Some days I couldn’t believe that some women acted the way those two were. I walked into the bathroom and it was in chaos. From what I could understand from the other ladies in the room was that the one of the fighters was the ex-girlfriend and she happened to see her ex with his new girl whom he had cheated on her with. So of course, that meant that she had to follow her into the bathroom and give her a piece of her mind. With the help of the friends I was able to separate the two and explain that they either left on their own or they would be riding in the back of a police car on their way to jail. Thankfully they went with the better option and the ex left while the new girl went to find the man she was with so they could leave. With that little bit of action done I was now on my way back up to the VIP room. As I reached the top of the stairs I could hear the guys laughing at something and it might come off as corny but those laughs were the sweetest carefree laughs I have ever heard.
“What’s so funny?”
I stepped into the room and closed the door behind me walking back to my spot next to Jay.
“Nothing really, Loco was just showing us this video of a guy trying to capture a rodent with his cat. It was pretty funny when he started to scream and the cat was trying to escape but the door was closed.”
I looked at Gray not really believing him, it sounded weird to know that Loco would be looking at videos like that. I looked at Loco who was sitting next to me with a big smile on his face that just about reached his eyes. I smiled and shook my head. I guess Loco is the crazy cat video guy out of the group. Most groups of friends always have that one friend who liked to watch crazy cat videos online, I guess I really shouldn’t be surprised that Loco was that friend.
“So Sarah, Bobby was filling us in on a little bit of info about you.”
My head shot to Jay and he could probably see some anxiety in my eyes, Bobby was like an older brother to me. That man has seen me at my silliest, drunkest, and lowest times of my life.
“Oh god, please tell me he didn’t say anything embarrassing about me.”
“No he was pretty straight forward and kept to the basics. Why are there some good stories he has about you?”
I started to shake my head and my hands in the air.
“No, no good stories there. Nothing that would be interesting.”
“I don’t know, sounds like he might have some good ones based on your reaction. I might have to have a little talk with him.”
Jay started to get up from his seat and I jumped up and grabbed his arm.
“Now now you don’t want to go bug that man. He is probably busy with something or another. I am an open book really. If you ever wanna know something all you need to do is ask.”
Jay smiled and sat back in his chair and I let go of his arm, happy to avoid any kind of embarrassing info being leaked out to Jay. I might never see this man again but he didn’t have to know all the embarrassing stories of my life. Once you get Bobby talking about my embarrassing moments he doesn’t let up, what big brother passes up the chance to make his baby sister cringe away with embarrassment.
“Well Sarah, why don’t you tell me why you don’t want to use the help of the other moms? They want to make your dream come true, they want to send you on your dream trip.”
Damn you Bobby.
“It’s not that I don’t appreciate their help and the love they have for me, I really am appreciative for everything. I just really want to do it on my own. I would rather they use that money for something for the community then just me. I have just about all the money I need to go now. It’s just finding the right time with work.”
“It’s really refreshing to hear that there are still some young hard-working people in the world who don’t want to just be handed everything. I like that in a person, there are too many people out there who want things but they don’t want to work for them, lots of spoiled people. So I want to throw an idea out there to you.”
I tilted my head to the side with a questioning looking on my face.
“OK go ahead.”
“So this is our last stop and we will be flying back the day after tomorrow. I would really like it if you flew back with us.”
Did I just hear that right?
I just sat there with my mouth parted with a blank expression on my face, I had no words to say.
“See I think you have some raw talent, yes you could use some polishing. What I would like to do is have you come back with us and while we polish you up, we will put you in on some of the tracks we are working on. Of course, we would give you a stage name so that no one knows your identity. It’s a way to get an overall feeling from the fans, to see if they like what you have. Also, while you are there you would of course follow us to some of our performances. You can take some inspiration or ideas from some of our local clubs and bring it back home with you in the event things don’t work out with us. All I ask is a year. Give me a year to work on things with you and get you some exposure. At the end of the year if things turn out well we can go from there and see what you want to do. If things aren’t doing well then you can go back home and better the business here with the ideas you bring back. I really do think you can go a long way in the industry if you just are given a chance. So what do you say?”
I shook my head trying to get some kind of train of thought to work and put words together.
“WOW, ummm……that’s an amazing offer! I mean I’m kind of at a loss for words right now. It’s a lot to take in. I just don’t know if I can except. It’s really short notice for my boss to just up and leave my job. Part of me really wants to accept and then the other part of me wants to decline. I just don’t know.”
“I totally get it, it’s a lot to spring on you at once. How about this you take the rest of the night to think on it. Me and the guys will be here tomorrow around noon to talk to your boss about our show. I plan on pitching him the idea then too. I understand he is a father in your eyes and I wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t have his permission either. So think on it, and meet me back here at noon.”
All I could do was shake my head in agreement.
“Good, me and the guys are going to call it a night and head back to our hotel. I really hope you take me up on this offer Sarah. I just KNOW you could be something if you only accept my help.”
They all stood and I stood up with them. Still in a daze I accepted their hugs and farewells. As they left I fell back in my chair. Not believing what just happened.
I was just offered a job. A dream job. A once in a lifetime job.
“What am I going to do?”
I said out loud before putting my face in my hands in total confusion. I sat there for I don’t know how long just thinking of everything and nothing. I never would have thought this would happen. I didn’t expect anything from tonight but some fun and laughter. Maybe find a cute guy to flirt with but that’s it. I grabbed at my hair pulling on it a few times.
“This won’t do. I need someone to talk to.”
I jumped up and grabbed my jacket from the coat rack and threw it on. I checked the time and it was just about last call. I made my way down the stairs and wormed my way into the crowd just trying to make it a straight shot to Park, Chu was too busy at the bar to talk but I could at least maybe talk to Park in between songs or have one of the other guys DJ for a bit. I needed one of my friends right now because I could feel my head wanting to explode from all this thinking. I finally made my way to the booth just as Park announced last call and climbed up into the booth and sat on the bench.
“Park I need you, like right now. Have someone else handle the last hour of music.”
Park looked back at me and I know he could see the panic in my face and understood that I really did need him right then and there. He must have sent a text to one of the other DJs there because before I knew it another person had joined us in the booth and was taking over. I felt Park grab onto my hand.
“Let’s go back by the lockers and talk.”
I just nodded my head and let him lead the way through the crowd of people trying to make their way to the bar for their last drink. Once we past the employee door the music got quieter and he walked me over to the couch in the lounge room and sat me down.
“Spill Sarah, what happened?”
“I don’t even know if it really happened. If those words came out of his mouth. I mean yeah it did happen and he did say it but at the same time I can’t believe it did.”
“Sarah stop talking in circles and say it.”
“Park he asked me to go back with them! He told me he wants to help me become a singer. That he wants to put me on some tracks with the guys. That he only wants a year and at the end I could stay if things are good or go back home. I don’t know what to do. He is going to come back tomorrow to talk to dad about it. He said to think this over but he really wants me to say yes.”
Park shot up from his spot and paced around the room not saying anything. I could see the wheels turning in his head and I needed him to speak. It was hard enough on my own and I need him to shine some of his wisdom onto me.
“Park please stop moving and say something, I’m going crazy here.”
He stopped moving and sat on the coffee table directly across from me and grabbed my hands in his.
“Sarah, I don’t really know what to say right now. I don’t know if I can really trust this guy’s words. I mean we don’t really know him, who he really is. We only know what the media portrays him as and what he puts out there of himself. You would be so far away from us, what if something happened? Me and boss man wouldn’t be able to rush to you and help you. That’s what worries me. That we would have to put your life in the hands of strangers and just hope for the best. I only want what’s best for you. I know you love music and if he does help you I do believe he can make you into something. If you want this you know I will always be there to support you. If anything happens all you need to do is just say the word, one text or one call and I’m on the first plane there to put any punk in their place!”
“What about dad?”
“Don’t you worry about boss man, do you think I would let anything happen to him or this place. Me, Bobby, and Dave will hold down the fort while you are away. So what do you want to do?”
“I’m scarred, like really scarred but I want to do this. I don’t want to have any regrets in my life.”
“Then do it and live your life to its fullest potential.”
Park pulled me into a hug and I smiled, this is what I needed. I needed my friend to talk to and have him there to comfort me.
“Just don’t forget about me when you become all big and famous over there. Make sure you bring me out and introduce me to some of the cuties out there.”
I laughed and pushed him away and punched him in the shoulder.
“Always the player.”
We both laughed and said our good byes. I grabbed my bag from the locker and ordered my uber home. This was enough for the night and I was mentally exhausted and needed the comfort of my bed and blankets.
The next day I woke feeling the sun on my face and feeling a cool gentle breeze come through the room. The crisp air in my room made me burrow farther into my blankets pulling them closer and trying to wrap myself up in them. Call me crazy but I always had to sleep with my window open just a little bit until it got too cold in the year. I liked the noise from the street below, it helped me sleep. Yeah it sucked when the random drunk people would be yelling but for the most part my area wasn’t that crazy. The majority of the people in my area were older and it was either restaurant or little shops. I stayed in bed second guessing if I was making the right choice, still not 100% sure if this was going to end up ok. Before I could talk myself out of it I pushed the covers back and rolled out of bed. I did my normal morning routine of getting washed up and making my bed before I grabbed a breakfast sandwich and popped it in the microwave. I rarely ever sat down to eat an actual breakfast. Working late nights meant I often slept in and woke up too late to actually eat a well-rounded breakfast. I ate my sandwich and grabbed my helmet, bag and keys. It was supposed to be a nice day with no chance of rain, it only made sense to take my bike out since who knows when the next time I will have a chance to ride it.
I arrived a little after 12:30 and parked my bike in the lot. I took my helmet off and sat there on my bike looking up at the building. Just thinking back on the memories of my first time showing up here when I was 20. I was just needing a job and my neighbor below me knew of a place needing someone to do some cleaning before they opened every day. It was just after my parents passed away and I need something to help support me through my schooling. I was so happy boss man took me in and not only gave me a job but any time I was in a jam he was the one there to help me out. He quickly became the father I needed and the people her became the family I was missing. Now here I am about to say good bye and go off on my own adventure, I just hope I was making the right choice.
I walked into the club and saw the clean up crew and the set up staff working on making sure everything was perfect for tonight’s performance.
I looked over to the bar where my dad’s best friend and promoter Dave sat. I walked over to him and bumped shoulders.
“What’s up Dave, how’s things going here? Everything looking ok for tonight?”
“Of course, you know it. I have everything just about in order and it will only need the approval from the main guy on if he likes it.”
“Good to hear. Is my dad here?”
“Yeah he is in his office with the man of the hour.”
I gave him a pat on the back and walked towards the employee door. His office is on the second floor that is only accessible in the back. He liked being able to see everything going on in the club so it sat right in the back corner giving him the view of the whole club. I walked up the back stairs and stood at his door with my hand raised. I hesitated to knock, second guessing myself. I stepped back and stood against the wall playing with the ring my dad gave me on my 21st birthday, that’s when I started to call him dad outside of the working hours.
“Sarah sweetheart you always do this when you are nervous to tell me something.”
I didn’t even hear his office door open. I looked up and my father was standing there with such a warm smile on his face. He was right, whenever I was nervous to tell him something I would stand against this wall trying to build up the courage to knock on his door.
I walked up to him and gave him a big hug before I went into his office and he closed the door behind us. Sitting across from his desk was Jay Park dressed to the nines in some nice jeans and very nice dress shirt. I gave him a smile and sat down in the open chair next to him.
“Good afternoon Sarah.”
“Hey Jay, have a good night?”
“Yeah it was good, we went back to the hotel and watched a few movies.”
I smiled, crazy to believe that this party boy actually stayed home watching movies.
“So Sarah, Mr. Park here pitched an interesting idea to me. Says he wants to take my only daughter across the world and away from the only home she has ever known. Says he wants to help you with your music career and get your name out there. Mr. Park is only asking for a year, a year away from your family. This man who hasn’t even known you for 24 hours wants you to pack your things and board a plane with him to go on some kind of musical adventure. What do you think of this?”
I knew my dad wasn’t going to be very happy with this. I really was his only daughter, his wife and child died in child birth years ago. He can be overly protective at times but he only has my best interest at heart.
“Yeah he talked to me last night about it dad. I spent the night think this over and it was really hard to come to a decision.”
I paused taking some deep breaths and trying to calm my racing heart. I haven’t been this nervous since I told him I wanted to get my motorcycle license.
“Dad, I want to do this. I want to see what I can do. I know if I stay here I will end up in some office job or helping you with the business. It’s not that I don’t want to work with you but I really want to see what I can do with my passion.”
I looked at my dad and I swear this man has the best poker face, you can’t get anything from him.
“Sarah, could you go wait outside please. Let me have a little time to talk to Mr. Park here.”
I stood up and walked out the door and sat on the floor against the wall.
I heard the door close and was left alone with this man. I have been in many situations when I was pitching an idea, but I always knew that it would end well. Yet in this exact moment I had no idea how this was going to turn out. Mr. Kim is not someone I ever want to gamble with, I have been trying to read his face this whole time and I can’t get any kind of feel on him.
“It would seem that you have bewitched my daughter Mr. Park. My Sarah is very precious to me, she came in my club looking for any kind of work after her parents died. She was a small little thing that looked like the world would eat her whole if it had the chance. Over the years I have watched Sarah grow and become this smart, strong, beautiful young lady who would make any dad proud. I know Sarah has a passion for music, that girl is always dancing around here with a tune in in her heart. I don’t want to stand in the way but I also don’t want to see her get hurt.”
“Mr. Kim, I promise you she won’t get hurt. My company will make sure she is well taken care of.”
“I know you have the best intentions here with this offer Mr. Park. As a businessman, I want to trust you with your words. Yet as a father I don’t know if I can trust you. See my Sarah here hasn’t had much experience with men, she is a shy little thing. Pure as the day she was born, or that’s how I like to see her. That’s how any father would like to see their daughter. If I let you take my daughter back with you I need your word not as a businessman but as a MAN that you won’t let ANY harm come to my daughter. Not just in the physical sense but emotionally too. She is still too young to know the sting that comes with love. Can you promise me that?”
“Yes Mr. Kim, I can promise you that I will do everything in my power to keep her safe in all ways.”
“Then it looks like we have a deal.”
Mr. Kim stood and reached out his hand to shake on our agreement. I reached my hand out to meet his and we shook. Just as I was about to take my hand away he tightened his grip. I looked from my hand to his face and saw the most terrifying glare being directed at me.
“I hope we really do have an understand Mr. Park. If anything happens to my daughter you won’t have a single stone to hid under. I have friends and family all over the world Mr. Park, with one word from me and any pain you have ever felt before will have felt like a papercut compared to the pain I will make sure is inflicted on you.”
With the final threat, he released my hand back to me and smiled. Mr. Park the businessman had returned and the threatening father had retreated back inside.
“On your way out if you could please send my daughter in.”
With that I was dismissed and he sat back in his chair. I smiled and bowed before walking towards the door. I opened it and Sarah looked up at me with a worried expression on her face. I smiled to show everything was alright.
“Your father would like a word with you.”
She jumped up and walked over to me and we swapped places in the doorway.
“Close the door Sarah and come have a seat.”
The second she closed the door I let out a long breath and clenched my fist and opened it repeatedly trying to get circulation back in my hand. I now understood why she didn’t have a man in her life, her dad probably scared all of them away. I took one more glance at the door and then made my way downstairs to go over the final items for the show.
I walked over to my dad’s desk and sat across from him again. He was looking at a picture of us that we had taken last Christmas.
“I’m going to miss you this year. We won’t be together to take another one.”
I could feel a lump building in my throat when he said that. I was going to miss him so much.
“Who knows dad, I could maybe come back for the holidays.”
I tried to fight back the tears that were forming in my eyes and to swallow the lump that was starting to get bigger.
“I don’t think you will. You will be too busy with work and making your dream come true. The holidays won’t be the same without you here to keep an eye on your old man. Who’s going to make sure I don’t drink too much at the party?”
The tears I was holding back fell and the damn was opened. I got up from my chair and rushed to my dad and fell in his lap. I cried. I cried for the things I would miss. Not just the big things but the small things. Making sure he was taking his vitamins every morning. Making sure he was eating all three meals. Making sure he wasn’t picking up his nasty smoking habit again. I cried knowing we won’t be having a gangster movie marathon on thanksgiving. All of the things that became a routine in the past years won’t be there this year.
“Don’t cry Sarah. Everything will be ok.”
My dad held me while I cried and he rubbed my back.
“I won’t go dad, just say the word and I will stay. I can run the business and we can open another club.”
“No sweetheart, you need to do this. Don’t live your life with regrets.”
He pulled me away from him and brushed my tears away with his thumb. I tried to smile as best I could and to stop crying. Looking at the man through my blurry teary eyes I can see how old he has gotten the past few years. Now I was really starting to second guess this.
“Don’t turn back Sarah. Go. Go and make your dreams come true. Show them what you can do. If things don’t turn out well in a year then come home. If those boys pick on you then you better call me and I will make sure to set them straight. If a boy tries to pressure you in any way you better call me and I will make sure he is taken care of. If things go squirrely I want you to call me and I will come on the first plane to get you. I want you to live your life but I don’t want you hurt.”
I laughed at him and his jokes.
“I’m serious Sarah, you better call me if anything happens. I will always have my phone on.”
“What about the club? You can’t just take off.”
“Don’t you worry about the club, I can leave that in Dave’s hands if need be.”
“Don’t dad me. I want you to promise me that you will call me if anything happens.”
“I promise dad.”
I threw my arms around him and hugged him tight.
“Now that this topic is settled you best get downstairs and help with anything that is needed. I want to make sure all the orders are in and that the VIP rooms have everything they requested. After that I want you and Bobby to go over everything with the other bouncers. I want everything to be 110% on point tonight. There will be no room for errors with this event.”
I gave him a kiss on the cheek and hopped off his lap and walked out the door. I closed his office door and closed my eyes to collect myself. I walked downstairs and stopped by the washroom to splash some cold water on my face.
“You’re really doing this Sarah.”
I said to myself in the mirror. I grabbed the bottle of eye drops from inside the basket and dropped a couple of drops in each eye. No need to go out there and give it away that I was crying. Now that I was composed I set to my tasks. I did just as my dad asked. I made sure all the booze orders were in and the bar was well stocked. I made sure all the request for the VIP rooms were in order. I didn’t see Jay around so I figured he had given Dave the ok of everything. By the time everything was done with it was about 7, it was time to have a meeting with the bouncers for the night. Bobby met me at the stage and we waited for the rest of the team to assemble.
“Heard a rumor going around.”
“Oh a rumor? Anything good and juicy?”
“Yeah, sounds like you are leaving us Sarah.”
I looked at Bobby, amazed that word had already spread and its only been decided a few hours ago.
“Wow, that was quick.”
“Someone overheard boss man and Dave talking about it.”
“Yeah its true. I’m actually leaving tomorrow.”
“Man that’s crazy Sarah, but I wish you all the best.”
Bobby pulled me into one of his big bear hugs.
“Hey now hands off my woman!”
I pulled away to see Park standing next to Hua.
“Oh shut it Park.”
I laughed and walked off the stage to give him and Hua a hug.
“Hey girl, I heard you’re leaving.”
“Sure am Hua, I’m finally going on that adventure I always wanted to take.”
“Promise to be safe and to call or facetime me.”
“Of course, who else will I be able to complain to?”
Hua hugged me even tighter. I was really going to miss our girl sessions. I waved them off as the rest of the team had arrived and it was time for our meeting. We explained where everyone would be stationed. It was an all hands-on deck kind of night. We even have two police officers on hand in case of anything getting out of hand. Everyone was all set with their radios and in uniform for the night, except me. I ran back to the locker room and quickly changed. Just as I was walking back out my dad was walking down from his office.
“It’s just about time to open the doors. Let’s get everyone together really quick.”
“Sure thing boss man.”
We both laughed and walked back out and called for an all crew meeting. I walked with my dad to the stage and followed him up. On his right was Bobby and me on the left.
“Ok listen up here people, tonight is going to be jam packed to the walls with people. I don’t need anything going wrong so you all have to be on your game tonight. There will be no exceptions being made tonight. I want all pat downs and wandding done to the T. There are no second chances tonight, if someone acts up or something starts up then you need to get them out of here. I get things will be intense but people remember that we are here to give a good time but also to keep the customers safe. The police will be here if needed but it is up to us to make sure it doesn’t get to that point. Make sure to work together!”
Everyone nodded in approval and I just hopped nothing too crazy would happen.
“On another note, I know it’s already gotten out but I wanted to touch on this topic. This will be Sarah’s last night with us. She is growing up and leaving the nest to spread her wings and achieve everything she always wanted. I need everyone to keep this internal. This is not to be leaked out to anyone outside of this room. If I find out you are a leak and this info gets out I will terminate your employment. I doubt anyone would say anything and put Sarah in jeopardy, would they?”
My dad stared everyone down in that room to make sure they knew he wasn’t messing around. I want to say he was going overboard but he was right. This couldn’t get out right now, it would mess up Jay’s plans for me.
“Now that that’s settled everyone back to your station and let’s open the doors.”
Everyone hurried to where they were supposed to be. Me and Bobby as well hurried to where we needed to be. We were the ones in charge of making sure Jay and his team had everything they needed and that their security team was taken care of and was informed on everything. It was about 8pm and Jay and his crew were set to arrive at 8:30 and performing at 9.
“Of course I am, tonight is going to be great!”
“Not just about tonight but about you leaving.”
“To be honest Bobby, I’m fucking scared. I won’t have dad around or Park or Hua. I will be alone.”
“Just know that even if I’m thousands of miles away Sarah, I’m just a phone call away. If you are too scared to talk to your dad or if Park and Hua don’t pick up just call me. My phone will always be on and I will always answer for you.”
“Thanks Bobby, but hey who knew you were such a softie.”
I gave him a quick punch to the shoulder and we both had a good laugh.
“Just don’t go be telling the ladies that. A man has to protect his reputation still.”
At that I busted out laughing and Bobby’s phone chirped.
“They are 15min out. Let’s go meet them at the back door.”
We made our way to the back doors that would allow Jay and his crew access to the club and a direct shot to the backstage area that would house them until the performance was over. The backstage rooms weren’t as nice as the VVIP room since most of the people who came were locals and the bigger names only came to perform and were gone just as quick. Sure enough 15 minutes later and three escalades pulled up. The one in the front had security who jumped out and the truck pulled away. The one in the middle held Jay and Cha Cha. Once they were out their truck pulled off and the last truck pulled up and out jumped Gray and Loco.
“Good evening gentlemen, if you would follow me I will show you to the back-stage rooms.”
Jay, Gray, and Cha Cha followed closely behind Bobby with their security standing at attention. Loco was the straggler who held back to walk with me.
“Looks like we get to keep you Sarah.”
I shook my head and laughed at his joke.
“Looks like you got your wish after all.”
“Don’t worry, we will take good care of you. You just gained the best big brothers a girl could ever ask for!”
“Somehow I feel like you might be one of those big brothers who like to prank the baby sister.”
“It’s always in good fun. Don’t worry, I will hold off on my pranks until you get accustomed to things there.”
I thanked him and we finished our walk to the rooms in silence. Bobby opened the doors and allowed Jay and his team entry but stayed back to talk to his security detail. I entered the room and asked if they needed anything. Jay was sitting down in a chair with his earbuds in.
“I think we are all good here Sarah. Don’t worry about Jay, he is usually talkative but I think he is a bit nervous tonight. He wants to make a good impression on your old man.”
“It’s you two who should be relaxing and making sure you are all set. This is our last stop and your last chance to make an impression on the American fans.”
Jay stood and pointed at both Gray and Loco.
“Don’t worry so much Jay, me and Gray got this.”
Loco plopped down in the chair next to Jay and took a drink from a water bottle.
“Sarah can I talk to you for a second.”
We walked away from the group of guys and sat in some other chairs.
“So are you sure you want to do this. You can always back out.”
“No I want to do this Jay.”
“Ok, good to hear. So then tomorrow we are on a flight out at 3pm. Will that be enough time for you to pack? We got your ticket and everything.”
“Yeah that’s more than enough time to pack. Where will I be staying while I’m there?”
“When we first get there you will be staying at my place. I hope you’re ok with that? My apartment is the only one with a spare bedroom. We can look for a place for you later, it will just be easier to keep things on the down low. Plus you won’t know your way around so it will be best to have someone around you that knows the ins and outs of things there.”
“No that’s fine. I mean it’s not like this was planned out or anything.”
“We will take care of you so don’t worry too much. Things will be great and I promise you will have fun!”
I smiled and Jay got up to go be with the boys. A few minutes later Bobby came in to announce it was time. The guys got up and followed Bobby to behind the stage with their security team flanking them. I followed behind their team.
It was show time.