It’s a good thing she has a car. These late night radio shows would be totally inconvenient to go to if she didn’t. Especially when it ends at midnight. Tiffany sighs. Of all the radio shows Kim Shortae could have chosen to do, she has to go and choose the one that ends at midnight. This will be the first time she is sacrificing her time in bed for someone other than Ho Un Dung. Not sure if it will be the last, if Kim Shortae is going to keep this up.
You’re good, Kim Shortae. You’re short but good.
She lugs out her camera bag and heaves it onto her shoulder. She knows exactly which lenses to bring so she only has to bring two of them but they still weigh a ton. It takes a certain amount of physical fitness to run with this bag but Tiffany is used to it. Fan girls are not ordinary people. Fan girls are a special class of people, elite in their resourcefulness and determination to see their favourite person. And she, Tiffany Hwang, is one of the best in her field.
The radio station is situation within the parent broadcasting company. For a person who is new to this place, getting lost is a likely possibility but Tiffany weaves her way straight to the first stop—the entrance—without the slightest hesitation in her steps. This place is practically like second home to her. It probably is, in third place right after the airport.
There is some time left to wait so she settles down on a seat and fishes out her sandwich. Ham and cheese, yum. She’s munching happily until a body lands on the seat next to her.
“Hey, it’s you again.”
Tiffany turns and is greeted by a wholesome smile. “Yuri!”
“What happened to you? I didn’t see you at the recent schedules.”
“Ah, well. I’ve been laying low ever since I screamed at Kim S—Taeyeon’s musical.”
“Oh . . .” Yuri nods. “I see. So that’s why.”
“Plus, school’s been hectic as well.” Tiffany makes a face, hoping to change the subject. “Assignments to hand up.”
“School,” Yuri says with a groan. “I hate school.”
“I know right . . .”
“My teachers are crazy. They think all we have to do is homework and expect us to spend every minute of the day doing school work.”
“Mine too,” Tiffany replies, keeping up the conversation to stop it from reverting to Kim Shortae.
“Which university do you go to?”
“The Women’s University.”
Yuri’s eyes widen in surprise. “Really? Oh my gosh. Me too! But I’ve never seen you in any of my classes!”
“I’m in the media faculty, what about you?”
“Ah, that explains it.”
“I guess. But this is so cool! We got to the same university and we like the same girl!”
Tiffany hopes nobody overheard that because it would sound really weird without knowing the context of their conversation. Nevertheless, she stretches her lips into a smile. “It’s pretty cool, yeah.”
“But we better get ready. She should be coming any time soon.”
“You’re right.” Tiffany opens her camera bag and snaps her lens onto the body of her camera. “Let’s go.”
She’s not in the middle but she’s right in front and that’s is the most important thing to her. This way, Kim Shortae will be able to spot her. Hopefully. The crowd of fans waiting for her is not as big and aggressive as Ho Un Dung’s fans are so this is actually pretty chill compared to what she is used to. If it were Ho Un Dung, there would be a lot of pushing, girls trying to squeeze their way to the front and just more chaos in general. But here, fans are relatively calm and orderly, respecting each other’s space. This is actually enjoyable, she thinks.
The elevator dings open and by pure hunter’s instinct, Tiffany whips up her camera and takes aim. Kim Shortae has arrived. But the problem with being so short is the fact that she is completely hidden by her manager. But Tiffany aims and a second later, the too-short-too-pale singer becomes visible when her manager walks to the side. There is no hesitation there. If her camera were a paintball rifle and if it was a trigger that her finger is on, Kim Shortae would have been completely covered in paint within three seconds or less.
With her eye poised behind the viewfinder, she sees the singer clearly because of the zoom her lens provides. She can see how Shortae’s eyes are roving over the crowd. She’s waving, but she’s looking. Then, she sees. Her finger presses the shutter button out of pure instinct. It is a natural reaction for her. But her brain is processing something new.
Kim Shortae is looking straight at her. For far too long. And she is smiling. Far too widely.
She doesn’t plan to take any pictures for the duration of the radio show. But she’s willing to listen to the warm, gentle voice that floats from the speakers attached at the corners of the ceiling-high glass panel. There are fans who are standing and looking as she sets up her camping chair at the back and relaxes with a bottle of cider. Some of them probably thinks she’s crazy but she doesn’t care. She’s not a fan. She just wants to be comfortable.
But she can’t say that to Yuri.
“You’re pretty chill back there, Tiffany.”
“Just call me T. It’s easier.”
“Okay, T.” Yuri smiles. “Aren’t you going to take pictures of her?”
“I took plenty when she came.”
“Mmm, but what about now?”
“I have my way.”
“It looks like a very comfortable way,” says Yuri, eyeing the chair. It comes complete with arm rests and a back so Tiffany doesn’t have to sit up all the time.
“Yeah, it is. You should try it.” Truth be told, if it were Ho Un Dung, she would be plastered against the glass with her camera the entire time.
“Maybe next time.”
“Sandwich?” Tiffany offers Yuri one from her cooler bag.
But the radio show isn’t half bad. It’s quite enjoyable and Shortae can be pretty funny at times. Yuri is pretty good company too. Soon, the show is about to be done so she hurries to pack her things. Then she rushes back to the entrance to reclaim the spot she had earlier.
It is the same exercise when Shortae emerges from the door. The same roving eyes. Homing in on her like a missile. Then she smiles, waves and thanks the crowd before disappearing into the elevator.
Tiffany is left a little mystified by the entire episode. What was the purpose of this trip here? Why did Kim Shortae ask her to come? Surely it can’t be about a few pictures, can it? After all, she has no lack of fans and fansite owners here. Is there a bigger reason for this? Right now, only Kim Shortae knows. But Tiffany fully intends to dig it out of the too-short-too-pale singer. Right after she edits and uploads today’s pictures.
A yawn makes her glance at her watch. It reports the time to be half past midnight. Scratch that. The photo editing can be done tomorrow. After a good night’s sleep.