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The sound of Coldplay's "Adventure of a Lifetime" pierced the silent air, and Mark squinted his eyes, flailing his arm around wildly to snooze his alarm.

"Five more minutes," he mumbled before his eyes lazily closed again. He returned to his dream of skiing down slopes of cotton candy with candy cane skis, eating some of the sweets on the downward slope. And then a giant candy monster jumped out of nowhere and began shaking him.

"Wake up," the candy monster growled, Mark letting out a high-pitched scream, and the monster backed up, covering its ears. "This is definitely the last time I'm waking you up," the monster grumbled and gave Mark one final shove before retreating back to its bed.

Mark opened his eyes and turned his alarm off... and the fifteen others that were scheduled to go off after the first one. "Thanks Haechan," Mark winked at the "candy monster" who was now snoring peacefully.

He had plenty of time to get ready, and honestly, he could have woken up an hour later if he wanted to, but Mark liked to start his mornings getting ready with ease and writing a couple of lyrics just to get his mind going. He checked his calendar. Thankfully, there was nothing much planned for the day- just some simple exercise sessions, a dance rehearsal, and a block of time to work on lyrics for the next NCT 127 comeback. Usually, he was scrambling between the three NCT units and trying to keep all the choreographies and lyrics straight. It was a tough job, but he loved it. Music was not only his dream but also his passion. It just got tiring every once in a while.

Taeyong stumbled into the room, his shirt half on with a phone in his outstretched hand. "Mark, it's for you," he tossed him the phone, and the younger fumbled for it before answering with a sleepy "hello."

"Mark? Hey, this is Manager Kim. I didn't wake you up, did I?" Manager Kim sounded slightly apologetic on the other end of the phone.

You definitely woke up Taeyong Mark thought, but replied with a small "no."

"That's a relief. So I called because I want to discuss some very important business with you. It's about your busy schedules and relieving a little of that pressure. The meeting will be today afternoon, so your lyric writing time will be cut ten minutes short. Is that alright?"

"Not a problem, Manager Kim," Mark grinned although he was slightly nervous. He was worried by what Manager Kim meant by "relieving a little of that pressure." Was he going to be pulled out of a unit? He was turning nineteen in a couple of months, and as soon as he did, he'd be pulled out of Dream. Were they taking him out early?

"What was that about?" Haechan asked, now sitting up.

"I'm apparently meeting Manager Kim later today to talk about my schedule," Mark frowned.

"Well, first things first, you should put on a shirt before you go work out," Haechan smirked, tossing him a t-shirt.

"I mean, it's not like girls like me, anyways," Mark awkwardly laughed, but it pained him a little to speak the truth. The rest of NCT had so many female followers, not like Mark needed them, but it'd be nice to get a little recognition. He kinda felt like all his work was going down the drain. Besides himself, who was he performing for? Who was he practicing hours and hours for?

Shaking those useless thoughts out of his head, Mark changed into some athletic shorts and grabbed his blue water bottle from his duffel bag. Before leaving, Mark turned his head back to look at his roommate. "Wanna join me?"

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