Word Count: 1814
Summary: "Won't it be scandalous? You're having drinks with a client's cousin."
Jung Yunho did not like the theater.
It's not as if he doesn't like the work that's being put on for the audience, or if he wasn't aware of how obscenely pricey one ticket could be (with some costing over two hundred dollars, a hefty sum in the 1950s). He enjoyed a good performance as much as the average person. But what he did not like was the theater aspect of theatre.
For instance, the woman he was sitting with on his left had so much perfume on, he was literally choking on it and wondering if his sense of smell was still functioning. And the other man on his right was rotund, such that he did not even have enough room to move his arms at all and he felt very cramped the entire night.
The stage lights would assuredly hurt his eyes, and by the time he would return home three hours later, he would probably be swamped by all the legal paperwork due the next day. Legal cases in New York City did not come to a standstill just because the theatre curtains went up on Broadway.
Yunho tried to tell himself that it was because of work that he was here; Kim Junsu was a client he could not afford to lose, and making him angry in any way was sure to mean a switch in law firms, and if it ever happened, his firm would die so fast that Yunho would forget that he was even an attorney in the first place. Not to mention that his partner, Shim Changmin, would probably murder him right there and then in the office the next time they saw each other.
So, it was because of Junsu that Yunho found himself sitting in one of the more luxurious boxes in the New Amsterdam Theatre, at 8 o'clock on a Wednesday night. He had generally heard positive reviews of Envy, a play that had critics raving about it in the newspapers. Apparently, Kim Jaejoong, the lead actor of the play and Junsu's cousin, was the critics' sweetheart this season.
"I was supposed to see Jaejoong in his first Broadway show tonight, but unfortunately I've been called away on business," Junsu had said during their lunch meeting. "I'm sure you understand how that goes."
Yunho nodded. "I know. It happened to me only just last week," he replied in as pleasant a voice as possible, such that he could end the meeting on a high note.
"Since you understand," Junsu said, a slight grin appearing on his face, "would you mind going in my place? Jaejoong wants me to be at his dressing room after the show, and I can't let the ticket go to waste."
“Well, that’s understandable, but I—”
Junsu cut him off mid-sentence. “So you’ll do it, right? Since you see my dilemma. Jaejoong has been getting fantastic reviews, I bet you’ll enjoy the play. Just tell him that I couldn’t make it and I’ll be seeing it with Yoochun this weekend, okay?”
That was the trouble with Kim Junsu – not even his lawyer could get a word in when he was giving out instructions. It was probably what made him a successful CEO to boot.
At least, Yunho thought with a glance around the filled theatre, the seat was one with a good view of the stage.
The lights dimmed, and the pre-curtain chatter died down as the announcement to switch all pagers off came on, and the curtains parted and the stage lights illuminated the polished wooden floor of the stage. Yunho put one leg over the other and folded his designer-suit clad arms, willing himself to stay as comfortable as possible until intermission.
A tall, slim man walked onstage, clad in a bathrobe and holding a mug in his hands. Shoulder-length dark tresses loosely hung around his face as he sat down on a set couch in the middle of the stage. Yunho did not have to scan through his programme to see that it was Kim Jaejoong.
The stage lighting suggested a storm outside, and Jaejoong's character was planning on staying inside to study, when another actor came in, acting as a rich and influential college friend, to try and convince Jaejoong's character to join her for a formal event the following night. Following a quick exchange, ending off with the actress exiting stage right, Jaejoong delivered a monologue on his hermitage at a private institution, dryly commenting on his lowly status which influenced his lack of social skill, how he had always looked up to those with riches and resented himself for his lack of them.
The play was melancholic and sardonic, though not overly done, and Yunho found himself laughing and scowling in all the right places. During the twenty minute intermission, he took it upon himself to read the entirety of Jaejoong's biography in the programme.
The second half of the play passed quickly, with Yunho enjoying the performance immensely, partly because of Jaejoong's acting ability and the controversial storyline. Yunho was drawn in, because he had not known the life of a "college hermit", being a rather social person in his youth; hence, in a way, it opened his eyes to another perspective. When the entire cast came out for their final bows after the final curtain calls, Yunho was on his feet, applauding loudly along with the other theatergoers.
With the play over at last, half of Yunho's mission was complete. He found an usher, no more than eighteen, and slipped him a twenty to get past security, going backstage to Kim Jaejoong's dressing room. He had no other callers that evening, so the corridor outside the dressing rooms was empty save for a few staff members. Once he was outside a plain wooden door, he gave a brisk tap. Moments later, the door opened, the Broadway actor appearing at the door with his stage makeup washed off and dressed in a white dressing robe not unlike the one he wore in the beginning acts of the play. His hair had traces of brown of it under the fluorescent lighting of the dressing room corridor.
"Are you with Samuel Greene?" He asked, dark eyes blinking in confusion and puzzlement.
Yunho swallowed and decided to answer directly. "No."
Jaejoong breathed a sigh of relief. "Oh, good." He moved back into the well-lit dressing room, motioning for Yunho to step into it, before he sat down at the dressing table and started combing his hair. "I mean, I respect him as a director and all, but I am not going to do West Side Story. I'm packed enough as it is."
"Um," Yunho started, unused to Jaejoong's bluntness. "Mr. Kim, I'm representing your cousin tonight."
Jaejoong let out a low chuckle that suggested that he was entirely familiar with this situation. "Let me guess, he sent you here to apologise and take over his seat."
"And..." Jaejoong's chuckle had stirred something unpleasant in him, and his speech was failing for the second time, consecutively - it had to be a new record for him. "And he says he'll come for the weekend performance with Yoochun."
"And my dressing room will be filled with flowers, it'll feel like a florist's shop." Looking up in the mirror, he saw Yunho still staring at him. "I'm sorry," he apologised, a slight blush on his cheeks. "I tend to get a little crabby after a performance, the stress kind of gets to you. I'm sorry. How do you know Junsu, by the way?"
"I'm Jung Yunho. Your cousin is a client of mine over at Jung & Shim," he replied, launching into an introduction.
Jaejoong looked up at him once again and did a double-take. "The law firm?" he enquired, and Yunho nodded. "You don't look like a lawyer," he said bluntly, taking in Yunho's shoulder-length ochre hair and the small hoop in his ear.
"I get that a lot," Yunho deadpanned.
Jaejoong laughed again. "Well then, Mr. Jung, tell me, did you enjoy the play?"
Yunho replied honestly that he had, one hand wandering into the pocket of his suit jacket.
Jaejoong only smiled politely when he had finished. "I imagine you're not really a regular at the theatre, are you?"
"Regretfully, no. I'm not very arts-inclined," Yunho admitted. "But I do try and pay attention to whatever's showing onstage. You have no idea how many cases on stalked actors we have monthly."
"Hm. I don't have that problem, since I beat up a guy who was following me home once when I was doing previews." Jaejoong's tone made Yunho unsure of whether he was joking or not.
“Well, I…” Clearing his throat, he afforded Jaejoong a slight smile. “Congratulations on a good performance. I have to—”
"Go home? Can I offer you a cigarette, you look as if you're about to die from a lack of nicotine." Jaejoong reached into a drawer and pulled out a small box of cigarettes. "Personally, I don't smoke."
"The other cast don't mind?" Yunho accepted the cigarette and a lighter that Jaejoong passed to him.
"Are you kidding?" he snorted. "Pre-show? This place stinks of smoke. It's like the ensemble members live off Coke and cigarettes; nothing else. That's our secret to successful performances."
Yunho smiled again as the cigarette lighted and he took a long drag. "The secret to law is a suicidal tendency." Suddenly, a thought came to him, and he removed his cigarette. "Mr. Kim..."
"Jaejoong. Call me Jaejoong."
"Jaejoong, then. Um... do you have time to go for a drink?
Jaejoong’s face broke into a sincere smile, and Yunho wished Junsu had warned him about his cousin being inherently beautiful. Now he was concerned that he would never see someone so torturously appealing this close ever again.
"If you give me five minutes, Mr. Jung..." he drawled, "the rest of my time is yours."
He graciously stepped out of the dressing room and allowed Jaejoong some privacy to change. He emerged later in a sleeveless shirt and jeans, with a scarf to keep out the cold. He was also wearing the scent of a flower that Yunho could not identify, but it made him smile as he led the both of them into a bar across the street.
"Call me Yunho," he said, as they sat at the counter and ordered their drinks.
Jaejoong's eyes twinkled in mirth. "Won't it be scandalous? You're having drinks with a client's cousin."
Yunho let the most sincere smile he ever had grace his face. "Let's keep it a secret for now, shall we?"
Come weekend, after Jaejoong's performance, every inch of the table top in his dressing room was filled with bouquets of flowers, mostly from his cousin and Yoochun, though there were some from well-wishers.
Among all these, however, was a small, inconspicuous bouquet of white roses, with a handwritten tag and a business card attached.
I lied. The secret to law is breakfast. Care to join me tomorrow?
- Jung Yunho.