Thanks to Liz Lee who provided me with the color details to make this fic possible. The radio show part is mostly factual. And I realize, what beautiful poetry this couple’s actions make.
They spent the afternoon drinking tea in one of the teahouses in Insa-dong. Shin Hye was very animated telling the story of how her hosting stint went the night before and how excited she was to be flying to Taiwan in the next few days for her CF duties. Keun Seuk listens to her intently but still in between, his thoughts take over. He laughs to himself as he devises the brilliant plan for that night. He grins silently while Shin Hye chattered on until he felt a pinch on his arm. Earth to Oppa. Mwo? Why are you not listening to me? What are you planning again? Shin Hye lovingly demands, knowing that her Oppa has the knack to catch her unguarded in the silliest of moments.
“Or what, Shin Hye?” He demands playfully.
A few hours later, Shin Hye reports to the radio station early to read the playlist and the general flow of the discussion. Manager Jun who was also with her then drove her to the place, like old times. Fresh from obtaining her driver’s license, she had been going to some places on her own, borrowing her Appa’s car when she can. But that day, she opted to have someone drive her instead. Because Keun Seuk promised to pick her up after the show. And she looked forward to that, more than the two hours she will spend guest DJing at the station. After all, his birthday officially begins that midnight and if he picks her up then that meant she will be the first person to greet him.
The topic that day was about differentiating between friendship and love. She is hoping to do well to facilitate the topic. Can she pull it off? Can she speak from experience? These thoughts race in her mind as she reviews the notes for that night’s episode. Will she be able to say enough without giving much away? “You’ll do good Shin Hye. I’ll be listening. Good luck”, she remembers him saying before they parted ways that afternoon. “And of course, I’ll see you right after.” He had promised her.
She sees the program director motion that it’s almost time to go on-air. She takes her place by the DJ booth, conscious of the simultaneous online streaming that will occur. She puts on her typical radiant smile. The on-air light comes on. And her voice is heard on the airwaves.
Keun Seuk listening from Tree-J’s new office sits next to Keun Sama. He beams with pride at the pretty DJ he was watching online and notes that her voice over the radio sounds better than any song right now. The fun is about to start.
A few minutes into the radio show, the station’s phone line opens for random audience callers. That was the cue he needed. His phone had been on hold, directly connected to the station’s phone, for almost ten minutes now. Manager Jun and the program assistants made sure to tie up all lines so only Keun Seuk and Keun Sama can get through.
“Yeobuseyo!” The voice on the other line went. And Shin Hye went through all the motions. She learned that the caller was a 19-year old kid who was hanging out with friends at a hakwon (an academic center) who admitted to be her fan and had a special talent at imitating Keun Seuk’s voice. She found that unusual but played on with the mystery caller. As she heard the familiar voice, she almost froze in her tracks “Wow, you really sound alike” she had said. And their conversation went on, as they exchanged lines from Minamishineyo. This is going down weird. They kept going, until finally Keun Seuk can’t hold it in anymore, after he, as the 19-year old hakwon-hanging-out fan, had told her that Keun Seuk’s version of ‘Without Words’ was better than Shin Hye’s. “
“Go Mi Nam!! This is Jang Keun Seuk-ah!” he finally said, his fun time reaching its peak.
And at that point, Shin Hye wanted to disappear. Her thoughts were racing again so she was blurting out random questions. “Oppa, where are you right now? What are you doing?” she asked gently, yet also almost pleadingly.
He introduced himself to the rest of the listening audience and explained that he wasn’t one to let go of the chance to make fun of the fact that his dearest friend was hosting the radio show. Shin Hye tells him he’s always one step ahead of her, as she was planning her own call into him for his birthday on her last hosting day. He tells her that he wishes to spend his birthday with her, if he doesn’t end up hungover from festivities. He tells her he plans to take her out on that day. Remembering her manners, she said she should take him out since it was his birthday.
In that airconditioned room, she was sweating like crazy. She fanned herself with her hands. She finds it hard to believe that he would go as far as this. As Hong Ki said, in his Cy post not long ago, they are treading the path of lovers loving dangerously, what with Keun Seuk showing affection in as public a space as that. Now she understood what Hong Ki meant, and understood why he can be jealous of this.
On air, he gave her his approval of her performance as a radio host. And then he bids her and the audience goodbye. Only to say hello again to her personally, later that night when he picks her up.
The last moments of the show went by like a breeze, as Shin Hye counted the minutes to the time she can tell him how much she appreciated the support he had given, albeit in a teasing and funny way. It was this humor that draws her to him. The affection with which he makes her feel that she exists to make him happy that he may make others happy. And to the tune of the discussion she just went over during the show, at that point in time, it was easy enough to tell the difference between friendship and love. This is love.
Seeing the familiar sportscar parked in an alley near the station, she approached the car. The driver, who had been waiting eagerly for her unlocked the door. She goes in. Oppa, kamsahamnida. It meant a lot today. Even if you embarassed me for a moment, it meant a lot. She tells him as greeting. He holds her hand. “Spend the next two hours with me Shin Hye. Then, you will have made me the happiest birthday boy.” he mildly requests. Of course, how do you want to spend it? Without answering her question, the engine purrs as he turned on the ignition, the radio blaring his iPod playlist.
Oppa, it is your birthday. Why are you giving me presents? Shin Hye finally asked, unable to hold the question inside any longer.
“Because you are my life’s best present.” he nonchalantly tells her.
She looks at him, Then, allow me to say this. It is a special day because it’s your day. Thank you for being born.