“Hi,” Minhyun greeted and looked up, making eye contact with the fan. “Is it your first time coming here?”
“Y-yes…” The fan stuttered shyly and covered her face with her hair. She gingerly sat down and cautiously rested her hands on the table. Minhyun could see they were shaking and appeared very very pale.
“What’s your name?” Minhyun took the album from her side and opened it. Luckily for him, she had left a bookmark with his name on it so he flipped to that page and began answering her question as he waited for her to reply.
“M-mina…” The girl, Mina, said, her voice even shakier than before.
“What kind of person would I like to marry in the future?” Minhyun read outloud and Mina’s face increased in color. She covered her face with her hair again and looked down at her lap, cheeks ablaze.
Minhyun laughed at her cute reaction and thought about it for a moment. “Hmm, well regardless of the person, if they’re a good person who is kind and knows how to respect people and treat them well, I think I could marry them.”
“It might even be you, Mina.” Minhyun flirted and laughed when Mina’s entire face turned pink and she almost tried crawling under the table out of shyness. Minhyun saw the staff approaching, signalling the fan’s time was coming to an end and gestured for them to wait a bit. The staff appeared flustered from the sudden request but allowed it and went to his left side to inform his other member.
“Mina, could you look at me for a second? I want to tell you something.” Minhyun said and waited for Mina to lift her head. Mina did lift her head albeit slowly and with far more caution than Minhyun expected.
“I know you must be nervous right now.” Minhyun made a bold move and reached out for her hands, holding them tight in his two large hands, Minhyun squeezed Mina’s hands and said, “But I don’t want you to have any regrets after you move on so I’ll sing you a short song. I hope you can calm down from hearing it.”
Minhyun, true to his words, began singing a song for Mina. It was from their recent album and was coincidentally one of Mina’s favorites.
“Baby don’t forget my mind. Baby don’t forget my heart.
A far away adventure I was looking for, you’ve always been in my heart
Oh baby don’t go. Now that I’m travelling
I’m done, I’m going back to my place
I’m turning back to you.’
Mina, at some point in the middle of the song, began calming down and was now calm enough to look at Minhyun. Minhyun saw that she had calmed down from his song and flashed her a smile. “Better now?”
Mina smiled shyly and nodded eagerly. Minhyun smiled alongside her and intertwined their hands. Giving it a quick shake, Minhyun unlatched their hands and waved goodbye and Mina went onto the next member with her album.
“That was a long day.” Dongho said with a heavy sigh and fell onto the couch, face first. “I’m so tired and hungry…” His words were partially muffled by the couch but after so many years spent together, Minhyun could understand what he meant by a simple gaze.
“There’s food right behind you, you know. It’s in the vending machine.” Minki said from his spot on the couch, to the right of Minhyun. Minki was on his phone and briefly looked up at Dongho’s figure on the couch in exasperation.
“It’s too far…” Dongho whined and Minhyun cracked a small smile. His members were sometimes too adorable for his own good and he would sometimes find himself smiling widely at them for no reason.
“I’ll get it for you, what do you want to eat?” Minhyun said and stood up. He knew he shouldn’t baby Dongho since he got worse each time you treated him like baby but Minhyun also felt a bit guilty since he was part of the reason why Dongho was so tired from the beginning, having made him stay up majority of the night revising his lines and choreo.
“Anything is fine, just nothing healthy.” Dongho said and Minhyun snorted as he walked out of their waiting room and out the door to the vending machine. Contrary to what Minki said, the vending machine was actually much further away and Minhyun had to walk down one flight of stairs, down one corridor and round another corner to find it.
Minhyun browsed for something not quite healthy and not quite unhealthy that would support Dongho’s need to be healthy but at the same time fulfill his request and settled for a high-carb and high protein snack he knew was delicious. Minhyun bought it and was about to head back to their room when he was stopped by someone he didn’t know.
“Are you Minhyun? Minhyun of NU’EST?” The person asked and Minhyun wondered if a overly enthusiastic fan had managed to bypass security until he noticed the blue tag hanging from the man’s neck, indicating he was a staff that worked there.
“Yes….That is me….” Minhyun replied cautiously and looked around. There weren’t any cameras around filming him so it wasn’t a random interview but that just made the whole interaction weirder. “Is there something wrong?”
“You don’t know?” The man sounded almost astonished. “You’re trending all over Korea right now!”
“Huh?” Minhyun asked, puzzled.
“Look!” The man pulled out his phone and tapped on the screen a few times before turning it to Minhyun and true to his word, Minhyun’s name was trending all over Korea’s top searches. “Your name is all over there!”
“Wh-why?” Minhyun stuttered and moved back from the screen. “What did I do?”
“You should just go see it for yourself. It’s seriously amazing what the internet can do to a person.” The man said and pocketed his phone, walking away from Minhyun as if he was impressed with what he’d seen.
Minhyun immediately pulled out his phone and to his surprise, he found he had been called twice by Minki and once by Dongho and even by their leader who wasn’t currently promoting with them due to an overseas schedule. Minhyun rushed back to their room and tossed Dongho his snack when he arrived.
“Did you guys see what’s going on right now? I just met up with a staff and they told me that I’m trending in Korea right now.” Minhyun blurted out in a rush and looked at his members for help, fear and dread visible in his eyes. “I didn’t do anything worth being on trending though...I don’t think I’ve done anything bad either…”
“Calm down, Minhyun.” Minki said and showed him his phone. “You didn’t do anything bad, it’s actually something really nice, even I was touched by how sweet you are.”
“Sweet? I was sweet? To who?” Minhyun questioned but still took Minki’s phone and looked at it. Just like he’d been shown downstairs, Minhyun’s name was still on trending only this time so was their group. Minhyun looked down at the page and noticed it was an article about him. Minhyun hurriedly read through it and gave the phone back to Minki who tapped on the screen for a seconds before locking the screen and pocketing it.
“I’m trending because I was nice to a fan?” Minhyun sounded bewildered and couldn’t believe it. “I thought that was just something people do to their fans to help them out, I don’t understand why it’s becoming such a big thing. I mean, I have done that before back in our older fansigns…”
“You did?” Dongho asked still on the couch but in an upright position. “When?”
“I think last year or two years before that. I did sing for another fan but it didn’t blow up like this…”
“Who knows why this blew up right now?” Minki chimed in. “What we do know is that you’re trending right now and people are curious about you and are really touched by what you’ve done. That article has over one thousand likes now.”
“Over one thousand people have seen that?” Minhyun asked, astonished.
“Yeah. It keeps increasing every minute actually.” Minki pulled out his phone and refreshed the page. “It’s now almost two thousand likes.”
“Oh my god….” Minhyun breathed out. “What do I do?”
“Well, I mean, there’s nothing you can do right? We still have a fansign left on today’s schedule so maybe things will cool off then, but congratulations, Minhyun. You’ve officially become someone viral on the internet.”
Aron lived a pretty ordinary life. He spent most of it working as a journalist, writing articles about the dangers chemicals human continued to produce -and sometimes ingest- was doing to the planet. Aron still found his job ironic considering his bad habit of pouring almost a whole salt shaker’s worth of salt in his food but he at least patted himself on the back for decreasing the amount of salt he used in his food.
Aron walked up to his apartment, hands pocketed in his beige coat, and entered the building. He bowed to the guard working down at the desk and headed for the stairs; he needed the exercise. Aron took two stairs at a time and went up to the third floor. He removed his keys from his bag and unlocked the door before walking into his apartment.
Aron was greeted by two loud barkings and quickly removed his coat and bag. He hastily hung the coat up and left his bag on the floor next to his shoes just in time as his eldest dog, Noah and his little adopted sister rounded the corner and bounded up to him, loud barks filling the previously silent apartment.
“Hi!!” Aron greeted enthusiastically and bent down to greet his dogs. Noah bounded into his arms and clung to his right side while Kkotsunie hesitated for a moment before coming into his arms as well.
“How were you guys today? I’ve really missed you guys.” Aron kissed the top of Noah’s and Kkotsunnie’s head and left them down on the ground. “I’ve had a really tiring day today, Noah-ah, Kkotsunnie~”
Aron walked around them and went into the kitchen to get their food. Aron reached up to the cabinet and pulled out their feed and poured it into their individual bowls. Aron moved back when his two dogs went to eat and went to get a glass of water for himself and try to relax after a long day’s work.
Noah and Kkotsooni soon finished their meals and went to lay on Aron on the couch. Aron would have tried to shoo them away but he already knew it was a losing case because he’d been trying to get them off the couch for over a year and the only progress he’s made was they now no longer laid on the couch but mainly on him.
Aron removed his phone from his pants pocket and using his right hand, -since his left was swallowed by Noah and Kkotsooni- he unlocked it and began browsing the internet. As a journalist, Aron’s job regularly checked the news to see what was trending and what the people were talking about but it was his first time seeing an idol occupy over half of the tag searches.
Curiosity took the better of him and Aron clicked on the first tag. It opened to see an idol, Hwang Minhyun, trending with a post made by a fan on the very top. Aron was surprised at the number of people who had seen the post -almost ten thousand and counting- and viewed it himself. He found it started with a retelling of a fan sign where this Hwang Minhyun was at and the story of how the fan was so nervous and couldn’t bear to look at him.
Aron scrolled down further and found a clip, a recording attached to the post. Aron clicked play on it and listened as the Minhyun guy chatted with the fan and tried to comfort her and then switched to singing a short snippet of a song that was theirs.
Aron’s eyebrows rose in surprise when he heard Minhyun’s clear and smooth voice, emotional yet powerful, and hitting all the high notes at the right time while maintaining a hushed voice so as to not disturb the other people there.
“Wow, he’s really good,” Aron commented and scrolled down to see what people were saying.
‘Wow, I clicked this by accident but now I don’t regret it. Who is he? I want to know more!!!”
“Which idol is this? His voice is so good!”
“Is this a newly debuted group? His voice color is so nice, I love it so much!”
Aron noticed this comment had the highest amount of upvotes and read it. “He’s Hwang Minhyun of NU’EST, and is the lead vocal. That song he’s singing is their own song, written by their own main vocal. They’re a three-year-old group and are not rookies, please don’t call them rookies.”
“Ah! I’ve heard of their song’s before! It played on the radio before!”
“Which ones? Send them!"
Aron spotted the fan being asked for the playlist had attached a link and made a reminder to come and check it out. He wanted to see what else these people had to say.
“Send a picture! I want to see his face!”
“Please let him be handsome…!!”
“If he’s handsome with such a voice, it’d be too much for my heart hahaha.”
Aron scrolled down a bit and found a picture of this infamous Hwang Minhyun and actually blinked twice and looked at it again. The man was beyond handsome and was bordering ethereal. His face was so perfectly aligned, Aron almost thought someone had edited it but after looking at it again, he noticed it was a non-edited pic. Minhyun’s eyes were small and cute, and he had a sharp nose that complimented his sharp jawline and defined cheekbones, accentuating his small mouth accompanied with plush, pink lips.
Aron flipped to the next photo and couldn’t believe what he was seeing. In addition to being so handsome he ascended into looking ethereal, he was also really tall and had lean, long legs. He scrolled down and found everyone’s reaction was the same to his.
“This isn’t fair….There’s no way a person can look like this…”
“Tall, handsome, nice and has a good voice? Isn’t this an all-kill?”
“His members are even just as handsome and have killer voices!!”
“There are more!?”
“Hahahaha they’re four in total. Minhyun is the lead vocal, Baekho is the main vocal and the cute baby of the group. JR is the sexy leader and Minki is the beautiful maknae.”
“Send their pics, I can’t believe there’s actually more of this people…”
Aron found an attached pic again and clicked it. And almost swore when the picture loaded. The picture he clicked on was of a man with a thick head of black hair with the forehead cut in ‘comma-like’ shapes glaring up at the camera as he posed in the middle of the dance, sweat dripping down his chin and jaw. Aron flipped to the next one and it was of a larger man, with broad shoulders and a thick neck, one hand holding a microphone whilst the other was up in another dance move. Aron could even see something that resembled a tattoo on his right forearm in the shape of a growling tiger but he wasn’t too sure.
The next pic loaded and this time it was of an even prettier man than Minhyun. Aron swore he’d never seen anyone in his life with the kind of beauty this one man had. Aron remembered the fan who’d graciously given them descriptions and realized this had to be the maknae of the group considering he was the most beautiful one. While the others had a sexy, powerful charm, this member carried himself with grace and poise.
“Where have they been all my life?” A comment read.
“This isn’t fair. This really isn't’ fair. They can’t look like that.”
“If the songs are good too, this would almost be two all kills in one day.”
“I definitely have to check them out now. I’m too curious.
“Same. I want to know how that song he was singing sounded like in full.”
“The second guy is so attractive. He’s completely my style.”
“The first for me. His glare is so powerful. I’m turning red….”
Aron scrolled down a bit more and saw something that caught his interest. He clicked on the comment and it redirected him to another site, a video-sharing site he presumed and waited for the video to load.
The video opened with the members of NU’EST in a field, a school field, with other students. Aron looked at the students but he couldn’t tell which school they were at. He moved on to look at the other members and could tell this was from a while back. They all appeared at least five if not more years younger than now and had a very nervous, newbie vibe to them
The event seemed about joining up with an idol and playing all different kinds of games against each other with each member having their own team with over ten people in it. Aron watched it for a while before he went in search for another video, more than curious now.
Aron clicked on a live performance of theirs back in 2014 and immediately clicked with the song. He soon found himself moving to the beat and being stunned by their stable performance as well as their intense stage presence and energy, and before Aron knew it, he spent nearly two hours on that website watching all kinds of videos about those four men, slowly falling deeper and deeper into them. Little did he know how much pain those hours spent on his screen would bring him.