From the high-speed elevator, everything was visible. Going higher and higher, feeling higher than the sun. The hot glass seared IA's skin as the elevator climbed the steps of the atmosphere, its frame shaking in the nonexistent wind.
What does is feel like, to ascend the ladder of the sky? her mind asked her. She closed her round, blue eyes. It, it feels wonderful.
IA smiled when she thought this, and pressed her face into the glass. What a marvelous feeling, to scale the edge of a towering building and stare over into the brink of darkness, broken up by a million blinking lights. It was a diorama of blackness and shadows that reached long and high, swallowing the freezing white of daylight in a flood of ethereal darkness. IA looked out from the glass elevator and saw a city far below her, its lights gleaming in the moonlight. Her blue eyes widened in their sockets; she was in awe.
Yes, she was in awe, but she could never say that to anyone. After all, a celebrity was not supposed to be awed by anything, nothing should ever surprise them. And that's what she was, a celebrity, a successful person in a surprisingly success-less world. It wasn't for the money or the fame, just the success.
And that's what I am, she thought, successful.
IA felt a shudder of conceit go up her spine. Her eyes closed, her hands curling into fists against the glass. The signature black half-shirt slid down her shoulders, revealing her flawless skin, her thin form, the black tattoo drawn in a curvy way, a shattered diamond with the lines, 'Gonna live, gonna fly. Gonna fail, gonna die' written across it. On the back of her neck was another tattoo, a simple number, the number three.
"Beautiful, isn't it?" a voice said quietly.
IA started and turned around. Behind her was one of her backup dancers, leaning against the glass. He looked up at her through his blonde hair, a small smile on his pale face.
"What?" IA spat.
"The city," he explained. "It's very beautiful tonight."
"I guess." Her voice was softer than usual, lacking its typical mechanized tone.
That's how they described her on the television and radio. "A talented singer, but she's so stiff!"—"Exactly, she walks and talks like she's a machine or something. No personality, completely un-relatable."—"And everyone knows who she's compared to! Luka Megu—"
"Shut up," IA growled, slamming her fists into the glass.
"Uh, Miss IA?" The backup dancer was standing up, hands behind his back, his bright blue eyes filled with concern. "Are you ok?"
The fists became limp hands that fell loosely to her side. She took a deep breath. "Yeah, yeah, I'm fine."
But you don't sound fine, pull yourself together! Who cares about that stupid, pink haired, overrated—
IA's train of thought was fractured by the unfeeling elevator voice. She took another deep breath and patted down her hair, trying to subdue that annoying flyaway that never seemed to lie flat. Being who she was, she needed to look calm and properly put together, like a jigsaw puzzle assembled by a perfectionist.
"Thanks for the escort," she said casually to the backup dancer. "See you at tomorrow's show."
"Have a good night, Miss IA," he replied, bowing slowly. He smiled, then pressed the button for the first floor and watched the doors close.
Well, almost close. At the last possible second, IA jammed her arm between the silver doors. They immediately slid back, disappearing like shadows, and she was left standing there, breathing heavily, glaring at her backup dancer.
The reality of breathing no longer existed as she stared down at him. He was so pretty; he stole her breath away every time those blonde locks fell in front of his sky blue eyes. A strong wind was blowing outside, shaking the glass elevator. IA blinked, and her fake self, that mask she wore in front of the real world, vanished just like the wind. The world's presence was no longer relevant, so she turned her attention to the backup dancer that stood expressionless against the glass.
She beckoned with her index finger. "Come here, Len."
He sighed. "Again? Miss IA, I should really be getting back to my room." He shuffled his feet awkwardly, staring at the transparent floor. "I promised my sister I would call her tonight, we haven't talked in forever."
"Please?" IA whispered. Her eyes were wide and glistening, her hair strung across her face, she looked like a child.
"Miss IA…" Len started, "this isn't real. We aren't really together." His voice was quiet, almost inaudible.
"But we are Len, in here." She pointed to her head. "Isn't it fine if it's just in my dreams?"
Len sighed again, and walked towards his singer, his leader, his mistress of music. Inside his mind he could just picture his sister, Rin, sitting by the phone in her apartment, waiting all night for a call that would never come. "As you wish, Miss IA."
IA took his hand, wrapping her fingers around his. She brought his limp body towards her, like he was just some lifeless puppet on invisible strings. Brushing back the golden bangs, staring into the deep blue eyes that did not stare back, she bent over and pressed her lips against his neck.
"What has been repeating is not our dream," she sang under her breath, "but the unmistakably realistic 'we'."
There will never be a 'we,' Len thought. But he didn't say anything; he just stood there as IA kissed his neck, pulled at his hair, wrapped her arms around his body and held him tight.
But when her soft, candied lips met his, he couldn't help but kiss back. Her long blonde hair tinged with pink beneath the penthouse lights, she was as beautiful as ever. It wasn't right, she was just using him, he knew that. Still, he couldn't just leave her up here, all alone. The stress, the criticism and comparisons would drive her mad. No, she needed him, and that was enough to make Len stay.
A/N: My dear reader, I hope you enjoyed the first chapter. Thanks for clicking on this story! If you feel compelled to do so, please leave a review :).