It's time for Beautiful People again, hosted by the great Cait and Sky. This Valentine's edition features the main couple from my recently completed novel: Queen Beauty and the Beasts. Meet Kwon Kang-mun and Belleza Rivera, the Diva Duo as my friend Lauren calls them. Instead of answering the questions the usual way, I did something a little different and answered them with snippets, because it's been a long week and I'm tired and this was an easy way to do it. :D
How and why did they meet?
Belleza had danced into his life- literally- singing and pirouetting out of a room with a broom in hand, right into his pathway as he left after another midnight session. The vivacious sparkle of her voice and its emotional range caught his attention at once. She had apologized for disturbing him, showing the correct respect, which was unusual in a foreigner. The next night he had listened from hiding, recognizing an unpolished gem in her voice. Bored and jaded as he was, the idea of teaching her roused him from his apathy and he had approached her before he had time to change his mind.
What were their first impressions of each other?
She had condensed the story; giving the correct answer without adding the details that still shimmered golden in her memory. How for the first two weeks she had not seen Kang-mun and didn’t know who it was that tutored her, just that he was a marvelous teacher who knew music inside out. When she did find out, the fact that he was ZODI’s lead singer didn’t impress her as much as his complete mastery of music and what he had shown her how to accomplish- taking something raw and refining it into a result that others beyond yourself would understand; which was the ultimate aim of a singer.
How would they prove their love for each other?
She knew only one way to answer it. In two steps she was behind him and brought her arms up to slide gently around his neck.
He froze, hands falling away from the keys and his shoulders stiffening under her touch.
“I am not leaving, Angel,” she whispered tenderly. “I am staying." Her voice fell until it was barely even a breath in the heavy stillness of the room. “I won’t leave you.”
He shuddered under her words and touch. For one fleet, startling second she had a glimpse of the power one person could wield over another. She did not understand it then, nor would she for some time, but the memory of that sensation would never leave her.
Wonderingly, as if he didn’t believe his senses, he raised long fingers to her arm, brushing it with feather-light touch and then again when she didn’t pull away. She rested her cheek on the top of his head. He leaned back into her slightly, just enough to feel that she was really there.
“There might not be an answer, you know,” he said after a long moment of silence, during which he rested his hand on her arm, the touch sending tiny tingles through her. “At least not one that you can find.”
“I don’t believe that,” she said quietly but confidently.
He made no reply and his hand fell from her arm. Desperate to reassure him, she reached gentle fingers up and ran them down the side of his face, where the edge of the mask touched his hairline.
He caught his breath with another shudder and as her fingers slid down his jaw, something wet dropped on them.
Instinctively she knew that it was a tear of hope.
What would be an ideal date?
“I have a request for you, Bella.” Kang-mun motioned her to join him in the back of the elevator. “Do you think that you could handle going out to dinner with me and Lorena and Anna?”
A shiver of startled apprehension ran up her spine, as if hearing a call to battle. “Yes, sunbae, I can.”
His hands came up to frame her face as he looked deeply into her eyes. “You’re sure? It’s going to be hard, Beauty, but I think it’s going to help us.”
“How?” she questioned. “It seems like it can only make her angrier.”
“It’s not her I’m thinking of,” he explained. “I suspect Anna is holding out on me, that she has a plan, too, and this could force her to show her hand.”
“So that you can deal with it on your terms, not when she’s ready to spring it?"
He grinned and brushed her nose with the tip of his finger. “Exactly. I’ll be right next to you the whole time. Think you can handle it?”
Battle fever surged in her veins. “I can do it, Angel.”
Is there something they emphatically disagree on?
“Wait a minute,” Belleza piped up when he paused again. “You can’t make me a queen in this, sunbaenim. That’s not fair.”
It seemed as if every single person around them stifled a gasp; unsure of whether to look at Kang-mun or not, they settled for watching Belleza with wide eyes as she frowned at him. Slowly he turned to look at her. She had the distinct impression that could she have seen his eyebrows, they would be raised to their fullest reach. “Excuse me?”
“Oh, I’d love the part,” she assured him. “You’re a genius. But it’s not fair to give me the part of a queen when everyone else is just going to be a princess.”
“I’ll make you whatever I need to for the purposes of the story,” he informed her, eyes narrowing.
She scowled rebelliously at him. “Your fans are going to hate you and hate me even more.”
“They’ll forget about it when they become absorbed in the story,” he said dismissively.
She could not very well put her hands on her hips while seated in an airplane seat but she did so anyway, elbows crooked forward so she wouldn’t bump into Chul-soo who sat beside her.
“Oppa, I would love the part and you’re the best musician ever, but if there is a queen role, it should go to Dahae-unni.” Out of the corner of her eye, she could see Shin-woo grinning. The plagued torment.
“Who precisely is writing this, you or me?” he demanded, firmly but without the anger she had expected
List 5 “food quirks” they know about each other. (Ex: how they take their coffee, if they’re allergic to something, etc….and feel free to mention other non-food quirks!)
“I wonder what happened to make her so evil in her soul?” Belleza clasped her hands under her chin and stared thoughtfully at him.
“Woo-sung will tell you that evil is a disease that slowly rots anyone who consistently chooses it,” Kang-mun said and shrugged.
She looked at him and shook her head, smiling fondly.
“What?” he asked, pitching his voice lower.
“You say it as if you don’t believe it, and I know that’s a lie, sunbae.” She leaned closer and patted his hand where it lay on the arm of the chair. “Go ahead and try to convince the rest of the world that you have a twisted soul. You don’t fool me.”
What’s one thing they know about each other that no one else does?
Some people possessed a core of living flame, a belief in love and goodness and truth that was so powerful it could not be other than Divine. God might have abandoned him, but if there was anything he could do to stop it, he would give himself to preserve that sacred fire in her.
What’s one thing that they keep a secret from each other?
Kang-mun growled and everyone stepped back as the growl grew louder and fiercer. He yanked off his pants but his anger was pushing the shift too fast to save his shirt and it gave way with a savage ripping sound. For six blinding seconds the lawn flashed into light as bright as noonday, highlighting a dark gold lion with black mane and the snow leopard emerging from the form of a man. The lion roared and the leopard snarled back, circling to the side.
How would their lives be different without each other?
She decided to ask the less important question first. “Why do you look pleased when I sass Kang-mun? I shouldn’t have done it in the airplane this morning, not in front of everyone, but why did you look pleased? I was disrespectful.”
“Yes, you were,” he agreed, a grin tugging at the corners of his lips. “But you make Kang-mun come alive and that’s why I like to see it.”
She tilted her head quizzically. “What do you mean come alive?”
“In case you haven’t noticed, Kang-mun is a rather difficult person to get along with,” he said dryly.
Woo-sung sobered. “He’s had it harder than any of us and he has a hard time believing in any hope. For us sure, but not for himself, because he blames himself for what happened. It’s a long story,” he added at her confused look. “I’ll tell you at home sometime when we can be truly alone,” he whispered. “You’re so vitally alive, Bella. You don’t know how not to be. So when you sass him, when you stir him up, you remind him to live.” He grinned now. “It’s a great thing.”
Where do they each see this relationship going?
“Mmm.” Another short silence fell, broken by him asking, “What will you do when the curse is broken? You’ve put so much energy into breaking it and figuring us out. But what about you?"
The question startled her. “I... I never thought about it,” she admitted in surprise. She considered for a moment. “I’ll go back home. Keep singing. I... well... I don’t really know what else.” She shrugged and pulled the blanket closer about her.
For a few seconds she wasn’t certain she had heard him correctly. But what she could see of his face was now too casual, obviously a controlled expression instead of the natural one he had held until then.
“I honestly don’t know, oppa. Do you... ah...” she faltered and dropped the words, finally settling for saying, “I just don’t know.”
And a random one because I like it:
His voice cut across all others. “During the intervening time, Rosita, will you please take Yo-han into the music room and attempt to teach him how to properly waltz? His so-called skill at that dance is an abomination, as you might remember from dancing with him before and his hybrid waltz-foxtrot-cow shuffle.”
His cousins broke into laughter, except for Yo-han, who was glaring at Shin-woo because he was laughing the hardest.
“Dad’s going to school,” Shin-woo jeered.
“Dad’s going to whip your butt at wrestling just as soon as school is done,” Yo-han retorted.
“Dad had better get going or he won’t be done in time to do anything,” Kang-mun said firmly.