind people, and who would want the blind girl on their team? She felt a little jealous and sad that Chang-hoon was able to play sports like a normal person, would he get bored of Byeol because she can't regular things like most people?
Byeol got really surprised when Chang-hoon mentioned the ball hit him on the face, she couldn't imagine how painful that must have been "That's not embarrassing! That's super scary! I would have been really worried and scared if one of my friends had a bloody nose because of a ball, volleyball really sounds like a painful sport" she admitted with a shiver jus thinking on the accident.
It didn't take long when he started talking again asking her if she has ever been to Busan "I... I have never been to Busan before and I have never visited the beach before. I know people really like it but I have never had the chance to go...Is that weird?" she said embarrassed what if he thought that she was crazy for never been in the ocean before? "I guess I should visit the beach one day, maybe if I tell my parents they would go with me, the wouldn't let me travel to Busan on my own" she added which she regretted instantly, now for sure Chang-hoon was going to think that she was a baby that needed someone to take care of her, Byeol was really the best at impressing new people.
Could she get more precious? Chang wasn't sure how many more sweet comments he could take. Byeol being worried about past him and his bloody nose was so cute. "I guess that's the difference between boys and girls. We just kinda laugh in the face of pain," He admitted. It wasn't wrong. Most of his funny stories from when he was younger were about someone getting hurt. Falling off skateboards and busting their noses was almost a daily occurrences among him and his friends. It was just how they were, young and stupid. When he was with Aftermath, they still were stupid. Sometimes he really missed being in a group. The feeling that someone was there for you and went through your struggles was what he missed the most. Now he only felt alone.
Byeol then confessed that she had never gone to Busan, let alone the beach. That was a bit surprising to Chang. He had grown up going down the the beach on weekends and spending almost his whole summer in the water. He could have grown gills based on how often he was in the water. He still swam, but it was laps in a pool for exercise. Not the games of marko polo and water volley ball that he used to play. It was all work nowadays. Play was left behind in his childhood. "That's not weird. There are a lot of people who haven't traveled much," He told her gently.
He gave her a small smile at the mention of going to Busan with her parents. That was nice she had her parents. They obviously were close. She had mentioned them a few times already. If only his relationship with his own parents could be better. He didn't believe that him and his father would ever get along. That was probably him being cynical, since he didn't think himself to be worthy of forgiveness on the part of his parents. He allowed his dream to come between his own family. A dream that was destroying him.
Trying to shake his spirally thoughts, he brought his attention back to Byeol. She really was a good distraction. "Or I could take you. I know all the best spots. But we don't have to go all the way to Busan to go to a beach. The one in Incheon is nice, and it's less than an hour away. It could be a nice day trip," He said. It was then that he realized something. The him and Byeol couldn't really go in public together. How could he get around that? He wanted to take her everywhere. Anywhere her heart desired and do everything that she had never done but wanted to. Could he though? Not if he wanted to keep himself a secret to her and her a secret to the world. The rumors that could come from him being seen with her would be crazy. Well. He could worry about the logistics later. He was sure there was someone he knew who had a condo or something with private beach access. He'd bend over backwards for her.
Wait. Did she even want to spend time with him? He should probably make sure she knew Chang wasn't going to force her to go on trips with her if that made her uncomfortable. "I mean, you don't have to go with me. You can go with friends or your parents or something if you don't want to go by yourself. I'm just saying that if you want someone to go with that I could possibly if you want me to, not that I have to. If that makes you uncomfortable or you don't like me at all...." He stopped himself. There he went, nervous rambling. He cleared his throat. "Sorry. I, um, have a problem with over thinking things," He added with a nervous smile. He really wanted Byeol to enjoy spending time with him, and feel comfortable with him. Because she made him the most comfortable he had been in a long time.