Side Effects

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The weeks following the fan meeting, Rose tried to keep herself as busy as possible at work. This was difficult sometimes, since the company's biggest act, ATEEZ, was still on tour. She felt more like an assistant than she usually did, and she couldn't wait for the day that she became a full-time makeup artist.

Something that had become an unexpected part of her day was the messages from Felix. Rose wasn't sure what she had thought when the Idol had asked her for her number, but she had been surprised the first time he contacted her. Yet, it couldn't be considered a distraction as the young Australian often reminded her of his older counterpart, and that was without including all the times that Felix had talked about his beloved leader.

Rose wasn't sure what had been thinking when she had invited Felix over for dinner. In a way, it was all her fault as she had been reluctant to meet up with the Idol in public. Working in the entertainment business she knew how important an Idol's reputation was and she didn't want to do anything to risk Felix's, or Stray Kids's, career.

In the end, she had wanted the young Idol to at least have one decent meal whilst his group was busy preparing for their comeback. Rose had made sure to swear Felix to silence about any details as she wanted to be completed surprised like the rest of STAY when the content dropped. Although he had only had enough time to stay for dinner, he had much appreciated the homecooked meal. Sometimes Rose felt like a mother with all the young Idols she seemed to always be looking after, especially now that she was expanding outside of ATEEZ.

When ATEEZ finally arrived back from their tour, Rose didn't know whether she was smiling because she was happy to see them, or because of how happy they were as they told her all about their travels.

"We had so much fun, Noona!"

"So many ATINY came to see us!"

"I miss their screams already."

Before Hongjoong could ask her about how her plan went, privately, Wooyoung spoke up.

"So, Noona, do you have any good news to tell us?"

It didn't escape Rose's notice that the young dancer was looking at her expectantly as if he was expecting her to say something in particular. At the time, she had been distracted by everything else that she hadn't analysed exactly why Wooyoung would have asked his friend for a favour like this. His currently knowing and smug expression gave her a hint that he somehow knew more than she thought.

Since she knew that Hongjoong would never have shared her secret, perhaps it was possible that she hadn't hidden it as well as she thought. Whatever the reason, whatever Wooyoung had been expecting to happen hadn't, and Rose didn't feel like sharing the details of that day with him.

"No, nothing interesting happened here. I just waited around for my favourite boys to come home."

"Aww, Noona, you really missed us that much?"

"Of course, I -"

"Really? Nothing happened while we were gone? Didn't you go to Stray Kids' fan meeting?"

Rose had watched Hongjoong's frustration grow every time he had to try and get Wooyoung to behave. She was well versed in his methods. Her no-nonsense personality and unphased exterior annoyed him, but also generally stopped him from misbehaving around her.

"Yes... oh, and Changbin says you owe him one."

"I owe him! More like he owes me! So, what happened? You got to meet everyone?"

Wooyoung was very determined. He knew something had happened since Changbin had asked him for Rose's number, but he didn't know what since his friend wouldn't reveal anything on the phone. It didn't make sense that she wasn't telling them that she had met her soulmate, and he wanted to know why she was still hiding it. After all, it was his plan that had allowed her to finally meet Bang Chan.

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