SUBJECT: DO NOT LEAK
FROM: Nica Gomez <firstname.lastname@example.org>
TO: Andie Bautista <email@example.com>
CC: Cesca Guerrero <firstname.lastname@example.org>;
Patricia Isobel Martinez <email@example.com>
Hey Groupies (just kidding),
I’M DYING RIGHT NOW.
Harvey Kim BBM’ed me an invite last night.
INVITES YOU TO
A-PAC “HI FI”
RSVP, PRESS ONLY +82 10-5288-4420
And I checked iMVPrumormill.com this morning and OMJC the invite actually leaked out:
This invitation was posted on an online forum and has quickly spread all over the Internet, becoming a trending topic among netizens and iMVPs who are trying to crack the message.
Fans speculate that a series of music videos might be released throughout September or that it could be Movement’s much-awaited comeback. Other reports say the invitation is simply a fake or for a private party. No matter which camp you’re on, the big question remains—what could “HI FI” mean?
No official announcement has been released from West Entertainment, and the rumor mill keeps spinning. One thing is for sure—the boys have definitely been in the recording studios and some anonymous sources have already heard clips of brand new Movement songs.
Be on the look out, MVPs! And as always, remember that game-changing news pops up every day. Take this with a grain of salt!
The web photo was different from the one that Harv sent me, so that could only mean two things:
1. This isn’t just some publicity stint from
HK’s camp / West Entertainment
2. HK took a separate photo to BBM to me
^o^ which means I really am on their
networking radarrr… yesss!
I am blown away, guys. I know Harvey and I have been friends for a while now but every time that guy shows up on my BBM and I see that blinking red light, I swear, I feel like my life is about to change.
So. Straight from South Korean media—here’s the deal. Movement’s launching their comeback album “HI FI” with an Asia Pacific (read: A-Pac) tour that’s making stops at Singapore, Bangkok, and wait-for-it MANILA. Press gets dibs on which show they want to cover. *I* get dibs on which show I want to see.
MOVEMENT. IN. MANILA.
JUNGSANG. ME. IN. MANILA.
WITH. YOU. GUYS.
SORRY, MY BRAIN IS IN ALLCAPS MODE. FIGHT OR FLIGHT.
I have only been in Seoul a couple of months, how is this happening. Seriously, Universe. That was fast.
Our boys are visiting *US*. Well, maybe not us-us, but you know what I mean. Was this not the scenario of a billion and one fangirl dreams?
AND NOW. We are not fans (we are FRIENDS) and Jungsang and I are hanging out and imagine—we can give them the whole welcome-to-the-Philippines-mabuhay spiel and we will hide out in hotels TOGETHER (screw that bass guitar incident, Cesca!—that never happened!), and omg-what-if-we-take-them-to-the-beach. Boracay scandal!
OHMYGOD. I HAVE TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN!!! WAH! I am getting us in. What am I talking about. Harv— no, JUNGSANG and NATTAWUT and KJK and TAEB are getting us in.
My heart is bursting with fruit flavor.
Mark it on your calendars and schedule your leave na, Trixie. Last week of September—keep it FREE.
Let’s discuss this more in-depth—as well as your non-K-Pop adventures over at home *woohoo* (AndieBau, kayo na ba? Ano na?)
Celebratory drinks soon, yes? Margaritas and calamansi soju!
It’s in motion!
PS: BTW, I’ve heard those brand new Movement songs and you will NOT be disappointed. Jungsang is an MF genius, what can I say.
PPS: Can’t wait to see you guys. Need to restock my candy cabinet. No Willy Wonka treats here, boo.
“No way,” I said, slowly sipping my violet potato latte, staring at the e-mail that was flashing straight up at me from Cesca’s iPad.
“Way!” Trixie countered, fist pumping both hands up and down and up and down in her seat, looking like she would explode any minute.
Trixie, Cesca, and I were back at Space Encounters, the Seoul-inspired furniture shop and café we frequented. The store/café was cute and quirky, just like those coffee shops we loved hanging out in in Hongdae. It was run by two of our fanguy friends, Will and Ton, who were lucky enough to trek back and forth between Manila, Bangkok, and Seoul to bring in furniture, K-Pop CDs and hard-to-find posters, and other fun, design-y finds. Space Encounters also sold a lot of Cesca’s less commercial, more artsy prints, and was a common stopover for us every time we needed to take a much-needed K-Pop break from work and first life.
It was one of those safe zones where first life guys weren’t allowed, except for the occasional gab session that would take place whenever Steven wanted to hang out and talk K-Pop with us (go figure). He actually did have a purpose in talking shop—after surveying the indie music scene in Seoul, Steven had managed to meet and hang out with the people at West Entertainment on our last trip there. Since then, he had become our unofficial music liaison—bridging the gap between musicians across the Pacific ocean. *fighting*
There weren’t any hard and fast rules that told us which places were “second life only.” There was no Venn diagram to tell us that Set A could never intersect with Set B. In fact, when Mac moved to Manila, it seemed like I’d actually struck that magical balance—that almost un-findable golden mean where first life actually crossed over comfortably into the K-Pop world. I had a first life guy who looked like, spoke, and talked just like the second life guys we obsessed about over and over.
It was that elusive crossover potential of Mac that convinced me, right when he moved, that Space
Encounters would be the absolute perfect setting for our first date.
I could not have been more freaking wrong.
“I can’t believe you’re here-here,” I said, jokingly pinching him on the arm. “Is that really you, Mac Park?”
He chuckled and shook his head. “No, this is my doppelganger right here,” he answered.
I still hadn’t gotten used to the idea that one, Mac actually like-liked me—at least enough to actually quit his Hot & Cold Katy Perry mind games; and two, that he was right there. Accessible. Text-able. Findable. See-able. ANY TIME. I couldn’t believe how he had gone from that guy I could only exchange messages with once a month over a game of online Scrabble—that guy who I couldn’t even see face to face—to someone who was just a drive away. Mind-boggling.
The day before our date, I’d conned Will and Ton to set up the shop so it looked just like that coffee shop from the first time Mac and I went out back in Korea. Minus the majestic mountains and the view of Seoul, they’d gotten it pretty spot on. The cute chalk scribbles on the wall were perfect, and so were the heart swirls their baristas had mastered making over their violet potato lattes. Coffee Prince was even projected on the blank white wall they used to screen movies on Saturday nights.
I imagined that by the end of the night, Mac and I would have our super cute We Got Married-looking Polaroid stuck right up on Space Encounters’ wall—signed, dated, and tacked up, along with all the other cutesy couple photos—Manila’s own made-up version of the Namsan love locks wall up in Seoul Tower. Eeeee.
I couldn’t help but smile—I felt like I had found the perfect balance between nostalgia, cheese, and Korean cuteness. I knew I had a sometimes-unavoidable tendency to go overboard dramatic during romantic emergencies (everything I learned, I learned from K-Dramas), but my first date plan seemed like a win.
It had only been a week since I found out that Mac moved and my girl friend (two words) track record was still spotless. No relationship missteps, no romantic mishaps, none of that bad juju. The Space Encounters set-up was looking pretty good and I felt worlds away from disaster.
Or so I thought.
I was nervous, going into the shop with Mac, but as I took one look at how great the entire place turned out to be, I knew that everything would go swimmingly. I took Mac’s hand and led him straight in and introduced him to Will, Ton, and the rest of the assistants and baristas at the store.
Everyone couldn’t wait to meet my Black Hoodie Guy—they all knew the back-story and were eager to see whether KJK’s doppelganger actually held up.
“Nice to meet you, mannaseo bangapseumnida,” Ton said, stretching his arm out to Mac, who had a surprised look on his face. My heart was swelling with pride—there I was with my almost-but-not-quite boyfriend. In. My. Hood. With. My. Peeps.
Ton sent me a DM on Twitter a few minutes later, telling me that if it weren’t for the American accent, I might as well have been dating KJK himself.
I showed Mac around the shop, thinking it would be an interesting hotspot to feature on the TV show he produced, Seoul Food. Each episode showcased hole-in-the-wall restaurants all over Korea and since the channel set up its Manila office, local establishments were being featured, too. He told me he liked the store a lot and even asked Will if they would ever consider going into the export business. He was so gracious and perfect and willing to talk to everyone, that I had to keep giving myself a figurative reality pinch every couple of seconds to make sure it was all really happening.
Finally, Mac and I settled into one corner of the store and one of the baristas came over with drinks compliments of Space Encounters. There were our two coffee cups with heart swirls and biscuits, all gussied up and pretty. I smiled at Mac, who grabbed a couple of magazines from the stack on the table right in front of him. Once all the small talk with everyone in the store was out of the way, he had gotten quiet.
I could hear the relationship panic alarm going off in my head and tried, with all my might, to put the brakes on any disasters that were waiting to happen by acting all calm, composed, and unaffected.
Maybe he was just gassy, I said to myself. Gross.
“You okay?” I asked.
He nodded and sipped his coffee and thumbed through a copy of GQ Korea.
“This is kind of hardcore,” he whispered.
“What do you mean, ‘this?’”
“You know, like the coffee shop and the Korean scribbles and the lattes,” he said, looking a little amused.
I was getting nervous.
“I thought you’d like it, you know? Kind of like a piece of home. Or something. We can go somewhere else if you like?”
“No, I like it, thanks for bringing me here,” he answered quickly. “It’s just…”
Oh God. Two words I did not want to hear. It’s. Just.
Mac hadn’t even said anything and already, I could tell that my brilliant idea may not have been the brightest. Maybe my overzealous recreation of his home base was a little too much for him to digest. Did we look like a bunch of trying hard copycats? Diehards? Did we look too much like fans—of his country? Was it grossing him out?
Maybe it was how everyone was fawning over him when we walked in. Hang on—no, there was no fawning. Everyone at the store was interested in meeting him, but there was no fawning. Of any kind.
Welcome back, voices in my head. You have not been missed.
“It’s just?” I asked.
“I don’t know, I guess we’ve never really spent enough time together for me to fully grasp it,” he said, choosing his words carefully.
“Grasp what exactly?” Stop speaking in haikus, Mac Park.
“Come here,” he said, beckoning me to sit next to him on the 1970s vintage couch. I plopped down right beside him, craning my neck to see what he wanted to point out.
“That wall of K-Pop,” he started. “That’s hardcore.”
“It’s a shop!” I said, defensively. “They sell merchandise! They’re supposed to have a wall of
K-Pop—that’s what you call vi-su-al mer-chan-di-sing.” I enunciated every syllable condescendingly, trying to be funny despite my annoyance.
“Yeah, but it’s weird,” he said, still not stopping with the ranting. “You’ve got that floor to ceiling poster of Kim Ji Kyung the douchebag with that stupid look on his face—why would anyone want that up on their wall? It’s tacky.”
If he only knew how much I wanted to buy that poster. To wallpaper my future home.
“Won’t it scare customers off?” he said, stopping himself from laughing. “Or is that why you and Trixie and Cesca keep coming here?”
Ugh, stop ruining the perfect date, Mac!
“Really?” I said. “You’re really doing this, Mac Park?”
“What am I doing?” He held his hands up in faux surrender, his mouth breaking into that crooked smile of his. “I’m just saying that it’s funny how hardcore you all are about this stuff. I mean, I didn’t really know how serious it all was until the Great Wall of K-Pop came upon me.”
Deep breaths, Andie.
Sometimes, as it turned out, even the perfect-est guys had chips on their shoulders. What seemed like mindless jabs and fun flirting / teasing in the beginning was turning out to be a little more hard-hitting in the long run. Good to know, K-Pop fairy. Good to know.
Where was the cute, un-sarcastic, up-for-anything guy who sent me that ugly Gremlin Dunny even if he knew that the reason I collected them was that KJK collected them too? Somewhere under all that hostility, I hoped. Maybe he was just feeling displaced, being in this new country with all these people who wanted to move to where he came from. Or something.
“I’m going to let that one slide,” I said, trying to keep the peace.
“Okay, okay,” he said. “I just thought it was funny that you brought me here. This is like me taking you to a Filipino restaurant in Seoul.”
OMG, stop talking, Mac Park. For the love of all things K-Pop, stop talking.
“But they’ve got good coffee,” he continued. “And nice chairs. We should feature this on the show. You know what? I’m going to call my PD right now.” He got up from his chair and walked outside the shop, but not before touching my nose with the tip of his finger and messing up my bangs, making me forget how embarrassed I was about all the effort I’d put into that fail of a date.
“Kind of reminds me of when we went out back in Seoul, huh?” he said before heading out the door.
I was just relieved that my friends were all out of earshot during Mac’s minor K-Pop meltdown. I had this really bad, sinking, gassy feeling in the pit of my stomach that told me something was definitely up, but I chose to ignore it because I’d wanted that date with Mac to happen so bad.
In any case, I’d taken it upon myself to declare Space Encounters a girls-only zone—or even just a
no-Mac-Park-allowed zone, to save myself from further dismay. Only a few spots in the city were off limits to first life and we definitely needed to keep our favorite coffee shop as first life-free as could be.
“Ang galing,” Cesca said, shaking her head in disbelief as she sliced her Danish pastry. “This is our IN. We need to get invited into the barkada of WIN.”
“I knowww… I’m going to friend Nattawut Cho for real now,” Trixie said.
“But you are friends—what are you talking about?” I asked.
“Facebook messaging, and that one time he saw me at the club, those things don’t count—we have to hang out, like, every day, for us to be real friends,” she explained.
“You’re the last ‘normal’ person on this planet who continues to deny a celebrity’s friendship despite his efforts to keep in touch. Do you realize that?” I told Trixie.
“I think Steven’s going to be in Cebu while Movement is here. It’s going to be perfect—no MH!” Cesca exclaimed, checking her phone calendar.
“But Steven’s one of us!” Trixie laughed, eliciting a glare from Cesca. Our pixie haired friend loved egging us on with our pseudo second life relationships, but often complained about how she sometimes wished she were single too, so she could have a real chance with Daniel Henney. The funny thing was, Steven would have probably volunteered to go out of town if he knew it meant his girlfriend stood a chance with the #1 guy of her Korean free five. “When Steven’s around, stuff happens. His MH-ness stands for… magical harnessing. Of K-Pop stuff. He’s like the K-Pop fairy’s ambassador of goodwill.”
Trixie and I collapsed into a giggle fit while Cesca rolled her eyes at us, refusing to dignify our jabs at her boyfriend.
It felt good to be bandwagon jumping again. I didn’t think I’d ever be back in the fangirl state of mind, especially with Mac moving to Manila, and my friends and I being in such close contact with the guys we used to just watch on YouTube or on those silly Korean reality shows. Once we’d crossed that hazy borderline between fan and celebrity-acquaintance-and-maybe-friend, I’d just assumed there would be no turning back.
But that escape hatch to our K-Pop wonderland was calling us back. Right when we all needed a welcome break from each of our own first life perils—Trixie with her midnight crisis-solving at work, Cesca with her disturbingly super-involved boyfriend, and me, with my issue-ridden non-boyfriend—this confidential top secret e-mail from Nica lands on our laps, just like that.
I could feel the K-Pop fairy welcoming us back into her fold. It was only a matter of time before our “fantastic world” would be back again—and this time, on our turf, and if we were lucky, on our terms too.