This Go Mi Nam was becoming an even bigger headache than Tae Kyung could have anticipated. He hadn’t wanted a new member in the first place — why in the world did they need one? He saw no reason to upset a carefully cultivated balance. Shin Woo, Jeremy and himself were doing perfectly fine — no, not just fine, they were doing very well. It wasn’t like they lacked someone to fill a certain position, either, they had the instruments they needed and they were all different types, with different public personas.
They weren't one of those big groups with a constantly changing list of members. They were a small, close-knit group, with just the right amount of members, in Tae Kyung's opinion. He simply did not see the need for an additional member. It wasn't even like he had anything against this Mi Nam at first — no, he had mostly been annoyed at President Ahn, when he had dragged Mi Nam to the recording studio. He'd hoped to reason with Ahn if, like he’d suspected, Mi Nam's voice didn't live up to the hype. When he heard Mi Nam sing, he wasn't sure whether to feel annoyed that he couldn’t use that excuse or relieved that at least Mi Nam wouldn’t be a total deadweight.
Really, he would have gotten over most of his annoyance and vague dislike towards Mi Nam a day or two after his announcement; he would even have gotten over the accident with the bidet within that time, he would have moved on... all if it hadn’t been for the… incident during the night.
Tae Kyung couldn’t fathom why someone would get that drunk on their first day as a proper member of the group. Didn't Mi Nam want to make a good impression on his new colleagues and employers? Didn’t he realise there were reporters present and he should act with that in mind? Did he know nothing? Was he a complete moron?
After finding him in his room uninvited for the second time within 24 hours, Tae Kyung was rather starting to lean towards the "moron" explanation.
Tae Kyung had been trying his best to calm himself down, after the vomit. If he didn't take care, he could have very intense reactions to that sort of thing. He felt a bit like vomiting, himself, which of course would only have prolonged the problem. He’d had a therapist as a kid who’d mentioned the possibility of mysophobia, but since no-one had ever bothered getting him a psychiatrist, nothing had ever come of it. Tae Kying figured it was what it was and he’d just have to deal with it. But of course the point was that he hadn't been dealing well with the incident. Mi Nam really couldn’t have chosen a worse time to enter his room.
And yet… On some level he did realise Mi Nam was trying. Maybe the drinking had been from nervousness. Maybe the awful way his apology had come across had been more about bad timing and awkwardness that anything else. Maybe Tae Kyung was being too hard on him... but still. Mi Nam was responsible for himself. He would have to do better, if he wanted Tae Kyung to regard him with anything but disdain.
That conclusion was solidified by what met him as he exited the bathroom. You couldn’t leave this guy alone for two seconds, could you?!
Tae Kyung couldn’t believe what he was seeing. He really couldn’t. Was this for real? This was Mi Nam at that. Wasn’t he the youngest of them? He was definitely the shyest. Tae Kyung waited in horrified anticipation to see if this really was leading up to Mi Nam getting a blowjob from a woman several years his senior or if there was actually some sense left in the world.
One of them was holding up… a small ball…
Tae Kyung hadn’t believed it to be possible, but he was even more confused now.
“It’s okay now,” said Mi Nam on the screen. “It’s been placed nicely.”
Placed… in his pants? Stylist Wang had been trying to open his pants… but why…
She wanted to sew it in? What were they trying to achieve here? Was Mi Nam very insecure about his penis size, but not enough so that he wouldn’t ask stylist Wang for help…?
“I should probably just get a packer…” Mi Nam said. “It would be more convincing.”
“I don’t know, I think it might jump around as much as these…” Stylist Wang said.
Tae Kyung didn’t know what a packer was, but purely from context…
“How’s your chest?” Stylist Wang asked.
“It’s okay, I know my limits, “ Mi Nam said and fiddled a bit with the edges of something under his shirt. “I’ll let them get some air once I’m back in my room.”
Was he… Tae Kyung couldn’t believe it.
Was Mi Nam a girl?!
Perhaps hugging Mi Nam was a risky move with the rumors Tae Kyung already had floating around about his sexuality — as much as he wanted to expose Mi Nam’s secret, he preferred his own well kept — but he figured that with all the talks of rivalry between them, it wouldn’t be taken in such a way. Not by anyone but the fangirls who were convinced he was sleeping with every other male celebrity he had ever interacted with, at least. He made a grimace at the thought that Mi Nam could actually be such a fangirl. It seemed ridiculous, but wasn’t a girl joining a boy group in disguise ridiculous too? Tae Kyung was completely aware of how avid some of their fans were.
It didn’t occur to him until later how little sense his theory made when compared to Mi Nam’s behavior, just like it didn’t occur to him until later how creepy a move the hug had been.
“You’ve been discovered.”
Tae Kyung would be lying if he said he wasn’t satisfied with himself as he said those words.
“What do you mean?” Mi Nam said, utterly failing to disguise her fear.
“I know you’re a girl,” Tae Kyung said.
“I’m not,” Mi Nam said, just a little too quickly.
“You’ve just all but confirmed it."
Mi Nam just frowned.
“Look, I don’t know why you thought this was a good idea, but you’ve had your fun,” Tae Kyung said. “You’re done.”
Mi Nam was biting her lip in addition to frowning now. He looked at her expectantly. She looked away.
“If you don’t go talk to president Ahn, I will,” Tae Kyung said.
That got her to look at him. She opened her mouth several times as if to talk, but nothing came out. Tae Kyung lifted an eyebrow and turned on his heel.
“Wait!” Mi Nam yelled. Tae Kyung reluctantly turned back around. He was struck by how determined Mi Nam looked all of a sudden.
“I really am not a girl,” Mi Nam said. “I may… I may have a “girl’s body” but I’m not… I’m not.”
Mi Nam looked at the edge of crying.
Tae Kyung opened his mouth then closed it again. He had not anticipated this. At all.
It wasn’t that he didn’t know about trans people, he did, vaguely, but somehow that possibility had completely slipped his mind. He didn’t know much about them, but he had met a few trans women around Itaewon. His conversations with them had never been more than casual and brief, though. The quick laughs of drunk semi-strangers, nothing more. Still, he felt somewhat guilty for assuming…. And more than a bit ridiculous for the explanation he’d come up with.
Tae Kyung had been too lost in thoughts to notice that Mi Nam really had begun crying and he was still too dumbstruck to know what to do about it.
“…I see. I won’t talk to president Ahn or bother you anymore,” he said too quickly. “Goodnight.”
He could hear Mi Nam’s crying as he left.
Preemptively rescuing him from a swarm of fangirls at the train station was the first time Tae Kyung really interacted with Mi Nam after the confrontation. Tae Kyung kept his distance from Mi Nam after that. He still didn’t like him, but then again, there were few people Tae Kyung could say he honestly liked. He had no desire to throw Mi Name out of A.N.JELL, though, and he would have been content with just keeping on ignoring him if he hadn’t been so… so infuriatingly bad at being famous!
Sure, Mi Nam was new to it, but running around at a public transport station, making no effort to hide his identity at all? That was just asking for trouble!
Apparently, it wasn’t the only trouble Mi Nam was in.
“This picture… it’s me and my dad,” he told Tae Kyung. “Some woman came here to give it to me, but she left before I could talk to her… I have to talk to her. She might know about my mom.”
“Your mom?” Tae Kyung said.
“Yeah… I have no idea what happened. Dad died, and I was raised in a cloister… as for mom… I have no idea,” Mi Nam explained, a melancholic expression on his face as he talked. “That’s why… I need to talk to this woman. Even if it’s not my mother, if she just has some information that I don’t…”
Tae Kyung privately thought that mothers weren’t necessarily that great, so Mi Nam shouldn’t expect too much, but he didn’t say any of that. Another thought seemed more pressing.
“Are you sure she’s not trying to blackmail you?” He asked.
Mi Nam spun around to look at him, confused.
“You’re so naïve…” Tae Kyung said and tsk’ed. “Showing up with a picture of you in pigtails… isn’t that a threat?”
Mi Nam stared at him for a bit longer before averting his eyes.
“Don’t meet with her. None of us need that kind of trouble.”
“But…!” Mi Nam protested. “She might… she might have information! I have to find out! Hyung-nim, what if it’s my mom?!”
“Mi Nam.” Tae Kyung said impatiently. “Leave it. Nothing good will come of it. If it’s really your mom, she’ll contact you again.”
Mi Nam didn’t look convinced, but didn’t voice any protests either. For now, that was good enough for Tae Kyung.