The warm glow of the summer sunshine filled the air with a bright radiance. As you made your way down the sidewalk to the little cafe, the sun’s golden rays illuminated you and the world around you. As you appeared in the doorway of the cafe, your silhouette seemed to emit an angelic luminescence. You couldn’t see it, but the cafe’s newly promoted manager definitely could.
Seungcheol instinctively turned his head at the sound of the door opening. It was safe to say that he was not prepared for that glowing image of your stunning physique. As you casually walked toward the cash register behind which he stood, all Seungcheol could do you admire your effortless grace. Suddenly, the assistant manager, Jihoon, snapped him out of his trance.
Blinking a couple of times, Seungcheol regained his composure before you could make it to the counter.
“Hey, (Y/N), I’m glad you could make it.” He greeted you.
“Hey, Cheol. What’s this about?” You asked.
Seungcheol nudged Jihoon a bit, getting him to take over the cash register as he motioned for you to follow him. Leading you into the back of the cafe, Seungcheol brought you into the break room, where the two of you could talk alone.
“Listen, I told you to come because I need to ask you something.” He explained.
“Okay… Go ahead.” You replied.
“Can you do me a favor?” He asked.
“What kind of favor?”
“So, I pitched the owner an idea for these weekly live performances called Music Monday. He loved the idea but, Jihoon and I can never seem to book the right musicians. The owner’s getting a little fed up, so I need to make the next few Music Mondays really special, or our salaries might get cut.”
“What does that have to do with me?”
“I was randomly looking around on SoundCloud one day, and found out that Jihoon has an account. The songs he posts are so amazing, plus they’re all originals. If he played Music Monday, everyone would love it, and we’d draw in a lot of customers. But, I know how shy he can get, so he definitely wouldn’t agree if I asked him. Can you help me convince him to do it?”
“Seungcheol, I don’t even know Jihoon. He’s literally the only employee here that I haven’t met. Why would he take advice from a total stranger?”
“You’re not a total stranger. You’ve been my best friend since middle school. Plus, he’s too comfortable with the employees here. If we encourage him, he’ll just brush it off. But, if an outside person tells him his music is good, then he might listen.”
“Fine, when is this plan getting put into action?”
“We can start whenever you’ve got time. We already have two acts for the Music Monday tomorrow, so we won’t really have to worry about it until next week.”
“Okay, and what am I getting out of this?”
“How about a free cheesecake courtesy of Chef Mingyu?”
“Sounds good. I’ve got time right now, so you can introduce us while we wait for the cheesecake.”
Seungcheol’s lips formed possibly the most excited grin you’d ever seen. Once more, he was leading into another room in the cafe. After cautiously opening the break room door and peering around to make sure no one had heard your conversation, he took you through the dimly lit hallway. As you continued on your way to your usual table for two in the corner, Seungcheol took a turn into the kitchen.
“Mingyu,” He called out as he walked in, “I need you to make a cheesecake.”
“Why? I just made one an hour ago. We’re not sold out already, are we?” Mingyu asked.
“It’s for (Y/N).” Explained Seungcheol.
“In that case you should just put little icing hearts all over it.” Seungkwan suggested from across the room, where he and Vernon were huddled around a laptop, watching a drama.
“Seungkwan, that’s a terrible idea.” Said Vernon as Seungcheol nodded in agreement.
“Yeah, everyone knows you don’t put icing on cheesecake.” Mingyu added.
“So you could put whipped cream hearts on it then.” Seungkwan proposed.
As the other three boys in the room laughed, Seungcheol simply sighed and rolled his eyes in annoyance.
“Guys, will you please just stop for like ten minutes?” Asked Seungcheol.
“We could, but, we’re still clinging onto the last hairs of hope that you’ll confess.” Mingyu stated.
“Confess? I don’t even like (Y/N).” Seungcheol lied.
“Oh, is it Opposite Day again?” Asked Seungkwan.
“No, it’s ‘Get Back to Work, You’re Not Being Paid to Sit Around’ Day.” Seungcheol retorted.
Vernon and Seungkwan hastily got up and left, and Seungcheol was left alone with Mingyu who got out the ingredients for his cheesecake.
“You know, hyung, they might be annoying but they have a point. If you want to be with (Y/N), you have to confess. If you just stand around feeling scared of rejection, someone else could easily swoop in and steal your chance.” Advised Mingyu.
Seungcheol knew that Mingyu was entirely right, for once. Though, Seungcheol wasn’t ready to stop standing around feeling scared of rejection. He just needed a little more time, to gather a little more courage.
So, in response Seungcheol simply said, “Be quick with that cheesecake, okay? (Y/N) is waiting.”
He pushed open the kitchen doors, walking nervously back to where you sat. But when he looked to the table, Seungcheol saw none other than Jihoon sitting across from you, chatting away and smiling the whole time. Feeling a dash of envy bubble up inside him, Seungcheol made his way over to the table.
“(Y/N), I see you’ve finally met Jihoon.” He remarked.
“Yeah, we met while you were talking to Mingyu.” You explained.
“How come you’ve never introduced us before? We actually have a lot in common.” Jihoon chimed in.
“Well, I’ve wanted to for a long time. But, you guys would always either just miss or forget to greet each other.” Said Seungcheol.
Jihoon nodded a bit in understanding before checking his watch.
“Looks like I should get back to work. It was great meeting you, (Y/N).” He said, bowing politely as he shuffled into the kitchen.
As you were left alone with Seungcheol, the atmosphere between you got awkward. He nervously sat down in the seat across from you, and you were left wondering how things got to be this way. Seungcheol had been an amazing friend for as long as you could remember, helping you with anything and everything. Yet, all of a sudden, something felt different.
“So,” Seungcheol started, abruptly calling for your attention, “What do you think of Jihoon?”
“He’s really nice.” You answered.
“And that’s it?”
Your eyebrows began to furrow themselves at his strange question. But, just then, Mingyu approached the table. His apron was totally covered in whipped cream, but he held a pristine white cardboard box in his grasp.
“Cheesecake is served!” He exclaimed, placing the box in your hands.
Trying to avoid touching Mingyu’s whipped cream (and most likely sneeze) covered hands, you collected the cheesecake and bid your goodbyes to the boys. You went home, intending on not returning to the cafe until Seungcheol sent you another one of his overly dramatic text messages, begging you to come convince Jihoon to sing at Music Monday. Though, that plan didn’t end up working too well, and as you found yourself walking the familiar route to the cafe the very next day.
To justify the sudden visit, you told yourself that you’d only go to pay Mingyu for his cheesecake. It was actually surprisingly well-made, and since he wasted a fair amount of ingredients that could’ve been used on food customers could buy, you thought he should at least get something in return.
But, the more you thought about Mingyu or the cafe, the more your mind drifted toward Seungcheol. It was obvious that he’d been acting more tense around you lately, and you were determined to find out why. Could it be that he was frustrated at you for not asking Jihoon to perform at Music Monday soon enough?
Answering this question internally, your eyes widened in realization as you pulled open the glass door to the cafe. You made a mental note that it was your mission for the day to talk to Jihoon as much as possible.
A bus boy named Vernon busied himself cleaning tables, as Jihoon stood behind the counter, counting the money in the cash register. Beside him stood the spaced out Seungcheol, who had been watching you intently as you entered. Suddenly, he realized that you’d entered the cafe, and rushed over to greet you.
“(Y/N), are you here for Music Monday? Because if so, you’re early. None of the musicians are here yet.” He said.
“Oh, I know. But I’m not here to see them. I came to pay Mingyu for the cheesecake, which is surprisingly edible, by the way.” You explained.
“(Y/N), you really don’t have to pay for that. It was free because you’re doing me a favor, remember?” Asked Seungcheol.
“Fine. Will you at least let me buy an iced americano?” You inquired with a pout.
“That’s doable. You can give the money to Jihoon, and,” Seungcheol paused for a moment, looking over your shoulder, “Vernon, can you put on some music?”
Vernon granted the request from across the room, hooking up Seungcheol’s phone to a speaker and playing a random playlist. Seungcheol shot you a discreet wink, that you knew could mean nothing but trouble, as he scurried back behind the counter.
You made your way over to Jihoon at the cash register, and as you handed him your money, your hand seemed to brush against his. Though it wasn’t a big deal, the sudden contact startled you, and you blushed in surprise. Jihoon, in turn, let out an airy giggle as he counted your change.
From Seungcheol’s position behind the counter, he could hear every bit of your non-verbal exchange with Jihoon, and he didn’t appreciate it. He quickly finished making your coffee, but before he gave it to you, he paused for second to stand behind Jihoon. The first song in his playlist came to an end, and just as the second began playing, Seungcheol sent you another wink.
You still weren’t completely sure what the winks were supposed to mean, but you took the coffee Seungcheol handed you and swirled it around with the straw. You looked back up at Jihoon, only to find him looking extremely anxious.
“Jihoon, what’s wrong?” You asked over the playful guitar riffs of the song that played.
“thas m sng……..” He muttered, barely over a whisper.
“That’s my song.”
Eyes wide, mouth slightly open, and your hand still subconsciously stirring your coffee, you nodded in understanding. All at once, you realized the meaning behind both Jihoon’s “deer in the headlights” facial expression and Seungcheol’s winks. The plan was finally being put into action.
“Jihoon, this song is really good. Is this one that you wrote?” You inquired. At this point, Jihoon’s mouth hung slightly open, and he found himself unable to reply to your question. Though, by the way he was acting, you were able to figure out what the answer was. Just then, Seungcheol appeared next to Jihoon, sending a final wink your way from over Jihoon’s shoulder.
"Jihoon, are you okay?“ He asked, an unconvincing look of concern on his face.
Jihoon didn’t notice, and simply responded with, "Seungcheol, why is this song playing?”
“I didn’t think Vernon would choose this playlist. But, if it makes you feel any better, (Y/N) was right. This song is really good.” Explained Seungcheol.
Jihoon seemed to be inconsolably uncomfortable, and left the room for a moment to clock out from his shift.
“Don’t ever wink at me again, Choi Seungcheol.” You whispered harshly, earning a giggle from Seungcheol.
“You know you love it.” He replied, before Jihoon reentered, looking visibly less tense as his song had just ended.
Since you had time to kill and the cafe seemed peaceful at the time, you invited Jihoon sit with you while you finished your coffee and the rest of the cafe staff awaited Music Monday to start.
In your mind, you were simply going through with Seungcheol’s plan by subtly convincing Jihoon that he was by far good enough to play Music Monday. But, every time you looked to Seungcheol for approval, you would just see a dark expression upon his face. To you, this meant that you weren’t trying hard enough to convince Jihoon. But, the more you talked to Jihoon, the more unhappy Seungcheol seemed to grow. You just couldn’t seem to figure out what was going on with your friend, but before you could think about it more, he came running up to the table, a frantic tone to his voice as he spoke.
“Guys! I have bad news!” He exclaimed.
“What happened?” You asked.
“The first act is stuck in traffic. They won’t make it in time.” He explained.
“Well, if they can’t come, can’t the second act just play the whole set?” Asked Jihoon.
“The second act can only stay for their own set. If the first act doesn’t come, there’ll be no one to play the first half hour of the show.” Replied Seungcheol.
The three of you became silent, all thinking about ways to fix the problem at hand. Suddenly, you and Seungcheol had same idea. And once Jihoon caught the two of you looking to him, he realized what your new plan was.
“No.” Said Jihoon, without either you or Seungcheol explaining what you were thinking.
“Why not? Your songs are so good!” Seungcheol whined.
“Jihoon, I’m not saying you have to do it, but your songs are really good.” You encouraged the flustered assistant manager.
After thinking for a while, Jihoon finally asked, “Do you really think people will like them?”
Both you and Seungcheol nodded vigorously, uttering words of encouragement. With a big sigh, Jihoon finally agreed. Seungcheol did a quick dance of celebration, as Jihoon dashed home to pick up his laptop.
In the short time before Music Monday was to begin, Seungcheol and some of the other employees set up the little stage. When the preparations were done, the boys invited you to sit with them at a cozy booth. You sat in between Seungcheol and Joshua, as the entirety of the cafe awaited the infamous MC Seungkwan to start the show.
As he finally walked onstage, a dim spotlight illuminated his face, and also allowed for you to see Jihoon nervously pacing around behind the stage.
Taking the microphone from its stand, Seungkwan said, “Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to another fabulous Music Monday! Boy, do we have a good show planned for tonight. The first act is going to be our very own… Lee Jihoon!”
Jihoon hastily scurried onto the stage, readying his equipment and beginning his performance without introducing himself. As he began to play, you in addition to the cafe staff and the audience started falling into the rhythm of his songs. The boys sitting with you would give the wildest reactions to everything Jihoon did, and by the shy smile on his lips that grew as he sang, you could tell he was really thankful.
Near the end of Jihoon’s set, the cafe was packed with audience members, all enchanted by the performance. A half hour had almost passed already, so Seungkwan took the stage once more to announce Jihoon’s final song.
“Wow, isn’t he great,” Seungkwan began, pausing for a moment as everyone cheered, “This last song is going to be a really sweet confession song called ‘Adore U’, and, I think all of us in here might be able to learn a little something from the lyrics. Don’t you think so, Seungcheol hyung?”
Chan and Jeonghan, who sat in relative darkness behind the stage, tried making excessive hand signals to Seungkwan in hopes of getting him to stop. As Seungkwan lingered onstage for a moment, staring Seungcheol down for dramatic effect, Jeonghan dashed to him and dragged him off by the ear.
Within the chaos of those few seconds, you didn’t know what to focus your attention on: the wide-eyed, open-mouthed Jihoon that sat in complete shock onstage, the highly amused Joshua, Wonwoo, Mingyu, and Soonyoung who were all giggling like school girls in the booth, or the notably annoyed Jeonghan who whisper-argued with Seungkwan behind the stage.
Amidst all the madness and the dead silent cafe, sat Seungcheol who looked ready to either start crying or punch someone in the face. The incredibly awkward quiet was finally broken by the introduction to Jihoon’s song.
Turning to Seungcheol quickly, you asked, “Cheol, what is he talking about?”
“You’ll find out soon.” He replied, making a b-line for the back of the cafe.
You tried following him, but were stopped by a tug on your arm that forced you back down into your seat.
“I think he’d want you to hear these lyrics.” Whispered Joshua.
Reluctantly, you sat down again, paying close attention to the lyrics Jihoon sang. Just as Seungkwan said, the song lyrics were about confessing to someone. Although, no one had warned you about the innocent feeling the song had. Listening to it, it felt similar to the way you and Seungcheol used to act around each other, when times were more simple and the both of you were carefree.
As the song came to an end, you turned your head slightly to the side, catching the perfect view of Seungcheol looking at you through the kitchen window. He moved away once he saw you, but as the audience cheered and Seungkwan walked onstage to announce the next act, you made your way to Seungcheol.
“Hey.” He said earnestly as you walked in.
“Hey? That’s all I get? Cheol, what’s with you lately?” You asked.
“Well, I guess thanks to MC Boo, it’s obvious that I like you.” He responded.
“Is that all?”
“What are you talking about?”
“I understand the part about liking me; I feel the same way about you. But, what I don’t get is why you’ve been acting so different lately. Was it because of something I did?”
“No, absolutely not, and I’m sorry you got that impression. It’s just… When you would hang out with Jihoon, you looked so happy and you guys clicked so well. I was worried that you liked him more than me.”
“Seungcheol, I could never. When we hang out together, everything just feels right with the world. So I like you, okay? Especially when you get all jealous like that.”
Seungcheol chuckled as he loosened himself up and shuffled closer to you. You rubbed his shoulder comfortingly for a moment, though with Seungcheol being his cheeky self, the sincerity of the moment was reduced a bit by the wink he sent you.
“Don’t ever wink at me again, Choi Seungcheol.” You commanded, playfully smacking his chest.
“You know you love it.” He said, engulfing you in a hug that the both of you had waited far too long for.
So I just watched the part where people are claiming Andup said “only Koreans should pass on SMTM” in regards to Vernon passing. Granted, Korean is not my native language but I know enough to assure y'all that Andup didn’t say jack squat about his race. He was talking about how he feels that Vernon doesn’t represent hip hop and given that SMTM is Korea’s only hip hop show, Andup said that only people who represent hip hop should be passed by the judges. That’s all he said. People who don’t speak or understand Korean are spreading around the mistranslation and not investigating further. I hate chosen ignorance and blind assumptions. Please be sure that an accusation is true before spreading it around and sending someone death threats via social media. Calling someone a racist is a big deal and that word shouldn’t get thrown around. I’m sorry this is such a long post but I really had to get this out there. Andup was not being racist so please stop posting and reblogging posts that are stating otherwise. Thank you.
Second drawing complete for history of Illustration Final Project!! I drew in Vernon Grant’s style advertising Coca Cola. Colored in Photoshop. Thank you @benskythechamp and @jillustrations for helping me out with figuring out how photoshop works!! You guys are awesome!!