There were plenty of idols who loved going through makeovers for comebacks.
I was not one of them.
There were more important things I could be doing than sitting in front of a mirror watching someone slap hair color in my hair. Years of practice meant that I could pick up the music to our songs quite quickly, but I couldn’t do that in a hair salon.
Usually, I resorted to reading the sheet music and memorizing the notes and lyrics, even if I did often help write them. Our fans deserved perfection and I always strove to give them that.
But tonight, the black dots and lines were just that. I couldn’t see the notes. All I could see was JJ and Justin making out.
We had spent years together and I thought I knew them pretty well…
Screw that – I didn’t know Justin and I hadn’t for a long time – but JJ…
JJ wasn’t gay.
I wouldn’t have a problem if he was, but JJ liked girls. We’d gotten drunk one night and discussed it. That had been a weird conversation, and I still don’t remember how we got onto the topic, but JJ wasn’t gay, and neither was I.
As for Justin, he’d apparently been fucking things up with Yeonwoo’s sister for that long, I knew he wasn’t gay – or bi.
But apparently, they were.
I would have bought it if JJ had said it was an experiment, or some other nonsense, but instead of denying it and telling me that it wasn’t what I thought, he’d come out and told me that he liked Justin.
These days he was probably the only one who did like Justin – except for maybe Chan, sometimes – but that didn’t mean they needed to be making out.
“A fucking mess,” I muttered under my breath, before remembering there was a cameraman wandering around the salon somewhere. Sure, they’d edit it out, but the last thing I wanted was to cause someone extra work.
Or worse, have them think I was talking about my hair.
Eyes wide, I glanced up in the mirror, but thankfully, no one was in earshot.
Even though we had each other around constantly, this job could get lonely.
We were men. We had feelings, and crushes, and we sure as hell got horny.
A dating scandal was one thing.
A gay dating scandal was another.
But fooling around with someone in your own group?
The pair might as well have pulled a pin from a grenade and set it down on the ground between us. That thing was going to explode and it was going to destroy everything in the process.
There wasn’t a single thing I could think of that would destroy the group quicker than that, short of breaking the law.
I leaned forward, remembering at the last minute that my hair was slathered in dye, and instead of running my hand through my hair, rubbed at my eyes.
Much as I wanted to bury my head in the sand and ignore this problem, I needed to be a responsible leader.
I’d been failing at that.
Justin was a dick.
He might have been my groupmate, but he was a walking, talking dick.
For years, I’d avoided addressing it because no matter how much of a jackass he was, he hid it from the fans and he always managed to give a hundred percent when it came to Drako.
But avoiding talking to him had meant I hadn’t seen he was screwing around with Eunji. No wonder Yeonwoo hated him.
We’d been asked plenty of times which member we’d let date our sisters (real or hypothetical), and never had any of us said Justin. In fact, Yeonwoo had once answered that he wouldn’t let his sister date Justin.
And now Justin and JJ?
No, I couldn’t do it. If either of them wanted to date guys, they could do so. So long as it wasn’t another member of the group.
“Let’s get the dye off you,” the stylist said, tapping me on the shoulder. I followed her through to the sinks and sat down in the chair. It didn’t take long for the excess dye to be washed out and for the stylist to finish the cut. Aside from the red, it wasn’t that much different to normal, just styled with a parting off to the center of my head.
Leaving me with a bottle of shampoo mixed with red dye so that I could top up the color when I showered, I went and sat down in the small waiting area of the salon. I was the only one who had finished. By the looks of things, everyone else had bleach in their hair, which meant they had color to be added.
As the cameraman was busy with Chan, I pulled out my phone and started taking selfies. I wouldn’t be allowed to post them yet, but they were ready and waiting.
Of course, an obscure black and white shot wouldn’t go amiss…
I turned, trying to get an angle, and then realized Justin was in the shot. He’d just had bleach packs removed and the stylist was blow drying his hair. I hadn’t paid any attention when he’d given a list of styling suggestions a couple of months ago, but judging from the pots beside them, there was more to come.
Discarding my phone on my lap, I leaned forward and rested my forehead in my hands.
Justin and JJ?
What the fuck were they playing at?
Technically, they weren’t breaking any rules – I’d give them that. Our contracts stated no girlfriends. KSTARZ Entertainment was still back in the Stone Age where they didn’t think any of their idols would like the same sex.
Of course, that technicality wasn’t going to save them.
The remaining two hours we were in the salon dragged. One by one the others were finishing up. Yeonwoo finished first. His hair had been bleached white and styled up off his face. It looked cool and I was already wishing I had come up with that option.
JJ finished next. He’d kept his subtle. Mostly black, but whenever he ran his hand through his hair, it would reveal blue streaks.
But Chan and Justin had the most extreme makeovers. Chan’s had been trimmed but the stylist had done nothing to the fluffiness. The color, however, was pale green. The color I associated with mint. It was so pale that in certain lights, it looked like you could see the blonde.
He’d been talking about green hair for three comebacks so he was bubbling around in excitement, constantly touching it. I had to admit, it looked soft and the color wasn’t what I imagined it would be.
And then there was Justin. If Cruella de Vil had sex with a unicorn, Justin would be the offspring. Half of his hair was baby pink, the other half a yellow-blonde. I’d watched him argue with the stylist, refusing to let him cut it any shorter. Insert my eye rolling right there – according to Manager Choi who had jumped in the discussion, Justin had specified short and spikey.
Of course he had changed his mind. Justin was fickle and difficult.
Annoyingly, his hair looked good.
I just couldn’t tell if I liked it. It made Justin seem softer and the guy had the personality of a porcupine.
Oh, good god… Now I was getting confused about Justin?
The hell with this.
It might have been three in the morning, and I needed to get some sleep before we went to the recording studio, but we had some beer in the fridge and I needed one.
We all piled into the minivan to take us home, hidden under caps and masks. Not that anyone was around to see us – hence why we went in the middle of the night.
The midnight run also meant that the journey back was spent in near silence. Yeonwoo had fallen asleep at some point because I had to nudge him awake when we got back.
Inside the apartment, I went straight to my room, changing out of my clothes and into something more comfortable, and then I went back downstairs for the beer. Popping the lid, I took a long sip.
I was definitely going to regret this in the morning when my face puffed up.
“Sungjae? Can we talk?”
Apparently not as much as I was regretting drinking it in the kitchen.
Turning, I found both JJ and Justin waiting in the doorway.
“Not tonight,” I told them, firmly, before walking between them. Yes, I needed to have a conversation with them, and yes, I was going to. But on my terms.
Apparently, my refusal wasn’t good enough as the pair followed me up to my room. “Fine,” I said, sighing. “Let’s get this over with.” I pushed open my door and waited for them to walk in before following.
The pair of them stopped in the middle of the room, glancing up at the cameras that had been installed. “Guys, it’s the middle of the night. You know they switch them off after midnight.”
“Yeah,” JJ muttered.
I was about to tell them to get comfortable then I realized that if they stayed standing, they might leave sooner. “Whatever you’re going to say—”
“—I don’t like Justin,” JJ cut me off. “Not like that, anyway.”
“You just thought you’d make out and then tell me you did?” I settled down on my bed. “For what? A joke? Because that’s not something to joke about.” My eyes drifted to Justin. Were his hands… trembling? “What’s up with you?”
“I’m not Justin,” Justin said, his voice shaking as much as his hands.
I stared at him, arching an eyebrow.
Justin swallowed. “I’m Sophie.”
“Sure,” I said, my tone dry. “If that’s what you need to say to justify kissing each other.” I narrowed my eyes. “Or is this where you tell me you identify as a girl, because—”
“I am a girl,” Justin told me. “I’m Sophie – Justin’s twin sister.”
“That is impossible,” I said, shaking my head.
“Justin flew out to California and I flew back. I’ve been pretending to be him.”
Setting the can of beer down on the bedside table, I moved over to Justin. He watched me, expectantly, and then I smacked him upside the head. “Justin, enough of the damn bullshit—”
And then JJ was in between us, shoving me backwards. “That’s not Justin, it’s his sister.”
Behind him, Justin was quickly straightening the hair I’d ruffled. “I’m Sophie.”
Jutting out my jaw, I sent a scowl in JJ’s direction and then moved back to grab my beer. “I don’t care what you’ve got to tell each other to justify a reach-around, but enough is enough.” I took a swig of the beer. It wasn’t helping. “I’m done with your bullshit, Justin—”
“Sophie,” he corrected me. “I’m Sophie.”
“If I wasn’t Justin, why would I come in here saying I wasn’t?” Justin asked me.
“Well, if you aren’t Justin, why would you pretend to be?”
“Your knee,” JJ said, suddenly, his eyes lighting up as he looked at Justin. “Just show him your knee.”
As I arched my eyebrow in confusion, Justin rolled his pants up, showing off a freshly shaven leg. “And?”
“There’s no scar,” Justin told me, pointing to the side of his knee. “From the surgery after Justin fell off the stage? I didn’t fall. I didn’t have surgery. Justin did.”
I stared at his knee. There wasn’t a scar… “If you’re not Justin, why would you pretend to be?” I said again, slowly this time as my brain tried to come up with a rational explanation for a disappearing scar.
In a move that was uncharacteristically like Justin, Justin stood, chewing at his lip. “Because we made a deal where he would check in to rehab to sort out the drug problem he got thanks to that injury and I would stay in his room and watch Netflix for a month.”
My mind went blank as I stared at him, doing nothing more than blinking at them. Slowly, I turned and picked up the can of beer. Just how strong was this? And how much of a lightweight was I?
Not knowing what to process first, I took a long drink, consuming nearly half of the can.
It didn’t help.
“You’re… not Justin.”
Justin – not Justin – nodded. “I’m his twin sister, Sophie, who it seems he doesn’t talk about often.”
I pinched the bridge of my nose. “Is this a challenge for DrakoTV?” That was a simple answer for this mindfuck. When neither responded, I looked up at them. “Fuck.”
“I wasn’t kissing Justin, I was kissing Sophie.”
Holding my hand up, I shook my head. “JJ, not only does that not help with anything, that’s possibly the lease important thing right now.”
Standing back up, I walked over to Justin, stopping just in front of him. With narrowed eyes, I raked my gaze over his face.
After spending so many years with Justin, scowling at him as he constantly did something to annoy me, how on earth had I not noticed when he wasn’t in front of me? “You act just like Justin.”
Justin folded his arms. “For what it’s worth, I’m taking that as an insult. My brother is a jerk.”
“And why are you telling me this?” I asked, before looking over at JJ. “Surely not because I walked in on you two, because even though that was a mindfuck, I believed you when you said you had feelings for Justin. You didn’t need to tell me the truth.”
“I wanted to,” Justin said, sounding so unlike him, that I had to cock my head and stare at him again.
Fuck, that wasn’t Justin.
“I fully expected Drako to get hit with a scandal because of Justin, but never in a million years did I think it would be because of this.” I rubbed my hand over my jaw.
“I’m sorry,” Justin – Sophie – said, hanging her head. “I really did think I was coming here to hide in his room for a month. He told me it was your downtime between comebacks. I would never have agreed to it if I knew this was going to happen.”
“Why are you telling me?”
Sophie looked at JJ before looking back at me. “I can’t take the lies. I can’t take how everyone hates me.” She hung her head again. “And I can’t keep up the act of being a jerk. It’s not me.” Her head snapped up. “And for what it’s worth, that wasn’t the Justin I remember.”
All of a sudden, I felt exhausted. “You two need to go now,” I said, abruptly.
“But—” JJ started to protest.
“Out,” I cut him off, pointing at the door. “Not tonight. I’m done.”
“Well, that went well,” I muttered as I walked into Justin and JJ’s bedroom. I stood in front of the bed, staring at one of the many pictures of Justin that hung on the wall. In every one of them, it felt like he was staring at me with accusatory glares for spilling the beans.
Strangely, I didn’t feel guilty.
Actually, I felt a little more relieved.
Flopping onto the bed, I stared up at the ceiling. I’d had no idea what to expect when I went to speak to Sungjae, and because of that, I wasn’t even sure if that had gone well or not. Either he was going to help, or he was going to Manager Choi and all of this would be over.
“We should probably talk,” JJ said, coming and sitting on my bed, his butt close to my hip.
For a brief minute, I looked at him, confused. And then my gaze landed on his lips – the lips which had kissed me earlier – and my face was on fire and my body reminded me that I might have been hiding it under Justin’s baggy clothes, but I was very much female. “You kissed me.”
“I did. If you don’t object, I’d like to do it again because I enjoyed it.” There was a sparkle in his eyes but it did nothing to hide the heat there. “And I think you did too.”
“You think I did?”
JJ nodded, slowly lowering his head.
“Do you want to talk, or do you want to make out?”
His lips skimmed over mine. “Both.”
I pressed my hand against his chest before he could kiss me. “The door—”
“Locked.” He pushed against my hand, not that I really wanted to stop him, closing the gap.
The only thing I really remembered from his first kiss was how soft his lips were. Sungjae’s entrance had brought an abrupt halt to it and had overridden any other memory I had.
JJ tasted of mangoes from the lip balm he was wearing. As his thumb gently rubbed my neck as he held my head, his kisses were gentle and soft. Just as I parted my lips, he pulled back, smiling. “I have wanted to do that all night.”
“Feel free to keep doing that,” I told him, sure I was pouting and not really caring. His kiss was like his lip balm – soothing.
“It’s not talking though.” JJ reached over to flick on a lamp and then went to turn the main light off. Instead of going to his own bed, he squirmed his way onto my bed beside me.
“Do we need to talk? I feel like I’m talked out today; I’m exhausted.” Sucking in a deep breath, I rolled over to face JJ. With our heads on the pillow, only inches away from each other, I found him watching me. “What?”
“The more I look at you, the more I question how I couldn’t tell you weren’t Justin. I think I need to look into getting my eyes tested.”
“That doesn’t fill me with confidence,” I muttered, closing my eyes. “If it’s obvious to you, how on earth am I going to fool the fans? That’s assuming Sungjae doesn’t put an end to this tomorrow.”
“He won’t,” JJ said, confidently. “And we’ll make sure they won’t find out.” He caught some of my hair, twisting it between his fingers. “You know, I look at this hair and think that Just must have been high to suggest this. He’s all dark and tortured and this is… Chan.”
I’d thought the same thing.
Then, the longer I’d looked at it, the more I started to think it was me – Sophie.
Which had me wondering if this was something Justin had planned all along?
I closed my eyes, snuggling closer to JJ. That was a ridiculous thought. No one knew Drako was having a comeback. I was reading too much into things. Justin had been high…
Morning arrived with JJ’s alarm going off. My eyes shot open, expecting to find him beside me, but at some point in the few hours I had been asleep, he had returned to his bed. Considering the little red light on the camera was already on, I was relieved. I switched the alarm off before shaking JJ awake. “I don’t even remember why this alarm is going off, but we’re supposed to do something today. Time to get up, JJ.” “Mmmm,” JJ mumbled, rolling over. Considering how little sleep we’d had, I couldn’t blame him. Gathering up some clean clothes, I hurried over to the bathroom to change. By the time I got back, JJ was awake and dressed. We walked down to the kitchen and I was unsurprised to find it wasn’t empty. Manager Choi was there with the film crew. “What’s on the schedule for today?” I asked, rubbing the sleep from my eyes. “You have a fitting with the stylist and then you’re in to the studio to record the album,” Manager Choi told me. “Did you bother to read the schedule at all?” Yeonwoo shot at me, under his breath. Too tired to think up anything vaguely witty as a retort, I grabbed a couple of bananas from the fruit bowl and started nibbling on them. Sungjae was pointedly staying on the other side of the room, sending me furtive glances when he thought I wasn’t looking. I chewed at the banana, not really tasting it. It was going to be a long day… To save time, the stylist was meeting us at the recording studio. We were ushered into a room which had been furnished with several couches and a small kitchen sidebar. “Hi, Cheryl!” Chan greeted a pretty woman, running up to her and wrapping his arms around her. Hanging back, I grabbed JJ’s sleeve. “Who is that?” I whispered. “Cheryl? She’s our stylist. Don’t worry, she’s cool.” “Hey, Chanie,” the woman greeted the maknae, affectionately. “You keep growing. You definitely need new measurements.” I turned to JJ. “What the hell?” He grabbed my shirt and pulled me back. “We have a photoshoot for the album the day after tomorrow. Generally, we don’t change that much, but she always comes to check that the clothes are going to fit on the day of the shoot. Last minute alterations. Don’t worry about it; it’s standard.” “Where exactly is she measuring?” JJ cocked his head, a small smirk emerging. “Don’t worry, she’s not going to ask you to whip your dick out and measure it.” If she asked for that, we were going to a completely different shoot. And no, I didn’t expect her to ask that anyway. But it was one extra person who was going to get up close and personal. I hung back as she worked her way around the group, armed with a tape measure and a notepad and pen. Skilled at her job, it didn’t take her long to get to me. “Hi Justin,” she greeted me warmly as her keen dark eyes scanned me up and down. “Hi,” I muttered, hoping Justin was as warm and fluffy with her as he was with everyone else and I could avoid a conversation. Cheryl took a step back, narrowing her eyes. “You look different.” Pointing at my head, I shrugged. “Maybe it’s the hair?” The stylist blinked, and then crouched down to run the tape measure up the outside of my leg. “At least you haven’t had a growth spurt,” she said, brightly as she scratched some figures down on her notepad. She stood and wrapped her arms around me before measuring my waist and hips. Slowly, she stepped back, frowning. “It’s OK; you can tell me I’ve put weight on,” I told her. “I would, if you were Justin.”