~10~

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A/N: My heart hurt writing this chapter.  Good luck getting through this one!

~~~

"I think I understand," Mark smiled at Daniel. "Thanks for your help."

Daniel winked. "Anytime, bro. Good luck on stage. It's your turn next."

Mark grinned before joining his members backstage, preparing for their performance. The younger members were more nervous than usual, and the new members had no idea what to expect. Mark had performed on this stage plenty of times with plenty of artists besides NCT. Daniel had just said one thing, but that one line had changed everything for him.

"NCT, fighting!" Taeyong lead the cheer, and they ran to their positions on stage in the dark, waiting for the spotlights to light up and shine down on them. And as soon as they did, Mark was able to spot Rina in the stands, sitting in the fan section with a smile.

The music started and Mark danced his soul out. He rapped so well that even the idols on other groups erupted in cheer. The performance was ten minutes, but to Mark, it felt like ten seconds. They did their final song before taking a huge bow together and thanking the crowd for their support. Mark looked up at the stands and didn't see the girl.

They went backstage, all eighteen of them pumped with adrenaline. Manager Kim congratulated them and gave them each a rose since he thought eighteen bouquets of flowers around the dorm would be a bit much. A rose each would do it.

"Where's Rina? She watched us perform, right?" Ten asked.

Manager Kim nodded. "I told her to go to the car and wait for me, so I can take her back. I'll meet you guys at your favorite restaurant. And don't worry about anything. When you get there, just order what you want and eat."

The members grinned and high-fived each other. They had been working so hard these past few weeks that they had forgotten what it felt like to take their time to eat and relax. Mark was already imagining grilling some meat for Rina and placing it on her plate. He smiled.

"Alright, see you there!" Manager Kim waved, and NCT loaded themselves into the two vans.

"Mark, you were amazing," Haechan commented. "Like, we thought you were somewhat cool at rehearsal, but today just wow."

"Thanks," the older member blushed. "Um, we all did great, though."

They pulled up at the restaurant and found a room already reserved for them. Nothing beat this restaurant. The quality and quantity of food they served was excellent. They started choosing their favorite items off the menu. It was a while before Manager Kim joined them.

"Where's Rina?" Taeyong asked.

"Back at the dorms. Alright, did you find things to order?"

Ten frowned. "Manager Kim, Rina is a part of our team, too. Can we at least take something for her to go?"

"She has food."

Mark wished he could run out of that restaurant and run straight to the dorms. All the members could sense his anger without him saying a word. Mark was sure Manager Kim could feel it, too, but he didn't care right now.

"Hey, I ordered an extra portion of black bean noodles and some pot stickers for Rina," Taeil whispered. "And I think Taeyong is getting a bibimbap to go. Don't worry about it. We'll take care of Rina."

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