Miles Away

BY : CrysMarie2oo5
Category: Singers/Bands/Musicians > SHINee
Dragon prints: 528
Disclaimer: I do not know the individual members of SHINee. This is a work of fiction, I do not write for monetary or status gain. I write only for myself and if you happen to enjoy it that's great!

-April 15th, 2013-

I was nervous. Okay scratch that, I was really nervous. Today marked the day that all five of us in SHINee were going to 5 different locations in the United States. SM thought it would give us better perspective about American life if we weren’t together and were forced to make friends and blend in the American culture. If we stuck together, our manager feared that it would only hinder our progress with learning English. I honestly felt like SM had thrown us to the wolves. We had just taken a month of English classes, and we weren’t allowed to talk Korean until we were in the privacy of our hotel room.

Americans are individualistic…they teach individuality is a great thing and stress that each person find their own unique talents. I looked around the airport to see lots of individual people, different clothes, different hairstyles; some with tattoos and piercings, while others were trimmed and clean looking. Most wore casual clothing, with a few people in business suits and dresses. I felt like I didn’t belong here. I felt like we didn’t belong here. 

We sat in the airport terminal at LaGuardia in New York City. Our manager finally revealed our locations yesterday, and to be honest, I wasn’t thrilled. I would be going to a small town called Minot, in North Dakota. I had done my research, it was called the Magic City because of the boom in population during the prohibition era. I would be getting interview tomorrow by a woman named Ana Deise. At least that’s what the paper that manager Choi gave me said. Our individual contracts were bid upon and the money went to SM. It was the way SM handled their over-seas contracts…but at least we would be getting paid for working here. We would be able to use our own money to pay for any boarding, food, and anything else we wanted. We just had to behave. That’s how I understood it.

 All of us were standing in the middle of Concourse D, exchanging looks on who would be departing us first. Taemin came to say goodbye, he got to stay here, lucky kid. Key was going to Chicago, and Jinki was leaving for Texas. Jonghyun was leaving for Los Angeles.

“Flight 324 departing for Chicago is now boarding…”  That was Key and Jinki’s flight. Key and Jinki got their luggage together. We all exchanged hugs and joked around with them as they left our group and boarded the flight. A strange silence fell upon us again and I looked at Jonghyun. We would be boarding the same flight to Salt Lake City, I didn’t think it would be much longer before we were to leave.

“I’m gonna miss all you guys but I’m kind of excited as to what’s going to happen in the next year.” Taemin said, interrupting the strange silence that had fallen while looking at both Jonghyun and I. “What about you guys?”

“I think this was needed.” Jonghyun said, as he looked at me, noticing my silence. “What are you thinking about Minho?”

“To be honest, I’m nervous. I’m in a country where I barely understand the language and I’m going to a place I’ve never been to and I don’t know if I’ll make many friends.” I said being perfectly honest with both Taemin and Jonghyun. Both of them offered words are encouragement when a flight was announced over the overhead.

“Flight 533 going to Salt Lake City is now boarding for departure.” Jonghyun and I got our luggage together at began heading for our gate, Taemin followed us.

“Minho, I’m gonna miss you,” Taemin said as his arms enveloped my waist. I gave a reassuring kiss on his forehead. “don’t forget to call when you land.”

“Taemin you’ve always been like a little brother to me. You’ll be fine, I promise. I‘ll call when I land okay?” I said, trying to reassure the youngest member of our group. He nodded and dislodged from me, giving Jonghyun a hug. Jonghyun said some pleasantries before letting go of the maknae.

“Have a safe flight you guys, love you! SHINee fighting!” Taemin said waving at us one last time before walking out of sight.

Jonghyun and I glanced at each other one last time before boarding our flight, not knowing what lay ahead for us.


-Four Hours Later-


I had to bid goodbye to Jonghyun. His flight left out of a different concourse than mine did, our flight was late due to hitting turbulence on the way. After another hour of waiting, my flight to Minot was finally ready to board. Just another couple of hours and you’ll be able to sleep in a real bed.

It was twenty past nine when I arrived in Minot. It was so cold when I stepped outside that I could see my breath. I had not quite prepared for the cold weather. I was tired from all the traveling. I dug out my itinerary and called the hotel that I was set up at.

I would be staying at the Mainstay Suites, and I was going to be working at the Magic City Inn granted if everything went well with the interview.  I needed to go to bed so that I could be ready for an early day tomorrow. I really didn’t know when I’d have time to get settled.

The next couple of days were a blur. I rented a car from Enterprise so I could get around town for the time being. My interview went well, and I met my supervisor Ana. I learned that I was going to earn $12 an hour. I converted it to won…it was over 13,000 w/hr. The typical working day here was 8 hours, so that calculated to $96…which was…I calculated it again.  It was nearly 107,000 won! I hoped that the prices were the same as they were in Korea. I was excited for my new job and felt that I was going to immensely enjoy the work. The duties were general upkeep of the property, since I still had to get a temporary US driver's license. Until that point, I wouldn’t be able to drive the shuttle.

I sent a text to my hyungs, and Taemin letting them know I was safe, and I had secured my job. The hyungs asked me how much I was getting paid, but I was curious to see what they would say so I told them I would tell if they told me first. Jinki was getting paid $20/ hour being a ranch hand in Texas. It was a lot of manual labor and I asked him if he was up for the hours and the physicality of such a job. He said no, but he would get used to it, he would have to.

Key hyung told me he was getting paid $8.50/hour while he was training at a 5 star restaurant, then he would take a cut in pay but would make tips if he did well. I knew he would do well at that job. He loved taking care of people, whether he realized it or not. I felt it would be a good fit for him.

Jonghyun hyung said he was getting paid $10.75/hr working as a sushi chef at a Japanese sushi bar in Los Angeles. He found out that it was in fact Koreans who ran the place. I asked him if he was prepared for such a position. He told me no, but had a willingness to learn.

Taemin…Taemin wouldn’t tell me what he was doing. I told him what I was doing and how much I was getting paid, but wouldn’t go into specifics on what he was doing. Perhaps he didn’t get his assignment just yet.


-April 21st, 2013-


I dressed in a black turtleneck and black skinny jeans seeing as that it was chilly in North Dakota that Wednesday morning. I pressed the key button on the remote for the car and I saw the car begin to run. The exhaust was visible so I knew it had to be cold. I looked at the temperature on weather broadcast that was playing on the TV and Seoul was a mild 14C compared to the 14F it was here. I let out a breath as I slid on my jacket. I exited my room and made my way downstairs to the outdoors when my phone rang, and I looked at the caller ID and saw it was Jinki-hyung. So I answered while getting into the rental car.

“Hey Minho, how are you?”

“I’m about to start my new job, how are you doing?”

“I’m doing fine, I just miss you guys already.”

“I miss everyone too…I will need to drive now, is there anything you needed to talk about?” I asked, my breath fogging up the windshield in front of me. A shiver ran through me from the bitter cold.

“No. I just wanted to see how you were doing. I will call tonight. Goodbye.” Jinki said, before hanging up, not allowing me a chance to say goodbye to him. My eyes bore holes into the screen of my phone as if it was Jinki hyung. Then I snapped out of it and put the lukewarm car into reverse and backed out of the parking space.

I drove to the Magic City Inn with the guy on the radio talking about Lady Gaga and Beyonce. Ugh, who cares?

I parked in the parking lot, reminding myself that I needed to get the car back tomorrow. I got out of the car and I looked over to see a young woman getting out of the car next to me. She looked a bit older than myself, but I couldn’t be sure. Her eyes met mine briefly. Her facial structure was very nice, and pleasant to look at, she also had almond shaped brown eyes. She wasn’t strikingly beautiful or drop dead gorgeous, but she was pretty in her own right. She flashed a smile and her teeth were slightly crooked but didn’t detract from the natural beauty of her face. She began walking away from me. I studied her as she was walking away. Her brown hair was tied up in a loose ponytail.

She was one of the bigger women I had seen in my life. She was heavier set, but you could tell she was losing weight, the way her pants sagged down and the way she kept pulling them up told me she was once bigger than what she was now.

She was really the first American I had come across up close. It was a culture shock for me and I couldn’t help but notice subtle and not-so subtle differences between her and the women in Korea…oh what the hell am I saying?…she’s completely different…

I checked my watch and noticed that I had five minutes to head inside. I made it to the automatic doors first as I glanced at the counter and saw three women standing there, Ana, my supervisor, being among them.

“Annyeonghaseyo, hello!” I said offering my hand out to Ana who gratefully shook it.

“Oh there you are….how are you doing Minho?” Ana asked, her eyes meeting mine. She was super short, I couldn’t get used to how short she was. She literally came up to the bottom of my chest.

“I am doing good, noona. Ready to go to work.” I said looking over to the ladies and bowing to them. “Good afternoon noonas.”

“Ah, yes, Minho that’s Sarah.” Ana said pointing to the taller girl with the straightened dark burgundy hair.  Sarah turned red, and said a meager ‘hello’. “And that is Alexis.” Ana said, pointing to the black girl who had a huge smile on her face.

“Hey Minho,” Alexis said, wiggling her fingers at me.

“Annyeonghaseyo noonas…”

“Okay! Come with me, I have a uniform that might fit you.” Ana said, she pushed herself off the counter and ushered me into what looked like the laundry room. She quickly showed me the code to get into the laundry room. We went into what I assumed as her office and she got out a uniform. It was a teal checkered shirt and khaki pants.

“Thank you noona, where would be a place where can I change into this?” I said, eyeing the simple uniform.

“That room right there,” She pointed at a room that I had not initially seen coming in. “…there’s a small bathroom inside, just take a right and you’ll see it.” Ana said, rolling her eyes as her walkie-talkie began barking her name. She unclipped it and pressed the talk button. “Be there in a minute Jen.” She said, she then looked at me. “Ask the front desk to find Tom, he’ll be handling your training today.” Ana said looking up at Minho. She was so short compared to me. It was like looking down at a midget. “I have to go see what Jen wants. I’ll talk to you before I leave okay Minho?”

“Okay noona…” I said looking at her and nodding. I followed her out of the room and went into the break room to come face to face with a female employee in a front desk uniform. I realized it was the woman I had watched walk inside. I felt my cheeks burn with embarrassment.

“Hello.” I said, my eyes meeting hers for split moment and a small smile lining my features. I scanned the room and saw the door Ana was referring to.

“Hello!” She said, as I felt her eyes following me. I entered the bathroom and locked the door before changing out of my current clothes and into my work uniform. When I finally got dressed in my new work uniform, I opened the door, half expecting that woman to still be there, she wasn’t however. I glanced inside Ana’s office and Ana was back. As if having eyes on the back of her head, she turned around and saw me.

“Ana, where can I put these?” I asked, holding up my clothes.  Ana grabbed the clothes out of my hand.

“Oh, I’ll keep them in here. The front desk has the key, speaking of which, Crystal should have come on already. Why don’t you go talk to her, she’ll call Tom for you since the both of you work the same shift.”

“Okay Ana, thank you.” I said bowing to her before leaving her. I walked out of the laundry room and made my way back to the main lobby area to see the same woman I saw walk in and the black woman I briefly greeted standing behind the receptionist’s desk. The black girl walked away from the desk bidding her goodbyes to her co-worker who was coming on.  I began making my way over to her when I realized, that I forgot her name. My heart began to race. Why was I nervous? She does have a name badge right? I hope so.

She looked up from the computer and our eyes met. She flashed a smile, and I thought I was going to faint. What was wrong with me?

“Excuse me,” I said, my eyes leaving hers and went right to her chest which was very nice. I bet they’d feel really nice in my…oh God, I shuddered at my own thoughts. Minho look at the name badge. I coached myself as I leaned in unable to make out the name on her badge. Her scarf was in the way.

She looked down as if reading my mind and pushed the scarf out of the way.  That’s right her name was Crystal. Aigoo I’m such a pervert. I finally looked up at her. My eyes decided not to listen as once again I was staring at her chest. Her breasts look nice in that shirtI suppose it wouldn’t hurt to indulge little longer...

“How…” My eyes met hers and I could tell she was flustered. Her cheeks were red. How I loved doing this to women. I went for the clueless role. “How do you say it?” I asked, my eyes meeting hers again with curiosity.

“Crystal.” She said her eyes meeting mine again. She had such beautiful brown eyes. So much color and life in them.

“Crryysssttttaaalllll?” I said, repeating after her. Man I was milking it for all it was worth. She nodded. At least I wouldn’t be working alone. I would have her to keep me company while I worked.

“Crystal, where is….Tom.” I spit out, trying to remember the guy’s name who would be training me.

“Oh you’re looking for Tom. Hold on one second and let me page him.” She said, clumsily grabbing the walkie-talkie, but she kept dropping it. I figured it was enough of playing games with the poor woman who I was heckling. She looked up at me as she paged Tom before her eyes landed on an invisible bug on her desk.  I felt a small smile appear on my face.

“Tom? What’s your position?”

“I’m in the kitchen…”

“Okay um…” She then looked at me. “What your name?” I had forgotten to give her my name. Great one, you ogle the poor woman’s chest to get her name but don’t give her yours? Your mother wouldn’t be proud of you.

“My name? My name is Choi…Choi Minho…” Crap, I just said it how I would in South Korea. It’s reversed here.

“Can I call you Minho?”

“Yes. You may.” I said, offering her full smile.  I think I’m blushing.

“Tom, Minho is looking for you, want me to send him your way?” She asked talking into the walkie-talkie. Her and I patiently waited for a response. My heart was still pounding in my chest it was torture standing in front of her like this.

“No Crystal, I’ll be there in a sec.”  Came the reply.

“Okay.” She replied back placing the walkie-talkie back on the charger. Her eyes eyed me, then looked back down at her desk. I could tell she was thinking of something.

“So Minho, where are you from?” She suddenly asked. My eyes met hers.

“South Korea.”

“Where in South Korea?” She asked again. Had she been to South Korea?

“Seoul.” Came my response. She was certainly full of questions.

“What brings you here?” She asked me again.  I wasn’t exactly sure what she was asking however. So I figured it was best to clarify.

“Here? As in the U,S.?” I asked, wow, even I heard my accent on that one.

“Yeah,” She agreed.

“I’m a part of a contract, I spend one year in the U.S. I'll learn English better, and get accustomed to American way of life.” I said simply, my eyes meeting hers again. Then her gaze shifted, instead of looking at me, she was looking behind me.

“That sounds nice, we’ll have to talk more. I might be able to teach you a thing or two…” She said, as she trailed off the conversation by shuffling some papers on her desk.

“Sounds nice.” I said a full smile coming to my face. 

“Mr.Choi!” I heard from behind me causing me to jump a bit at the voice. Ana must have told him who he was training today. He came and stood beside me by the desk as he gazed at Crystal who finally looked up from her papers up at Tom. “Did you come on at three, Crystal?” He asked.

“As always Tom. You should know this by now, we’ve only been working together for 10 months.” She said, rolling her eyes at the man. I unintentionally let out a small snort of amusement.  Crystal’s gaze met mine.

“How late do you work Minho?” She asked me. There goes my heart racing again.

“Um…eight hours from now…” I said, suddenly having the urge to find some kind of clock.

“Oh you’re working the 3-11 too, like me.” She said, looking at me again. Our eyes met again and I nodded. 

“Very nice, talk to you later then.” I said looking at him. “Nice meeting you Minho.” She said, as she got back to what she was doing.

“Nice meeting you too Crystal.” I said waving at Crystal and following Tom.

I learned how to check the pool water, and other duties that a houseman is supposed to do. Before Tom left at nine, he had a list of duties I was to complete before my shift ended at 11pm, but I wanted to get to know Crystal a little better.


-9:15 pm-


I was mopping the lobby and Crystal’s manager, Jayleanne, my trainer Tom had left a few minutes ago, so it was just Crystal and I until 11pm. I figured now might be as good of a time as any to get to know Crystal, although upon first glance it looked like she was preoccupied. I continued mopping, deciding not to talk to her until I heard a very familiar song playing faintly on the computer speakers. It was Lucifer! I stopped mopping and looked over at Crystal, as I began singing along with it. I couldn’t help it really. It was one of our favorites and we had performed it a bazillion times.

“Hey Minho, have you heard of this group? They’re from South Korea just like you.” Crystal said her eyes meeting mine. I made my way over to her, I wanted to be in close proximity to me when I dropped the bombshell. So I walked around the desk to stand directly behind her. I could feel the body heat radiate off of her I was merely inches away from her. My heart was racing now, from nervous.

“Crystal. You listen to this group?” I asked, I could hear her suck in a breath, keeping my voice barely above a whisper. She nodded as she continued to sing to the lyrics.  I had to admit she had a beautiful voice. I could say I wasn’t expecting that to come from her. I decided to give her some room. I had already taken her by surprise by getting so close to her, I wasn’t about to push my luck.

“So you know who I am then.” I said stepping to the side and looking at her. She nodded, looking nervous. Honestly, it was a cute look on her. “Good voice.” I purred, my eyes meeting hers again.

“Thank you, I knew when I first saw you in the break room.” I nodded, understanding her reaction when she saw me earlier. I leaned against the desk. “What I don’t understand is…what are you doing here, in butt-fuck North Dakota and where are the rest of SHINee?”

“We're preparing for an English crossover album. Jonghyun is in California, working at a sushi restaurant, Jinki is in Texas, working at a ranch, Taemin is in New York, not sure how he is, and Key is in Chicago, working as a waiter.” I explained. I should’ve paid more attention in those English seminars a couple of months ago. She nodded, seeming to understand.

“What are you doing here? Besides learning English?” She asked. I looked at her and gave her a small smile.

“Well as you can see, my English is much better, but I still need improvement. We are here to learn how Americans live and record a English album.” I said my eyes meeting hers. I’m so nervous. I think I made her nervous too.

“How about we play a game? I’ll start. How old are you Crystal?”

“I’m 25, same question to you.”

“I’m 21 here, but 22 in South Korea. Favorite member in SHINee?”

“Well seeing as that I’ve only met you in person, I’d have to say you wouldn’t I?” I blushed, yes, I was suave but still didn’t know how to take a compliment.

“Thank you,” I said graciously. I remember that I had to finish mopping before doing the pool reading at 10pm. I pushed off the counter and grabbed the mop and began mopping. “Favorite American music artist?” I asked our eyes meeting briefly.

“Oh, you would have to ask that. it’s a tie between Brandy and Michael Jackson. Yours?”

“Michael Jackson? I love him. I would have to say him as well. Favorite thing to do when by yourself?”

“Write music or dance. You?”

“Play video games and dance.” Both of us laughed. “We are too alike.” It was true, we shared many things that I wasn’t expecting.

“Agreed.” Crystal said our eyes meeting again. A moment of silence passed by…I gonna go for it, I’m gonna see if she has plans after work. I’d love to get to know her.

“What are you doing after work?” It left my mouth as soon as it crossed my mind.

“I’m probably going to go workout for a couple of hours? You?” Work out? Oh yes, another favorite past time for me. Didn’t know such a small town would have such amenities.

“There’s gyms here?” I asked, still in shock.

“Yeah. Minot may seem like its in the middle of nowhere but we have all kinds of amenities here. Including 24 hour gyms.”  Crystal said as she began clearing off her desk. I could feel her eyes on me. Would I be appropriate to ask…

“Can I come with you? I want to check out this gym.” I asked as I stopped mopping for a moment, my eyes meeting hers. I slapped myself mentally. Aigoo…

“Sure, I don’t have a problem with that.” I heard her say. I became psyched at the idea of working out in so long. This is what I really needed, but I never meant to impose.

“Cool.” I said trying to keep my composure as I continued to mop the floor. Crystal walked away, I couldn’t help watch her. Something about her was different, and I could tell, she could help me get more acquainted with the American way of life.  I was excited and couldn’t wait for what was to come in less than an hour.

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