Warning & Disclaimer: Contains mentions of child abuse. This fanfiction draws from real people, places, and events however its connections are purely the work of the author’s imagination. Talayiah is an original character and is completely fictional, although some aspects are based on true stories.
My Playdate with V
by J.H. Pyo
CHAPTER 4: MISSING
We wrapped up the shoot at the recording studio pretty smoothly with some time to spare. The producers had planned a BBQ party for Warren G and the boys that evening. This gave us several hours of free time. The boys wanted to go shopping so I took them to a nearby mall. Suga and Rapmon quickly went their own ways while Jin, Kookie, and Jhope asked where the food court was. After giving them directions, I turned around and nearly ran into V and Jimin, startled that they we so close with mischievous smiles on their faces, they leaned in and whispered “Let’s take Talayiah to get a makeover!” I smiled at their idea and nodded in agreement.
The first place we went to was a salon. They wanted to get two little buns in her hair with a tiara of course. I stayed with Talayiah while they shopped for a dress. When Jin heard what V and Jimin were up to, he came looking for Talayiah and I with a bag full of food, of course. Talayiah’s eye always widened when she saw Jin. When the hairstylist was almost done, V called all the boys to come. He had this whole thing planned out that she would go to the bathroom and change and when she walked out we would all dote on her. It was beautiful how V went over and beyond to make her feel loved.
I went with Talayiah to help her change. The expression on her face when she saw the dress was priceless. She kept asking me, “Is that for me?” I smiled and nodded, “Yes sweetie, it’s for you. Jiminie Oppa and TaeHyung Oppa picked it out for you. Do you like it?” She couldn’t take her eyes off the dress and just smiled. After she dressed, I led her out, walking in front of her to block her from the boys view. I stepped to the right and with my to hands leaning to the left, I presented “Gentlemen, may I present to you the most beautiful girl in Los Angeles, Talayiah!” The boys clapped and cheered her with praise. She was so happy she was walking on clouds. Thankfully the makeover finished just in time for the BBQ. We headed over to the party and Talayiah’s seven princes escorted her.
While we were at the party, they continued to film. Those of us behind the scene ate to our heart’s content as we watched. Talayiah ate so much food; I don’t know how she fit it in her tiny body. Fortunately the filming didn’t take long; there was still plenty of time left to have fun and boy did they.
By the time we returned everyone home, Talayiah was fast asleep. Without asking, Kookie immediately picked her little body up and rested her head on his shoulder and headed up the stairs. V quickly followed along with Jimin right behind him. “We’ll drop her off and head to the dorm,” Jimin told his hyungs. I went along with the boys in case there was some issue needing translations.
When we got to the door I was relieved when Talyaiah’s grandmother opened the door. I had dreaded seeing the aunt. I quickly apologized for bringing Talayiah home so late.
“It’s ok, dear. I knew she was in a safe place,” said the grandmother softly.
As I was making a quick introduction to the boys V jumped out and hugged the grandmother, “Halmoni!”
Initially shocked and a little disoriented by the exuberant young man, she just smiled and pattted him on the back, “Hello, dear. You must be V.”
V took a step back and gesture, “How did you know?”
“Oh Talayiah has told me a lot about you, how funny you are and how affectionate you are,” she said while gesturing to the hug he just gave her.
“Come, come in for some tea,” she said as she turned around and headed towards the kitchen.
I hesitated for a moment in fear of seeing the aunt. Talayiah’s grandmother was sharp witted she responded without my saying a word, “My daughter is out, don’t worry. Have a seat on the couch.”
We all slowly walked in and sat on the couch, as she busied herself in the kitchen a few feet away. Kookie still holding the sleeping Talayiah laid her down without waking her. As I sat and looked around I was surprised at how nice the apartment looked from the inside. Quite honestly I was expecting it to look filthy and rundown. I wondered if the grandmother had cleaned while visiting.
“This is a nice place you have here,” I said unintentionally with a questionable tone in my voice. Talayiah’s grandmother picked up on it and proceeded to explain that this was Talayiah’s mother’s home. The aunt is staying here to care for Talayiah.
“Ahh, that explains a lot,” I whispered to myself in Korean. V asked me what we were talking about and I explained to the boys in Korean. They nod in understanding. I hesitantly addressed the grandmother, “Do you mind if I ask. Why do you let your daughter watch after Talayiah, and I’m sorry for saying this, when she is treating Talayiah so bad?”
The grandmother gestured to the boys to help come get the tea. Jimin got up immediately and ran to aid her. He followed her towards the couch and sets the tea on the coffee table. She sat down next to V and began to explain.
“Talayiah has no one except for my daughter, Dyshelle. Talayiah’s father abandoned her long ago and I am too old to care for her. I can barely care for myself. Although Dysh’s life is a mess, I had hoped after her sister’s death she would step up and change. But I was wrong. In fact, it seems to have made it worse. She seem increasingly bitter and angry. I just don’t know what to do.”
After I finished translating, V gently put his arms around the old woman patting her back to comfort her, “Halmoni, I’m so sorry.”
We left the house in silence, uncertain of what to say or do. The boys quietly went to their dorms and I went home.
Our schedule the next day was pretty relaxed so the boys slept in. They always seemed like they lacked sleep. It is funny how the edited version of American Hustle Life made it seem like they were woken up really early in the morning when truth be told it was more like 1 o’clock in the afternoon. You know the feeling when you slept so much you feel drunk and disoriented? Well, that’s why the boys looked like that in episode 5.
The filming went well. The boys did great in the humor department. I felt so much secondhand embarrassment for them I couldn’t watch. I kept wanting to laugh so I had to step outside. Its interesting how the producers sometimes encouraged us not to translate while they film, they wanted to boys to struggle. Kind of sad but I could see how it added to the humor. I decided to check on Talayiah while I was out there and see if she wanted to come over to play again. I knocked on her door but no one answered. At the time, I did not think anything of it and went back in. I figured we could check back later. I was sure V would want to go get his mini-me as soon as he finished filming.
The filming finished early evening and, as I predicted, V wanted to go get Talayiah as soon as they were done. We knocked on the door several times but no one answered. It was strange but there was nothing we could do so we left for Hollywood to film the next challenge. It was good that Talayiah was not able to go with us that night, as it turned out to be not a kid appropriate type situation. We did not think much of her absence that day and got home late. We did not try to find her again until the next day.
Early the next morning, I did my usual routine of waking the boys up. You might be wondering why a translator is waking them up; let me explain. Although my title is translator, it is rare that I only translate. I’m usually the alarm clock, the coordinator, the driver, the schedule keeper and the do-whatever-needs-to-get-done person. Thankfully I didn’t have to make them breakfast too. When we’re busy like today, someone usually brings it early so the boys can eat and leave right away.
As soon as V woke up, he asked if I could invite Talayiah over for breakfast. I told him not to worry and that I would go get her. After making sure everyone was awake I headed over to Talayiah’s unit. I knocked several times and even asked the neighbor directly across from her unit if they had seen her but they said they hadn’t. I will admit; this is when I started to worry. Something felt off. Where could she be? It had been over a day.
When I got back to the boys dormitory, I pretended like nothing was wrong. I told V she wasn’t home with no signs of worry in my tone or demeanor. I immediately changed the subject and asked them if they were all ready to leave for filming. I could tell V was a bit confused. He stood there staring at me with one hand up and mouth open as if he wanted to ask another question but I pretended not to see him and just moved on. I knew I could not let on that I was worried. If V knew, it would have affected him greatly and we just could not afford for him to be sad and worried during the music video shoot. I just acted happy and carefree to hopefully reassure him everything was alright.
We headed over to the set and everything went according to schedule but the day was not over for these boys. We headed over to Echo Bar Recording Studios afterwards and didn’t get home until half past twelve. The boys were so tired they were falling asleep at the studio. Needless to say V did not ask about Talayiah until the next day.
The next morning when everyone was fully awake, V asked if I could go next door with him to find Talayiah. I agreed but was a bit worried at what we might find. We knocked and we knocked but no one answered. At this point V was clearly worried. He started pounding on the door harder and harder but no one answered. He tried knocking on the neighbor’s door, asking me to ask them if they’ve seen Talayiah but they said no. V was getting seriously worried. I told him to go back and rest before he has to leave for his training. I told him that I will continue asking around and that I would update him as soon as I heard anything. He knew there was nothing he could do and had other responsibilities and commitments he had to keep so he agreed.
One of the crew members, Carlos, said he had a suspicion as to where she might be. He told me to go with the boys and that he would find out and let me know. Late in the afternoon I got a call from Carlos. He found her. Because of his sister’s experiences he had went searching in hospitals and with great dissatisfaction he was right. She had been admitted into the hospital for a broken arm. According to the aunt she had fallen down the stairs but I think we all knew that was not the case.
As difficult as this was, I knew I couldn’t keep it from V. He would be extremely upset to not know the truth. I waited until he had finished his tutoring session with his tutor Iris Stevenson and explained what had happened. He wanted to go to the hospital right then and there, but I had to tell him he had to finish filming. He was devastated. Thankfully, Tutor Iris stepped in. She had encountered a lot of kids like Talayiah in her life and was no stranger to hearing similar situations. She encouraged V to stay strong and to shower her with love and hope. Iris’s kind heart comforted and calmed him so we were able to wrap the few remaining scenes. Immediately after the last “Cut!” was called, I rounded up all the boys and we left for the hospital to see their little girl.
Chapter 5: Taken
Illustrated by: Mao Noona
Edited by: Telumiel
There have been many theories given about the Spring Day MV, from “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” to Sewol Ferry tributes. There is one theory no one has ever explored. Why the Laundromat?