~You’re too too too perfect to be imperfect~
~Come to me me me and I’ll be your friend~
~Don’t be sad sad sad cause I’ll be sad~
~Let me oh, let me oh~
~Let me light up the darkness in you ohh~
The outdoor site for the fan meeting was crammed with shadows of people. Paparazzi. Security guards. Fans. Crews. They were just..everywhere. Along the walkaway, under the shades, behind the pillars. A huge expensively looking banner, featuring Kyle grandly, was hung floating in the middle of the air, between two tall light poles. Followed by several other smaller pieces. Everyone present gathered in the open, chit-chatting accompanied by the upbeat music being played in the background.
‘Let me light up the darkness in you’, both composed and sung by Kyle was being played as the BGM. His first song that hit across the globe.
“Put this on,” Brandon said, shoving Clover a black mask as they were reaching the destination, “I don’t want them to know we have a new people on our team.”
“They will have to know,” Kyle argued, held onto the front seat and pulled his body front a little, checking his looks in the rear mirror. “Sooner or later.”
“Then let it be as later as possible.”
Kyle rolled his eyes. “You’re being really ridiculous, Brandon.”
“Ha! Am I?” he provoked him. “I’m pretty sure that it’s you being ridiculous for the past few days.”
“I’ll wear it!” Clover interrupted, zipping the other two.
Clover took the mask and quickly put it on her face, “It’s okay,” she said, turning to look at Kyle who was flashing her an apologetic expression. “I don’t really like showing my face to the public either.”
And it stopped the quarrel that was about to repeat.
The sight of Kyle’s car was coming into view, inducing the wilderness. They hopped out of their comfort zone, crowding the space the car was trying to pass through. Every time the car tried to be driven forward, those people came even nearer, sticking their bodies onto the car. It wobbled at their multiple pushes. Windows being knocked on too excitedly, making it felt like there was a bit of aggressiveness. Fan boards, each with huge encouragement words, were enough to block the entire front view.
“Don’t be like this...” Brandon mumbled, hesitating to step on the oil pedal any deeper than just 1mm.
“Wow,” Clover slacked her jaw, pressing her ten fingers on the windows. “You really are famous.”
Kyle closed his eyes and smirked, “Nah.”
Brandon had to make discontinuous brakes, jerking one after another to avoid turning the area into an incident or accident scene. It was as though they didn’t treat the car as a car. Which were Kyle’s fans, or crews or whorever.. no longer could be differentiated. They looked just like a whole lot of people of the same category, trying to get in the view of somebody they admired.
“Oh my god!” Clover pulled her face away from the glass and touched her chest. “You really shocked me,” she muttered under her breath, glaring at the teenage girl pressing her lips and leaving the thick lipstick stain.
“Bare with it, Clover,” Kyle said, still closing his eyes. “This is just the beginning.”
“It must be really tired,” she muffled through the mask, “isn’t it?”
Kyle curved his lips a little. Yes, he was smiling, yet he didn't seem to be enjoying the smile he made. “Every success is bound to have sacrifices. I chose to be an idol. And that took away my freedom, my privacy, and..” his voice trailed off. - the ones that I love.
He chuckled, swallowing the soring saliva down his throat, hiding away the pain in him, “Too many.”
Rolling down the tinted windows, Brandon finally pushed out his head to seek for a wider space after minutes of getting suffocated in the middle, “Hey sweeties! Watch out for the car!” he waved his hand in the air, telling them to move aside while the other remained on the steering, honking softly.
It took quite some while for the crowd to retreat. But it was better than without getting anywhere. Brandon stepped onto the oil instantly to free the car, sending the star to where he was supposed to be. Through the mirror, the shadows of the fans were tailing at the back - tripping, bumping, falling Nothing was holding them down. I want to see Kyle, was printed very clearly on their faces.
Thank goodness the red carpet displayed in the middle of the entrance wasn’t very far away from where they were.
“Off you go, kiddo,” Brandon held the brake pedal.
Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. You can do this, Clover. It’s just a fan meeting.
" Just a sec.”
Kyle was buttoning up his shirt he left open a while ago. He then pushed his body close enough to Clover’s seat, extending his hand to the back of the car to get his fashionista-leather jacket. Though the car was big enough to avoid any skinship generated between both of them, his motion was too sudden, making Clover’s heart skipped a beat. The strong familiar mint smell of him doubled the reaction. She could feel his heat, his breaths on her face.
Getting ahold of his jacket, he snatched and dropped himself back fully on the seat, not increasing the gap between the girl beside. He wasn't bothered by it in the beginning and was messing with the in and out of the shirt. Other than the piercings from the outside, the growing silence in the car kicked him, pausing his acts and ran his eyes for a scan.
And he stopped before Clover. Her cheeks were red, gasps were surprisingly louder than usual. He didn't know why. But he sensed he was making her uncomfortable. Inching few moves behind, he slid into the jacket and reached out to push open the door. Number of people outside, wasn't affecting him.
Clover gasped, “Wait, Kyle!” she pulled his leather jacket. holding him down, “..Do..Do I follow you down..like...now?”
“Of course, you’re my personal assistant,” he winked, “You gotta follow me everywhere I go.”
“What do I.. have to do?” she asked, eyes going around, terrified by the craziness outside.
“You’ll know right after,” he said, putting on his sunglasses. “Let’s go.”
A gust of wind jolted into the car as the door pushed open, sending her the smells from the food trucks. She turned and the distinct voices of the hawkers promoting their products came through. Some were setting up the place, while some were busy preparing the foods. Dim sum, pancakes, steamed pau of different flavours like red bean and matcha were displayed at the stalls, inviting her tastebuds to savour them.
Come to think of it, she hadn’t gotten anything to eat since early in the morning.
Clover’s thoughts on filling her stomach snapped back to Kyle as the loud noises snatched the attention. He stepped out his first leg into the attention of the public. A puff of wind blew on him and messed up the perfect style of Kyle’s hair a lil’. But it didn’t really make much of a difference since the hairspray used on him was a trustable one. Waving to his fans, putting on his best smile, interacting with them, he made his way through on the red-carpet.
“KYLEEE!!! OH MY GOD!!” And just like a swarm of bees chasing after their favourite honey, the crowd stuck right behind.
“You’re the BEST! KYLE LEEE!!!”
“AHHHHH!!! I LOVE YOU, Kyle!!”
“Kyle, can we take a selfie together?”
“Kyle, can I have an autograph of yours?”
“Me too, me too!!”
Kyle this, Kyle that. Before she could even step outside, his fans were already gluing to him, giving no chance for her to come in between. She could barely see Kyle’s head in the middle of the crowd. Hopelessly, Clover dropped her butt back down in the car.
“This is Kyle Lee.” Brandon said, driving away to stop the car, “He belongs to the world.”
“Don’t destroy the purpose of his life, Clover Hon.”
“I’ll prove to you that I won’t,” she said.
“I really hope you won’t,” he said as he got off the car,“For now, go help out at the backstage.”
Five, four, three, two, one!!
And a figure stepped up the cemented stage enclosed underneath a thick red mat. “Hello everyone! I’m Teddy, the host for the fan-meeting today. First and foremost, I would like to express my sincerest gratitude towards Wonderful Shopping Mall for helping us in making this event into a reality. Wow! What a beautiful weather today! Windy and cooling. It must be fate that today’s event is determined to be successful! I think it’s because of him that the weather is beautiful. Do you guys know who’s here today??”
“YESSSS!!” The crowd responded.
“Who?” Teddy asked, drawing in his tattoed eyebrows.
He put his palm by his ear. “Who? Louder! I can’t hear you!”
He chuckled. “Alright! Welcome on stage, Kyle Lee! Everyone, please show off your thunderclaps!!”
There he was, smiling happily, walking on the stage like a bright shooting star, “Hello everyone. It’s me, Kyle Lee,” he bowed.
“Come on guys! LOUDER!!!!!”
Watching Kyle through the red curtain, Clover was stunned. She almost couldn’t believe the guy on the stage, was the one she had been spending her time with. But on the stage, he seemed to be so distant, so...different. He was interacting so well with the host, answering the questions thrown at him, not showing any hints of nervousness. Each time he spoke, the crowd screamed on top of their lungs, without judging the answers he gave. Clover focused her sight wholly on him, blurring the unrelated people and the surroundings. His laughter, gestures, she observed them with her mini heart thumping faster as time ticked off.
“Clover, right?” A tall guy in black tapped on her shoulder, drifting her attention to the backstage once again. Crew was written on the front of his shirt. “Your name I meant.”
“Yes. Yes. Clover,” she said, pulling the mask down her chin.
“Alright, the event is going on right now. I need you to prepare the drinks and get it on the stage in another five minutes time,” he pointed to the bottles of orange juice on the table, “okay?”
“Good.” And he went on dividing the chores to the other people.
Just like how she was told, Clover poured the orange juice into two cups and added few ice cubes in each. She glanced at her watch- 10:25 a.m. Waiting for the minute hand to touch the ‘6’ seemed like forever. Everyone else in the backstage except her was busy with their own tasks. The crews were taking out the stacks of signed-CDs from the boxes, while some were preparing the props for the mini-games later. And here she was, leaning against the table, doing nothing but staring and drinking the juice she poured for herself. She could feel her stomach growling. Orange juice wasn’t helping out as much as she thought it would be. Of course, there were the hawker stalls. However, to come back in five minutes was definitely not enough. Though it was within her walking distance, it was still considered far.
“I’ll go get it after sending the drinks on stage, ” she murmured.
“Clover! Get them on now,” The same boy called her.
Out of a sudden, the calmness in her disappeared as she put on the mask. Cold sweats flowing off her temple and her hands shivering, putting the cups on the tray, colouring it with the flow of orange juices. She thought she would be alright because she just needed to go up the stage for a mere few seconds. But, her gesture was doing the complete opposite.
“Get it done fast and you will get back here fast,” she uttered, hiding behind the red curtain, sucking in a deep breath to gather the courage to step out the obstacle.
The audience’s eyes shifted to the curtain for a short while as it was being dragged open slightly. Clover’s hands tensed at their instant attention. Her legs swayed. Though she had masked her face, she was still unable to return their glances and chose to fix her eyes on the tray in her hands. It was dirty. The cups ended up only half-filled. But obviously she couldn’t return to the table just to make them filled up again. Forcing her legs to step forward, shaking off the strands of hair stuck to her sweaty cheeks, she cracked her knuckles before laying a greater hold on the board.
Come on Clover.
Only one foot was outside when suddenly she heard running footsteps approaching from the back. Before she could even turn, she was pushed forward, out of the curtain, with thousands eyes staring at her.
Yes- just like what you have in your mind.
A disaster happened.
She tripped. Tumbling everything on the stage. Spilling the juice all over Kyle, drenching his clothes.
“Oh MY GODD!!” Clover knew she just doomed herself. “I’m sorry Kyle! Really sorry!!” she ran her hands across his shirt, flapping the liquid to get out of sight.
“It’s okay.. It’s okay..” he said, taking the tissues from her. “Let me wipe.”
Noises arouse among the crowd. His fans were angry. The security guards guarding the distance between the main stage and the fan site were struggling to remain still. It was just a spilled drink incident. However, in the eyes of Kyle’s fans, the girl (a.k.a Clover) just committed a deadly sin.
“Who’s that girl?! How dare she messed up MY KYLE?!!”
“She must be fired!”
Just then, he made his appearance on stage and the noise decreased within the crowd. Voices of curiosity took over. Kyle stopped his gesture and looked beyond when he sensed the changes in the atmosphere.
The lump in his throat thickened. Furrowing his brows, he signalled the person to stay. However, it was completely ignored. He had his eyes fixed on the girl whom told him she would not ruin Kyle’s life. Clover was still standing there dumbly, not knowing how to deal with the situation when he pulled her out of a sudden and..
Her face stung with pain, and emerging tears came right after.
"Get lost now, Clover Hon,” he gritted his teeth.