4

Satsuko hated idols. 
She completely despised them.
It felt like she was born to be an outcast- she seemed to be the only person that disliked them.

Why? They showed off charm, had a lot of talent, and weren’t bad people, right?

To Satsuko, none of these mattered.

Satsuko was part of the staff at SM Entertainment. 
She was in charge of the cafeteria in the huge, menacing building, and so had to take on full responsibility for catering, providing food at the cafeteria itself, and maintaining her work space and equipment.

Satsuko obviously wasn’t content with her job. No one was skilled enough to accompany her, so she had to look into everything by herself. 
It wasn’t like she chose the profession- Satsuko lost both her parents at a young age, and was left with little wealth. Her education wasn’t up to mark either, with no one contributing for her expenses. The only employment she could find was at SM.

Everyday, she watched as hundreds of trainees and idols walked past her, hardly acknowledging her presence. They took the fruit of her work without hesitation, but she got no recognition for it. She had to follow the same, boring regimen, and cater to thousands of inconsiderate brats by herself.

Satsuko wasn’t that old- she was in her 20s. She figured she would get a bit of attention from the men, because she did have attractive looks. But no one seemed to notice her. She was lowly among the other people. Even children who had not yet started training looked down upon her.

But it wasn’t like Satsuko wanted them to appreciate her for her appealing looks. She couldn’t care less about developing ‘infatuation’ with the idols that passed her everyday. All she wanted was a little attention. Some privileges that the others got. She wanted to be recognised within their league.

But until a fateful meeting, she was left with her kitchen appliances, and a thousand stomachs to fill.

———————————

One day, Satsuko woke up, fairly grumpily, and solemnly went about her morning routine.

Something was off about that day, and she wasn’t feeling good about it.

Later on, she came to know of the root of her problems.
As she stepped onto the streets, she saw a large barricade, and millions of teenage girls excitedly cheering.

‘EXO, EXO, EXO’

That pathway was the shortest distance from her house to the SM building. And they had blocked it because EXO had to film.

Satsuko fumed inside, and stormed to the front.

Unfortunately, she was pushed away from the set, before she could argue with anybody. She glared as one of the band members stared at her.

Kris, she thought, trying to identify him.

He was her new symbol for enmity. She hated idols, and she downright despised EXO.

After Satsuko got home after a long day of work, she started her computer and hurriedly opened her e-mail account, anger coursing through her entire body.

She decided to take the issue in her own hands. She was going to send a formal e-mail to the head of staff at SM, asking them to up her privileges. She was going to talk about her condition, and how she felt lowly and lived adversely. 
She was going to make sure she got what she wanted. She didn’t care if she got fired, because she could not manage her job without compensation.

Crazed, she punched the enter button, and was relieved to see that it was sent. She waited with bated breath for a reply.

And a reply she got.

After a few days, Satsuko happily opened the conversation, awaiting her superior’s verdict. She wasn’t sure of how he took the matter- she tried to make his expressions out during work, for no avail.

She excitedly skimmed through the message.

“Taken your claims into interest…. Meet at practice room…. EXO.”

Two sides of Satsuko burst into flames. One was embroiled in happiness. She was going to get better conditions. Her life was certainly going to turn for the better. But the other side was slightly doubtful, and confused. 
Why did she have to meet him at EXO’s practice room? Was that the new staff headquarters?

She began to doubt the e-mail, and got tensed. Did she send it to the right person?

—————

Turn’s out she didn’t. 
Satsuko gingerly stepped into EXO’s practice room at 2:40PM, which was when the cafeteria opened.

“Is anybody there?” She said, peeping through the small slit she made.

A youthful, but deep voice answered her. Certainly not the head of staff.

“Oh, yeah. Come in.”

Satsuko stepped in to see a tall, toned, body, decorated with a shirt and skinny jeans. His face was breathtaking. 
It was Kris.

” Oh, I’m sorry, but I was called-” she started, bowing.

” Yeah, it’s OK. I called you,” replied, grinning, and motioning for her to sit down.

Sastuko’s stomach lurched. So she did send it to the wrong person. It could have been anyone, but it was Kris. Of all people. Just the luck she had.

Once she settled down, Kris said, ” So, you have a bone to pick with us idols.”

Satsuko slowly nodded, intimidated by him. She was evidently scared of what he would do. Satsuko still hadn’t gotten her privileges, so he could do what he wanted with her.

” Can you explain? I’m genuinely interested. I want to help you,” he said, rubbing the back of his neck.

Truthfully, Kris was appalled to read her e-mail. He was sure she didn’t mean to send it to him, but nevertheless, he felt the need to help her. She was very pitiful.

Satsuko was taken aback. Was he being sarcastic? But he said ‘genuinely’. And he did have a genuine smile.

But idols could force smiles and talk sweet all the time.

” I just don’t really like you guys.”

She couldn’t believe she had said that. She felt like getting up and never coming back, but something made her reply. She was scared, yet determined to tell her side of the story.

Kris laughed.

” Yeah, I get that. But why? We haven’t ever done anything to you,” he replied.

Satsuko’s stomach burned. They haven’t done anything to her? Was he insane? Her life was ruined by them.

The seething memories of yesterday morning and the many others before engulfed her mind. She couldn’t ignore them or him. Without her consent, she began to explain everything that made her what she was.

After she finished, Kris was taken aback. He wasn’t sure on how to react. He was and idol, and therefore, had respect for other idols and trainees. But hearing her story, he lost respect for himself as well. 
Sastuko’s life was much worse than his. Sure, he had rigorous practice, and non-stop schedules, but Satsuko’s was damaging emotionally. She did have a lot of physical work to do, but she was hurt. Her feelings were hurt.

” I’m really sorry about it. We really are-“

“-dickheads.”

Both of them felt tiny shock. It was enough to give them a small jolt, but enough for them to ignore afterwards. The atmosphere was warmer than before. Satsuko was feeling… happy. Kris was feeling… happy. And they had no idea why.

They could feel a connection. But unfortunately, Kris had to go.

They exchanged numbers and agreed to meet some other time. And Kris vowed to help her.
———————–

After a few months, the whole k-pop world was taken by shock, and surprise.

Kris had threatened to leave EXO. He cited professional reasons, but Satusko knew why.

After Kris left that day, he sent her text message. They conversed through that, e-mail, and sometimes, late night calls. They had become extremely close, and each time their connection grow stronger, they just felt happy. They couldn’t quite place the feeling, but they were warm and fuzzy. They smiled without knowing. It seemed to be happiness. They reasoned it out to be happiness because of a new friendship.

Or was it something else?

Over the days, Kris had begun to open up to her about his problems. His health issues, and the strain and stress he had because of his profession. She knew it was coming, and truthfully, as much as she hated idols, she didn’t want him to leave the band.

But Kris had different reasons.

It was for Satsuko. He wasn’t going to leave- he knew they would compensate for him in some way, but he wanted to show Satsuko that he cared for her. Even if he didn’t want to, Kris’s top priority was Satsuko’s health and happiness.

Sure enough, when Kris threatened, SM brought him in to talk and tried to change his mind. He obviously did, but he didn’t care about their compensation. He just hoped Satsuko acknowledged his concern for her.

At night, Satsuko called Kris and asked him to rejoin EXO.

Frankly, Kris was a bit depressed that Satuko made no mention of his sacrifice for her. Eventually, he learnt to leave it. He was overwhelmed, instead, that Satsuko cared for his profession. He liked to think it was he who changed that.

Sure enough, it was.

At the end of the call, when they were ready to sleep, Kris said, ” So how’s about I take you to work tomorrow?”

“Kris, we can’t be seen together, and you know that!” She replied, trying to mask the excitement in her voice.

” Come on,  I wanna help you. I heard SHINee is filming near your path tomorrow. I can smuggle you into the SM building.”

Satsuko laughed. “Fine, you can come. At 7:00, OK?”

Satsuko laid on her back and smiled. She tried to force it into a frown, but she couldn’t. She could feel energy surge through her. She was happy, and it was because of Kris.

Back at Kris’s dorm, the same happened with him.
He didn’t know why he was so bent on her. But he liked it. He liked Satsuko.

He liked  Satsuko, and Satsuko liked him.

——————

The next morning, she met Kris outside of her house, and he escorted her through a different path.

It was shady. Something felt off about the path. He was sure it didn’t lead to the SM building.

Her suspicions were revealed to be correct when Kris mumbled, ” I hope you know I’m not taking you for work.”

Satsuko nodded, before saying, ” I figured.”

” And you have no problem with that?”

Satsuko tried to reprimand him. She did have a problem with it. She had to go to work! But she couldn’t, because she felt happy with him. She didn’t want to go to work, and she was sure he didn’t either. 
So she shook her head, making Kris laugh.

“Good. I want to show you around.”

————–

After the amazing trip Kris gave Satsuko around the town, they found themselves lying, facing the sky, on an open terrace.

They were holding hands, and that was the only thing both had their minds on. They were excited. They weren’t sure why, but they were happy that the other didn’t pull their hand away.

“Why did you do this?” She asked, sitting upright with him.

” You’re Satsuko Nakamura. I figured you weren’t from Korea. So I thought I would show you around,” he said.

Satsuko laughed. Kris wasn’t from Korea either, and she was sure she lived in Korea for longer than Kris.
But she ignored it. She loved it. Every moment spent with Kris was magical, and she didn’t mind him giving her tours for the rest of her life.

“Not to mention, I have a penchant for foreigners,” he uttered, moments after.

Satsuko snapped her neck to the side and stared back at Kris, who was staring at her.

He wasn’t sure if what he was doing was right. But his instinct told him it was. He inched closer to her, and slowly touched her cheeks.

A small tuft of hair fell in between his fingers, which he gently pushed back behind her ear.

Satsuko’s heart was beating relentlessly.

Kris smiled before saying, “You’re cool.”

He then closed the small gap between them, engulfing her in an enticing kiss.

Satsuko’s heat stopped.

Everything was coming back to her.

Her previous identity, and Kris’s. Their journey, and her death.

She winced at the last one.

‘You know what happens. And you’re here to change that.’

She repeated it in her mind. 
‘I know what happens, and I’m here to change that.’

———————

Kris was infuriated with himself. He didn’t know when to stop. After their kiss, he took her home. They both uttered nothing. He stepped into her house and stayed there for the night, fulfilling his fantasies. She was amazing, and so was  he.

What he did made him want to stay over forever, but made him want to leave and run away as well. Sure, Satsuko gave him her permission, but he still knew that they weren’t ready for it.

Satsuko seemed to be deeply disturbed, which made Kris even more depressed. He questioned himself every moment afterwards. He could see Satsuko didn’t like it.

But she wasn’t disturbed by it. She knew it was going to happen, having regained the memories of her past.

What disturbed her the most was that Kris hadn’t. He had no idea of what their relationship before was. He had no idea who he was before, and how he was sent to Earth. Satsuko repeated it in her mind.

“I know what happens. And I’m here to change that.”

She figured that the fact that she died and Kris was merely exiled was the reason for the difference between them. Something about losing her soul made her destined to repeat their story again. But nevertheless, she felt slightly depressed.

Satsuko knew what was going to come next.

In the previous life, she had begun to develop powers. In the human world, it was equivalent to becoming pregnant.

Sure enough, when Kris consulted the doctor about her vomiting, it was revealed that she had conceived.

Kris was distraught. He knew both of them weren’t ready for a baby at all. They hadn’t even formally professed their love for each other. He kept stealing glances at Satsuko.

Regardless, of the fact that she was aware of what was going to happen, Satsuko cried. She was a strong person, who rarely showed tears, but this was an exception. Satsuko didn’t want to give birth. She was scared.

What would his fans say? The public was the worst critic. They would definitely slam her, and label her as a slut.

When they reached home, Kris had finalised on what he was going to do.

He sat her down at the table, and tried to pacify her weeping.

He then started, “Nakamura Satsuko.”

Satsuko began to weep harder. It was coming back to her.

“I’ve only been together with you for about three months, yet I possibly know everything about you, and vice versa. I don’t know what it is about us that brought us together, but I know that I don’t care. You’re probably the only person that I would turn against my fans, and my members for. You’re the only person I’d die for. I-I love you so much. Chaeyoung, please marry me.”

Satsuko couldn’t stop the tears rolling down her cheeks in quick succession. But inside, she was ecstatic. She felt slightly hurt that he still hadn’t regained his older memories. But everything was going according to the past. 
He had even said the same words as before. Satsuko was happy.
But all she could force out was a tiny nod.

That was all Kris needed. He embraced her in a bear hug, and vowed to never let go.

——————

Kris had explained his dilemma to his members.
Although they were slightly angry at him for what he did, they couldn’t abandon him. They agreed to initiate the ceremony. After a few days, he would leave SM and  join a different label.

Satsuko was excited. 
Like before, everything had to be perfect. She was going to make sure it was.

No one could possibly wreck the wedding this time, aside from his fans. But they were getting married late at night, at a small church at the outskirts of the town. She was sure they wouldn’t find out.

She repeated once again in her mind.

” I know what happens. And I’ve come here to change that.”

She then stepped out to face Kris once again.

Satsuko was happy. She was sure she was changing their fate.

———-

“…. I do…”

“… Yes, I do…”

Kiss.

Stop there.

Kris pulled her in for a kiss as the other members shouted in joy. They both smiled into the kiss, especially Satsuko. For once, her wedding kiss wasn’t going to be ruined. She was ecstatic.

She slung her hand onto Kris’s shoulders, him gripping her waist. They pulled away to breathe, but went in for another one shortly after.

Later on, after the whole ceremony finished, Kris requested his friends to give both of them a small duration of solitude. He wanted to dote on her alone. It was their wedding, and he wanted her to be able to experience it fully.

It was when he inched in closer for another kiss that he began to degenerate.

In their previous life, he was exiled to Earth. With no one to exile him back to planet EXO, it was only reasonable that he was sent back by the an external force.

It was the force of love that sent them back and forth. But both of them were yet to realise that.

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