1

June knew he didn't get to showcase his best vocal ability due to the shakiness of his voice.

Thinking about his father while singing definitely compromised his S-tier vocal ability.

Nonetheless, despite these slip-ups, he felt like his performance was still decent.

He didn't know if it would appease the legendary Lee Sik, but June inferred he needed some confidence to show he was worthy of being part of the line-up.

Everybody watched Lee Sik, gauging his reaction. However, his face remained blank as he stared at June.

Then, he stood up.

"Get ready for the last practice," he said, not answering June's question.

However, June already knew the answer, causing him to smirk.

Mimi clapped excitedly as June made his way down the stage. Nico scoffed while Tres merely smiled in acceptance. Xion, like Lee Sik, also has an unreadable expression.

They all assembled in a line with Lee Sik in the very center, and they prepared for their very last rehearsal.

June, despite not having many lines, was able to stand out in those few lines.

Lee Sik couldn't help but watch him more closely every time he sang, and that made the others more competitive for Lee Sik's attention, too.

In turn, their performance was maximized to the very best. They practiced until late in the afternoon, and even though June merely joined on the very last rehearsal, he didn't fall behind the other idols.

"Umm," Mimi said, scratching the back of her neck. "Can I have your number?" she asked.

She felt like her heart was going to explode with the nervousness she was feeling. Since this morning, she had wanted to ask for June's number, and now, she finally got the courage to ask him.

"Oh, sure," June said, typing his number into her phone.

Mimi's cheeks heated up as June gave her back her phone. Mimi quickly saved it as 'Idol <3' and giddily placed her phone back into her pocket.

"I just texted you," Mimi said with a wide smile.

June brought out his phone and nodded. "Ah, yes. I received it. I'll save your number right now."

Mimi's heart raced as she watched June save her number in his contacts. She pursed her lips, anticipating the contact name he would give her.

Will it be something cute?

Or will he add a heart emoji similar to what she did?

However, her fantasies were quickly shattered when she caught a peek at her contact name.

'Senior Mimi.'

Disappointed struck Mimi, causing her to freeze on the spot.

Nico watched their exchange from the side with flared nostrils, and when he had enough, he quickly held onto her wrist.

"Let's eat dinner together," he said.

Mimi clicked her tongue. "Eat dinner by yourself."

Nico smirked he continued holding onto her wrist.

"My manager told me that your manager is joining in for dinner, so you don't have a choice," he teased.

Mimi groaned and let herself get dragged away by the annoying BOYMYSTIC member.

Tres left at the earliest since OCTA had a schedule for another music festival.

Meanwhile, Xion didn't bother greeting June and left by himself after saying farewell to Mr. Lee Sik.

June bowed at Lee Sik in gratitude. "Thank you for today, senior," he said before turning to the door to leave the room.

However, Lee Sik's voice made him halt before he could leave.

"June," Lee Sik said.

June turned around, confused by his sudden call.

"Yes, sir?"

Only the two of them were left inside the practice room, the lights illuminating the otherwise dim room.

Lee Sik sat on one of the seats and then pulled another chair close to him. He then patted the said chair.

"Let's talk for a moment."

June raised his eyebrows in confusion. Even so, he followed Lee Sik's instructions and sat on the chair next to him.

The two of them were stuck in awkward silence before Lee Sik cleared his throat and started the conversation.

"I sincerely apologize for my hostility a while ago," he said. "It was just a test of mine since I want this performance to be as perfect as possible."

June softly smiled. "It's alright, senior. I understand."

Then, the two of them were engulfed in silence once more.

"Do you know why I wrote this song?" Lee Sik suddenly asked.

June turned to him and hummed. "I don't know much about the history of the song. However, it must be from your personal experiences. A song like this can only be written by a person who has experienced it."

Lee Sik chuckled. "As expected, you're very sharp."

"Indeed, I wrote this song when I was 14 years old," Lee Sik continued.

June's eyes widened. "14? You've been talented with writing since you were young then."

Lee Sik smiled. "You're flattering me, young man."

"I'm just telling the truth," June said.

"I think you're wrong, though," Lee Sik countered his claim. "I wasn't a talented writer when I was younger. I just wrote what I felt…and I think that's what made my writing good."

"Not a lot of people can write their feelings well," June said. "In that sense, you're a talented writer."

"You seem like a pretty stubborn person, so I'll take the compliment well," Lee Sik chuckled.

June merely smiled.

"Well, as I was saying, I wrote this song when I was younger—when I truly resented my father. Did you know? I only performed this song live once in my entire life."

June was surprised. He thought Lee Sik would have performed his hit song more than a hundred times now.

"I know it's surprising, but it's the truth," Lee Sik continued. "The song hurt too much for me to sing, and when my father…the subject of this song died, I felt like an evil person for even thinking of singing it when he was already dead."

June nodded in understanding.

He, too, felt guilty whenever he felt resentment for his father, who was probably burning in hell already.

"So, ever since my father died, I started writing…and I was able to write this," he said, handing June a crumpled piece of paper.

June's eyebrows furrowed as he carefully unraveled the piece of paper and read the contents inside. It was a draft—a very rough one, but June felt the pain hidden behind the words written on the crumpled paper.

"I wanted to show this verse to the rest of the world. However, during the audition process for this special performance, I couldn't find the right voice to sing it. In the end, I decided to keep it to myself until I find the right person."

June raised his head and finally met eyes with Lee Sik.

"But I think I've found him now."