Author Topic: Story: Carol  (Read 7654 times)

Online Sparky

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Story: Carol
« on: 03. December 2022, 18:41:57 PM »
Chapter 1 - a crooked tooth.

Carol woke up and looked over at the bedside clock: it was 9:12 am. For most people, if they woke and saw the time was 9:12am, they would panic, as they would be late for work. However, at the moment, it didn't REALLY matter what time she woke up, and compared to recently, 9:12am was comparatively early!

Last night she'd got to bed 'relatively early', by which I mean before 1am. She's been binge-watching the TV series 'Lucifer' on Notflux over the last few days, and was currently up to series 4.

As she lay in bed on her back, she ran her tongue over her teeth. Her lovely straight teeth. Except, today, her tongue was exploring the bit around her left upper front two tooth, and the canine next to it: things didn't feel QUITE as she remembered them.

As a young teenager, and thus whilst still at school, Carol had braces for a while. Her teeth hadn't actually been all that bad, so she had been given simple metal brackets, top and bottom, with a couple of elastics in the last month or two of her treatment, followed by hawley retainers. She wore the retainers full time for 6 months, then at night for the next 6. She stopped wearing them at all sometime whilst at 6th form college, and her teeth still seem to be ok.

Well, until today, that is.

So, Carol decided that, if she could find her old retainers, she could try them in, and see if her teeth HAD actually moved at all. She thought for a moment: she knew she still HAD her old retainers, but wondered where they could be. She didn't positively remember actually unpacking them when she moved into her flat, almost a year ago, so she guessed they must be in one of the three boxes of stuff stacked up in the corner of her spare room.

Carol got out of bed, and went to the kitchen, and put the kettle on: she needed some coffee before she could do anything! With a cup of coffee in her hand she walked into her spare room, putting the coffee on the bedside table, next to the spare bed. Her previous place had been a much smaller, single bedroom place, but with the extra money from finally having made the charts with 3 hit singles, and a UK tour under their belts, she had decided that having a better and newer place to live, and with a second bedroom, was high in her list of needs.

As a girl in a pop band, most people would have assumed that she would have gone and bought a fancy place in a trendy part of London, but the girls in the band weren't like that. Jenny had a 2-bedroom top-floor recently modernised flat in a rather average (but actually quite nice) part of south London, and had bought the whole house last year, now using the downstairs flat as her 'office'. Carol rather liked Jenny's place, what it was, and where it was, so she had found a place a couple of miles from Jenny, although her place was a bit newer, and was designed as a 2-bedroomed flat. Whilst she didn't have the advantage of a separate 'office' she could store some of her instruments in the spare bedroom, and worked in her lounge-diner-kitchen, which was actually quite a good size.

She took the top box off the pile, put it on the bed, and opened it. She smiled as she opened the box, which was full of memories from her teens and the time before the band made it big. A snow-globe from Torbay. A bag of fridge-magnets from various places they had gone to on holiday - she kept those out, to put onto her fridge. Her old recorder (the musical instrument type) she got when she was about 12. An old MP3 player, with the wire of the earbuds wrapped around it. OMG, her first ever phone, an old Nokia! Many simple and small things that, individually, were not that special, but together they kinda defined Carol's teenage life.

Carol had nothing better to do (well, other than work on some lyrics for a new song!), so didn't rush. It had been a while since she had looked at this stuff. More importantly, it had been a while since she had had the TIME to look at this stuff. Hmm, old keyrings. Her old, rather tacky, jewellery box, which contains some very dated teen bits of jewellery. And a bag of old makeup.... she should have thrown that away ages ago, but it brought back memories. She smiled as she took the top off some bright red lipstick: the same lipstick she had worn when she had her first kiss. I mean, how could you EVER think of throwing THAT out?

Lots and lots of memories, but no retainers. She put everything - except the fridge magnets - carefully back into the box, closed the lid, and put it down next to the other two boxes. After a (large!) sip of coffee, she took the second box over to her bed, and opened the lid. This box contained mostly clothes. Carol hadn't really got much bigger, so these clothes would probably still fit her - which is probably why she hadn't thrown them out. Again, many memories. A blouse that she loved wearing - but clearly well out of fashion now. And there was the top that..... the top she had worn the first time they had ever performed 'publicly', at their 6th-form annual concert. Back then they used the very simple name 'Three Girls', and they had been 'volunteered' to open the show. Totally nerve-wracking, but, as we now know, it turned out to be the first of MANY stage performances since. Yeah, there was NO WAY she could ever get rid of that.

Underneath it was the first ever specific 'stage outfit' she had worn. That performance was at a charity concert, where they were one of many 'amateur' bands playing that evening, and her mum had got it for her. That performance was probably the one that gave the band their big break, and was the last time they had used the name 'three girls'. After that, Jenny's parents - who subsequently became their managers - had suggested they needed better name, one that wasn't quite so generic, and one that stood out a bit more. It was Jenny who had come up with the idea for the name. Of course, initially, she had suggested 'JCD', but that sounded too much like a company that made diggers, so they eventually settled on 'CJD'. Yes, that was the name linked to 'Mad Cows Disease', but they all rather liked the irony of the name!

As Carol removed the outfit from the box, and placed it on top of the others, on the bed, she spotted what she was looking for: her old pink retainer box! She took it from the box, and as she opened the lid, memories of having braces came flooding back to her. Luckily the memories weren't too bad. With her teeth not being all that bad, she was far from being the first of her year who got braces, so by the time she got hers, it was no big deal. She remembered one specific girl... what WAS her name? She had severe buck teeth on the top, and her lowers were quite crooked. She had to wear all sorts of bit of metal and plastic in her mouth for about two years, poor kid. She had heard stories that she also wore headgear, but - unsurprisingly - had never seen her in it.

And yeah, several of her friends also had braces. Sonja: she had an expander in the top of her mouth, which made her lisp when she first got it. And what was that thing that Laura had? Big lumpy removable things, designed to push her lower jaw forwards, twin-somethings? Carol decided that she's actually got off quite lightly, having just a set of upper and lower metal brackets, and they weren't too big either. Plus, a couple of elastics at the side - so not too visible - at the end of her treatment.

Then she got these, her retainers. She had appreciated how nice her teeth had looked when she got her braces off, and wore them faithfully all the time (except when eating) for 6 months, then every night for the next 6 months, then once or twice a week. She had last worn them in her 6th form - she had found that, even if she didn't wear them for several weeks, they were still quite easy to put in, which clearly meant that her teeth weren't moving.

She took the retainers from the pink plastic box, and held them in her hand, so she could look at them. Like the retainers many of the other girls at school had, they were ice-clear plastic plates with shiny steel wires... although they were clearly starting to age: their original look of sparkling ice now looked rather dull.

Both retainers had clasps at the side, that clipped over your molars, with a wire at the front that came out behind the canines, did a bit of a jiggle, went over the front teeth, before doing a second jiggle, and going in behind the other canines. Memories came flooding back as she looked at the retainers: having a lisp for the first week she had them; almost losing them one day, at lunchtime; kissing with them in; practising singing with them in.

She took the lower retainer, and put it into her mouth, then pushed gently down without needing to think what she was doing: it just clicked straight into place. That didn't really surprise her, the big question was whether the top one would fit... or not. She put the top retainer into her mouth, and started to push upwards - it definitely felt tight. She pressed a bit harder, and it actually clicked into place, but she could immediately feel pressure on her top left incisors and canine. It felt very strange having her retainers in her mouth after so long. She ran her tongue around the wires, and over the plastic plates, which seemed to have a bit of a strange taste to them - a taste of 'old plastic'.

Just for fun, she tried talking out loud, to discover that she had a lisp again!

By now, the pressure on those three top teeth was starting to make those teeth a bit sore. So, she decided that maybe she should remove her retainers, to take the pressure off her teeth. She took the bottom one out first, as she knew that would come out easily. But the top one was wedged in a bit more firmly, so she pulled down with a bit more force: the retainer twisted slightly in her mouth, and she heard a strange sort of 'click': when she removed the retainer, she could see that the archwire had just broken, where it came through her teeth between the canine and pre-molar. She remembered that her lower tooth used to touch it just there, so clearly it had weakened a bit over time, and that's why it had just broken in that spot.

She put the retainers back into their pink box, and ran her teeth over her teeth again. Clearly her teeth HAD shifted a bit... just a tiny bit. But did it REALLY matter? Carol wasn't really sure, so decided that it wouldn't hurt to go and see an orthodontist, and see what they thought. She knew it would be something she would have to pay for - Jenny had hinted how much HER braces had cost - but that wasn't a big deal, she could afford it. And as a singer in a chart-topping girl band, she knew that her smile was VERY important!

Online Sparky

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Re: Carol
« Reply #1 on: 06. December 2022, 18:23:24 PM »
Chapter 2 - at the ortho

"Hey, Jenny, just before you go.... who's your orthodontist?" Carol asked just before they finished their call.

"I didn't realise you had problems - besides, didn't you have braces at school?"

"Yes, I did, but I just noticed yesterday that something has moved the tiniest bit... and when I tried my old retainer in, it was rather tight... plus I broke it when I took it out. So I thought maybe I should go and get some professional advice, before it gets any worse."

"Good call, yes, definitely go see someone, and get it checked out. My ortho is David Bright, the place is called 'Archway Orthodontics'. You know George Street, at the end of the High Street? There's a set of nice old offices down there, it's in one of those, on the ground floor. I'll send you their phone number... Feel free to tell them that I recommended them."

Later that afternoon, Carol called them, making an appointment for 2:30pm on the Friday.

Thus, a couple of days later, just before 2:30, Carol was in reception at Archway Orthodontics.

"Hi, my name is Carol Danvers, I have a 2:30 appointment..." she said, feeling slightly nervous. While Carol visited her dentist regularly, it had been several years since she had visited an orthodontist.

"Ah yes, with Mr Bright. I believe he's nicely on time, so please, do go into the waiting room over there, someone will come and get you shortly." Carol turned to walk to the waiting room, when the door by reception opened, and Jenny walked out.

"Jenny! What the heck?" said a very surprised Carol.

"Hey, Carol, what's the chances of bumping into YOU here.... I'm guessing you're here to get David to take a look at you?"

"Yes. And I'm guessing you just had your braces tweaked..."

"Indeed, new archwire, new ligs," said Jenny, smiling. She looked at Carol, and sensed she was slightly apprehensive. "Hey, if you like, I could come in with you to see David."

"Actually, yeah, that would be nice..."

A young lady, clearly one of the assistants from the way she was dressed, came into reception, went over to the waiting room, and was a little confused when she found noone waiting. She returned to reception. "Erm, I thought Carol Danvers was here?" she said.

"Ah, lady over there, talking to Jenny....".

Carol had heard the short conversation. "Sorry, I'm Carol Danvers..."

"Ah, ok...". The assistant suddenly realised that Carol had been talking with Jenny. "You know Jenny? Anyway, please come through, Mr Bright is ready for you". As she led the way, she realised Jenny was coming too. "Oh, you're coming back too?"

"Yeah, I love the place so much, I just can't bear to leave!". Jenny decided to do the introductions. "Carol, this is David, my ortho, and this is Angela, his assistant. This is Carol... she's the "C" to my "J".

"Ah, right!" said Angela, suddenly working out how they knew each other. David wasn't quite so sure, so Jenny explained "we're both in CJDL"...

"Ah, ok... nice to meet you Carol. Come on over here, let's sit down and you can explain why you're here". David, Carol and Jenny sat down together, and Carol explained how she was feeling around her teeth the other morning, and that something - something very small - felt different, at the top left. How she went and found her old retainers, how the lower one fitted just fine, but the top one was tight, and broke as she removed it. It was odd, but she felt a lot more relaxed knowing that Jenny was there with her.

"I suspect it's no big deal, but I thought I should get it checked out" explained Carol.

"That sounds very sensible - as you say, it may be absolutely nothing. I don't suppose you brought your old retainers with you, did you?" asked David.

"I did indeed." Carol opened her bag, and took out her old pink retainer case, and passed it over to David.

As soon as he looked at it he commented "ah, yes, certainly from a few years ago, I'm guessing you had braces as a teenager?"

"I did. I was 15, and my teeth weren't actually too bad, so I got simple metal braces, and a couple of elastics at the end. I had those for a little over 12 months, then I got these retainers, which I faithfully wore full time for 6 months, then every night for another 6 months. After that, it was once or twice a week... or so... By the time I was about 17, I found that they were never tight when I put them in, so guessed that my teeth weren't moving any more, so stopped wearing them". As Carol described her history, David looked at the retainers.

"Yes, we often THINK that our teeth are stable, then something happens that changes things, often something very small. Wisdom teeth. Getting older. Clearly SOMETHING has happened to your teeth, so why don't I take a look?"

David took Carol over to the treatment chair, and got her to sit in it. "You've had braces before, so I'm guessing you recognise what Angela has in her hand..." he said as he reclined the treatment chair.

"Looks like a lip-spreader to me!" said Carol.

"Indeed it is, probably identical to what your orthodontist used when you were younger - things don't change that much, do they?". David adjusted the light so that it shone onto her mouth. He looked carfully and slowly at Carol's teeth: in principle, they looked really good, but yes, he COULD see that the teeth on her top left were very slightly different in their positioning from the ones on her right. The bottom ones looked close to perfect. He removed the lip spreader from her mouth.

"Well, yes, I can see a VERY slight difference there on your top left. Is it anything to worry about? Probably not right now. Your teeth are still in excellent condition, and if you came to me as a new patient, I probably wouldn't actually suggest treatment. But I have a couple of suggestions"

"Yes, do go on..." replied Carol.

"Step one: I would like to scan your teeth: that way, whatever happens, we have a baseline on the system to compare things to in the future. Step two: we make you a new retainer that fits you, and you wear it at night, to make sure your teeth don't move any further. It probably wouldn't need to be every night, unless you feel pressure when you put it in. Step 3: optionally, I can configure the retainer to put a tiny bit of pressure onto those teeth, so move them slightly, back to where they used to be: I think there's enough 'slack' in your teeth to do that. I guess a lot depends how much you're worried about those teeth moving. And I COMPLETELY understand that you need perfect teeth for what you do! So what do you think?"

"I'm thinking yes to everything. I've worn a retainer before, and if it's just at night, then it's not a big deal. So what's the scanning? I guess it replaces taking impressions? If so, I'm all for it, I used to hate having to have impressions done!". Carol looked over to where Jenny was standing, and smiling.

"What's funny?" she asked her.

"Well, sounds like you're joining me in the 'braces club'"

"Yeah, I suppose I am... although I won't need to tell anyone, if I only need to wear them at night! So, how do I get scanned then?"

In the background, Amanda was wheeling a small trolley over, and plugged a couple of wires into connectors over on the side. The trolley had a keyboard and screen on it, and there was a large 'snake' on the side of it. David typed on the keyboard: he was setting up a folder for Carols scans, then he opened up the scanning program: at that point the screen above and in front of Carol came on.

"Tell you what" said Jenny, "this is a pretty cool bit of technology: if you watch the screen up there, you'll see your teeth slowly appear!".

David put the lip-spreader back into place, and put the end of the 'snake' into Carol's mouth. "There's a small camera in the end of it, plus there's one of those motion sensors in the wand, like you have in your phone, so it knows which way it's pointing. Suddenly, on the screen above Carol, she could see images of her teeth starting to appear, and grow as David moved the wand around her mouth. The initial scan only took a few minutes, but then David checked the images: he used the mouse to move and rotate the 3-D image, and it was clear there were a few 'holes' in the image, which David needed to scan again, to fill in.

"Ok, all done!" he said, taking the lip-spreader out of her mouth again. "So, if you just lie back, and look up at that monitor, I'll try to explain what I'm seeing". Jenny moved to just behind Carol, so she could see too. "So, generally, your teeth look really nice" he said, moving the view around. "And if I then close your teeth, like this...". He clicked on the mouse a couple of times, and the images of her teeth closed together, with the computer highlighting where her teeth touched. "Your bite is still very good, but you can see that your lower and upper front teeth don't quite touch, there's the tiniest of gaps between them. So lets zoom in on those top teeth... yes, you can see there's a very slight different between the left and the right, but you have to look very carefully to see it. But you know your mouth and teeth better than I do, so if you say they have moved out a tiny bit, I'm 100% happy to believe you."

Carol felt happy that what David said matched what her tongue told her. "So what now?"

"Well, I need to create a formal 'treatment plan' that I'll need you to sign, but if you can tell me you want to go ahead, I can get your retainers ordered, and you can come back in a couple of weeks for me to fit them. Do you have ANY questions that you'd like to ask?"

"Just one: do you have any idea why my teeth might have moved?"

"Not really: your teeth actually look pretty stable. It could be something as stupid as you've started biting on the end of a pencil. The important things is that we now have a scan, so we can keep an eye on things, and a new retainer will hopefully keep things stable again.". Carol nodded. "Anything else?" he asked.

"No, not that I can think of. I've had braces before, so I'm pretty familiar with that side of things, and I'm sure you're not going to charge me a stupid price, so that shouldn't be a problem."

"Excellent. Well, Carol, it's been good to meet you, I'll see you again soon"

Offline bsma189

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Re: Carol
« Reply #2 on: 07. December 2022, 01:19:08 AM »
Looking forward to seeing where this goes!

Offline TrainTrack

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Re: Carol
« Reply #3 on: 07. December 2022, 02:23:35 AM »
I feel like it’s going to end up either with the fairies or like the WTF? story.

Online Sparky

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Re: Carol
« Reply #4 on: 07. December 2022, 02:59:15 AM »
Hehe... always fun to hear your theories....wrong storyline I'm afraid!

Offline xxxforce

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Re: Carol
« Reply #5 on: 07. December 2022, 15:43:27 PM »
CJDL is back :D Another one of my faourite Storys from you :) GO oN :)

Online Sparky

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Re: Carol
« Reply #6 on: 07. December 2022, 15:51:36 PM »
Chapter 3 - Friends to stay

"Hey, Linda, what you up to this week?" asked Carol on the phone.

"Not a lot" replied Linda

"Fancy coming over and staying for a couple of days?"

"Hmm, let me think about that... stay in my little place, or join you in your much nicer place: it's a hard decision!".

Linda actually had a 2 bed flat, one as bedroom, the other one - much smaller, and without an actual bed - where she stores her stuff, including guitars. However, it was a bit old and scruffy... By comparison, Carol's 2 bed flat was much newer, much nicer, and a bit bigger too. Carol used to have a flat-mate, but sadly she left a bit ago, leaving Carol on her own, but it did mean that she had a proper spare bedroom again.

"Don't blame me, you must be able to afford to rent a better place by now..."

"Yeah, I know, but I rather like my crappy little place. But you're right, I really should get somewhere a bit nicer. If only so I can invite you guys to stay over, and let you sleep in a bed, rather than on the settee. But to answer your question: yeah, of course I will, it will be nice to actually BE with you, rather than just seeing your face on a screen!"

"Ok, when would you like to come?"

"How about after lunch?"

"Yup, that's fine with me. Bring a guitar or two with you, I'm rather hoping we might be able to inspire each other to write something. It's about time we found out if you've got any songs inside you!".

"Not one of my strong points, you know that".

"Oh, come on, Linda, that worship song you did with Jenny was really good! Mind you, knowing how Jenny gets inspired for her worship songs, I'm thinking that maybe a higher power might have helped you too..."

"Well, there you go!"

"No, you don't get off the hook that easily... I'm determined that we'll write something together by the end of the week!"

"Anything else you want me to bring?"

"You got any percussion stuff at home you could bring along? Tambo's, shakers and things like that?"

"Yeah, I got a small crate-full, I'll throw them in the car. Want me to pick up some beers on the way?"

"Like your thinking, girl!"

"Anyone else likely to join us?"

"Unlikely, Jenny and Ben have gone off for a few days, and I'm sure Diane will be spending time with Mike. So, see you sometime after lunch then!"


"Linda!!! Come on in!" said Carol, giving Linda a hug. "Good to see you again... You've never actually been here before, have you?". Carol helped Linda take her clothes into the spare bedroom and guitar etc into the living room. She put the beer in a convenient place, in the lounge.

"No I haven't. Of course, you've all been to my place a couple of times, the empty beer cans were proof enough of that!!!".

Carol laughed. "Yes, they were actually good fun evenings - thank you for suggesting those! Cuppa?"

"Yes please!". The two girls went to Carol's kitchen, where they make some tea. "So, what we gonna do then?"

"Well, I was thinking we can get our guitars out, start messing about, and maybe we'll get some inspiration for a new song...."

"For the group?"

"Doesn't have to be. Could be for just us, or even just for fun... I just want to encourage you to have a go at creating something!".

When Linda had been working with the band and helping develop their new songs before they went on tour, she'd not done any of the 'original writing', it was more helping them knock the new songs into some sort of usable shape. Before that, as a session musician, she just played (or sang) what she was given, so the last time she had actually written anything was when she was at music college, although even then she was very much a music performer, rather than a creator.

"Oh, ok, I'll give it a try."

Linda had brought 2 guitars with her: and acoustic and an electric. Carol had her own guitars too, including a bass, plus a keyboard, so they had plenty of options. She had also bought the crate of small percussion stuff. Carol picked up Linda's acoustic guitar, and strummed it. "Nice sound...." she commented, then passed it over to Linda, who took it, and started strumming it. "Got any ideas?

"Well, I got this in my head as I was driving here...." and Linda played a few bars of a simple melody. Over the next 2 or 3 hours they played together on the guitars, and drank their tea, followed by  a couple of beers. By the end of the afternoon Linda (with a little help from Carol) had managed to write a simple song, both music and words, based on that simple melody.

"You know" said Linda, "that was actually good fun.... I mean, I helped you guys develop the band's new music, and we messed about a bit on tour, but that's the first time since college that I've sat down and written something completely new - and it was so helpful having your experience to help me!"

"Good. Maybe we can do something tomorrow to inspire you to write something else!"

"So, what's the plans for the rest of the day?"

"Dinner, of course, then how about popping out to the local pub for a drink?"

"Aren't you worried someone will recognise you? Or me for that matter?"

"It's always a worry, but I think most people would expect us to be dressed like when we're on tour. But dressed in scruffy jeans like this, without all the makeup, and hair, then it's not quite as likely. Been ok so far! Mind you, Jenny got caught out bigtime a while ago. A couple of local journalists found where she lives, and waited for her to come out. But Jenny being Jenny turned things around, gave them an exclusive for her anonymity. Remember the photographer who worked with Paige at the Press Conference where we announced you were joining the band? That was Sarah, one of the two."

"Ah, yes, I did wonder how you guys knew her, she was very pleasant and relaxed for a journo."

"She's the one that did the pics when Jenny got her hair cut, and donated it to charity. She's been good to us, and we've let her have several exclusives in return. Useful person to know."

"Yeah. Hey, I notice you don't do a lot of social media... any particular reason?"

"Not really. I just don't have the urge to share every moment of my life with the world. I think Jenny more than makes up for my not doing it. You still posting stuff?"

"Not as much as before I formally joined the group... Before it was about making the world aware of my abilities, so I could get work, but I'm in a 'normal job' now."

"'Normal job'? Oh I wish...."


After dinner, Carol and Linda walked the 5 minutes to a local pub, The Crown, and had a couple of quiet drinks.  Whilst Carol had lived in the area for a bit now, she'd only been to this pub maybe two or three times before - she typically went to The Red Lion, but fancied a change this evening. While they were there, Carol spotted a poster on the wall that listed the events at the pub: one of the events was an "Open Mic Night" that happened every couple of weeks, and it was due to happen in two nights time. Whilst Linda would probably be gone by then, it could be fun to come along by herself, and play something.

Online Sparky

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Re: Carol
« Reply #7 on: 07. December 2022, 16:13:40 PM »
CJDL is back :D Another one of my favourite Stories from you :) GO ON :)

Indeed. And this time, it's very much from Carol's perspective.

So, very soon she will <redacted>, and then the whole band will <redacted>. Not sure what happens after THAT though, not got that far!!!

Oh, and braces will keep popping up from time to time...

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Re: Carol
« Reply #8 on: 08. December 2022, 16:45:32 PM »
Chapter 4 - a quick summary

So, yes, this story is about Carol (and Linda, and others...), from the pop group CJDL. For those of you who never read the story "Jennifer loves singing" or "Asian Braces in London", here's a quick recap:

Carol, Jenny & Dianne are in a Number 1 girl-group, CJD. Together since 6th form college & music college, they get on well, and all play a variety of instruments, although Dianne tends to play drums, Carol guitars, and Jenny guitars / keyboards (but they sometimes switch around for a song). They are all excellent singers.

Jenny meets Ben through a dating app, falls madly in love with him. 2 days after meeting, she gets braces (with an expander, lower lip bumper & upper facebow). Luckily Ben likes braces! Jenny wears the HG in public / on stage. In the band, Jenny tends to write the music, Carol & Dianne tend to do the lyrics. Jenny is very media savvy.

Ben's music tastes are much rockier than what CJD do, and Jenny was massively influenced by Ben's music, (including a heavy rock group called "Darkest Knights" - Jenny took Ben backstage to see Darkest Knights as a birthday present, & performed a couple of songs on stage with the band). Whilst developing the new music / recording it / preparing for tour, they realised they needed a 4th band member, so hired a session musician, Linda, who mainly plays guitars. She was in the year below them at college, knows them, and they get on well.

CJD go on their second tour. Jenny struggles without Ben, so he tours with her for the last week of the tour. Last night of the tour, onstage at Wembley Arena, in front of about 10,000 fans, she proposes to Ben.

The day after the tour ends, Linda officially becomes the fourth member of the band, now renamed to "CJDL". Historically, Linda - as a session musician - plays music, but has never really written anything, thus Carol wanted to encourage her.

They are all Christians, and Jenny has 'been given' several worship songs which she has assigned to her church, and (not actually in the original story) they recorded them on a special CD (including a worship song written together by Jenny & Linda)

Whilst CJDL doesn't formally have a "front man", the rest of the group has made it clear they are ok with Jenny taking the lead on stuff. Jenny is very active in social media, but the rest of the girls tend to be a lot quieter.

So, this story happens at some point after that second tour......

Offline braces37

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Re: Carol
« Reply #9 on: 11. December 2022, 07:36:11 AM »
Something I like about your work is how you have different stories tie in with each other, without necessarily having to be direct sequels. I notice a problem with CJDL; they don't have a bassist! Bass is the second most important instrument after drums, so one of the guitarists will have to switch.

Online Sparky

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Re: Carol
« Reply #10 on: 11. December 2022, 16:04:52 PM »
Just edited this, to explain better:

The original 3 members of CJD, so Carol, Jenny and Dianne, can all play drums, bass / rhythm / lead guitar and keyboards, so sometimes when playing live, they make lives harder for themselves, and change around!

Linda joined the band simply because their 'newer music' regularly needed a 4th player. Linda is a guitarist, and is happy playing bass / rhythm / lead. Yes, she can 'sort-of play' keyboards and drums, but not well enough to do so on stage. On CJD's second tour, Linda played mainly bass, occasionally swapping with Carol or Jenny to play rhythm or lead.

So, 'normally' we'd expect to see Dianne on drums. If there was a keyboard part, then that would most probably be Jenny. Carol tends to play rhythm or bass, leaving Jenny to lead on the keyboard, but if they run with 3 guitars, then Carol will probably play lead and Jenny rhythm.

And, of course, all the 4 girls can sing.

Online Sparky

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Re: Carol
« Reply #11 on: 12. December 2022, 21:40:48 PM »
Of course, one of the problems when writing a story is that, in your mind you have all sorts of 'extra details', maybe something that was a possibility for the story, but never made it... but it's all useful background information, and stuff *I* know about, but *YOU* don't!  So if you have questions or comments, I'm very happy to 'fill in the holes'....

No braces in this chapter, but there will be in Chapter 6!


Chapter 5 - Open Mic Night

Carol went up onto the small stage and put a small audio recorder on the floor in front of her. She then stood there for a moment as Steve, the tech guy, adjusted the mics for her. She had decided not to introduce herself to start with, instead she just played a song that she had been working on. At the end, the audience was very appreciative, clapping hard.

"So, I guess I really should introduce myself: I'm Carol. It's been quite a while since I've done have done an open-mic night! I was here with a friend having a drink on Monday, saw the poster, and I was inspired. So that song is one that I have been working on the last couple of weeks."

"Now, the music for this next song was written by someone else, I've been working on the lyrics - it's very much a 'work in progress', I've done 2 verses so far, and still haven't worked out how to end it, but heck, I thought you might like to hear what it sounds like...."

Carol played and sung the song: she sang the two verses, then continued playing the guitar, and got sudden inspiration. "Hey, I have another verse....", and she sang the new words, then let the guitar gently trail off. Again, there was applause.

"And that's why I always record anything I do - inspiration comes at the strangest of times" commented Carol. "I can remember once, in the middle of our set, up in Glasgow! We'd just played a load of our songs when Jenny pipes up 'hey, do you mind if I try something?' and starts playing something completely new on her piano! She does that sometimes!". Carol could have given more details, but she wanted the audience to work out for themselves who she actually was. Mind you, the next song might give things away.

"Well, the other day, my friend Linda and I were playing acoustic versions of a few of our songs... some worked, others were complete failures. So, how about....  yeah... 'Love on an Island'? That seemed to go ok..."

This was one of CJDL's newer songs, and whilst the acoustic version sounded quite different, the song was very recognisable, and the audience seemed to like it. Carol could also see a bit of chatting going on - she suspected they were saying things like 'is that Carol from CJDL?'.

"So, my last song. I thought it would be fun to end with something we all know.... actually, here's an idea: get your phones out and look up the words for Dylan's 'blowing in the wind', then you can ALL sing along!". Carol started playing, and then started singing: 'How many roads....'. Almost everyone else joined the singing, and of course applauded at the end.

"Thank you ALL very much, it's been a privilege to play to you all: we normally play to rather larger audiences, so playing somewhere so intimate has been a real treat for me!"

"Well, thank you Carol" said Steve, the guy running the open mic evening, "but before you go, something tells me you normally play in a bigger band?".

"Yeah, you might say that, but you can work it out for yourselves!. Tiny hint: there's normally four of us, and the band's name starts with the first letter of my name. But tonight, I'm just Carol, enjoying playing music in my local pub!". She got another round of applause. After leaving the stage, she put her guitar back next to her table, then went up to the bar.

"I think I'll have a pint of the 'Young's Special' please." Carol said to the young girl behind the bar.

"Would I be right in thinking you might be in CJDL?" asked the girl.

"I'm afraid I am, I hope you won't hold it against me!" replied Carol.

"So how come you came here tonight?"

"Well, The Crown is almost my local," explained Carol, "and like everyone else here, I love live music, and so far, they've all been pretty good."

"Ok, Kevin, if you're ready?" said Steve, the guy organising the stage and PA.

"Well, I think you'll enjoy Kevin - he's often here, and he's really good!" said the girl behind the bar. Carol paid for her drink, and rather than sit alone, she decided to join some of the others in the pub.

"Mind if I join you?" asked Carol.

"Yeah, sure!" said one of the girls sat at the table, with a big smile. I mean, how often do you get someone who is clearly a pop star asking if they can sit at your table?

Kevin walked up to the stage, and stood in front of the microphone. "Well, I'm not quite sure how I can follow that, she was pretty good". He started playing and singing a song that neither of them recognised.

"He IS good" thought Carol a few minutes later as he finished his first song.

So, Carol was chatting with a girl who had performed earlier in the evening, and she got a feeling that she wanted to ask her something, but was a bit shy about asking. "Now, Susan, I get a feeling there's something you really want to ask me, but are a bit apprehensive about asking. So go on, ask away... what's the worst that could happen?"

"Well, I can sing a lot better than I can play, so I was wondering if you would play one of your songs while I sang to it... "

"Sure, that could be fun - what would you like to sing?

"Hmmmm..... How about 'We're all in hot water'? I love that one!"

"No problems... you'd better go tell Steve. Tell him 2 mics for me and my guitar, then you'll need a mic..."

"Ok" said Steve about half an hour later, "It looks like we have something a bit special about to happen: would you welcome Susan back on the stage, with her 'backing band', Carol!". By now, everyone knew who who Carol was.

"Right!" said Carol to Susan as they walked over to the stage. "Make it look like you own the stage, I'm just a session musician for you.... Don't bother with an introduction, I'll just start playing, then we can talk afterwards!"

Up on stage, Carol counted the two of them in, and Susan managed to start singing at the right time too. Whilst a bit nervous to start with, she relaxed into the song pretty quickly. At the end, the crowd clapped enthusiastically, then she re-introduced herself, and thanked Carol.

"Well done, Susan, that sounded good! Hey, Steve, we got time for another one?" asked Carol.

"Might as well..."

"Ok, Susan, do you know 'Daffodils'?"

"Oh, yeah!". Susan was clearly thrilled that Carol was offering to play a second song with her.

Once again, Susan sang reasonably well, and as they left the stage, she had a massive smile on her face: who wouldn't when you've just sung a couple of CJDL songs with a member of the band playing with you!

Offline Braceface2015

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Re: Carol
« Reply #12 on: 12. December 2022, 22:30:25 PM »
I think that finding the right amount of detail to put into a story is difficult.

It is a balance between giving the reader enough detail to create a picture in their mind of what you want them to see, and then letting them fill in the rest of the details to create the image they expect to see.

I enjoy all of your stories and can tell that you are having fun writing about what interests you.

Online Sparky

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Re: Carol
« Reply #13 on: 13. December 2022, 00:30:40 AM »
I think that finding the right amount of detail to put into a story is difficult.

It is a balance between giving the reader enough detail to create a picture in their mind of what you want them to see, and then letting them fill in the rest of the details to create the image they expect to see.

I enjoy all of your stories and can tell that you are having fun writing about what interests you.

The nice thing about Carol is that I already "invented the universe" in a couple of other stories, so I can get on with having fun "telling the story" , without needing to "set it all up". Of course, it's the same with the "Fairies" and "Serena"..... Maybe when I'm done, I need to kill them all off, stop me writing about them!!! (nah, no good, I could still do a prequel!!!)

Just need to squeeze some braces in there, somewhere.....

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Re: Carol
« Reply #14 on: 15. December 2022, 00:06:03 AM »
Chapter 6 - Carol collects her retainer

After checking in at reception at the orthodontist's, she went through to the waiting room, where a mum with her teenage daughter were also waiting. Carol sat down in the seat opposite, and could see the girl, who was in her mid-teens, looking at her. The girl smiled slightly, and whispered something to her mum, who whispered something back, but the girl kept looking at Carol.

"Something tells me that your daughter thinks she recognises me.... am I right?". The mum smiled and nodded. "So, who do you think I am then?" she asked the girl. The girl looked at her mum, as if to check it was ok to speak to Carol. "It's ok" said Carol, "I'm ok with it when it's somewhere quiet like this...."

"Are you.... Carol? Carol from CJD"

"I am indeed, although we're CJDL now that Linda has joined us.".

"Ah, of course, I forgot..."

"That's fine. We're still getting used to the new name ourselves!".

"She's a Carol too!" said her mum

"Excellent choice of name!" said Carol. The girl smiled, letting Carol see that she had a mouth full of metal braces. It was clear she was a bit shy when in the presence of a 'pop star'. "You know, I used to have braces like that when I was about your age. You coping ok with them?"

"You used to have braces?" asked the girl.

"Yeah. I was just a normal schoolgirl like you, same sort of age too, and my teeth were a bit crooked, so I needed braces."

"So why are you here? I've seen your pictures, and you have lovely straight teeth"

"I do, and I wore my retainer for a couple of years after I got my braces off, and my teeth never moved. Until maybe a month ago that is, and I noticed these couple of teeth here didn't feel quite right." Carol pointed at the two teeth that had moved a tiny bit. "So I found my old retainer, and put it in... and it was so tight it broke. So I'm here to collect a new retainer, which might also be able to move these teeth a tiny bit".

"So you're not getting braces, like Jenny, then?" asked the girl.

"No, I think one band member in braces is enough! So, what do you think about Jenny having braces... and she had headgear for a while too, didn't she?". The girl seemed to relax a bit.

"She looks nice in her braces, and I think she was very brave to let people see her in her headgear".

"Yes, you're right. Hey, I'm assuming you're a fan?". The girl nodded. "Ok, I want a REALLY honest answer to the next question: what do you think about the new music we've been doing? If you really don't like it, then don't feel scared to say so!"

"No, I actually like it - I think I prefer it to some of your earlier stuff."

"What about your friends at school, do you know what they think?"

"I think some prefer your older stuff, others are like me, and like the newer stuff"

Carol looked at the girl's mum. "It's actually very nice to have some real feedback from our real fans! Hey, is it ok if I read your daughter's mind?". The mum smiled then nodded. "Something tells me that you're thinking something like 'I wish I could take a selfie with Carol'.... am I right?". The girl nodded. "If your mum's ok with it, then I'm ok with it too. There's just one thing: whilst I'm 100% ok if you want to post it online, don't say which ortho we're at, it's not fair to the staff here, ok?"

Carol went and sat next to Carol, then Carol took a selfie of the two Carols. "I bet your friends are gonna be so jealous, eh? But it kinda makes up for having to put up with having braces!"

Angela, David Bright's assistant came in. "Carol?" she asked.

"Yes?" replied two Carols together.


"Hello again, Carol! So your retainer has arrived, but I got them to make it a little but differently compared to your previous retainer...", David motioned for Carol to sit in the large reclining treatment chair, while Angela passed David the retainer on the teeth model. Whilst traditionally the teeth models would have been made of white plaster, these were made of slightly pink plastic, printed with a 3D printer.

The retainer seemed to be slightly different from her old retainer (which was a normal hawley retainer, which had adams clasps on her first molars, with the labial wire coming out just behind her canines)

"As you can see, rather than having solid plastic behind your front teeth, there's a 'spring' wire with plastic over it, to allow slight movement of your front teeth. Then, rather than the normal labial bow, this one has a tiny spring on each side (imagine the round spring on a clothes peg), which will pull your teeth into line better, pushing against the plastic on the inside. In addition, there's a couple of extra c-clasps going back and around your front premolars, they should help anchor and stabilise the retainer a bit better."

Carol looked at her new upper retainer. Yes, it had a few more wires than her old retainers, and the plastic plate was made of clear pink plastic, rather than the ice-clear of her old retainer, but that wasn't really a big deal.

"Now, while your lower teeth appear to be stable, I thought I'd get you a lower retainer made too: it's just a normal hawley retainer."

"So, this will slightly move my two teeth back into place?"

"Yes, whilst it is currently set up to just retain your teeth as they are, I'll make a couple of tiny adjustments, so that it applies a small amount of pressure on those two teeth. So, ready to let me lie you back, and see how they fit?"

Carol sat back in the chair, and David reclined it, adjusted the light, then fitted lip-retractors, so he could more easily see her mouth and teeth. Memories started coming back to Carol of when she was a teenager, and got her braces, and eventually her retainers.

"Ok, so let me fit your lower retainer first...". While he had been talking, Angela had removed both retainers from their models: she passed David the lower retainer, which he carefully put into Carols, mouth, then pushed gently, yet firmly, down. It clicked nicely into place. Carol's tongue couldn't help but feel it... it felt very familiar.

"Feel ok?" asked David. Carol nodded. "In that case, let put the top one in...". Like with the bottom one, he pushed it onto her upper teeth, and with a nice click it went into place. Once again, Carol's tongue felt around her new retainer. Both retainers seemed to fit her just like a glove, with no real pressure - that would happen in a moment, when David made some minor adjustments. David removed the lip-spreaders. "Have a feel with your tongue... it should be just as comfortable as you remember from your old retainers. All ok?"

Carol's tongue felt around the plastic plates, then over the metal wires: yes, there were a few more wires over her top teeth than her old retainers used to have.

"They feel pretty comfortable" said Carol, with a bit of a lisp.

"Good. Ok, let me take the top one out, and activate those springs. In fact, why don't you take it out, it will probably be easier!". Carol put her forefingers onto the molar clasps of her top retainer, and pulled down: because it was new, plus the fact that it had a couple of extra clasps on it, she had to pull down with quite a bit of force, but it then popped out ok. She passed the retainer over to David, who quickly rinsed it, then used his pliers to slightly bend a couple of the wires, then passed it back to Carol. "If  you'd like to put it back in again... but just be aware that there will be a bit of extra pressure on your left front teeth."

Carol took the retainer, put it in her mouth, then using both her fingers and tongue, pushed it into place. Yes, she could feel a little bit of pressure on those top front teeth.

"Let me put the lip spreader in again, and take a good look....".

"Tho how long do I need to wear the retainers for, do you think?" asked Carol with a lisp, a few minutes later.

"Well, I was thinking that - if you can manage it that is - it would be good if you can wear them full time for 2 or 3 months. Let those teeth adjust a tiny bit, and hold them in place. After that, just at night."

"Yeth, life ith relatively quiet right now, tho I should be able to manage to wear them  full-time. Shame about the lithp though!"

"Don't worry, you know full well that it will disappear after a week or two: just try and speak as much as you can..."

"Or thing, of courthe!"

"Actually, singing would probably be better. Anyway, I suggest you come back and see me in, say, six to eight weeks, then we can see what progress you've made.

Offline bracessd

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Re: Carol
« Reply #15 on: 15. December 2022, 17:32:50 PM »
Great job @sparky

Offline Kruz

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Re: Carol
« Reply #16 on: 18. December 2022, 01:23:41 AM »
nice! curious what will happen next

Offline m1090y

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Re: Carol
« Reply #17 on: 21. December 2022, 09:40:14 AM »
I really enjoyed Jenny Loves Singing and I'm glad we get to have another story with this band.

Online Sparky

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Re: Carol
« Reply #18 on: 23. December 2022, 16:53:19 PM »
Chapter 7 - Open Mic night again

It's two weeks later, and once again Carol has gone to the Open Mic night. And like last time, she was sure to 'dress down', she knew that it all helped her to appear less of a 'pop star'. In the last 2 weeks, Carol has done quite a bit of singing with her retainer in, whilst working on new songs - as well as just singing existing songs - and her lisp is a lot softer. It's not completely gone: if you listen carefully, you'll still hear it's there.

Carol specifically asked Steve to put her on later in the evening, so she could hear a few of the others play first. Along the way, she spotted one of the performers - one who was better than average, apparently giving Steve a bit of grief over something.

After him, it was Kevin's turn: Carol had briefly chatted with him at the last Open Mic Night, he was probably the best performer there (well, after Carol, of course!). As expected, his performance was excellent.

"Carol, you're up" said Steve a little later. Carol went onto the stage, and stood there quietly while Steve adjusted the mics.

"Jutht before I start to play, can I give you guys... and by that, I mean you guyth who come up here on stage to perform... a bit of advice. If I'm being paid to perform, then I reckon that I'm probably the motht important person in the room at that moment! But I have a question for you: tonight, there's no paymaster, we're all playing here simply becauthe we all love music.... so who is the most important perthon in the room now?". She paused, to let a few people reply. 'The audience' was one suggestion, 'The person on stage still' was another. Some wag suggested 'the guys behind the bar', which raised a laugh. "No to all of those..." said Carol, with a very slight lisp from her retainers.

"I'd say it's Steve...." said Kevin.

"Spot on right there, Kevin! Tonight Steve is our combined thtage manager, sound tech, and sound guy. He understands thound. If he doesn't like you - for ANY reason - then he can make you sound REALLY sh*t... you know, guitar far too loud, vocals far too quiet, the odd bit of feedback, even turn the PA completely off! But if he likes you, then I know he will do EVERYTHING in his power to make you sound better. What I'm saying is: find out who your tech guyth are - by name. Be good to them, always be polite to them, and help them. If you're doing a sound check, then do what you are told, it's NOT an opportunity for you to rehearse, it's an opportunity for the sound guys to make you sound good! At the end of the day your sound guys are there to help you sound good. And finally, always but ALWAYS thank them!" Carol looked straight at Steve, and gave him a thumbs up. "Come on, let's give Steve a big round of applause, he's been doing a great job here again tonight!". As the crowd applauded and cheered, Steve had a huge smile on his face. Yes, Carol's sound was guaranteed to be 100% perfect tonight! She gently strummed her guitar a few times, knowing that Steve would be using that to check its level.

"Ok, on to the music.... So, remember last time, I played you a 'work in progress'? Well, it has progressed quite a bit in the last 2 weeks, so let me play what it sounds like now... you'll just have to imagine the drums and bass and so on....". Carol played the song she had been working on, and everyone liked it. Again, she sung with a slight lisp too, but it didn't matter.

Next, Carol put some music up on her stand. "I thought you guys might like to see how we create our songs. For us, usually Jenny's mind starts shooting off fireworks for some reason - and no, she's NOT doing drugs!!... and she comes up with a tune: this is one exactly as she sent me last week....", and Carol started to play a relatively simple tune. "But while Jenny is really great at coming up with stuff like that, here's her notes: 'a girl is worried about her guy cheating on her...', easy, right? Yeah...." There were a few laughs. "Jenny then passed the song to me and Dianne, and we spoke, and I volunteered to start on some words. How many times do you think I have listened to that tune?".

There were various guesses.

"Yeah, somewhere around fifty times.... in the first couple of hours! I had it on repeat. I need the tune in my head, and as I sing it or hum it, I'm trying out ideas and words and word patterns and that sort of thing. Jenny thinks and dreams music, I do words. I actually came up with some reasonable words, but the words didn't quite fit the music, so I had to tweak the tune a tiny bit... so now, the music sounds like this....". Carol shuffled the bits of paper, and then she played the modified tune.

"Probably not THAT noticeably different, but I assure you there's a few extra notes in there! Let's add in my first set of words.....". Carol shuffled the bits of paper again, then played and sang. There was applause at the end.

"So, I put it down for the day, then listened to it the next day, and made a few changes. Then again the day after. This is what it sounds like today...", and she played the song once again... the whole thing seemed to flow better.

"I'll now pass it over to Dianne, see if she has any bright ideas, and let her work out how the rest of the instruments will fit in. Then we'll all play it together, and I'm sure it will change again.... and I suspect it will sound a bit different when it's finally done. Actually, someone asked me a good question earlier: 'do you get many songs that you never finish?'. Yes, there's plenty of those! Some we give up on fairly quickly, others just never sound right. Occasionally one of us will pick up an old song and rework it - that happened with 'Coffee by the pool' for example. Sometimes we pick up an old song and rework it for some other performer. So, yeah, there's plenty of songs that never make it."

"Right, something different. This is not a song I'm doing for the band, it's just a 'me' song. Maybe one day it will get recorded, but probably not....". Carol played a very simple acoustic song - as she said, it was nothing like the CJDL stuff - but everyone seemed to like it.

"Ok, let me finish with an absolute classic from about 40 or so years ago, sing along if you like!", and Carol sang 'American Pie'.

After coming off stage, Carol passed Steve. "Hey, thanks for that" he said to her, "it's not often that someone shows their appreciation like that. I'm guessing you saw what happened earlier?"

"Yeah, I did, and from the little I could see, you were doing the best you could, and he didn't appreciate it! I almost went and had a word with him, but thought doing what I did would be better for everyone."

Carol returned to where she was sat, and put down her guitar next to it. "Spot on what you said about Steve, Carol" said Kevin. "Something tells me that you work with a happy tech team when you're on tour".

"I like to think so," replied Carol, and she explained about the time Jenny had a bit of a meltdown, and had been rude to the stage crew during a soundcheck. "The next day she apologised to the crew in person, and gave them all a load of nice beers. She had even managed to get a load of t-shirts done that she insisted they all wear that night, that said 'Jenny says sorry' on the front. She wore one herself during that evening's show - probably confused the hell out of the audience!".

After chatting for a few minutes she excused herself, and went and visited a couple of other tables, where one girl - not Susan this time - nervously asked if Carol could sing a song with her, and was delighted when she said yes... even better was that she'd printed out the songs lyrics for her. Whilst the girl turned out to be a fairly average singer and player, singing the duet was fun for both of them, and the audience certainly appreciated it.

"Ok," said Carol, "I'm probably going to regret this but...  I'm probably going to be here next time, so if  anyone else would like me to sing with them, then please ask. Bring some printed lyrics with you though, it's a LOT easier than trying to read from a phone!" she added waving the sheet she'd just been singing from.

Carol went and sat down at a table where there were a couple of spare seats. As she took a mouthful of her beer, a guy came over to her table.

"Hi, mind if I join you?"

"Sure, take a seat..."

Online Sparky

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Re: Carol
« Reply #19 on: 24. December 2022, 18:50:27 PM »
Chapter 8 - Tom, the DJ

"So, I'm Tom, I'm actually a DJ on 'Croydon Radio'," he said, as he sat down.

"Oh, hi there, Tom!" said Carol. Tom sat down, and put his drink on the table. To be honest, he was a bit in awe: whilst he had met many other musicians, CJDL were up in the premier league as far as musicians go.

"Thanks!" he continued. "Tell you what, that song you played, it was really good, quite different from what you normally do!". That was when Tom smiled, and Carol realised that he had braces. Proper metal braces, just like Jenny had (and unlike the retainers that she had). To be honest, Carol thought he was generally quite good looking, and those braces looked rather good on him, they suited him.

"Thank you! That's one of the reasons I've started coming here, it lets me try out playing different stuff. A couple of weeks ago I played some CJDL stuff I was working on, and it went down well, so that's why I did the 'update'. But that third one was one I was  working on with Linda the other week. So you're with Croydon Radio then! What sort of show do you have then?"

"I do the mid-afternoon show, so predominantly chart stuff, and yes, before you ask, I DO play your stuff!"

"A man of taste then! But the question is: whilst you may play our stuff, do you actually like it? And please be as honest as possible, I'll promise not to hold your music tastes against you!"

"Ok... well, whilst I wasn't too keen on your early stuff, I really like the newer stuff you've been doing. I believe that was Jenny's doing..."

"Yeah, she went and fell for a guy that didn't really know about our music, he likes indie rock stuff, and when Jenny listened to what he likes, her brain just seemed to go 'boom'! Looking back on it, I'm actually quite glad, we couldn't have stayed with what we had been doing for ever."

"True, although I suspect you lost a few fans as a result..."

"But gained even more new ones on the way! And to answer a question you've not yet asked: yes, I do like the way things are going, but it's going to be interesting to see what happens if we can get Linda actively writing some stuff for us. Anyway, someone like you would never come to join someone like me unless there was something that they wanted!"

"Guilty as charged, I'm afraid! I was wondering... is there ANY chance... that I could persuade you to come and do an interview for my show sometime?"

"Hmmm...". Carol picked up her glass, and took another drink from it as she thought... and once again she took another look at his braces. In principle, there was no reason why she couldn't do an interview: if she had been Jenny, she would have jumped at the idea, but Jenny was so much more used to doing that sort of thing. "Ok, so I'm not going to say no, but... can I have a listen to your show first, get a feel for what it's like?"

"Sure, of course you can. And I'll promise to be very nice to you when I interview you! Here, let me give you my details, then you can just call me. And if I don't hear anything, I'll just come here in a couple of weeks time, and annoy you again!".

"Don't worry, I promise I'll call you! So, what do you think of the music this evening?"

"Quite a mix, isn't it? You and Kevin are both very good, but there's also a few beginners here too... but I love the way you're willing to go and sing with them.."

"Yes, that's actually good fun. It's something I can do to encourage them, it reminds me of where I started out."

"You're local, aren't you?"

"Yeah, we all are. Jenny, Dianne and I met at the local 6th form college, and got together as a band for our annual college concert. Linda was there too, but in the year below us."

"Oh, wow, I hadn't actually realised that...". The guy who was on stage finished playing, and Steve, the sound guy, called out that Carol and Susan were next.

"Sorry, got to perform again!" said Carol. Like Carol, Susan had already sung a few songs by herself, but Carol had agreed to do a duet with her.


The next day, Carol made a point of listening to Tom's show on Croydon Radio. He sounded rather good, and quite relaxed, talking to the listeners as if they were good friends. Maybe because he knew she would probably be listening, he played out an interview he'd done with someone a few months before - it seemed to be a very pleasant and relaxed interview.

Carol called Brian (Jenny's dad, their manager), just to check he didn't have a problem with her going on the radio, then after the show ended, she called Tom.

"Hi, Tom, it's Carol here, from last night..."

"Hey, Carol, thanks for calling back so soon. I don't suppose you listened to my show, did you?"

"Yes, I did. And whilst I'd be happy to come and do an interview with you, I have something else that I think you might prefer, but I need to ask a question first."

"Oh, what's that then?"

"Is there enough space to bring a guitar?"

"Yeah, there's plenty of space in Studio 1..."

"And how about, rather than just doing an interview, I join you for your whole show?"

"You kidding me? All 3 hours?"

"Why not, it could be fun for both of us, and I'm sure your listeners would enjoy it."

"In principle, I love the idea! I'll need to run it past my bosses, but I suspect they'll be ok with it. Apart from that minor detail, when would you like to come along?"

"Well, it's not like I'm actually 'working' at the moment, so I can make pretty much any day..."

"Ok, so how about one day next week? We can talk again to work out which day, but it will give us time to sort everything out."

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Re: Carol
« Reply #20 on: 06. January 2023, 17:17:24 PM »
So, I'm taking a short rest from my "Invasion from the 8th realm" story, to let my brain have some more 'thinking time', so while I do that, let's find out a bit more about what Carol is up to...


Chapter 9 - on the radio

"Well, good afternoon everyone, and welcome to 'Afternoon-time' here on Croydon Radio. And if you've been listening to us this morning, then you'll know I have a special guest with me in the studio today. She's actually going to be with us for the whole show, so we're going to have plenty of chance to chat together. But before we introduce her, let's play you a song that's currently at number 4 in the charts....."

Carol sat there looking at Tom as he completed the first link of his show. She had liked his voice when she had first met him at the open mic night, but his 'on-air' voice was so sexy!

She had arrived most of an hour before the show: she had brought along a load of audio clips which they might want to use during the show, stuff recorded while creating their songs. She's also brought her acoustic guitar, so they needed to set up the mic for that too. They had spent some of that time discussing what they might talk about.

"A new one there from Elton and Britney: 'Hold me closer'. Well, it's time to introduce my guest. Let's just keep it simple: she's one of the members of the chart-topping girl band CJDL... I'm absolutely delighted to welcome Carol Danvers to the show. Hello there, Carol!"

"Hello Tom! You know, I'm actually looking forward to the next three hours... normally when we do an interview it's a bit like an SAS raid: in quick, spend a few minutes talking, then goodbye. Maybe today we can take things more gently, and let everyone learn a bit more about the REAL me...."

"I'm really looking forward to that. Why don't we get in the mood by listening to your last single... it's still just about in the charts....."


"So, when I asked you earlier if there were any topics I should avoid, you said no....". In fact, the only thing they had agreed not to mention was her singing at The Crown, otherwise a rather pleasant regular event might get a bit over-busy.

"Yeah, if you only have 5 minutes to talk, then certain things can very easily get mis-understood, but we've got plenty of time today, so I'm happy to talk about pretty much anything, and I know you have a long list there..."

Tom laughed. "Well, I have to be prepared, don't I? Ok, so I thought I'd start by getting you to give us a potted history of your life.... so, I believe you're actually a local girl?"

"Yeah, I was born over in Wallington, went to Harris Junior, then the County Grammar, then off to Croydon College..."

"Yeah, that's definitely local! So, when was it you first realise that you liked music?"

"Oh, from a very young age. I used to LOVE singing at primary school, and I was even able to sing in tune! Any concert, I would be there, singing my heart out. Same when I moved on to secondary school... Of course, in secondary school, I was able to learn to PLAY music too...."

"So I'm guessing that's where you first met Jenny and Dianne then?"

"No, not really. Jenny was in a different class, and Dianne was actually at a different school.... it wasn't till I went to 6th form college that I really met up with Jenny and Dianne"

Over the next half hour, in between bits of music, Carol gave a potted history of her life, and the band's life while they were at college.

"So, what about your parents in all this? You never seem to talk about your parents..."

"I think I've just wanted to protect them from all the press attention. So, my dad is an accountant at a big accountancy firm. Mum also used to be an accountant - till they married and had us kids. They met at work, but mum became a full-time mum when she had my sister, Rosie. After having us two, she did a lot of great stuff in the community. Rosie's 4 years older than me, got married when I was 18, so she was..... twenty two, I was finishing at college. She now has a couple of really lovely kids, and whilst we don't get to meet up in person that much - she's up in Leicester now - we keep in touch, and get on well....."

"So, have your parents always supported your life of music?"

"Not all the time, no. There were a few harsh words exchanged after my year at music college... We left college so full of hope and enthusiasm, but that wasn't enough."

"What do you mean?"

"We had problems getting gigs, and trying to get ourselves a record contract.  We were all working part-time, I worked in a couple of shops, then a café. Eventually we got a residency at a holiday camp for several months, that was actually good for us. Finally after that we got ourselves a record contract: Jenny's mum & dad were already acting as our managers, so they made sure the record company didn't rip us off."

"Ok... so you got a record contract... I guess that led to you recording your first record? How did it do?"

"It bombed, got nowhere near the charts. That was a really low point for us. But the record company seemed to like us, so we got a second chance, and they pushed it a lot more: that one made the top 40, so they let us do yet another one, which got up to number 5. That felt really good, plus the record company was VERY happy! And it got us noticed too, that's when we started getting on TV, doing interviews and playing our song."

"Then your next one made number one!"

"Yeah, that was a very good day for us! Made up for the many not so good days we'd had on the way there. Overnight, life went from being reasonably busy to going completely crazy!"

"I bet! Of course, that then led to further hits, and a couple of tours.... Ok, let's leave it there just for the moment, and listen to some music....". Tom introduced the next bit of music. "You ok with how things are going?" asked Tom, off-air.

"Yeah, I'm fine, absolutely fine...".

"Can we go back to your mum and dad, then maybe chat about your ex-boyfriend?"

In any other interview, she would have said no, but Tom was being really relaxed about things, letting her explain stuff, without any pressure. Besides, he sounded very sexy, and looked rather sexy too. It was mainly when he smiled, showing off his metallic teeth.

"And we're back chatting with Carol, from CJDL. Carol, you said your parents weren't too happy with you becoming a musician... can you explain a bit for us?"

"There was a bit of a feeling that 'music isn't a proper job'... and 'how can you hope to live as a musician?' 'Musicians are poor', that sort of stuff. And in the early days, they were right, we were struggling. Of course, the joke of it now is that I'm probably responsible for generating far more money for people around me than my dad ever could. You know, when we're out on tour, we're keeping all the stage crew in jobs, then there's all the venue staff, and the hotels and restaurants near the venues and even local transport... they all stay in business because of bands like us. Having said that, without all those amazing people, we'd be nothing!"

"So your parents are ok with things now?"

"Yes, although I thing they sometimes still struggle to understand exactly what we do. They could probably cope better if I had any sort of 9 to 5 job." Carol chuckled. "Maybe next time we're on tour, I should take them along for a couple of days, let them see what we actually do."

"Yes, I suspect they might get a bit of a shock, I know it can be hard work when you're on tour. Now, while the music was playing earlier, I mentioned your boyfriend, your ex-boyfriend should I say - John wasn't it?"

"Yeah, John and I met soon after we finished at music school. We lived together for a couple of years, we had a really good relationship...."

"So what happened? I believe you don't have a boyfriend right now..."

"It was just before our first tour, he was having problems coping with my new lifestyle, you know, all the media attention and stuff, and to be honest I can't blame him. I chose this life, but he didn't. It was actually a reasonably amicable break-up. Hey, tell you what, John, if you're listening, get in touch, it would be nice to say 'hi' again! Even if you have a girlfriend, just bring her with you!". As she was talking about John, she was subconsciously looking at Tom. Well, more at his metal smile.

They continued talking between the music, and the first hour passed very quickly.

"And welcome back to 'Afternoon-time' here on Croydon Radio, with me Carol Danvers! Oh, and Tom's here too...."

"Thank you, Carol..." said Tom slightly laughing, letting Carol see his attractive smile once more. "So Carol has brought her guitar with her, so we thought we'd stop talking for a bit, and let Carol play us something!"

"Yes, I think you guys understand how important music is in my life. So, whilst Jenny usually writes the music, and then Dianne and I work on the words, this is one where I've written both the music and the words. It's still a bit of a work in progress, so it doesn't really have a title yet...."

Carol started to strum her guitar gently, then started singing. As she finished, Tom, and the two others in the studio clapped their appreciation.

"Hey, Linda, if you're listening in, call the station... and if you're NOT listening in, then why aren't you?". Carol and Tom talked for a bit more.

"Ah just got a message to say that there's someone on the phone for you...." said Tom. "Hello Linda?"

"Hello there Tom, I assume Carol can hear me?"

"Hi Linda! Yes, I can. Hey, go get your guitar, then put your phone on speaker....."

"Already ahead of you on that one..... I have a feeling you'd like to play something together?"

"Yeah, how about that one we wrote together the other week... up for it?"

"Sounds like fun..."

"Well, you lead, and I'll follow you, because I suspect you won't be able to hear me once you start playing!". It was very clear that Carol and Linda were enjoying themselves.

"So, Linda, welcome to the show! Carol said you've been trying to write some music together...."

"Yeah, so up till I started working with the girls, I was a session musician, so played other people's music. When I started working with.... no, wrong word! When I started PLAYING with CJD, whilst I was helping them 'tweak' their songs, I still wasn't writing. So Carol invited me over to make me write something."

"Well, from the sound of what you just played, I'd say it went ok!"

"Thanks, Tom. And Carol will be very happy to hear that her jump-start has inspired me, I'm working on another song at the moment!"

"Oooh, nice, look forward to hearing it" said Carol.

"So, Linda, you're the 'new girl', how does that feel?"

"It's not as bad as you might think. For a start, I knew Carol, Jenny and Dianne when they were in the upper sixth: I was in the year below them - back then they called themselves 'just 3 girls' - so we had met before. And then, before I officially joined the band, I'd been working with them for most of six months. But I still feel like I'm 'the new girl' a tiny bit!"

"I was talking with Carol earlier about how her parents reacted to her becoming a musician, can I ask how your parents have reacted?"

"Yes, I heard that. In many ways I think it was easier for my parents: I gently eased into being a session musician and singer whilst doing other work, then I started playing full-time with the girls, and then going on tour with them... I think that gave mum and dad a chance to get used to my new lifestyle."

"And have YOU got used to it yet?"

"It's not really kicked in yet! I guess I started to get used to it on the tour."

"Any brothers or sisters?"

"I have a younger sister, so early 20's, and when she heard that I'd joined CJDL, she went absolutely wild! She was so pleased for me."

"Ok, so a slight change of tack: who do you listen to when you're not listening to CJDL then?"

"Oooh, good question. Ed Sheeran, Billie Eilish.... oh, and Aziya is someone new I just started to listen to."

"Yes, I've heard of her. Tell you what though, I've got some Billie Eilish here, let's take a short break and listen to her latest song...."

Tom had another brief chat with Linda, before she left, then Tom asked Carol about her musical tastes.

"Oh, I hate to admit it, but I like Ed Sheeran too. Then I guess there's people like Taylor Swift and Rihanna. I mean, there's some really great singers and groups around right now..."

"So, if someone were to walk through that door, and offer to sing with you, who would it be?"

"Oh, definitely Ed Sheeran!". As Tom smiled at Carol's response, once again she took a look at the lovely shiny metal that adorned Tom's teeth.

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Re: Carol
« Reply #21 on: 07. January 2023, 23:10:45 PM »
Chapter 10 - still on the radio

They continued chatting, as well as playing music, both were enjoying the show.

"So, while that last record was playing, you pulled out a small audio recorder, and started playing your guitar..."

"Yup, inspiration hit me, want to hear it?"

"Of course....."

Carol started strumming again... "I'm on the radio today.... la la la.... I'm in Studio One, playing this song.... la la la......". She played a bit more, then stopped. "I need to get Jenny, or maybe Linda, to look at the tune there.... who knows, maybe it will be our next number one?"

Just then, the studio door opened - which is something that should never happen, not when someone in the studio is live on air - and in walked Jenny, followed by Ben.

"Jenny!!! Ben!! What are you guys doing here? I guess I should explain to the listeners that my band-mate, Jenny, has just this moment walked into the studio, with her fiance Ben!". Jenny walked over to Carol's microphone.

"We heard you on the radio, so thought maybe we should drop by and say hello!"

"Jenny, Ben, welcome to the show.... what an unexpected surprise! Let me play some music while we get you guys sorted out!" said Tom.

One of the other guys at the station found another couple of microphones on stands for Jenny and Ben, and they all lined up opposite Tom.

"You're listening to Croydon Radio, I'm Tom Daly, and with me today is Carol Danvers, along with a couple of surprise guests who have just dropped by, Jenny, one of Carol's band-mates, and her fiance, Ben. Hey, Jenny, could I ask you a question?"

"Sure, fire away..."

"The story is that you and Ben met through a dating app... is that actually true?". Tom knew it was, because Carol had already told him when they were at the pub, but it made for a good opening question.

"Absolutely! We'd just finished our first tour last year, and were all having a few weeks down-time... partly to recover from actually doing the tour, but also to give us a chance to start working on some new material. I was getting a bit bored, so put my profile up on a dating app..."

"Something tells me that it did NOT say 'pop-star wishes to meet'....!" said Tom, smiling, showing off his metal.

"No, it was pretty non-descript" explained Jenny.

"If I remember right, it was something like '24, works in an office, but likes music, films and being with people'. Which, in hindsight, was actually the truth," added Ben, "Jennifer didn't actually tell any lies... she just left a lot out! I mean 'works in an office'??!!".

"Well, that's true! I have an office where I write my music....." said Jenny. "And don't forget the picture!".

"Yes, her picture, whilst rather nice, was NOT of 'Jennifer, the pop star'!

"So you had no idea who she was when you met her?"

"None at all. I'm not into the sort of stuff CJD were doing back then, so I'd never seen her picture or anything. Besides, Jennifer is actually very good at making herself not look like herself, if you know what I mean! But she looked rather cute in her picture."

"So when DID you find out who she really was?"

"About two weeks later!"

"Yeah, the famous 'gig'..." said Carol.

"Do explain..." asked Tom

"Through Ben, Jenny had met a small local rock band, Three-Play, and ended up playing a couple of songs with them at a local pub." explained Carol. "Of course, her performance was simply perfect! That was the first time I actually met Ben: Dianne and I were at that gig too, hiding in the audience with Ben. And I guess that's where Dianne first met Mike, her current boyfriend - he's Three Play's drummer. Anyway, after the performance she pulled off that night, there was no way she could keep her identity secret from Ben any more!"

"Yeah, that was a fun night. So intimate compared to where we normally play," commented Jenny.

"I'm guessing you were a bit shocked by that revelation, Ben?"

"A bit, yes! But it suddenly explained a lot of things."

"Now, earlier on when I was asking Carol about her ex-boyfriend, she told me that they split up because of the band's fame - that doesn't worry you?"

"No, not too much... I've discovered that these guys are actually amazingly normal people underneath. Also, Jennifer sort-of shields me from the worst of it. I still work part-time, my boss has been really good about giving me time off to be able to be with Jennifer. "

"Which reminds me, Ben..." said Jenny, "you're going to need some more time off... Carol, want to hear some hot-off-the-press, not yet confirmed news? But whatever you don't tell anyone, especially anyone listening in on the radio!" She whispered that last bit loudly, with a big grin, fully aware that they were, indeed, live on air.

"Go on..." said Carol with a smile, and also whispering loudly. "I'm I'm all ears, and I'm sure noone else is listening!"

"How do you fancy a trip to Korea?" asked Jenny.

"Korea? I hope you mean SOUTH Korea? What's happening?"

"So, remember that song we did ages ago, 'Sexy Yellow Rollerskates'? Anyway, we tweaked it a few months ago for a K-pop girl group, and they've gone and made number 2 with it in Korea! And they're expecting it to make number 1 next week. So their production company have just been in touch with dad - oh, for Tom's sake, I should explain that my dad is our manager - and they would like us to go over there to perform on TV with them."

"And when might this be?" asked Carol.

"Probably next week... So, what do you think?" asked Jenny.

"So we get to be a K-Pop band?" Carol started to giggle. "Oh, yes! Definitely yes!!!" she added very excitedly.

"I will admit, I hadn't thought of that angle - it's gonna be a bit like we were a year ago, with our older music, won't it? I think we could have some fun over there!" said Jenny.

"Actually, your saying that raises a question:" interrupted Tom, "after your first tour, your music style started to change - what caused that then?" Whilst he knew the answer - again, Carol had told him at the pub - it was a good question for the listeners.

"Ben!" said both Carol and Jenny in unison.


"Yes, not only was Ben definitely not into girl bands, but it turned out he WAS into indie-rock and that sort of stuff, so I started to listen to some of HIS music. BOOM! My head just exploded with ideas! So, yeah, blame Ben!". Jenny leaned over and gave Ben a big hug.

"So I'm guessing that's related to the gig you guested at, with Darkest Knights?"

"That was a special birthday treat for Ben! He absolutely loves Darkest Knights, but I couldn't get any normal tickets to their gigs, so my brother Callum got some back-stages. One thing led to another, and I got the band, along with the crowd of over 10,000, to sing 'Happy Birthday' to Ben! Then I played a couple of songs with the band!" explained Jenny.

"That was quite a night!" said Ben. "Not only did I meet the band, but then Jennifer went and played with them. The best birthday present ever!"

"Sounds fun! Let's just pause there for a moment, and play some more music. You're listening to Afternoon Time on Croydon Radio, with me, Tom Daly, along with my special guests, Carol, Jenny and Ben...".

"Korea?" asked Carol, "You for real?"

"Oh, absolutely... sounds like you're definitely up for it."

"Yeah, so where we staying? And who's the band that's got the hit with our song?"

"Oh, come on Carol, I only found out about it like 30 minutes ago! We all need to get together and discuss it. With Korea being something like 7 hours ahead, we need to do an early morning call tomorrow. Anyway, we can talk about it more after you've finished here."

The record ended. "Ok, so I just added 2 questions to that long list I created before the show. The first one is to Ben: I noticed that, whilst everyone else calls her Jenny, you call her Jennifer? Any particular reason?"

"Yes... when Jennifer made her post on the now infamous dating app, she did it as Jennifer. Then, when we met, I continued calling her Jennifer... she never corrected me, and I guess it's the name that's now stuck in my head. Besides, I rather like it!"

"And so do I!" added Jenny. "He's actually the only person who calls me that name, and I'm not planning to tell him to stop any time soon!"

"Ok.. so the other question: you just mentioned about maybe going to Korea: have you actually played abroad before? I apologise, I really should have checked on that..."

"It's ok, we'll forgive you!" said Carol. "And the answer is actually yes, on our first tour, which seems so long ago now, we did several dates over in Europe... The Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Germany and a couple of other places too."

"Do you actually ENJOY the touring?" asked Tom.

"That's a hard one to answer. There's good bits and bad bits. The good bits are when you're on stage, actually performing, that's when we come alive... but also when we meet our fans. The not-so-good bits are having to live in hotels, living out of a suitcase, moving on every day or two. I know Jenny struggles with that bit..."
"I hear you have quite a good reputation for being willing to meet your fans..."

"That's mainly Jenny's doing, but yes, it's actually rather nice to meet them in small groups. Jenny's the one that does the social media, and organises most of the meets, but she's trained them well: they know that, as long as they behave themselves, we'll chat with them, and do selfies with them. One of the best bits is when we're staying in a hotel for a couple of nights, and we can organise a 'fans breakfast', for any fans staying over at the hotel."

After chatting for a little more, Jenny and Ben left Carol to continue the show with Tom. In the third hour of the show, Tom got a few callers on the phone, and a few questions online too, and Carol answered their questions.

"Well, sadly time has just flown today, and we're at the end of our time. Carol, thank you so much for coming along and chatting to me, it's been a realy interesting and enjoyable afternoon!" said Tom, starting to wind up the show.

"Yeah, I've enjoyed it too, I hope your listeners weren't too bored!"

"I'm sure they weren't! So thanks to all our listeners for joining in today. After the news, Brian Smith will be with you, and I'll be back with you again tomorrow at 1 o'clock, see you all then...", and he started his last record.

A few minutes later, with the news going out, they were done. A middle-aged lady walked in to the studio.

"Ah, this is Anna, our 'Head of programming'. Anna, meet Carol."

"Nice show there, Tom, well done! And nice to meet you Carol, thank you for coming in and being so open, it was amazingly interesting, picking up on your inside stories!"

Carol looked over at Tom yet again: all through the last 3 hours, she had been looking at him: he was rather good looking, a lovely smile, and what was inside that smile was good too. And his voice, that was rather nice too....

"Hey, Tom, you in a rush to get home?"

"Not especially, why?"

"Fancy going to grab a coffee somewhere?"

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Re: Carol
« Reply #22 on: 08. January 2023, 17:50:34 PM »
chapter 11 - planning for Korea

"You fancy him, don't you?" commented Jenny.

"Pardon?" replied Carol.

"Tom, at the radio station. I saw the way you kept looking at him! I will admit, he is pretty good looking, and his voice is rather nice too...."

Carol couldn't actually deny it, yes, she DID fancy Tom. Something rotten. And for the very reasons that Jenny just said. Plus, for some strange reason, she also found his braces to be strangely attractive... although she was certainly not going to admit THAT to Jenny. No, far too weird!

"Hello Carol!" said Jenny's mum. "We listened to you on the radio today - you came over VERY well. Sounds like you enjoyed yourself too!"

"Thankth... and yes, it wath quite a nicthe way to spend an afternoon.". As she spoke, she smiled enight for Jenny's mum to see a wire across her teeth.

"Oh, do have braces too?"

"Sort-of, thethe are retainerth, I need to wear them for a month or two." Carol decided to not try and explain WHY she needed them. Oh, and if you're wondering why Carol didn't lisp while she was in the radio: well, she didn't want to sound like a dick-head, nor raise any un-needed questions, and simply hadn't worn them.

So, yes, all four girls had come over to Jenny's parent's place to have dinner, and talk about going to Korea. They had all brought an overnight bag, so they could stay over, making it a lot easier for them to have an early morning conference call with the Korean production company.

Of course, come dinner time, Carol needed to remove her retainer. Still feeling a bit self-conscious about it, she went to the downstairs toilet, took advantage of being there, then put her fingers into her mouth, and pulled down on the retainer's clasps, to remove her retainer. She spent a moment looking it it: made of clear pink plastic, it had rather a lot of wires on it: as well as the normal molar clasps, there were c-clasps that went around her front pre-molars, as well as the labial bow with the strange springs on it. With the extra clasps to hold it in place, it was actually reasonably comfortable. With her retainer out, she rinsed it, then put it into the retainer box that she had in her bag.

"So," started Jenny's dad over dinner, "I had an email and then a short phone call earlier today from a company called 'MPC': they are media production company based in Seoul. One of their many groups, Jelly Fish, are the ones that wanted to record 'Sexy Yellow Rollerskates'. Anyway, they recorded it, and it seems it has gone viral, and today went straight in at number two in the charts, and they reckon it's probably going to make number one next week. They are rather hoping that you guys might be interested in going over to appear on TV, and sing the song with them."

"Oh, come on, it won't just be 'sing the song on TV', what else do they want us to do?" asked Dianne.

"From what I could gather, as much as you can in the few days you're there. They also mentioned something about maybe doing a short spot in some sort of local music festival."

"All the way to Korea for 'a few days'? If we're going, we need more time there, I want to have a look around, feel the culture. Didn't you see that TV series recently, that popular UK presenter went there, and he loved the place!" said Dianne.

"I was half thinking about that, but I was also thinking about something else too." said Carol. "These Korean production companies actually spend a lot of effort to train their kids: singing, acting, dancing and so on. What I'd love to do is spend a couple of weeks with them doing some dance training: it's been AGES since we bothered anything serious, and I think we need to 'up our game' a bit...".

"Yes, I like the idea," said Linda, "I mean, you guys have done a bit of training relatively recently, I've done nothing since college. Think they might be up for it?"

"There's no harm in asking," replied Jenny's mum, "maybe you can offer something in return? I'm thinking maybe some sort of song-writing masterclasses? Or hints and tips for anyone coming to perform in Europe?"

"Jenny, you've been uncharacteristically quiet: what's your thoughts?"

"Yes, I'd definitely like some time to see the place... although I think I'm only going to be interested if Ben can come along."

"Very fair point. And the dance classes?"

"It would be interesting to see if they are interested in that: if they are, then I'm up for it."

"And Dianne, would you want to ask Mike along?"

"If he's willing, yes."

"I'm assuming that Callum would come with us?" said Jenny.

"Yes, absolutely, and I was thinking that Paige might want to come and 'document' the visit."

"Ah, yes, 'CJDL do Korea', I bet she'd like that! Of course, if we stay longer, I guess that means they'll want us to do more stuff?" said Carol.

"Yes, and for which we will be suitably recompensed. Effectively they will be the equivalent of 'the tour company' we use when you guys are on tour, so they'll be organising everything, and the more they make, the more we make. But I also understand that it needs to be fun and interesting for you guys too. So, if you're on TV, I guess you'll want to sing?"

"Silly question, dad! Of course we will!!"

"So, what do we know about the group... Jelly Fish didn't you say?" asked Carol.

"Yes, Jelly Fish. All I know is they are like you, 4 girls, early 20's, but I was told they should be joining us on the vidconf tomorrow, so you'll have a chance to talk to them."

"Yeah, I mean, if we don't get on with them, or if they don't speak good English, it's gonna be a bit of a bummer! Any mention yet about where we'll stay?"

"I'll make sure the hotel is good, don't worry..."

"Korea's quite a long flight, I think we should be insisting on going first class!"

"Yes, I was rather assuming that too. We managed in business class for the short European flights on your first tour, but we were on a tight budget back then. But no, I agree about going first class. Anything else coming to mind that we need to ask?"

"A couple of practical things:" said Callum, "we'll need interpreters pretty much all the time. Local mobiles. Transport easily available. Decent WiFi wherever we are."

"Good thoughts there... anything else?"

"Well, if they want the girls to preform live, then we'd need to think about instruments: I mean, taking guitars isn't a big deal, but not keyboards or drums. Also headset mics and that sort of thing - from what I've seen, they tend to use hand mics."

"Good comment, let's see if that becomes relevant first, and if it does, then you can liaise with them on the details."

"Definitely going to need my audio recorder," said Jenny, "I have a feeling that the change of surroundings is going to inspire me!"

"Maybe Linda will get a bit more inspired too...." said Carol.

"Hey, stop picking on me!" replied Linda.

"Not picking on you at all! You proved today, when we played together on the radio, that you can write good stuff, so soak in what Korea can give you, maybe work with Jenny too. I think you've got some good stuff inside you!"

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Re: Story: Carol
« Reply #23 on: 12. January 2023, 18:46:22 PM »
Chapter 12 - the video-conference call

"Hello, can you hear us ok?" asked an asian voice in very clear English. The same as where the girls were, in asia a whole group of people were gathered around a table

"Yes we can." replied Brian (that's Jenny's dad).

"Oh, good. So, I'm Kim De-Jung, we spoke on the phone yesterday!"

"Ah, yes, hello, I'm Brian, Brian Stevens, this is my wife Lisa, we manage CJDL. Would you like everyone to introduce themselves?"

"Why not, that sounds like a good idea!".

The four girls introduced themselves. "And this is my brother, Callum, he looks after anything technical for us... and this here is Paige, she does anything that's media related for us. By the way, she asked me to check that you don't mond her filming us all: if we come over to Korea, she wants to film us, with the view of putting together a program of 'CJDL does Korea!'"

"Well, thank you, and nice to meet you. And no problem with you filming there, Paige!  So, I have the 4 girls from Jelly Fish here with me..." The four girls from Jelly Fish introduced themselves: Ahnjong, Min Jee, Taeyang, and Yun Hee.

"Nice to meet you all!" shouted our four girls: everyone was smiling.

"So, I'm assuming from the fact that you are all here today, that you are definitely interested in coming here to perform with Jelly Fish?"

"Yes, we all talked about it last night," replied Brian, "And the girls are pretty much up for anything you'd like them to do while they are in Korea. However, Carol came up with something, and I think as it was her idea, I'll let her explain..."

"Yeah, can I start by you a question, De-Jung: would I be right in saying that you guys run a sort of 'training school' to train up people like Jelly Fish to be performers?"

"Yes, we do..."

"So, I was thinking that it was silly to come all the way over to Korea for just a week. So I was wondering if there was any way we could come to your 'school' for a couple of weeks and do some dance and choreography lessons?" 

"Oh, yes, that's a very interesting idea! I have no idea if it's possible, but leave it with me, and I'll ask."

"We were thinking that maybe the girls could pay for their 'tuition' by giving some masterclasses of some sort to your students, share their own experience. And of course, if they are there for longer, that gives you more opportunities for extra TV appearances, and that sort of thing." said Lisa.

"Yes, I can see a lot of possibilities, and a lot of positives, I'll go and talk to people about it, and get back to you as soon as possible. I guess I'll need to speak with you, Brian and Lisa, about the money side of things, but I think whatever we can do with be worthwhile for all of us. Ok, so next, I have a question about your accommodation...."

"Yes, go on...."

"So, the obvious option is for you all to stay in a suitable hotel, but there is another option, and if you are going to be here for a few weeks, I think you'll like this. Yun Hee, maybe you can explain the idea?"

"Hi everyone! So, all four of us share an apartment, it's provided by the company, and it's really quite nice, we each have a large room, and there's a lounge and a kitchen area we all share. And at the moment, there's an empty apartment next door to ours, and we thought you might like to stay there instead. I think you might prefer it to a hotel, plus then we could all spend time together, have breakfast and dinner together, that sort of thing!"

Our four girls looked at each other: clearly the idea was very appealing.

"How big is the apartment?" asked Brian.

"I think it's the same as ours, so 5 bedrooms..." said Yun Hee.

"Yes, 5 bedrooms, they can be either doubles or twins: would that work for you?" said De-Jung.

"One for me and Ben... one for Dianne and Mike, one each for Linda and Carol, so  that's four...  so that leaves just one for Callum and Paige... that's one short!"

"Hey, Linda, fancy sharing?" suggested Carol. "that way there'd be a room each for Callum and Paige"

"Yeah, why not... as long as you don't snore...." replied Linda.

"It sounds like the girls like that idea!" replied Brian.

"Oh, that's great!" said Yun Hee.

"Mum, dad: Sorry, I guess you two will just have to 'slum it' at a nice five-star hotel!" said Jenny.

"Yes, there's a hotel not far away from the apartment. I'll follow that up for you. So, the next thing on my list was the festival appearance: we've tentatively persuaded the organisers to give you a 30 minute slot: is that going to be ok? To be honest, we were lucky to get even that at such a late stage as this."

"I'm ok with that," said Carol. "what about you guys?". Everyone was happy with the idea: yes it was a very short set, but he was right, at this late stage they were lucky to even get a slot. "I guess Callum will need to talk to someone about what we'll need on the technical side?"

"Yes, I'll give Brian the contact details for that. Ok, next... ah yes, flights: you said there's 10 of you in total didn't you? We've reserved 10 first class seats on the Korean Air flight out of London on Sunday afternoon, so you'd be here on Monday afternoon: does that work for you?"

"Most probably. We can all discuss it, and get back to you if there's a problem."

"Ok, that's good. The actual TV appearance will be live, on the Thursday evening, so that gives you time to recover from the flight, then the girls have suggested that maybe you can work on your dance routine on the Wednesday and Thursday?" said De-Jung.

"Don't worry," said Taeyang, "there will be plenty of time to other things those two days too!"

"So, is there anything else you need to ask us?" asked De-Jung.

"I have a couple of things. First of all, none of us speak Korean, we'll need interpreters..."

"Yes, good point. Luckily we all speak good English, so that will help, but I'm sure we can make sure there's always someone around, maybe some of our students can help?"

"That sounds good. Another thing was transport: with 10 of us, plus several of you..... that's a lot of taxis..."

"No problem, we have contacts we use a lot that have small busses, we can usually get them quite quickly... we use them for the bands a lot."

"Ok, yes, that sounds good. And mobile phones: any chance you can lend us some local phones for us all to use while we are there?"

"I'm sure Samsung would love to give you some of their latest phones, leave that with me!" said De-Jung with a smile. "Anything else?"

"Not at the moment, but I'm sure we'll think of things..."

"Of course, just let me know. Ok, why don't I go and see if I can talk to something about you four coming to our school... while I do that, I suspect the girls might like to get to know each other...".

For the next half hour, the 8 girls, plus Callum and Paige all chatted, exchaging WhatsApp and Zoom details, then De-Jung re-appeared.

"Ok, good news: I've spoken to our school, and they would be very happy to give CJDL some dance training, and they also like your idea of sharing their experience with the students: it's not often we get someone that can share their knowledge of what happens in Europe... we can discuss the details of all that over the next few days, and even after you get here."

"Yes, that's great news!" said Carol.

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Re: Story: Carol
« Reply #24 on: 20. January 2023, 17:17:54 PM »
chapter 13 - 'We're going to Korea!!'

"Oh, goody," said Dianne, "I have an excuse to buy some new clothes!"

"Absolutely!" said Jenny. "Hey, Linda, now you're a full member of the team, you need to get a few more clothes in your wardrobe too... so fancy coming shopping with me?"

Carol wasn't at all surprised by their comments, those two enjoyed any excuse to buy new outfits for when they would be 'out on display'. But Dianne did actually have a good point: they would be using this 'mini-tour' to get themselves publicity: they were currently pretty unknown in Korea, so it wouldn't take all THAT much effort to up their online sales.

Jenny turned to Carol. "So, they like your idea of us doing some dance lessons... and I must admit, I'm looking forward to it: you're right, we really do need a good 'refresher'!".  Carol smiled: it was nice to get such positive feedback from Jenny. "Hey, Carol, why don't you have your retainers in?"

"God, you sound just like my mum used to be: 'Did you remember to brush your teeth properly? Don't forget you need to brush your retainers too. Why aren't you wearing your retainers?'" said Carol in a silly voice. Jenny was right though, she should put them back in, so she found her bag, and took out the retainer box, and opened it.

"Wow, those are fancy retainers!" commented Dianne, who happened to see them as Carol opened the box.

"Yes, they are. I noticed one of my teeth seemed like it had moved a tiny bit - I'd broken my old retainer trying to put it in - so I went and saw Jenny's ortho. He gave me these, they have some extra clasps to hold it in place, and these springs are applying a bit of pressure to hopefully move the tooth back. However, not had them long, so I still have a lisp - which is why I left them out. I didn't want to sound like a teenage dork!". Carol by now had the retainers in her hand, and she put them into her mouth, clippinbg them into place.

"Tho, if noone has anything planned, how about we go to the muthic room and play a bit: it's been a few weekth thince we've all been together." thugethted Carol (damn, she's making ME do it now!!!).

"Yeah, I'm up for that" replied Dianne.

They spent the rest of the morning in the music room. The first thing they did was to listen to Jelly Fish's version of their old song, 'sexy yellow roller-skates': whilst it was amazingly similar to their own version, they had made a few small changes, so it made sense to make sure they could sing the new version without making any silly mistakes.

Jenny also played them a couple of ideas she's been working on, and Carol persuaded Linda to play them what she'd been working on recently.

"Tell you what, Linda..." said Jenny, "I'm liking your style.... it's pretty similar to our recent stuff, but slightly different enough to make it interesting... What I'm saying is: don't stop, keep trying out ideas! I'd really love to have someone else in the band that can write music, and I'm thinking we ought to spend a bit more time together!"

"I guess you'll have plenty of time when we're in Korea... I mean, we can only practice dancing for SO many hours each day!" said Carol.

"You know, the more I think about it, the more I'm looking forward to going to Korea," said Dianne. "We're gonna have a load of time together, staying in one place, and without the pressures of being on tour. I think we should all make a big effort to work together on some new material: I'm sure we're going to get inspired both by the place, and by their music."

Lisa, Jenny's mum, came into the music room. "Lunch is ready...."

"Oh, thanks Mrs S!" said Carol. They all went back into the main house, and into the dining room, where Jenny's mum had done them all some simple lunch. Having sat down, Carol realised that she needed to remove her retainers, but she'd actually left her bag, which contained her retainer case, out in the music room. Whilst she could have gone and got it, she didn't bother. Instead, in full view of everyone, she put her fingers into her mouth, and removed her retainers, and put them on the table, in front of her, feeling a little bit of 'excitement' as she did so, knowing that everyone else could see her retainers.

"So, Brian, has anyone told the press yet that we're definitely going to Korea?"

"No... why don't you call up your friend at the radio station, let him know... I'm sure it won't be long after that that the world knows!"

So, about an hour later, at about 1:30, Carol calls Croydon Radio, knowing that Tom will be on the air. The other 3 girls, plus Paige (who is filming all of this) are with her, and Carol has the phone on speaker, so everyone can hear..

"Hello, Croydon Radio!" said the voice that answered the phone.

"Hi, this is Carol.... Carol Danvers...." said Carol. "And you ain't gonna believe that unless I say something like 'I went out for a coffee with Tom after the show yesterday'".

"Hello Carol! Wasn't expecting to hear from you again so soon." replied the voice, "It's Ravi here..."

"Oh, hi Ravi! Look, I thought Tom might like a bit of exclusive breaking news about us going to Korea... Any chance I can speak to him?"

"Hold on Carol, I'll just have a word with him". She heard a click, then heard music, which she assumed was what they were broadcasting. Just over 20 seconds later, there was another click.

"Hi Carol..." said Tom.

"Hi Tom!" said Carol.

"Hi Tom!" said Jenny.

"Hi Tom!" said Dianne a bit louder as she was a bit further away.

"Hi Tom!" said Linda.

There was a laugh from the phone. "I'm guessing all four of you are there today? Hi everyone!". Of course, Tom was a bit chuffed: today he was talking with all four of CJDL! So how are you today?"

"Well, apart from having to get up stupidly early for a vid conf, I'm fine. I have some news, I thought you might like another bit of an exclusive...."

"I'm assuming it's about Korea?"


"For broadcast?"


"Tell you what, let me put you onto the desk, and we can have a chat in the next link... that ok with you?"

"Sure...". Another couple of clicks, and she heard music again... it was kinda like calling the local council, and being stuck on hold! At least the music was reasonable, it sounded like it was Lewis Capaldi.

"Pointless there from Lewis Capaldi, topping the charts this week. Well, remember yesterday
I had the pleasure of Carol Danvers - one of the girls from CJDL - in the studio with me for the whole show, well, she's just called me, she tells me she has some interesting news to share with us. Hello there, Carol!"

"Hello Tom!" said Carol again.

"Hi Tom" said the three other girls.

"And hello also to Jenny, Dianne and Linda, who I believe are all with you today..."

"Yeah, we're all round Jenny'th parent'th place, in the music room, it's actually the firtht time in a few weeks that we've all been together, so we were trying out a few new thongs earlier on."

"Sounds like you guys are enjoying yourselves. Now, first of all, thanks for coming in yesterday, not only did I enjoy it, but it seems many of our listeners did too."

"My pleasure!"

"So, yesterday on the show, your band-mate Jenny dropped by, and we heard you 'secretly whispering' rather loudly something about going to Korea, and I believe you've called in to give us an update?"

"Well, that'th athuming your listeners would like an excluthive bit of confirmed newth?". Carol's lisp was, by now, reasonably soft, with some words causing her more issues than others, but it would probably be another week or so before she was fully used to wearing her new retainers. (I'll stop typing her lisps now, you can just imagine them....)

"Oooh, yes, definitely...."

"So, I can officially confirm that we, that's CJDL of course, have been invited to go over to Korea: Jelly Fish - they are a K-Pop band - are currently at number 2 in the Korean charts with a single that we wrote: 'Sexy Yellow Roller-skates", and they fully expect it to be number 1 next week. And they want us to perfor m with Jelly Fish on the Chart Show program..."

"Wow! Now we spoke after the show yesterday, and you said you were hoping it would happen, so how you feeling about it?"

"Oh, yeah, it's gonna be such fun! Not only will we be performing on TV, it seems there's a small festival a couple of days later, so we're going to be playing at that too. And then we're going to stay over there for a couple more weeks, and do a bit of dance training. And I'm sure they'll line up some radio or TV appearances too." explained Carol excitedly. "It's going to be the first time we've done anything outside Europe."

"I have a feeling you guys are going to be working hard, but also having a lot of fun. So how has the press reacted so far?"

"Well, they haven't: you're the first to hear about it!"

"No way! So you're telling me that we just got an exclusive from you?"


"So, let me get this right: CJDL are about to go to Korea for a few weeks, you're going to be singing one of your songs on TV with... ah, yes, Jelly Fish, then performing on stage at a festival - is that by yourselves or with Jelly Fish?"

"It seems they've squeezed us in for 30 minutes, and I guess we'll be onstage by ourselves... Jelly Fish are now one of the headliners, so I guess there's a possibility we my drop by for their set."

"I must admit, I've never actually heard of Jelly Fish, who are they?"

"Like us, there's 4 girls in the band: um, half a second...". Jenny was scribbling, and passed the paper to Carol. "So, they are Ahnjong, Min Jee, Taeyang and Yun Hee. I'd say they are a couple of years younger than us. We met them online this morning, and had a nice chat with them all, we all seemed to get on pretty well."

"Ok. So then you said something about dance training?"

"Yeah, things are a bit different over in Korea compared to here in England. They have large... I was going to say 'record companies', but they are a lot more than that, they are 'production houses': they train the kids up.... some of the kids start as young as 14... not just as singers, but as performers, dancers and actors too. So I thought it was time we brushed up on our dancing, so I asked if we could stay a bit longer, and join their dance classes. And they said yes."

"Nice one! So how you all going to cope being stuck in a hotel all that time?"

"We won't... well, Jenny's mum and dad will be, but we're going to stay in an apartment, next to the one Jelly Fish live in."

"Oh, my... what a thought: eight girls all together for... what is it, three weeks?" said Tom, laughing.

"I think it's going to be fun being all together again. Looking back over the last year, the only time we normally all get together for more than say a week, is when we're on tour together.. but then you're getting stressed... performing, and going to a new hotel every few days. This is going to be quite different. And it's going to be interesting being immersed in Korean culture - I can't wait to try out some of their street food!"

"Is it the sort of thing that's likely to inspire you to write some new stuff?"

"Hey, Tom, Jenny here... I have a feeling my head is going to explode with new ideas when I see Korea..."

"Hi there, Jenny! Hey, is Ben going with you?"

"Of course - I mean, how could I survive three weeks away from home without him there to keep me sane?"

"Well, girls, Carol, thanks for the call, and thanks for the exclusive news. Hey, make sure you call us when you're over there! In the meantime, I'd better get back to the show. That was Carol Danvers there, with the other girls from CJDL. Sounds like a prompt to play you their current single...."... Tom started the music, and there were a couple of clicks.

"Hey, Carol, ladies, thank you SO much for that!"

"No problems... it's nice to help our local station... something tells me that Ravi is about to be very busy editing that bit down, and putting it online! Hey, you free after the show again today?"

"Yes, but only if you let me buy the coffees, if that's what you were about to suggest?"

"It was... ok, I'll see you after the show!". Carol hit the 'red button' to end the call, at which point there were a few 'oooh's from the others.

"You really like him, don't you?" said Jenny. "Go on, admit it...". Carol was thinking about Tom, and that smile of his. And what was inside that smile.

"Yeah, I guess I do. I mean, it's alright for you and Dianne, you've both got someone, but Linda and I are both single. Well, I'm assuming Linda is still single?"

"Don't bring me into this!!" said Linda.

The four girls were definitely enjoying being back together again.

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Re: Story: Carol
« Reply #25 on: 01. February 2023, 15:39:50 PM »
Chapter 14 - More about Tom

Carol arrived at the radio station just before 4pm, when Tom's show ended. She waited outside the studio until he had switched into the news: she had noticed yesterday that those few minutes before the news seemed to be a little more stressful for Tom, probably because he needed the switch into the news to sound good, without the previous record over-running.

"Hiya!" said Carol as she walked in. Like yesterday, Carol was dressed very casually, wearing a pleasant blouse, and jeans. Her long brown hair fell nicely around her face, and down to her breasts: it's style wasn't anything special, no fringe like Jenny now had, since she got her hair cut short. Plus she wore minimal makeup... it was all part of trying to not look too much like a pop-star, and strangely, most of their fans respected this: if they were dressed up as CJDL, then they expected their fans would want their attention, but dressed like this they tended to keep their distance. And if one of their fans DID approach one of the group, they tended to be very 'cautious', and would ask very nicely. Well, most of the time!

"Hey, Carol, nice to see you again. So, you're all off to Korea... I guess you'll be busy the next few days getting ready - so when you actually flying out?"

"We fly out teatime on Thunday, tho we get there mid afternoon on the Monday." said Carol smiling. She was smiling for a couple of reasons: first, she was actually quite excited about going to Korea, in fact, the most excited she had been for a while - it's not quite so easy to get as excited about touring around the UK the second time around. And the second reason was because she'd just seen Tom's smile... and more specifically the metalwork on his teeth. "Tho, any feedback on our newth yet?"

"I don't really know, I've been stuck in the studio pretty much all the time since you rang, let's go ask Ravi.... But before we do that, I have a question: I didn't realise you had had braces recently. I mean, on the show yesterday you mentioned you had braces as a teenager..."

"That's becauthe I've not actually had braces rethently. However, a few weekth ago, I thpotted that one of my teeth seemed to have moved, and when I put my retainerth in, the top one was very tight, and I actually broke its wire. Tho I went and saw Jenny'th ortho, and he's made me a new one, with a few extra bitth on, to hopefully move the tooth back a bit."

"Ah, ok! I can hear that you still have a bit of a lisp, I guess your tongue is still getting used to it?"

"Yeah, that'th right." Carol was kinda glad Tom had mentioned her retainers, because that meant she could now ask Tom about his braces. "Tho how come you got braces ath an adult then?"

"Well.... as a teen, whilst not perfect, my teeth weren't bad enough to get braces on the NHS, but in the last couple of years, they've got worse: my ortho thinks it might be related to my wisdom teeth finally coming through. What do you think then? Do they make me look nerdy or cool?"

"They actually thuit you well, so more cool than nerd! Your brackets are tho much thmaller than mine were though, had them long?"

"About 3 months so far. I was surprised how comfortable they are, I was expecting them to catch my cheeks more: I remember back at school, the kids that did have braces always complained about that. Anyway, you going to let me buy you this coffee?"

Just like yesterday, Carol and Tom had a very pleasant chat over their coffee. Carol was telling Tom a bit more about going to Korea.

"When I rang in, you said I should call your show from Korea: you serious about that?"

"Why not? It could be fun for everyone! Assuming you're ok with it? Although rather than using the phone, we have some high-quality audio link software we use over the internet, probably better to use that."

"Ok, so what you thinking of, just a chat?"

"If you would like to sing something, or do something with the other girls, or even the Korean girls, then that's ok too: the feedback we've had after yesterday's show was surprisingly positive, and to be honest, it's nice to do something that not just 'play another record' or 'read out about a local event'. Yesterday became quite 'personal', and people seemed to connect with that. I mean, Linda calling up, then Jenny and Ben dropping by, that was such fun, and was great radio!"

"Yes, I enjoyed the afternoon myself too... as you say, it was something different.". Carol was thinking that whilst Tom now knew quite a bit about her, she knew very little about him. But should she ask him? It's really the sort of stuff you find out when you're in a relationship, although maybe she could ask some simple stuff now. "You know, you know loads about me, but apart from your name, and what you look like, and the fact you work at Croydon Radio, I know nothing about you..." she said, slightly nervously.

"Well, my name is Tom, Thomas Aaron Sharpe. I'm 23, I was born and brought up in West London, but moved down to Croydon last year, to work on Croydon Radio. I have a brother who's a couple of years younger than me. Dad works at the council, mum is... well, a mum, she helps out at a local charity. How's that for a potted biog?"

As Tom spoke, Carol looked at him: she didn't understand why, but his braces looked... well, both cute and sexy.

"Definitely VERY potted! Come on, tell me a bit more. Like... um... what sports did you do at school?.... what do you do in your spare time? That sort of stuff..."

"Well, at school I played soccer: I wasn't great at it, but I enjoyed it. Of course, in summer we all did a bit of athletics too. What do I do in my spare time? I sometimes go and join in the 5km Park Run on a Saturday morning, but I socialise with a few people I've met, also play games with them."

"As in online games?"

"Some of that, but we quite enjoy silly games - for example, you ever played 'Dobble'?"

"No... what is is?"

"A very simple, but fun, card game. When you're back from Korea, I'll show you...".

The two of them chatted for a bit longer, with Tom telling Carol a bit more about himself.

"Well, I need to go get some food to cook myself some dinner" said Carol.

"You cook? You don't go out for dinner?"

"Of course I cook! It's bad enough when we're on tour, having to eat a mix of really crap stuff and rich hotel and restaurant food... it's not healthy to eat out so much, so yeah, I cook. Tell you what, when I'm back from Korea, I'll cook you dinner..."

"So what do you do? Sausages? Fish fingers? Ready meals?"

"Yes, all of those, but most of the time it's a bit healthier, like a casserole, or chops and a load of veg.... Ok, yeah, sometimes a pizza or a chinese...". Tom smiled: Carol actually sounded to be surprisingly normal.


The rest of the week, and the weekend flew by, there was so much to do. We may joke about 'Carol needing to buy some new clothes' but if she was going to be seen in public a lot over the next 4 weeks, she needed a load more clothes. When you're on tour, you're either sleeping, relaxing with the rest of the band, rehearsing / doing sound checks or performing, and only occasionally 'going out'. The trip to Korea was going to be quite different, they would be on TV, mixing with people, going out and all that sort of thing. Their actual performing would be pretty minimal.

While the girls  made sure they had enough clothes, Callum and his dad were working out the practicalities of travelling: getting the girls guitars ready to go on the plane to Korea, getting a load of SD cards for the cameras, and hard drives to copy the video too (if you remember, Paige was going to video the girls, for a 'CJDL do Korea'), spare cameras, lightweight tripods and so on.

Plus Callum needed to make sure that there was a suitable drumkit for Dianne, and keyboards for Jenny, for the festival they were playing, along with headset mics.... it's amazing how much needs to be done!

Whilst they would all have liked to fly first class over to Korea, the reality was that first class is STUPIDLY expensive, plus there's only 8 first class seats on the plane, so they were all booked into 'Prestige Class' seats, which were almost as good, and luckily still gave them 2 quite large suitcases each. All the tech kit & instruments had to be booked in seperately, and paid for extra. Mind you, most of the girls still had problems squeezing everything into two large suitcases!

Carol called Tom on the Saturday morning. "Hey, what you doing today?" she asked him.

"Not a lot...."

"Well, I need to do a bit more shopping for our trip, so why don't you come and have lunch with me... My treat..."

To be honest, Tom was slightly surprised. Having a cup of coffee with Carol after his show was one thing, but this was a step up from that, and it raised a few questions. Tom actually enjoyed chatting with Carol, he was enjoying her company, but was Carol the sort of girl that he fancied? That was a difficult one, he'd never dated a pop star before! But at a personal level, as 'Carol the person', she was someone he would certainly consider dating. It was the other 80% he knew little about. Carol the pop star. Carol all dressed up for her fans. Maybe he was just thinking too much about things? Carol was probably just being friendly. yes, that was it...

"Ok, sounds like it could be nice..."

Lunch was actually rather nice for both of them: much of what they talked about was the trip to Korea, and how Carol really MUST call into his show while she was there.

"I need to get a couple more bits, you're welcome to come along with me if you like... and if you do, but you get bored, you can leave at any time..."

"Yeah, ok, why not?  I'm interested to see the sorts of places you shop."

Carol chuckled. "Oh, it's not THAT exciting!"

A few minutes later, as they were walking through the shopping area, they passed one of those 'party costume' places.

"Hey, let's go in here....." said Carol. There was one outfit that she fancied having: she wasn't QUITE sure when she would wear it, but if they actually HAD it.... oh YES, they did! Carol tried it on: now we're not talking high-quality costumes here, it was much more about the look.

"What do you think?" she asked Tom.

"Yes, it does suit you, you just need to get your hair right now..."

"Oh, I'm sure they'll have the matching wig..." A quick word with one of the shop assistants, and she had the matching wig. She looked at herself in the mirror: it was just PERFECT!

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Re: Story: Carol
« Reply #26 on: 04. February 2023, 02:53:50 AM »
Chapter 15 - the flight

So far, their experience had been really good: whilst "Prestige Class" was Korean Air's version of "Business Class", it was supposed to be much closer to First Class than most Business Classes. At check-in, despite the large queues for economy check-in, they only had to wait about a minute at the priority checkin, and despite their large amount of luggage, they were dealt with quickly and politely.

They were also able to use the priority queue at security: those of you who have been through security on a Sunday afternoon at Heathrow will know the queues can get quite long, but again, there was little delay, and they were dealt with courteously.

They knew that, whilst the fancy shops would be nice, they also knew that many of them would be stupidly expensive, so after a brief look around, they had headed to the lounge, where a very pleasant surprise awaited them: space, luxury, nice food, you name it, it was there! Whilst they had all had a nice lunch before leaving Jenny's parents home, and they knew they would get a meal once in the air, there was a big gap in the middle, so most of them tried some of the food at some point.

With their flight being at just before 7, they had arrived early as advised ("just in case...."), and still had most of 2 hours to wait. Luckily, Ben had been practical, and had bought some small silly games with him, and they managed to spend most of 30 minutes playing "Dobble", before moving on to playing cards.

It was at about six when a Korean Air representative came over to them. "Good evening everyone. I'm afraid there is a very slight delay to your flight, no more than 10 to 15 minutes, meaning you'll not need to leave to get to your gate until a little after half past: it's only a 5 minute walk to your gate from here. I'll come back and let you know when you need to go." As she smiled, Ben took a look at her teeth, and he was certain that she was wearing clear aligners!

As they got to the gate, there was a call on the PA for any Prestige Class travellers to board, so they got to go straight onto the plane, where they were welcomed by one of the cabin crew, and shown where their seats were. The seating in Prestige class is in 'pods', which are in pairs: they had managed to secure a group of seats adjacent to each other. Clearly Jenny was with Ben, her parents were together, Dianne was with Mike, leaving Carol, Linda, Paige and Callum: Carol had chosen to sit next to Paige, so Callum was next to Linda. The pods were surprisingly comfortable, with their own large screen TV with a very fancy remote control, plenty of space to put stuff, and a very comfortable seat that looked like it could lay completely flat.

It was DEFINITELY better than economy class!!

Prestige Class seats are split into two areas, with a dozen seats at the front, just behind the 8 first class seats, and the other 40-ish seats being in the next section, behind the galleys. They were in the front section, and there were only 3 other passengers there, so they were nicely secluded.

They had hardly sat down when another member of cabin crew came over, welcomed them, and started pouring out glasses of juice for them all. "I'm sorry, we can't serve the champagne until we're in the air!" she explained.

Carol checked her watch: they still had over 15 minutes before the scheduled departure time, and she knew that would really mean more like 30 to 45 minutes before they actually took off. They were, of course, all quite excited, and they were all talking to each other.

Finally, they could feel the plane being pushed away from the gate, and a few minutes later, the engines started, and they started to taxi. Again, if you've ever been to Heathrow late on a Sunday, you'll know there's often white a queue for take-offs, so they weren't airborne for another 20 minutes, after which the engines were running at full throttle, and they climbed.

Suddenly, Carol could hear Jenny singing one of their songs. "They're playing one of your songs on the 'chart channel'," explained Ben. The others quickly put on their headphones, and 'tuned in', and all four of them sung along to their song!

About 15 or 20 minutes after take-off, the engines were throttled back, and the plane continued it's climb more gently... at which point the Cabin crew came over with champagne and a small 'snack' - a bit of fish with asparagus. At the same time they were given a menu, and asked to choose whether to have the 'Western Menu' or the 'Korean menu'.

"Well, I'm definitely going Korean!" said Jenny, "I wanna get in the mood...". Carol and Paige also went for the Korean option.

Of course, when the food came, Carol was wearing her retainers, so needed to remove them: luckily there few others around, so she removed them discretely, and put them into her retainer case, in her bag.

"Your retainers don't seem to worry you that much, do they?" said Paige, "and I can hear that your lisp is almost gone now!"

"Yeah, you soon get used to them." replied Carol. Paige knew about why Carol had them, and also knew she's had full braces a few years before. "Hey, did you ever need braces?"

"Yes, I had a thing called a twin block, it helped my lower jaw to grow a bit more."

"A big chunky thing? One of the girls I knew at school had one of those, she hated it! I guess you got normal braces after that?"

"No, I didn't... my teeth were actually quite straight, so I never needed them. Just had the twin blocks for about 9 months."

They were not disappointed by the food: the quality was excellent! After a salad appetiser, they had their main course, followed by a couple of crackers and some cheese, and finally some fresh fruit with ice-cream. All assisted with a glass or two (or maybe it was three?) of wine! And unlike what you got in economy, it was served on proper plates, with proper metal cutlery!

Whilst they were all quite excited, and had been talking about all sorts of things, with dinner now behind them, Carol was starting to feel tired: by now it was after 9pm (so 6am in Korean time) and it had actually been a long and tiring day.

Carol put on the noise-cancelling headset on, playing some gentle music, as she lay back, and with the nice blanket over her, she closed her eyes. The meal and the alcohol all helped to let her fall asleep. When she woke up an hour or two later, the cabin was dark, with all the window blinds down, and lots of people were asleep. For her part, Carol had just had a bit of a strange dream, and while she had forgotten most of it within a minute or two, there were a couple of bits that she remembered. Flying... as in her flying through the air, not in an aeroplane. And an enormous friendly shaggy dog. She looked over, and saw that Paige was asleep, so she let her mind wander a bit, and as she did so, some words started to come to her.

Carol got up, and went to the locker, and got her bag down: it contained things like her makeup kit, her tablet, but it also contained her laptop, which she got out, turned on, and started to type in the words. They were a bit messy to start with, but after a while she had the basis of a song: two verses and a chorus.

"Hey, what you doing?". It was Linda: she had spotted that Carol was awake and doing something on her laptop.

"Oh, hi Linda! umm... some words for a song....". She wasn't lisping if only because she'd not bothered to put her retainers back in again after dinner.

"Let's have a look then..." Linda read the words. "Interesting, where did THAT come from?"

Carol explained about her dream. "Hey, I have an idea: would you like to write a tune to go with it?"

Linda smiled. "Why not, I'll give it a go!"

"Actually, I have an even BETTER idea! I'm also gonna get Jenny to write some music for it too: I would love to see what the two of you come up with... promise you won't talk with her about it, I really want to see if we can have two very different songs from the same words!"

Carol copied the document onto a memory stick, which Linda took away with her. She also copied it onto another memory stick, and went over to Jenny, who had her noise-cancelling headphones on, and was also working on something on her laptop. She tapped her gently in her shoulder, and she pulled the earphones back.

"Hey, what you up to? Writing something by the look of it..."

"Yeah, I've had one of my 'inspirational moments' - I guess we're closer to God when we're up here, as 35,000 feet!". Linda looked at the screen: what she saw looked FAR more complicated that what she would normally expect to see. There seemed to be 4 different staves of music, and multiple lines of words, all at the same time.

"Looks kinda weird..." commented Carol.

"Yes, it seems to be pretty complicated, I haven't quite got my head around it, it's coming to me in bits, and I've been told to 'take my time, it will all become obvious'. What I can say its going to be a 4-part acapella, with each of us singing different things some of the time. But, apart from sleep, what else is there to do, we still have about 8 hours to go before we get there! So what's that in your hand?"

"Ah, well, you're not the only one getting inspiration! I had a bit of a strange dream, which inspired me to write some words..." she said, passing over the stick. "I've also given this to Linda, I thought it would be interesting to see what you could each come up with by yourselves. No conferring allowed, of course."

Jenny smiled. "Yeah, I'm up for that, probably won't be tonight though, I feel I need to finish this off first!". Jenny plugged the memory stick and copied the file over to her laptop, then took a quick look. "Oh, interesting! It's going to be fun to see what Linda and I come up with."

"I'll bet they will be totally different!". Carol looked at Jenny's screen again, where the music was, and started to sing one of the lines of music and words in her head... then tried the second, the third and the fourth. Wow, her mind was trying to imagine how they would sound together - it was a VERY interesting combination. "This one's going to be interesting though, isn't it? Very powerful words, and a strange musical construction. Something tells me this won't be something we can learn in 5 minutes!"

"No, you're right, but I have a feeling that God is giving me something a bit special this time, something that will challenge us a bit. And I don't know about you, but the idea of having a challenge sounds like fun to me!"

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Re: Story: Carol
« Reply #27 on: 04. February 2023, 23:01:40 PM »
Chapter 16 - they're there!

When they landed in Seoul, it was late afternoon, and they had to get through passport control: after that it was straight through to the exit... their luggage (of which there was quite a bit, by the time you include guitars, other technical stuff, and a large number of suitcases for the large number of clothes they would need over the 3 or so weeks they would be in Korea) was specially 'tagged' and the ground staff would get it through customs, and delivered to their bus. In addition, they dropped off the bags they'd taken on the plane.

They were of course being filmed by Paige: she had been fiming them a bit on the plane, plus all the way since getting off the plane (well apart from in passport control - they don't like that!), and would follow them as they 'met their public'. Callum had a bag full of extra camera cards and batteries, as well as a spare camera that he was occasionally using to film from a different angle.

Once 'landside' (but before they went through that last set of doors where they assumed most of the press would be, and maybe even a few fans) they were met by 4 photographers, who were instantly taking pictures of them. Jenny knew exactly what she needed to do.

"Good afternoon everyone - do you speak English?" she asked. They all nodded. "In that case, we can spare you two minutes..... so why don't I introduce everyone... Let me start with my mother and father: so this is Brian and Lisa Stevens, they are our managers. This is my brother Callum Stevens, he looks after our tech needs."

As Jenny introduced each of them, the photographers took pictures. "Next, hiding behind a camera, and currently filming you guys - oh the irony of it - is Paige, she works with the band, and looks after anything related to media. Dianne, over to you?"

"Ok, so I'm Dianne, this is my boyfriend Mike!" said Dianne.

"And this guy here is my fiancé, Ben". Jenny leaned over and kissed Ben, holding the pose for a few seconds, to make sure everyone got enough pictures. "So that just leaves the four of us..."

The four girls lined up, to allow the photographers to take pictures of them. "Hi, I'm Carol!". "Hi, I'm Jenny!". "I'm Dianne...". "And I'm Linda!"..... "And together we are CJDL!". Cameras clicked quickly as they quickly took up a variety of poses.

"Ok, time for us to go... thank you all..." said Jenny. She led the girls in a courteous bow to the photographers.

"No, thank YOU for making time for us!" and the photographers bowed back.

"So, do you know what is outside, waiting for us?"

"I believe a few more photographers, at least two TV crews, and probably a LOAD of fans...." said one of the photographers with a big smile. "Have fun!".

"Ok" said Jenny's mum, "We'll go outside first, Paige, you and Callum follow, because you'll be wanting some pictures of the crowds and their reactions when the girls come out. Then a bit of a pause, then you four come out. Ok?"

"OMG, I'm actually a bit nervous!" said Carol.

"You know, so am I! Isn't this fun!!" replied Dianne.

Jenny's parents, then Callum and Paige went through the big doors that led 'outside'. The four girls counted to 10. "Ok, let's do this!" said Jenny. As they walked through the doors they could see the fans. So many fans! And they all started screaming! The girls stood there smiling in front of the fans (luckily they were all the other side of a barrier!), letting them take pictures and videos.

Carol noticed that there were two TV crews in the middle, and went over to the first one: the interviewer came over to her. "Give me your microphone!" said Carol, pointing at it. She passed it over. Then she went to the second crew, and got their microphone too. Then, making sure the logos were the right way, she held them both up to her mouth. "Can you hear me ok?" she asked, looking at the two cameramen, who had headphones on. They both gave a thumbs up.

"Girls, over here!" shouted Carol. The four of them lined up, letting the cameras get good shots of them. Carol held the microphones in front of them all. "Hi, I'm Carol!", "I'm Jenny!", "I'm Dianne!", "and I'm Linda!". "And we are CJDL"!. Carol then held the 2 mics in front of her again.

"Thank you all for coming to meet us: this is our first time here in Korea, and it is a pleasure to be here, we're all looking forward to seeing your lovely country!". She passed the mics to Jenny. "We've come here to perform one of our songs with Jelly Fish, as well as play at the Park Festival next weekend!" said Jenny. "And I'm sure you'll see us on TV too," added Dianne. As Linda took the mics from Dianne, she spotted 4 girls coming towards them. "And look who has come to greet us!". As the 4 of them walked over to meet the girls from Jelly Fish, Linda passed the mics back to the TV teams.

As they met, they all hugged: needless to say, with all 8 girls now there, the crowd was screaming out rather loudly!

Luckily, where they were standing, there was plenty of space, so they didn't need to rush: they were ALL very aware that publicity was so important to keep their names in the news, and their songs selling. After posing together, Jenny and Carol went over to the crowd of fans: some of the ones at the front had autograph books, so she took a felt tipped pen out of her handbag (yes, they had expected to have to do this, so were prepared!!), and started to sign autographs. There was one girl, a couple of rows back, who had a placard saying "Wilcome CJDL!", so Carol motioned to her to come to the front, and took the placard off her for a moment, corrected the spelling mistake, and then all eight girls signed the placard, and passed it back.

Jenny indicated to the other 3 of them to stand back a bit: Jenny then put her forefinger to her lips, saying "shhhhh": the others did the same: strangely, the crowd actually went silent.

"Hello everyone..." said Jenny. As few people started to cheer, so the girls "shushed" them again. "Hello everyone, thank you SO much for coming to meet us! You know, it's so much nicer when you are quiet like this... want to try and stay like this for a bit more? So, why don't we introduce ourselves?" Jenny looked over at Carol, who knew exactly what they were going to do.....

"Hi, I'm Carol ..."


"And we are CJDL!!". They let the crowd scream out for a bit, but then quietened them down again. Paige and Callum were both standing over to the side, filming all this, and enjoying every moment.

"Would you all like to meet a couple of special people?" asked Jenny: there was a quite gentle "yeah" from the crowd. Jenny waved to Ben and Mike to join them, then nodded at Dianne.

"This is my boyfriend, Mike...." said Dianne. A gentle cheer went up.

"And this is my fiancé, his name is Ben...." said Jenny. Another cheer.

"Do you think you can stay quiet for long enough to let the girls from Jelly Fish introduce themselves to you?" Again, there was a cheer, but without any guidance, the fans quickly quietened down again: the crowd was realising that, by staying quiet, the girls would talk to them nicely... Yes, Jenny really DID know how to control her fans! The four girls from Jelly Fish: Ahnjong, Min Jee, Taeyang, and Yun Hee all introduced themselves. The crowd had behaved themselves for long enough, and erupted once more, then quietened down again, letting the girls talk to the crowd again.

"You know, I think the girls from Jelly Fish should take some selfies of us four with you all.... now, how can we do this? Do you think you can organise yourselves in smallish groups, and come up to the barriers, and we'll stand in front of you? And once we've taken your picture, allow others in too? The crowd clearly understood English, and realised that, if they did as asked, they would get something special. Jenny had realised that the local stars, Jelly Fish, would have their own socal media that the fans would see, so was a better way than the CJDL team doing something.

At the same time, Ben and Callum got their phones out, and took some pictures and video too, which they would get Paige to post online for their UK fans.


Eventually, they all got onto the band's bus - they hadn't rushed earlier because they knew that it would take some time for all of their bags and kit to get through customs, and brought out to the bus. Whilst they had already introduced themselves on the several video calls they had had, everyone looked different in person, so with big smiles, they all introduced themselves to each other once more.

"Wow, Jenny, I don't know how you managed to control the crowd back there?" said Min Jee. "I mean, they just did what you said!"

"It's a strange skill that Jenny seems to have: she manages to make her fans realise that if they are nice to her, she'll be nice back to them." explained Carol, "I assume you've all posted those pictures?"

"Of course, you should see all the feedback!"

"Tell them that, if they all behave themselves if they should happen to see us, then they might get more treats in the future..." added Carol.

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Re: Story: Carol
« Reply #28 on: 10. February 2023, 17:36:57 PM »
Warning: the worms in this story are probably well under the age of consent!!!! They are dead though...


Chapter 17 - Korean dinner / the apartment

"Good evening! I'm Park Hon Su, we all chatted on the video call. So welcome to Seoul! I hope you all had a pleasant flight!". Hon Su was Jelly Fish's manager. They had left the airport, and were on the way to town, in a very comfortable bus / coach. "So, for the next few days, you'll be spending much of your time with the girls here from Jelly Fish, so do ask them if you need anything, but we'll make sure there's always someone nearby who can speak English while your here. I've given Callum a box, with all your phones in: they are a gift from Sumsang, and they are yours to keep. They are all set up with all the phone numbers you might need while you are here, use them as you wish - although I'm sure Sumsang would be very pleased if pictures got taken of you whilst you were using them!" he added with a smile.

Callum started to hand the phones out: they were the latest folding models, one for each of them, and better than the other phones they currently had.

"So, we thought that, rather than going to your accommodation first, then having dinner, we thought it might be better for you all to have dinner first, if that's ok with you?" Everyone nodded. "It just means that when you get to the apartment, you can just fall asleep without unpacking, if that's what you want! So, while you have dinner, your luggage will be taken to the apartment.... Mr and Mrs Stevens: if you can tell the bus driver what is yours, then he'll take it to your hotel, and leave it with the concierge. Your hotel is only 5 minutes walk or taxi from the apartment."

"What sort of place are we going for dinner then?" asked Callum.

"Actually, the girls chose it... Ahnjong, want to explain more?"

"Yeah, when we spoke, you were all saying you wanted to try loads of authentic Korean food while you were here, so we're going to a place we've been to many times. It's not particularly expensive, but it's nice, the food is really good and very much typical of what we eat here in Korea!" explained Ahnjong.

"So, when we take you to the apartment later on, we're assuming that you'll not be ready for us until tomorrow afternoon, but there will be someone nearby who can organise breakfast and lunch whenever you need it. If you get any questions, then our girls have your itinery too, and they're only next door, or you can call me."

As they looked out of the windows, they were pleasantly surprised how green everything was, and they could see the skyline of the city in the distance. As they got to the city, they could see it was so much more modern than London, all the buildings looked so crisp and clean.

Soon after, the coach pulled up: it was a wide street, with shops, cafe's and restaurants all around.

"It's that one over there" explained Yin Hee. Paige and Ben grabbed their cameras: Paige had been taking a few bits of the girls just looking out of the windows on the way there. Yin Hee lead them all into the restaurant, with Paige still videoing. "Ah, Yu-Eye, you made it!"

"Did you just say 'Yu-Eye'?" asked Linda

"Yes, she's helping produce our album."

"So, the same Yu-Eye that's written and sung loads of Anime OST's? Oh my god, I'm so in awe!" said Linda, VERY excitedly.

"Yes... I guess you'd better meet her. Yu-Eye, this is err...."

"Linda. I'm Linda! It's so amazing to meet you! I just LOVE your singing, especially all those Anime OST's! You have such a powerful voice!"

Yu-Eye was probably a little embarrassed, not expecting that 'one of the English girls' actually knew who she was.

"Ok, Linda, 'fess up.... how DO you know about this lady?" asked Carol.

"Don't you ever watch any Anime stuff? And listen to the amazing music in them!? I've actually been thinking I'd like to have a go at writing something like that myself, but I'm not sure quite where to start. Plus I suspect it would be far too metal for us to play!". Linda turned back to Yu-Eye: "Yu-Eye, it's so amazing to actually meet you!"

"And it's nice to finally meet all of you too: I will admit, I'm also a little in awe of how you changed your music style..." replied Yu-Eye.

"Ben!" replied Linda, Carol and Paige in unison.

"Pardon?" asked Yu-Eye.

"Ben's the reason our music style changed. Jenny fell in love with him.... and he likes Indie rock and that sort of stuff!" explained Carol.

They all sat down at a large table...all 16 of them. The meal was one of those sharing ones, so everyone could try a bit of everything.

Paige had stopped eating, and grabbed the camera again. "What's this one?" asked Dianne.

"Let everyone try it, then I'll tell you....." replied Min Jee.

"Oh, right, one of THOSE...!" said Dianne.

"Don't be scared, it's actually quite tasty!" said Min Jee. Dianne tried some of it - and discovered it was actually rather good.

After everyone (who wanted to, that is) had tried some, Diane asked again: "So, what did we just eat then?"

"Oh, just nice tasty worms...." replied Min Jee.

"WORMS?" said Carol. "WORMS??"

"I thought you liked them?"

"Yeah, but....."

"You need to be willing to be open minded, we have all sorts of great food that you guys aren't maybe used to. Hey, have you tried the Kimchee yet? Its the most important Korean dish! And don't worry, it's just a sort of pickled cabbage."

"Yeah, I did, it was nice...."

Everyone enjoyed the meal, although a couple of them were a bit worried about exactly what they had actually eaten! And Paige managed to capture several priceless expressions, as the girls had tried out the foods. So, it was then back to the apartment.

Their apartment was on the 6th floor of a modern building, and luckily Mr Park had organised that a couple of people had already taken all their luggage upstairs, so they didn't need to do anything.

"Wow!" said Dianne as she opened the door and walked in. The apartment was very modern, and she had walked in to the large 'common area', where there was a kitchen and large table on one side, and a large lounge area with TV etc on the other. Around the sides were several doors, obviously leading to the bedrooms and bathroom.

"Ours next door is the same." explain Min Jee. "We came in and checked the place out earlier, they've got you a load of food and drinks in the fridge in the kitchen, and the rooms are set up as 2 doubles, a twin and 2 singles...."

"Hey, check it all out, then come in to our place next door for a sit down and a drink...." suggested Yun Hee.

"Sounds like a good idea to me!" said Carol.

Of the eight of them, Jenny had actually slept the least on the flight, as she had been working on the new song. "I have a feeling I'm gonna have to crash out..." said Jenny.

As they looked around their home for the next few weeks, Yun Hee went back to their apartment, to get things ready.

"I think this is gonna be so much nicer for us than staying in a hotel!" said Carol.

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Re: Story: Carol
« Reply #29 on: 12. February 2023, 20:26:11 PM »
Chapter 18 - I need coffee

Carol was actually the first to wake up. She left Linda in their shared bedroom still sleeping, and went out to the kitchen to make herself a drink. She was wearing a rather nice dressing gown that had been provided, and was hanging on the back of the door.

"Good morning!" said a happy voice: it was Taeyang, who was sitting in their living area, drawing a sketch. "I thought I might as well do this in here, so someone would be here when you woke up. Sleep ok?"

"Yeah, not too bad, and thanks for being here. Yeuch! My mouth tastes disgusting - I got horrible retainer breath! I think I need a drink." replied Carol.

"What do you fancy? If you fancy coffee, then I can make us both some..."

"Oh, thanks, yeah, that would be nice! So, what's the time?"

"About 10:30. And thanks to you guys, we effectively have a day off today!"

"So, where are we? Today is... Tuesday?"

"Yup. After lunch we'll find out if we made number one. Then tomorrow and Thursday we need to practice singing and dancing together, ready for Thursday evening on TV."

"I'm actually looking forward to the dancing, if only because I KNOW it's gonna be such a different style to what we normally do. Now that we're playing our instruments most the time on stage, rather than having a backing band or a recording, it's not so easy to dance, and I guess we've got out of the habit. That's part the reason I suggested we stay on a bit, and do some dance classes."

"Makes a lot of sense," replied Taeyang. "Want any milk or sugar in the coffee?"

"No, plain black is the only way to drink coffee!"

"Well, don't worry to much about the dance routine, we specifically tried to keep it fairly straight-forward for you."

"So, how long have you been doing this then?" asked Carol, as they sat down together with their coffees.

"Me? I started at FY when I was 15. I mean, I wanted to be a singer since I was about 7 or 8, but I only signed up 4 years ago. Some of the kids started even younger: I think Min Jee was only 13."

"Really? Wow! So, what did you do you do in your 4 years?"

"Well, there's a certain amount of normal school work, including learning English and some Chinese... but on the performance side, we get to do everything: singing is the obvious one, but dancing, acting, and musical composition too."

"So how long have the four of you been together? As Jelly Fish I mean?"

"I was put with Ahnjong, Min Jee, and a girl called Su Lee almost a year ago. We worked together for about 3 months before they decided to move Su Lee into a different band, and that's when Yun Hee joined us."

"You four get on ok?"

"Yeah, it was a bit strained with Su Lee, but when she left, and Yun Hee joined us, things got SOOO much better! Hey, you used to be just three of you originally, weren't you? Like when you wrote 'Roller Skates'?"

"Yup, we three got together at college, and have been together since. But last year, when Jenny started writing our new style of music, we realised we needed a fourth girl in the band, so we employed Linda: she was a session musician back then, and she fitted in with us three really well."

"So you didn't know her before then?"

"Yes and no: she was in the same college as us, but a year below, so whilst we didn't really know her, she definitely knew us, and I think that helped a lot. We've all been working on her since she actually joined the band as a member to try and do some song-writing: as a session musician that wasn't something she ever needed to do. But she's written a couple of bits, and I think she actually might have some talent inside trying to escape... so do encourage her! have you written much?"

"Not really, that's not my strong point. Yun Hee writes a bit, but everything we've done since our debut has been written by someone else. Linda was saying last night that it's all very different over in England."

"Yeah, we don't really have the "music and performance factories" like you guys do. We all just went to a normal school then college, and took up the option to do some music, although that's not REALLY geared up for the modern music industry. Then onto a year at music college, then trying to find some work playing our music. Then eventually we got a recording contract, and recorded some stuff."

"Wow, I don't think I could do it like that. I quite like the way that our training is planned for us. I guess the big downside is that, whilst we now have a chart hit, and we're going to be touring, we won't actually earn much till our debt gets paid off."

"What do you mean?" asked Carol. Taeyang explained that, until they 'break even', FY take money from their earnings to pay for all their training, which could take 2 or 3 years... this rather shocked Carol.

"You know, I'm feeling kinda guilty. Yeah, our record company and tour company take their cuts, but the rest is 'ours'. Although I guess we are still paying the loan for our year in music college, and we did have to work part-time jobs for a while...." Carol smiled. "Yeah, probably NOT all THAT much different.

"The big downside is that they do control our lives a lot. I mean, Jenny wouldn't be allowed to date Ben over here. And they wouldn't let her have braces either."

"You're kidding? So none of you have a boyfriend?"

"Nope. And Yun Hee wants to get her teeth fixed, but they won't let her."

"Yeah, I spotted her teeth were a bit out of line, although they're not THAT bad. But why? That sounds stupid!"

"I guess they think things like braces might make us 'less desirable' for our fans."

"Now THAT is just crazy! When Jenny got hers, our fans went crazy! Even more so when she started wearing her headgear out in public, and on stage."

"Headgear?" asked Taeyang. Carol got her phone, and pulled up a picture showing Jenny on stage in her pink headgear. "She wore THAT on stage?"

"Yup. Crazy, but that's Jenny all over, but as I said, the fans loved it, and I have no doubt it helped us quite a bit."

"What about your braces then?"

"Ah, these are just retainers. I had braces long before we formed CJD, but recently I had to go see the orthodontist, as one of my teeth seemed to be moving a tiny bit. Only had these about... hmm, two or three weeks now. So I've not been out in public that much with them on. Maybe I need to post something about them sometime. And as for Yun Hee needing braces, I think maybe Jenny and I need to speak to someone, help them understand the positives."

"Me and you do what?" said a voice: Jenny had just come out of her room.

"Good morning!" said Carol. "How you feeling? Sleep well? You seemed to crash out just after we got here."

"Yeah, that happens when you pretty much miss a night's sleep. I woke up in the middle of the night to discover I was still in my clothes. By the way, these dressing gowns are rather nice, aren't they? So what was it you were saying we need to do?"  asked Jenny

"Ah yes..." replied Carol, and she explained.

"That's sounding pretty short-sighted of them. I'm guessing it's one of those cases of a rule that they made up years ago, but the world has moved on. Hmmm, I think we'll need to go a bit higher than their manager though, but I have a feeling that we might have some leverage. They're gonna want us to go on TV, aren't they? Do nice positive interviews..."

"Oooh, Jen, you can be evil at times!"

"No use having leverage if we can't sometimes use it. So, what does a girl have to do to get a coffee round here?"

"Sorry, I'll get you one!" said Taeyang.

"Thanks, err... errr...??"


"Sorry, Taeyang, there's a lot of names and faces I need to still match up, and I was only half with-it last night!"

"That's ok... what did you say your name was?" replied Taeyang laughing. While Taeyang made Jenny a coffee, she messaged the girls, to say that the 'new girls' were starting to wake up.

Offline Braceface2015

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Re: Story: Carol
« Reply #30 on: 12. February 2023, 20:35:16 PM »
I think Sparky ran out of fingers and toes, either that or he hasn't had enough sleep. It should be chapter 18.

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Re: Story: Carol
« Reply #31 on: 13. February 2023, 00:02:07 AM »
I think Sparky ran out of fingers and toes, either that or he hasn't had enough sleep. It should be chapter 18.
Read the chapter title: "I need Coffee"!!!

changed it...

Offline Braceface2015

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Re: Story: Carol
« Reply #32 on: 13. February 2023, 00:55:46 AM »
My wife woke me up at one in the morning and I couldn't get back to sleep. 14 hours later and I going to try to finally get some decent sleep. I combined all the files for "Surrogate" and wrote two more chapters for 'The Seamstress", one of which I posted. My mood has improved somewhat.

I'm enjoying reading your stories, and I may try to add the latest chapter to TheArchive before I go to bed, but don't count on it. :)

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Re: Story: Carol
« Reply #33 on: 15. February 2023, 20:58:32 PM »
Chapter 19 - Did they make number 1?

By 12:30pm, everyone was awake and dressed. They were all in Jelly Fish's apartment, and Brian and Lisa were there too, as well as Hon Su, the Jelly Fish manager.

The radio was on, as they were listening to the chart run-down show, with the girls explaining and translating what was being said. Paige had set up the camera, to record everyone's reactions when the news came through to whether Jelly Fish had made number one. The radio had just started playing the number 10 song, when Hon Su's phone rang. He spoke to someone for a while, then explained to everyone: "It's the radio station, they are wanting to speak to us live when they announce the top two. I assume you're all ok with that?"

"OMG, they did that with us when we had our first number one!" said Dianne. "It's so nerve-wracking! Good luck, girls!"

Hon Su talked on the phone again, then told them that they could listen to the radio until they started playing the number 3 song, then they would need to listen on the phone, ready to be interviewed. He kept the phone nearby, ready to respond as needed.

The number 3 started to play. Min Jee turned the radio off, and a voice came from the phone, now on speaker: it seemed that they wanted to check the sound levels, then they were all listening to the radio via the phone. The record ended.

"And now, on the phone, we have some very special people" said the presenter in English. "But before I speak to them, I'd like to speak to their guests: I believe the girls from CJDL are there?"

The girls quickly looked at each other, and nodded: they knew exactly what to do. Getting a bit closer to the phone, Carol started: "Hi there, I'm Carol!". The rest followed, and they ended with their "And we are CJDL!" callout.

"Welcome to Seoul, ladies! So this is a song that you wrote for Jelly Fish: I'm guessing you're probably as excited as them to hear if they've made number one this week?"

"Absolutely! We're keeping all our fingers crossed for them!" replied Jenny.

"So, Ahnjong, Min Jee, Taeyang, Yun Hee: are you all ready to hear which record is at number two this week?"

"Only if it's not Jelly Fish!" called out Taeyang.

"Well, I can tell you that number TWO in this weeks chart is..... there was a short pause, and a record started to play... and it wasn't 'Sexy Yellow Rollerskates"! The girls screamed out loud: Yes, Jelly Fish were at number 1!! 'Click': Paige and Callum were catching the moment on their cameras.

The presenter then said something in Korean, which Hon Su explained was that they would be talking to the girls after the record had played. The four girls from Jelly Fish were still screaming and dancing around the room, and hugging everyone.

Yes, they had actually done it! They had made it to Number One!

Finally they calmed down, and waited for the number two song to finish. The presenter again said something in Korean, then started talking English again. "So, let's talk in English, so the girls from England can understand us. So, yes, Jelly Fish are indeed number one this week, with the song that CJDL wrote for them: Sexy Yellow Rollerskates. How does it feel girls?"

"Amazing! Wonderful! Wow!" they all started shouting out.

"Ok, Ahnjong, let me speak to you...."

"Oh, my, this is absolutely wonderful! And I'm so glad CJDL are here to share this moment with us!"

"What about you, Min Jee?"

"It makes all the hard work of the last 5 years so worthwhile!"

"I bet it does. Yun Hee, I guess you'll be performing the song again on TV this week?"

"Yes, but this week we're going to be joined by the four girls from CJDL."

"That sounds like it should be fun. Taeyang, you looking forward to that?"

"Oh, yes. The four girls only got here last night, but their smiles are as big as ours right now!"

"Well, congratulations to you all on getting your first number one! Hey, maybe one of the girls from CJDL would like to introduce the song?" Carol quickly moved closer to the phone: they had all done this sort of things many times before... in fact, Carol had introduced quite a few of the songs when she spent the afternoon on Croydon Radio.

"Hi, I'm Carol, from CJDL. Well done to Jelly Fish on their first hit record: this week's number one is 'Sexy Yellow Rollerskates' - yay!!". The song started to play, then after 5 seconds cut off, and the presenter was talking to them off-air.

"Thank you, err.. Carol, for that perfect introduction. And girls, well done on making number one: thanks for talking with me!". He then talked with them and their manager in Korean for a few moment, before Hon Su ended the call.

"You did it" said Dianne, "but I suspect you deserve it! Now, just take a few minutes to 'enjoy the moment'!". She turned to Linda: "Of course, you've not officially been through this yet, have you? Maybe we need to 'get our skates on' too, so you can celebrate your first number 1." Dianne was referring to the fact that they had had their last number 1 during their tour, before Linda had formally joined the group.

"I feel SO much better now that the waiting's over" said Taeyang.

Hon Su had gone over to the kitchen area, and returned with a couple of bottles of champagne that he'd taken out of the fridge. Lisa (that's Jenny's mum, in case you forgot) went to the kitchen, and found some glasses.

"You four deserve this, I know you've been working hard recently!"

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Re: Story: Carol
« Reply #34 on: 16. February 2023, 21:08:52 PM »
Chapter 20 - At the National Museum

"So, what do you want to do this afternoon then?" asked Taeyang, after they finished the lunch that had been prepared for all 15 of them in the apartment.

"Is there a nice park somewhere around?" asked Jenny. It was clear her mind was in gear and thinking fast.

"Yes, there is..."

"Ok, so how about going to a park, and sharing an hour with your fans? It's a midweek afternoon, so I'm guessing not TOO many people will make it."

"You're kidding?"

"Not at all. They're the ones that got you to number one, so go and give something back! Don't worry, we'll be there too!"

"Hon Su, are we allowed to?" asked Taeyang.

"I don't see why not. Jenny's right, your fans are important, and I bet we'll get a load of coverage online. Let me have a word with the 'bosses', we might need a couple of extra security guys."

"Ok, when you make the post, you need to spell out the 'rules'..." and Jenny explained how the CJDL fans in England had quickly learned that if they behaved themselves, they got to spend a bit of time with their idols.


The Korean social media channels had been buzzing. First of all, Jelly Fish had been posting a few pics and messages, to celebrate their success. Then Jenny had, with help from the girls, posted a message, explaining 'the rules of engagement' if they did a 'fan meet', making it VERY clear that if there were ANY problems, they would all need to just leave, if only for their own safety. They she hinted that they might make an un-announced public appearance, but with no details about where or when.

They had decided to visit the National Museum of Korea: whilst there probably wasn't THAT much of interest for them to see, there were large paved areas (with seating) and parks around it, and while they were there, both Jenny and Min Jee posted messages saying where and when to meet them. The location had the great advantage that there was plenty of space and plenty of public transport to get there.

Finally, it was time to meet their fans. The three security guys who were with them went out first, and stood discretely back, keeping mainly out of the way, but ready to take action if needed. It goes without saying that Paige was recording all of this for her future documentary.

Already there were a couple of dozen fans waiting for them, and Ben, who was by now very used to these 'meets', went with Brian and Hon Su over to them.

"Hi, I'm Ben, I'm Jenny's boyfriend." Hearing Jenny's name, there were a few screams and cheers. "The girls are about to come over to see you: please, try and stay relaxed, I know you are all excited, but try and make this as much fun for THEM as it will be for you. Ok?". Hon Su repeated that in Korean. "The girls from CJDL have done this in England many times, and as long as you are all relaxed and are nice to them, then they will sit with you, talk to you, take selfies with you and so on. But if things become... 'difficult'... then they WILL walk away! Do you all want to have fun?" Again, Hon Su translated. Ben then briefly explained that Piage would be filming them all for her English documentary, and if this was a problem for them , then they should leave. Ben then walked back to where the girls were.

The girls, whilst dressed smartly, were dressed fairly casually, so when they came out of the museum, they weren't THAT obvious. The eight girls, plus boyfriend, brother and parents walked across to where the fans were, and the small group cheered loudly, but then quietened down.

"Hi everyone!" said Jenny, smiling and purposefully showing off her metal smile. The small crowd screamed out, but quickly quietened down as Jenny 'shushed' them "It's nice to meet you all! Let me introduce 'my team', then I'm sure one of the girls from Jelly Fish will introduce themselves too." Jenny introduced everyone. "And this is Min Jee....". Again the crowd shouted out, but quickly quietened down, as Min Jee introduced the girls from Jelly Fish.

So far, the fans were being very restrained, and behaving themselves surprisingly well: it was clear that they were willing to 'play ball' if it meant they got to spend some time with their idols.

"So, we're going to stay with you for a while, we're not in a big rush" said Carol. "I'm thinking that we should do some selfies first, then we were thinking that it might be fun for us to ask the girls from Jelly Fish some questions, and they can ask us some. Then I'm sure some of you will have some questions too. And more selfies for the late-comers before we go!" Taeyang, whose English was probably the best of the 4 Korean girls, quickly translated that into Korean. With help from Ben and Callum, the fans all got their cameras ready, passed them over, then sat with one or both bands to have their pictures taken. There were a LOT of smiles! Whilst most of the fans were wanting to have their pictures taken with Jelly Fish, Carol was pleasantly surprised - given how short a time they had actually been there - how many were wanting pics with them too.

"Ladies, we just found somewhere better for you to sit, if you're going to be talking to each other, it's only over there...." said Mike (Dianne's boyfriend), pointing. They all got up and walked the small distance. A few more fans had arrived, so Brian and Hon Su met them, explained what was going on, emphasising that as long as they were restrained, the girls would be more willing to spend time with them.

"So, can I start the questions?" asked Carol. As there were no complaints, she continued. "I'd like everyone to tell us how many brothers and sisters they have, and whether they are older or younger. Let me start: Just in case you forgot, I'm Carol. I have one sister, and she's four years older than me. Ahnjong, what about you?".

"I have a brother and a sister: my brother is two years older than me, my little sister is three years younger, and I love them both! Jenny?"

"Oh, right, yes, I'm Jenny, although my full name is actually Jennifer, which is what my boyfriend Ben calls me: no one else does though! I have 2 brothers: Michael is 3 years older than me, and Callum - come on over, Callum! - Callum here is 2 years younger than me. He works with the band. Oh, that's my mum and dad over there, they are CJDL's managers! ummm... Taeyan... do you have brothers and sisters?"

The questions session actually went on for about 20 minutes: it served two purposes. First, if they were all going to work together, and pretty much live together for the next 3 or 4 weeks, it was good to know a bit about each other. But second, and just as importantly, the fans loved it.

"Hey, I see we have a load more people here now, thanks for coming along. Don't worry, we'll make sure you all get selfies before we leave!" said Dianne. "By the way, if you haven't worked it out, those 4 girls over there are Jelly Fish, and we are CJDL. We're visiting Seoul because we wrote Jelly Fish's current song, and we're going to be on TV with them on Thursday to sing it with them." The girls from CJDL were showing off their experience at dealing with a small crowd of fans. Jenny was the one who had started doing it, but during their last tour, they did quite a few informal 'fan meets', and the other girls in the band were getting quite good at persuading the fans to stay calm.

"Ok, I bet you guys have a lot of questions for us too, don't you. Shhhh! Tell you what, rather than screaming out, put your hands up, and Ben, you can randomly choose someone... how does that sound?" suggested Jenny. Yes, they really WERE good at this. Ben 'randomly' chose a girl who was showing off a lovely metal smile (naughty boy, Ben!!!).

"You're Jenny, aren't you? How long have you had your braces? And haven't they been a problem, as a singer with CJDL?". Both Carol and Jenny smiled: after their earlier chat with Taeyang, they couldn't have wanted for a better question.

"I got my braces about 9 months ago now, it was between our first and second tours. In fact, if I remember right, it was two days after I met Ben for the first time! And no, they have never been a problem, in fact, I'd say the opposite: our fans found the fact that I had got them to be a very positive thing. I was in a position to show that braces, and things like headgear too, are actually quite 'normal' things, and people shouldn't be made to feel awkward and embarrassed if they have to wear them. I guess I'll have them for another three to six months, then, like Carol there, I'll have to wear retainers. I see you have braces too: got long to go?".

The questions continued, mainly aimed at the girls from Jelly Fish: some were quite simple, like "what's your favourite colour", others were more serious, asking them about boyfriends (no they don't have boyfriends), and why they wanted to become idols. The girls were good, they were realising that they could use their status to encourage their fans in positive ways.

"Ok," said Jenny, "I think that's enough questions - thank you for them, by the way, I think we all enjoyed them! I can see that a load more of you have joined us, and I absolutely KNOW you'll want to have selfies, especially with Jelly Fish, so let's try and get organised! We can sit over here, Jelly Fish over there. Get into a very British queue, camera apps ready: when you get to the front, pass your camera over, and one of the team will take a picture. If you want pics with both of us, then join the other queue too! Taeyang, want to translate for me?"

"Sure..." said Taeyang, who translated what Jenny had just said. Fifteen minutes later, all the pictures had been taken.

"Ok, final pictures... we'll stand over here, and you guys can take pictures of us." suggested Carol. They got themselves in two rows, with Jelly Fish standing at the back, and CJDL kneeling down in front of them.

While they had been doing this, Hon Su had called the coach driver, and he was now waiting for them.

"Hey, our bus is here!" said Yun Hee, "We need to go!"

"Thank you all for coming along, we all really enjoyed it, I hope you did too!" called out Jenny to the crowd. Minutes later, they were back in the relative calm of their coach.

"Well, I just had a text from Ben Jin at FY:" said Hon Su, "they've seen what's been going on online, and I think they are impressed at how well things seemed to go. So well done, everyone! And Jenny, thank you, that was a great idea - and I STILL can't work out how you managed to to keep all those fans so well behaved!"

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Re: Story: Carol
« Reply #35 on: 17. February 2023, 20:25:28 PM »
Chapter 21: We need to talk about braces.

Back at the apartment, Jenny went over to Hon Su, Jelly Fish's manager.

"Excuse me, Hon Su, but have you got a few minutes? Carol and I need to talk to you..."

"Sure, of course."

"Why don't we go into our apartment, it will be a bit quieter in there?" suggested Carol. Hon Su followed Jenny and Carol throught to their apartment.

"So, is there a problem?"

"Well, no... and yes. It's about braces..." said Carol.

"Braces?" asked Hon Su.

"Yes, these things..." said Jenny, smiling and showing of the medium-sized metal brackets on her top and bottom teeth.

"Ok, what about them?"

"Look, I can understand why FY have rules about their idols not having boyfriends or girlfriends and that sort of stuff, but what's the big issue about your idols having braces?"

"Ah, right, you've been speaking with Yun Hee, haven't you?"

"Actually no, we were talking with Taeyang about it this morning, and how Yun Hee wants braces, but it seems that you won't let her. Why not? It's crazy! I'm sure she'd look a lot nicer if her teeth got fixed."

"Well, yes, you're right, although I should say that it's not me saying she can't have braces, it's just one of the FY rules...."

"Sounds like the rules are wrong! Outdated. I mean, yes, maybe ten, fifteen years ago, braces had a bit of a bad image, but these days, all sorts of people have braces, even members of well known English girl bands! Braces are so normal, and no one REALLY cares that much about them. Were you there when the fans started asking questions earlier on? That one about my braces?"

"Yes, I heard that, and I do admit that, to quite an extent, I agree with you. And yes, you're right, I suspect those rules were written not too long after when FY started up, so about 15 years ago."

"Sounds like maybe it's time to get the rules changed, don't you think, bring them up to date? Hon Su, you actually work for FY, don't you? Can't you have a word with some one?"

"Yes, I probably can, but....". Hon Su paused

"...but why would they listen to someone like you? Is that what you were going to say?"

"Yes, I guess I was."

"Sounds like you need a bit of 'leverage', something to make them pay a bit of attention to you?"

Hon Su smiled. "Yes, I guess I do, and something tells me that you're about to give me some..."

"You mean like... erm... you have 4 visiting English girls, who are upset by FY's stupid and outdated rules about braces, and you're worried they may not be wanting to promote FY quite so positively? I'm sure we could think of a few more like that, if you need them!" said Jenny with a wry smile.

"You know, your father is a good negotiator: I can see you've learned very well from him!" replied Hon Su with a smile. "Let me see what I can do!"

"Thanks, Hon Su, we can't really ask for more than that!"

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Re: Story: Carol
« Reply #36 on: 21. February 2023, 00:01:54 AM »
Chapter 22: time to get dancing!

They all managed to get to bed at a sensible time on the Tuesday evening, which meant they all felt a lot better when they woke up early on the Wednesday. They now had 2 days - well, probably more like 1.5 days - to learn and perfect the dance routine from Jelly Fish that they would be performing on TV on Thursday evening.

Not only did FY effectively have its own school (technically it wasn't their school, but they had a LOT of their students there!), they had their own music practice rooms and dance studios that the bands could use to practice in: Park Hon Su, the band's manager, had booked one of the rooms for them for the next two days. The CJDL team had also asked him to book them a music room for the Friday, so they could run through their set, as well as check out the borrowed electric drum kit and piano: they didn't really want any surprises when they performed on stage on the Saturday.

They were met by a guy called Holangi, a choreographer and dance trainer. The morning started with our four girls first of all 'limbering up - they hadn't danced for weeks! Next they were learning several specific dance moves, working on them until they became completely familar with them. It wasn't QUITE so bad for Jenny, Dianne and Carol, because they had, historically, had some professional choreography training before their first tour, and done a lot of dancing onstage. By comparison, Linda, as a session musician, had had no need to do any ongoing dance training, and so was struggling a bit! Of course, the four girls from Jelly Fish were just taking things easy: they were already up to speed on the dance routine, they just needed to be able to dance with CJDL.

Callum and Paige were also there, filming bits of what they were doing: Mike and Ben had gone out with Jenny's mum and dad to do a bit of 'sightseeing'... much to the annoyance of our four girls.

"Oh, I'm aching in places I forgot I had" said Linda, when they stopped for lunch.

"Don't worry," said Yun Hee, "you're actually doing pretty well."

"Yeah, you're all doing far better than I thought you might!" added Ahnjong.

After having a long enough break to let their lunch settle, they ran through the dance routine again, then spent time working on a few of the more difficult bits, then did another run through the whole thing.

"Ok, let's all take a break, then how about we try it whilst you all sing the song, like you'll be doing tomorrow evening?" suggested Holangi. Dancing whilst singing is a bit harder, but they already knew the song very well, plus they'd been singing along quite a bit throughout the day.

They had an early finish, at about 4pm: by then, the girls had really had enough, and just needed to rest a bit.

"Hey, Holangi, thanks so much for today! See you again tomorrow." said Carol.

The girls went and showered, and put on some fresh clothes. "Don't bother with too much makeup," suggested Carol.

"Ah, Carol wants to go out in public...." suggested Linda.

"Absolutely! I didn't come all this way to never go out and see some shops! I'm sure there must be SOMETHING near here!"

"Yes, there's a nice shopping centre about 10 minutes walk away...." replied Taeyang. "If all of us are going, I suggest we split up into 2 or 3 groups, we might be a little less conspicuous."

As they did their hair, they did things they normally didn't. Carol normally wore hers down, so she put it up into a ponytail. Yun hee, on the other hand, normally wore a ponytail, so she put hers down, and Min Jee clipped hers back in a slightly different way. Yes, if you looked at them from a few meters, you're recognise them; but from a distance, it would be less likely. And, of course, Taeyang was right: context is important: if they went as a group of four, it becomes more obvious who they might be, but in smaller mixed groups, they were more likely to get away with it.

Their coach was waiting at the back, so they went and spoke with the security guys who was waiting there, and he agreed to go with them to the shopping centre. He would be with one of the groups, and if anyone else had an issue, well, they all had phones!


"Thanks guys, I enjoyed that, it was nice to get out, and it was fun to see the sort of shops you have here" said Carol to their 4 hosts a bit over an hour later. Most of them had just been looking, but Ahnjong and Taeyang bought a couple of simple bits of clothing.

While out, they got a couple of 'looks', from people maybe wondering if they had recognised them, but otherwise, they had a pleasant and anonymous time.

Finally, they got back to the apartment, where they met up with Jenny's parents, Ben and Mike, and Hon Su.

"How did it go today?" asked Jenny's mum, as Jenny hugged Ben.

"Well, as expected, our 4 hosts here had no issues, but I think the rest of us have a few aches from bits we've not really used for a while!" replied Jenny. "Other than that, the routine is looking ok, I'm sure a couple more hours tomorrow will do it!"

"I'm guessing you're probably all hungry?" said Hon Su. There were various nods and comments of agreement. "Good, I thought we'd go to a place that's not too far away: it's not a fancy place, but does good food, what I'd call 'home food': I suggest we use the coach to get there, and we can walk back afterwards."

Dinner was good, and four of the girls (Carol, Linda, Taeyang and Yun Hee) took a diversion to a small 'street bar', which was basically a pop-up tent with chairs and tables, where you can both drink and eat.

"I think, sometime, we need to come out and have dinner at a place like this," said Linda.

"Absolutely!" replied Carol. "The food I've seen looks better than what you'd probably get at one of those donner places down in Croydon!"

"Hey, that's not too hard to do!" replied Linda.

"Ok, next week sometime?" suggested Yun Hee.

"Yeah. We can let the 'couples' go somewhere nice, and the rest of us can come out and eat and get pissed!" said Carol, raising her glass of soju.

"I'll be glad when tomorrow and Saturday are over, then we can take a bit of a break." said Taeyang.

"I doubt it: I bet we'll need to do some TV shows and other stuff next week ..." replied Yun Hee.

"Welcome to our world!" said Carol. "My experience is that it goes in spurts: you're busy doing TV and out on tour for a bit, but then you get a bit of down-time, time to write some new material. I know it's probably a bit different for you guys, but after all the excitement of 'rollerskates' dies down, make sure you get Hon Su to give you a bit of a break." 

Whilst they could have stayed out late, and easily have got drunk, they realised that the next day was going to be a busy one, so went back 'home' after a couple of drinks.

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Re: Story: Carol
« Reply #37 on: 21. February 2023, 17:33:29 PM »
Chapter 23: We're going on TV!

"Hey," said Holangi, I have an idea, come with me!"

They had started dancing again at about 9:30, and worked gently over the next two and a bit hours, taking several breaks. It was now just after 12, and they were looking forward to having a break for lunch.

Holangi grabbed the large Bluetooth speaker he was using to play their backing track, and lead them down to the cafeteria area, where many of the other students were sitting, having their lunch.

"Oh, lunch already?" asked Carol.

"Not just yet!" said Holangi, "You guys really need an audience, don't you? Here's a very discerning audience for you...". Carol smiled: yes, she actually liked this idea! Holangi clapped his hands a couple of times to get everyone's attention, then said something in Korean: the only bits Carol recognised were the words 'TV', 'Jelly Fish' and 'CJDL'.

While he did that, Paige set up the camera, so that she could see both the girls dancing, plus the 'audience'.

"Ok guys, take your positions in the open area over there....". With the eight girls in position, the music started, and although they weren't using a PA system, the place was small enough that with eight of them singing, it didn't really matter. Everyone stopped eating their lunch for the 4 minutes the eight girls were dancing and singing. After that, everyone started clapping and cheering, and many of them came over, and started talking to the four girls from Jelly Fish... clearly they knew them quite well.

A couple of older people, clearly a couple of the teachers, came over, and spoke to them all, expressing their pleasure at how well they had just done.

Holangi came over to our four girls: "There you go: they all think you're ready for tonight! And so do I... grab some lunch, then have a break, then we'll do a last run through, before you go and freshen up, and get yourselves ready to go to the studios."

Carol took a moment, and went over to Paige. "Hey, how you doing? You ok with doing all this filming?"

"It's not all that bad, actually. I mean, earlier when you guys were practising, I didn't really need to do a lot. Whats more fun for me is watching you guys practising and doing stuff, I've never been so close to you for such a long time, to REALLY see what you guys have to do. Yesterday and today, you guys have been working hard, you have my respect!"

"Just wait till next week, when we REALLY start doing the dance practice, I have no doubt they are going to push us hard!"

"Something tells me you won't mind that..."

"I don't think we will, I think we are all realistic enough to know what we'd be letting ourselves in for. Tell you what, package up one of the run-throughs we do this afternoon, and post it online will you? I'm sure our fans back home would like to see what we're doing. Also, you could do something when we're rehearsing tomorrow for the live gig...."

"Yeah, ok, I'll let Callum know, I'm sure we can quickly pull out a couple of minutes of the video later on!".


After taking them all back to the apartment to get freshened up, the coach took all of them (including Ben etc) off to the TV studios. Whilst the show was live at 7:30, they needed them there by about 4pm to get ready and do a run-through.

The four CJDL girls were used to this, having been on so many TV shows, so were quite relaxed. The girls from Jelly Fish had been on far fewer shows, so were a little more stressed out. While they were waiting, Jenny went and had a word with the four Korean girls.

"Remember, whilst you may think you're very important, these guys have to deal with people like us every week, we're just 'cattle' to them, so when they tell you to do something, don't argue, just do it, it's easier for everyone, and to be honest, they'll probably respect you more for not making their lives any harder than they are already!" explained Jenny. "If you have a problem of any sort, tell Hon Su, that's what he's paid for, to sort out your problems. Get someone to do a visual check on you too, check you look ok. Don't take your phones onto the set, leave them with Hon Su. And make sure you take a pee before you go out there, even if you don't think you need one! We all have one job tonight, and that's to go out there, look pretty, and sing as we dance. I'm sure you all know most of that, but better for it to be said than we all end up looking stupid!"

Jenny thought back to one of their earlier TV appearances: she'd been drinking loads of coffee and soft drinks, and almost peed herself in the middle of one live interview! She'd never been caught out again though!

They had been and checked out their costumes yesterday: JY had organised them, and most of them fitted well, although Carol's needed a slight adjustment to make it fit her properly. So they got changed, then went into makeup. Paige was able to video them as they waited in their 'green room', also when they were in makeup, but she had been clearly told that she could not do any filming on the studio floor.

There was a lot of sitting around and waiting, which is pretty normal whenever you go on TV, but finally they were called on to set to perform, which all went very well: being the number one act, they performed last, so soon after they finished their performance, the show was over.

Back in the green room, Hon Su came in with someone they didn't recognise. "This is Park Ben Jin, he's one of the executives of FY Entertainment".

"Thank you everyone, you all performed well," he said. "Ho Su, which are Carol and that other girl I need to speak to?" he asked Hon Su quietly.

"Carol, Jenny, do you have a moment, Ben Jin would like a quiet word with you." They all went to the other end of the room.

"I understand that you aren't to happy with the rules we have at FY." he said.

"Um, yes, it's just that.." started Carol. Ben Jin held up his hand, to say 'stop'/

"And I'm glad you said something. Yes, those rules were written when we first started the company, about 15 years ago, and as a result of your comments, I'm going to be reviewing all of the rules, bring them up to date. As for the braces rule: yes, back then, braces were not a popular thing, but now, yes, they are very much more popular. Someone showed me your posts when you first got your braces: you definitely know how to use the internet to your advantage, don't you."

"So, you're going to get rid of the braces rule then?" asked Jenny, smiling and making sure that Ben Jin saw the metal on her teeth.

"Yes, I think so, and as long as people are sensible, I can't see an issue."

"And Yun Hee?"

"I think she should be the first of our idols to get braces, don't you? Shall we tell her?"

"I have a feeling she's gonna be very pleased!" said Carol.

"Tun Hee!" called out Ben Jin, "can you join us please?"

"Err, yes sir?" said Tun He when she came over.

"Don't worry," said Jenny, "it's actually good news..."

"Tun Hee, Carol and Jenny here highlighted that our rule about braces is a bit old and out of date. Would you like to have braces?"

Tun Hee's face lit up. "Really?"

"Yes, really, and as a gesture, I'll make sure that FY pays for them! Just make sure you get some good publicity for us!"

"I will, sir, don't worry!"

"Ok, so now I need to have a word with your manager, Mr Stevens, isn't it?"

"Yes, that's my father, he's over there with my mum, they both manage the band."

"Well, Carol, Jenny, it was nice to talk to you, and thank you both for being willing to stand up and make your opinion known!", and he went of to talk to  Jenny's mum and dad.

"Oh my goodness.... so what did you say?"

"We passed a message up the chain via Hon Su, strongly suggesting that FY's rule maybe needed revamping, especially the one about no braces." said Jenny.

"You missed out the bit about 'maybe not wanting to promote FY quite so positively'!" said Carol.

"We got the feeling that it would be quite hard for you guys to make such comments, but we're not working for FY, so they can't really do much to us if we start bad-mouthing them! But it needed to be said!" added Jenny.

"Thank you both so much, but how did you know I wanted braces so much?" asked Tun Hee, smiling widely, and not worrying about showing off her crooked teeth.

"Well, apart from the fact that, when you look it's pretty clear you need them, we were talking with Taeyang the other morning," explained Carol.

"Ah, right. Hey, I'm going to have to find out from you about braces now, aren't I?"

"We'd be very happy to help.... Anyway, lets get back to the others." said Jenny, turning around. "Hey, where's mum and dad gone?"

"Hun Su's gone too..." said Tun Hee. About 10 minutes later, Hun Su returned.

"Hey, you know where mum and dad are?" Jenny asked him.

"Yeah, they needed to go off with Park Ben Jin, they need to speak with someone in London, but they said they'd call you soon."

"Ah, ok. I wonder what that's all about?"

Online Sparky

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Re: Story: Carol
« Reply #38 on: 23. February 2023, 22:33:48 PM »
Chapter 24: Gig Rehearsals

After performing on TV, they were 'abandoned' by both of Jenny's parents, so they went back to the apartment where dinner had been planned for them all. Callum got a phone call from her dad, which caused him to go off to his room, to do something, but he was back a few minutes later.

"So, what's going on then?" asked Jenny, "What's mum and dad doing that's so important that they can't be with us?"

"They said they would explain all, but seems they were having an important meeting, they needed to play them some of your new stuff..."

"Very interesting... but I thought we were signed up with 'Big Dog Records'?" said Dianne.

"You are," replied Callum, "but that covers just the UK, and I'm pretty sure, Europe too. I get the felling that FY are hoping to make some money from you guys!"

"Well, if it means a bit more money for us all, then I'm not going to complain" said Linda.

"Sadly, Linda, you're not named on our old stuff, so you'll only get something on our new stuff. But don't worry, I can't imagine it's going to make us three millionaires in the next six months! I mean, I can imagine there's only a small interest in us here in Korea." said Carol.

"Actually, don't underestimate yourselves, there's been a lot of stuff going on online after you were all on TV earlier."


The Friday was 'just' a rehearsal day: they were already pretty familiar with the stuff they planned on playing, but they DID need to rehearse 'Rollerskates', which they would play as their encore, as Jelly Fish were going to join them. Also Jenny needed to check out the piano, and check that her configs would work ok, and Dianne needed to check out a drumkit she'd never used before.

They got to the rehearsal rooms by just after 9:30... initially Jelly Fish were rehearsing in one room, CJDL in another. The good news was that Dianne managed to get her electric drum kit set up pretty quickly, and the piano, as promised, was exactly the same as the one Jenny had, and her configs loaded from her USB stick first time. After a quick run-through of their 30 minute set - mainly to check their timings - they went to where Jelly Fish were practising with a backing band.

They were a VERY different band: while CJDL were now singing while they played, Jelly Fish didn't play themselves, they had a backing band - no doubt made up of session musicians - leaving the group to sing and dance... so their rehearsal today was as much about dancing as singing.

"You guys are such good dancers...." said Jenny, as they ended a song.

"I guess it's something to do with the 4 years of practice!" replied Min Jee.

"So, you guys want to come and run through 'rollerskates' then?"

"Let's have a quick break, then yes...." suggested Min Jee, as she went and grabbed some water. They were sitting relaxing when Brian, Lisa and Hon Su arrived. Jenny got up and went over to her mum and gave her a hug.

"So what were you guys doing last night that was so important that you couldn't join us for dinner?"

"Yeah, sorry about that, but we had a long meeting with Park Ben Jin and a couple of others, hopefully earning us all some money!"

"I'll let you off then. So what's happening?"

"Well, first of all, you guys need to go over and overdub your voices onto Jelly Fish's recording of 'rollerskates' later on. They want to release a version with all eight of you singing, but it needs to happen straight away if there's any chance of it selling."

"So you've signed a record deal for us with FY?"

"Not quite - well, not yet anyway. We've signed a contract with FY for 'rollerskates', and we're discussing terms for a more general deal. We had a long phone call with the guys at Big Dog last night, and while they cover you for Europe, they are very interested in some sort of deal with FY for your back-catalogue, plus any new stuff you do... for distribution here in Asia. Also, if you guys are interested, there's the possibility of more 'joint ventures', either with Jelly Fish, or other idol groups."

"Oooh, interesting!" said Jenny.

"Yes. But lets get tomorrow out the way first... oh, and the recording bit done" said Brian. Brian's phone beeped. "Ah, that's an email back from Yu-Eye - she's the girl's producer, you met her the other evening - she asks if you can make 5pm tonight? She says the studio you'll be using is pretty small, so can you make it no more than six of you in total?"

"Five o'clock should be fine," replied Carol, "We'll have finished getting ready for tomorrow by lunchtime, and this afternoon I was rather hoping we can just try out some of our new ideas, so we can be ready whenever."

"Talking about rehearsing," said Linda, "we need to go and run through 'rollerskates' a couple of times? It's going to be a different performance if we're playing and Jelly Fish are singing to something they aren't quite as familiar with."

"In that case, we'd better 'put our skates on', literally." said Taeyang.

"What, you gonna perform in skates?"

"We're not sure yet, we want to try it out, see if it's sensibly possible".


"So, on the flight over, you'll remember I didn't get a lot of sleep, because I was working on something?" said Jenny to the other three. They had finished lunch, and had decided, as suggested by Carol, to work on some new stuff.

"Yeah, you've not said much about it since..."

"Sorry about that, been working on making something you can sing from..." Jenny passed out copies of music and words, in colour.

"What's all this lot then?"

"It's a worship song. Let me try and explain: it's not one of our normal 'we all sing it together' things, this is a 4-part acapella, with 4 very distinct parts. I can kinda hear it in my mind, and I know it's not going to be an easy one... which is probably why God gave it to us. I think he's trying challenge us a bit, stretch us. But I have no doubt that we can do it. So, you've each got a printout that's unique to you: your part is the top one, the other 3 parts are underneath, a bit fainter, so you can see how the four parts go together..."

The three girls spent a moment looking through the music that Jenny had given them.

"You said 'challenge' didn't you... it's definitely going to be a challenge, isn't it?" said Dianne, with a big smile on her face!

"I suggest we all go away and find somewhere quiet to familiarise ourselves with our own parts, maybe sing it through a few times. Then get back together in maybe an hour?" suggested Jenny. Jenny went over to Ben, and hugged him. "Don't you find this boring?" she asked him.

"A little bit, but it's actually quite interesting, watching how you four work together: you guys do most of your rehearsing when I'm not there, so it's a side of you I don't see that often."

"But you've seen us rehearse on tour?"

"That's different, that's mainly things like sound checks, or when you're messing around together back at the hotel. This is different. I mean, when you were working with Jelly Fish earlier, that really was quite amazing: I'm looking forward to seeing what that looks like on stage tomorrow!"

"Yes, that should be fun. Oh, Ben, thank you for... well, just BEING here with me!" said Jenny.


"Hey, Linda, want to work together on this?" suggested Carol about 15 minutes later.

"Yeah, ok..."

Online Sparky

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Re: Story: Carol
« Reply #39 on: 26. February 2023, 18:38:01 PM »
Chapter 25: The recording studio

By 5pm, they had arrived at the small recording studios. 'They' being the four girls, along with Paige and Callum (who would do some more videoing): it seems that the others' had decided to find a bar, and have a gentle drink together, while the girls did their over-dubbing!

It was a bit different from the studios they tended to use, with just a relatively small booth for recording voices. Outside were various keyboards and so on, all electronic (so no audio issues!), and if they needed something bigger for any reason, then they would go elsewhere. For what they needed to do today, it was excellent, but would not have worked for them if they had to lay down some guitar and drum tracks as a band.

"Hi, come on in..." said Yu-Eye, Jelly Fish's producer they had met the other day at dinner.

"Nice to meet you again!" said Linda, who was still excited to meet one of her 'heros'.

Paige was with them, and was filming what was going on: this was exactly the sort of footage that would be good for a program about CJDL's visit to Korea.

"Right, I'll give it 30 minutes and two takes..." said Carol.

"Pardon?" said Yu-Eye, not fully appreciating what Carol had just said.

"A maximum of two takes, unless we screw up, and we're out of here in 30 minutes...." explained Carol. Yu-eye looked a bit perplexed.

"Look, Yu-Eye," continued Carol, "with the greatest of respect to you as a producer, but we're hardly working on a piece of art here, and our careers hardly depend on this song doing well, let alone being 100% perfect. We're giving the bedroom a quick coat of paint to brighten it up, we're not trying to paint a Picasso! We know the song well enough that, unless we really screw up, one or two takes will give us what we need: the twentieth take would be no better.... besides, I need an alcoholic drink, plus I'm hungry, and want some dinner!"

Jenny looked at Carol, thinking about what she had just said. "Actually, I think you're probably spot-on right there, Carol. This is just a quick 'commercial job' to earn us all money, it's gonna be forgotten about in 4 weeks time! Come on, let's just get on with it...."

"But we need to set up a couple more mics..." said Yu-Eye.

"I see two mics in there, that'll do us!" said Carol. "Look, we've been in profession studios enough to know what we need to do, let alone the countless time we've done this at home. Trust me, you might just get a surprise!" said Carol. In real terms, Carol was right. Besides, Yu-Eye wasn't actually THEIR producer... like them, she was there to help them knock off a quick bit of commercial music.

Yu-Eye rolled her eyes (no doubt thinking something like 'bloody young pop idols, think they know it all...'), and the girls went into the booth, followed by Paige: again this would be good video, watching the girls getting prepared. The tech guy came in, and made sure their headphones were ok for them, and the girls limbered up their voices for a few minutes, during which time the tech guy set the levels up.

"Hey, Mr tech guy, what's your name?" asked Dianne.

"Umm... I'm Park Ji-Hun"

"Well, nice to meet you, Ji-Hun, and thanks for everything you're doing here today!". Ji-Hun smiled: clearly he wasn't that used to getting thanked by the artists he recorded.

"Hey, let's try a run-through without any music playing" suggested Jenny.

"Actually, before we do that, I think we should just stop for a moment" said Dianne.

"Ah, yes, good point! Linda, why don't you lead us?" said Jenny.

The four girls all held hands, closed their eyes, and dipped their heads. "Hey, God, thanks for everything so far, I think we're all enjoying this trip to Korea. But that doesn't mean we're not humble enough to know that you gave us these skills we're about to use, so, as ever, we ask you to be with us as we do this! Amen!". Linda didn't actually SAY that, she SANG it, and the 'amen' at the end was loud and powerful.

"I like the style there, Linda!" said Carol.

"Ah, it's boring just saying it, singing it's much more fun, plus I'm hoping he likes the gesture!" replied Linda.

"Right, we ready to do this?" asked Carol.

"Need me to leave?" asked Paige.

"Nah! You know how to be quiet, so why not stay, and get some good close-ups of us?" suggested Linda. Yu-eye and the tech guy didn't say anything, no doubt looking forward to seeing the girls screw it all up.

"Hey, make sure you record this, maybe we'll release an acapella version of it!" said Carol with a big smile. They positioned themselves, Linda and Carol in front of one mic, Jenny and Dianne in front of the other. "Ready? One.. two.. three.."

Three and a half minutes later, after a perfect acapella rendition, Yu-Eye had a big smile on her face: yes, they really WERE good at this, and she now understood that what they had said about '2 takes' wasn't showing off, and she now suspected they would probably do what was needed on the first take. "Nicely sung, ladies. Let us know when you're ready to do it with the music." said Ji-Hun.

"You going to give us the whole thing, with the 4 girls on, or just the backing track?" asked Dianne.

"Probably better to give you the whole thing... do you want the vocals a bit quieter though?" asked Ji-Hun.

"Let's go with full levels the first time, we can get you to turn them down on the second take, if it's an issue." replied Carol. "Want to play a bit of it now, so we can get our headphone volumes right?"

As Ji-Hun fed them the music, they all adjusted their headphone volumes, and started to sing along. "How does that sound?" asked Carol.

"It sounds fine to me!" said Yu-Eye, "You all ready?".

Carol looked quickly at the others. "Yeah... let's do this!". The music started, and the girls joined in at exactly the right point. "So how did it sound?" she asked afterwards.

Yu-Eye had a smile on her face. "Ok, so that was probably just fine, but lets do a second take... you never know, it MIGHT be better!". All the time Paige had been recording what was going on: this was great video!

"Hey, Carol..." said Jenny as they finished the second take, "you just did all that with your retainers in!"

Carol smiled, at the same time running her tongue around her mouth. "Yeah, I did, didn't I? Hey, Yu-Eye, did that actually sound ok?"

"Don't worry, it sounded just fine to me! And you guys have my respect: you just did what you said you would, and I wasn't really expecting that. I guess you've been doing this a bit longer than many of the bands with FY have! Hey, before you go, you got ten minutes? I have something I'd like to talk to you about, not sure if it's of interest to you, but it's worth asking."

"Yeah, ok..." said Linda as they left the voice booth, and came out into the 'office' area.

With the four girls all out of the voice booth, Yu-Eye looked over at Ji-Hun and nodded. Music started playing out of the speakers, and Linda recognised it straight away: it was the OP (= theme tune) from 'Dragon Slayer - Umibo', one of the many songs that Yu-Eye was known for. Just as the vocals were due to start, Linda started to sing, and then suddenly realised that Ji-Hun had set the vocal track level to be quite low.

"Go on.." said Yu-Eye, "I'd love to hear you sing it....". Linda continued to sing the song: she couldn't remember all the words, and missed a couple of the notes, but otherwise gave a quite amazing rendition. Rather than what you might have expected Linda's voice to sound like - if she had sung normally - this was a very much more 'girlie' voice, as you'd expect to hear on an anime OST.

Jenny, Carol and Dianne were all looking on, in awe. "Where the hell did THAT voice come from? That was pretty spectacular, Linda!" said Jenny.

"Oh, I was in the choir at school, didn't I tell you?" replied Linda, smiling, and feeling rather proud of herself.

"Anyone else want to give it a go?" asked Yu-Eye.

"I think I'd need a bit of practice first!" replied Carol. "So what's this about?"

"The other day, Linda said that she not only liked that sort of music, she said that she wished she could write some, but wasn't sure where to start. Several weeks ago, I was approached by a production company, asking if I was at all interested in working on an OST for a new anime they've started working on. After meeting you the other day, I had a listen to your music: I was assuming it would be more stuff like 'Sexy Rollerskates', but got a very pleasant surprise when I heard your more recent stuff. So I thought I'd play that track, and see what your reaction would be... to be honest, I rather hoped that one of you, maybe even Linda, might sing along, but I had no idea she would be quite so good as she was! Look, I guess the big question is: would you guys be at all interested in maybe working with me, to put together a load of stuff for the OST? They don't want it to be quite as 'full-on' as that one was, but it probably needs to be a bit 'rockier' than what you're doing now. Linda... the rest of you... interested?"

"Wow. I'm certainly not going to say no, but I think we all need to talk about it a bit more. Seems to me that maybe you two guys should join us all for dinner!" replied Linda.

"I need to mix this down, they need it ready tomorrow morning at the lastest, but why don't you join them, Yu-Eye?" replied Ji-Hun. "And ladies: very nicely sung tonight, I wish many of the other idol groups were as disciplined!"

Offline anton08

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Re: Story: Carol
« Reply #40 on: 27. February 2023, 07:45:23 AM »
Sorry, but I can´t help wishing more braces aspects in this story.  :(

Offline Braceface2015

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Re: Story: Carol
« Reply #41 on: 27. February 2023, 09:04:09 AM »
Patience, my friend. Sparky is telling the story the way he feels it should go. Not all stories are about the braces, some stories have braces in them as part of the story.

Online Sparky

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Re: Story: Carol
« Reply #42 on: 27. February 2023, 13:14:57 PM »
Whilst I could give everyone in the story some braces, it would be totally unbelievable, and would quickly get boring.

I can tell you that one of the Jelly Fish girls wil get braces soon....

Offline xxxforce

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Re: Story: Carol
« Reply #43 on: 27. February 2023, 18:02:46 PM »
Just keep on the good work Sparky - You can't meet everyones taste ;)

I really enjoy this Story (with and without braces) :)

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Re: Story: Carol
« Reply #44 on: 27. February 2023, 18:32:08 PM »
Just keep on the good work Sparky - You can't meet everyones taste ;)

I really enjoy this Story (with and without braces) :)


One day, I was feeling a bit silly, and wrote this as an abrupt end to the story:

Chapter xx - Off to rehearsals

The following morning, the eight girls, along with Paige and Callum, got onto the bus to go and do their dance preparation for the TV show on the Thursday.
On the way there, the bus had a tyre blowout, causing it to swerve into the oncoming lane of traffic, where it was hit by two very large trucks.
Despite the paramedics best efforts, all 10 passengers, and the driver, were declared dead at the scene.

The End.

Yeah, ok, maybe a bit brutal!!!

Offline xxxforce

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Re: Story: Carol
« Reply #45 on: 27. February 2023, 19:42:01 PM »
This "ending" is definitely no option ;)

Online Sparky

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Re: Story: Carol
« Reply #46 on: 27. February 2023, 21:44:39 PM »
It's kinda tempting to spend a couple of hours writing some short - but abrupt - endings.... things like:
- plane crash
- mass poisoning
- street shooting
- restaurant shooting
- other sort of attack
- fairground ride failure
- sign drops on her in shop
- accidental impaling
- fall off a tall building
- on-stage light falls on her

Some fun ones on here too:

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Re: Story: Carol
« Reply #47 on: 27. February 2023, 22:05:02 PM »
Chapter 26 - getting ready for The Park Festival

Over the last 4 years, they had been at a few of the UK festivals. Initially, they would get the less desirable slots, late morning, and early afternoon. Last year, they got much better times, early evening: the later evening slots were for the REALLY well known bands, bands who had been around maybe 10 or 20 years. CJDL have a few years to go before they got there! So today was a bit like taking a big step back in time: their slot was at 1:30pm! But they couldn't REALLY complain, it was better than not performing at all.

Callum had gone there quite early in the morning, with a couple of the tech guys from JY, to make sure that all of CJDL's kit was there and ready... so the borrowed piano and drums, and the girls guitars and pedals. The venue was providing the guitar amps and, of course, the PA.

Callum also had (but kept) the moulds for the girl's in-ear monitors, although he had confirmed that they connected up ok with the in-ear monitor receivers. He'd also confirmed that there would be 4 head mics, one each for the 4 girls, plus 4 hand-held mics for when Jelly Fish joined them. One of the JY guys had the ear moulds for the Jelly Fish girls, and had checked them out.

With a 1:30 slot, they needed to be on site at least an hour (or two) beforehand, and ready at the stage when the previous band came off, which was at 1:00.

Mid morning, Brian received a text and an email: the text was from Callum, confirming everything was ready for them; the email was from Hon Su to say first of all that their over-dubbed version of 'roller-skates' had been released, and second, could they do a live TV interview that evening?

"What time?" asked Dianne.

"7pm, so we'd need to be there well before that" replied Brian.

"We'll miss out seeing Jelly Fish perform, I really wanted to see them!" complained Jenny, "Must we?"

"I absolutely hear what you're saying Jenny," replied her dad, "but I think that, if you'd really like to get yourselves known here, doing the show tonight is essential. Performing with Jelly Fish the other night seems to have been picked up by the press here, and with your combined song now released, plus the fact that you're performing today, you're a hot topic, so let's use it! Besides, I have a feeling you'll be able to see Jelly Fish perform again before we go back home."

The girls were a bit disappointed at not being able to see Jelly Fish, but understood the importance of going on TV to promote themselves.

"Is it just talking, or will we need to perform too?" asked Carol.

"No performance this time, just chatting."


They got to the festival site before noon, giving themselves plenty of time to get ready. There were several large 'trailers', with plenty of space for all of them - they were in #5.

Whilst they wouldn't be 'dressing up' as such today - so just wearing some t-shirts they'd had printed, with jeans and trainers, they still needed to do their makeup and hair: JY had organised a makeup lady to be there for them. In addition, they had organised some lunch for them, which arrived soon after they did.

"Hey, guys, good to see you," said Callum, as he walked in to the trailer. "So, today, I'll be with the lady who's doing the mixing desk: she speaks good English, so I don't see any real issues, but I'll be the voice in your ears today."

Whilst Carol was happy to hear that Callum would be keeping an eye (or an ear?) on their sound, it did mean that he wouldn't be at the side of the stage, as their 'go-to guy', like he normally was.

"They're being pretty strict on the timings, so the previous band will be off-stage moments after 1 o'clock. So, about then, I'll be here with one of the stage crew, to fit you all up with your mics and in-ears. Everything on the stage is on wheels, so they'll take a matter of maybe 5 minutes to get the old kit out the way for us... then I'll go over to the desk, you guys can go onto the stage, and we can doing a sound check. Dianne, your drums are all set up, on a small 'stage on wheels', so that will take moments to get into place. Jenny, your piano is all ready and on the stage at the back, so that won't be a problem, and the guitar stacks are being used by loads of bands, and are already side stage, just need to be wheeled into place... so you'll just need to plug your guitars in... and then we can do the sound check. I've watched them do the change-over a couple of times, and they seem to know what they're doing, so I don't think we'll have any problems."

"Thanks, Callum, I'm so glad you're here with us! Today feels different from when we've done festivals in England. Not sure what it is... maybe the lack of English voices, and a lack of people we know and trust? It's odd, I'm just not feeling quite as relaxed as I normally am." said Carol.

"Yeah, know where you're coming from," replied Linda, "I'm feeling the same. But I'm sure we'll be ok!"

All the time they were doing this, Paige was getting more video. With Callum busy elsewhere, Mike, Dianne's boyfriend, was helping Paige where needed. Callum had already made sure that the batteries and memory cards for the camera were all ready, but Mike would still need to carefully log and store the cards as they got used, and make sure the batteries were kept topped up.

They had a bit of spare time, so they decided to practice 'that acapella song': they had actually spent some time the previous day working on the different parts, then trying to sing it all together, and whilst it was slowly coming together, they'd not actually managed to sing it through completely without any mistakes yet. Today was marginally better, and they sang it through three times, but they still didn't quite get it quite right.

"Don't worry," said Jenny's mum, "It's getting better, and you'll get there in the end. And when you do, I can see that it's gonna be quite an amazing song!"

Having had a bit of lunch, it was time to get dressed, and their makeup done: another great time for Paige to video them, and ask them all a few questions.

Offline braces37

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Re: Story: Carol
« Reply #48 on: 28. February 2023, 21:45:56 PM »
I really appreciate your works, Sparky. You provide a kind of story that no one else does. As an aside, do you have experience in the music industry?

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Re: Story: Carol
« Reply #49 on: 01. March 2023, 02:41:12 AM »
I really appreciate your works, Sparky. You provide a kind of story that no one else does. As an aside, do you have experience in the music industry?

No, but I'm involved in tech and broadcast radio, so I know the sort of tech used for recording and on stage....

Offline m1090y

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Re: Story: Carol
« Reply #50 on: 01. March 2023, 11:36:04 AM »
I really like the parts of the story where the celebrities from the band interact with the public, such as in the open mike nights.  This is a really good story.

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Re: Story: Carol
« Reply #51 on: 01. March 2023, 21:21:30 PM »
Chapter 27 - on stage at The Park Festival

They could hear the cheering as the previous band left the stage, and a few minutes later, they were getting their mics and earpieces 'installed'.

"Guitars?... ok. Jenny, got your USB's in case you need to re-program the keyboard? Dianne, drum-sticks? Headsets comfortable? Don't forget to put your ears in once you're on stage. I'll leave you with Dae-jung, he'll take you to the stage. Ok, let's do this: ladies... have fun!" said Callum, as he left to go over to where the mixing system was: it would take him a few minutes to get there.

The girls were suitably impressed when they got on to the stage: as promised, all they kit was in place already, and a couple of stage crew were ready to give Linda and Carol their guitar leads. As they walked to their respective places, to check all the tech out, they put their ear-moulds into their ears.

"Can you all hear me ok?" asked Callum over the talkback to them.

"Jenny here, yes..."

"Go for Linda!"

"Dianne here too..."

A pause. "Carol, you there?" No reply.

"Hey, Carol, can't you hear Callum?" Jenny called over.


"Callum, Carol can't hear you" said Jenny.

Callum spoke to Dae-jung, who came over to Carol. "In-ear's not working?" he asked.

"No, it's dead." replied Carol.

"Ok, let's take a look..... ah easy one, it got turned off somehow! Try it now..."

"Callum... talk to me."

"Hello Carol, you there now?" asked Callum.

"Loud and clear, thanks to Dae-jung!"

"Ok, Linda, let's get your levels set up first...". This was the sort of thing they would do hours before a normal gig, but they didn't have that luxury today: they had a mere 30 minutes to change from one band to the next, and had to do this in front of the changing crowd (of course, the main PA itself wasn't on, so it wasn't too obvious what they were doing). While Linda and Carol sorted out their local guitar amp levels, and Callum then set up the mixer levels for the guitars, Jenny and Dianne were checking out their instruments: the good news for both of them was that the setups they had done yesterday were still there, so they had little to do.

"Ok, let's check your mic levels... Jenny, want to start?"...

Apart from Carol's receiver not being on, the sound check went well, and once more, Paige was there, on the stage, videoing them doing their setups. For Paige, today was another busy one, but she didn't mind, as she knew that once today was over, things would get a bit quieter for her as the girls did their dance training. She and Callum had already looked at some of the footage she'd got, and it was looking pretty good: there should be no problems getting a good program - or even several programs - out of it.

As they went off the stage, they saw Ahnjong, Min Jee, Taeyang and Yun Hee: they had been in a different trailer to get ready, and were now doing their sound check with Callum, which was a lot simpler, with just 4 mics!

So, their first song would be sung to a backing track, which would allow them to just walk onto the stage and sing. Then after the first song, they would be playing 'properly'. 'Roller-skates' would be their encore, and that's when Jelly Fish would join them. 

Dae-jung was effectively doing for them what Callum would normally do: he was with them as they waited to go on stage, and if they had any problems, then he would be their 'go-to man', and he would be the one to get things sorted out. Luckily he seemed to be a pretty pleasant guy, and his English was very acceptable.

Yu-Eye came over to them. "Hey, what you doing here?" asked Linda.

"You think I'm going to miss seeing you guys play live? Besides, they've asked me to introduce you!" she replied. In a sea of so many unknown faces, it was good to have a few they recognised.

Jenny was with Ben: they all knew the calming effect Ben had on Jenny... he only needed to be there, and Jenny felt so much better. And he'd been there for her every time since the 'Birmingham meltdown', which meant Jenny was in a good place.

By comparison, Carol was still feeing a bit stressed by the unfamiliarity of the place and the people... Things were different, albeit not in big ways, but she wasn't as relaxed as normal.

"Ok" said Dae-jung, "You guys ready to go on?"

"Oh, shit, I still have my retainers in!" said Carol. She quickly reached in to her mouth, and took them out, and then wondered what to do with them.

"Want me to look after them?" asked Callum, who had both heard Carol, and watched with joy as she had removed her retainers in a relatively public place. Not that Carol knew - but of course we all know - that Ben has quite a thing for braces. Whilst a pair of saliva-covered retainers might seem a bit disgusting for many, Ben got some rather nice feelings as Carol put the still-wet retainers into his out-stretched hand.


The girls all put in their ear-moulds, and checked their headset mics were ok.

"Good afternoon everyone" said Yu-Eye to the crowd from the middle of the stage. She spoke in both English and Korean. "I'm Yu-Eye, and it's my pleasure to introduce a band that I only met for the first time this week, but already love their music. You saw them perform with Jelly Fish on TV on Thursday, today they are here to play their own music. Please welcome to the stage the four ladies who are CJDL!".

As the crowd cheered loudly, the four girls walked onto the stage, Paige followed a bit behind, and ended up to the side of them, but right at the front of the stage, so she could get some good shots of them.

"Hi, I'm Carol..."

"Yay! I'm Jenny!"

"Hey there, I'm Dianne..."

"And I'm Linda, and together...."

"We are CJDL!!!". The four of them were in a line, and they each had a t-shirt with their initial on it, so the four of them together spelt out the band's name. The crowd cheered again, and a moment later their backing track started, and the girls started singing. Once they had started their set, their stress levels started to reduce a bit.

"Thank you.... thank you!" said Jenny to the crowd as they applauded at the end of the song. "So that was our first number one hit in England, over 2 years ago. Since then, our music has changed a bit, so I hope you like it.... oh, and from here on, we're playing live!".

They walked over to their instruments: Linda and Carol quickly strummed their guitars once to confirm they were still ok. Jenny pressed a couple of the keys on her keyboard. Finally, Dianne hit the bass drum three times, and they all started to play, exactly in time.

They were at the end of their third song when Carol spotted Paige had gone off the stage: she guessed she needed to change the camera batteries and cards again. They were just a couple of bars into their 4th song when Carol spotted Paige, apparently arguing with a security guard over to the side: it looked like he wasn't letting her come back on the stage. Paige was waving her 'stage access' security pass at him, but he seemed to be ignoring it. Noone else seemed to be wanting to help her, and the rest of 'the CJDL team' were actually on the other side of the stage. Carol's already high stress levels suddenly stepped up quite a bit.

Carol stopped playing, took her guitar off, and walked over to Paige and the security guy, the rest of the band stopping a few moments later.

"What's the problem?" asked Carol rather loudly.

"He's not letting me back on stage!" replied Paige.

Carol turned to the security guy - he was quite young, so probably a bit inexperienced - and shouted at him "She's f***ing allowed on stage!", and pointed at Paige's pass. Clearly he didn't understand English, so did nothing. "Someone here speak English?" screamed Carol. "Anyone? Dae-jung?"

One of the other stage crew rushed over. "Is there a problem?" he asked.

"Yes, she's part of the band, so she comes onto the stage with me... and he... just get him OFF MY STAGE!!!" screamed Carol, and pointing at Paige's stage pass. Callum had quickly turned Carol's mic down, so luckily the crowd heard almost nothing of what was happening. The stage crew guy looked quickly at Paige's pass: "Yes, you're fine, go on stage!", and quickly took the security guy away from the situation.

"You ok there, Carol?" asked Callum in her ear.

"Yeah, just give me a second!". Carol's stress levels had just gone WAY up! She took a couple of deep breaths, then walked back on stage. Linda had put her guitar down, and went over to her, and put her arms around her. She'd heard everything through her in-ear monitors, and realised that she needed to help Carol quickly calm down. "Come on, let's get playing again, that will help you calm down...". Carol picked up her guitar again, and they started to play again: yes, playing quickly calmed her down again.

Finally, 25 minutes into their 30 minute set, they stopped playing, and walked off stage. Stage crew passed them towels and bottles of water. The crowd was cheering, and were calling for them to do another song.

"Wow, it's so hot out there!" said Dianne, wiping herself off with the towel. She went over to Carol... "feeling ok now?" she asked.

"Yeah, it just p*ssed me off, it shouldn't have happened! Wouldn't have happened back in England!".

Paige was still out on the stage, taking the opportunity to film the crowd, and zoom in on the tech teams in the middle of the crowd that were running the PA, and was even able to see Callum. She knew that the four girls would be back on stage again to do their encore any moment, so went further out onto the stage, pointing her camera over to where the girls were, ready for when they came out again.

"Ok, we all ready?" asked Jenny. She could see that the four girls from Jelly Fish were also there, ready to join them shortly. They walked out onto the stage once more, all four of them walking to the front. It goes without saying that the crowd were cheering.

"Thank you everyone!" said Linda, "In fact, we'd like to thank a few people.... first of all, a BIG thank you to all of the stage crew, and that includes the guys out there who run the PA, do the lights, and run the awesome videos you've been seeing... without them, we couldn't be here... so come on, let's give them a big cheer!" The crowd did as asked.

"I think we also need to thank JY Entertainment, for bringing us over here, and letting us perform today!" added Carol. Another, smaller, cheer.

"Hey, I hope you don't mind me saying this, but I'd like to thank God, he's given us a great day, and we're all in such a LOVELY place, here in the park!" said Jenny.

"And finally, we'd like to thank all of YOU, our fans, for being here today and supporting us!" added Dianne, and the four of them all bowed to the crowd in thanks. Yes, they had learned that showing a bit of respect in Korea always went down well. They then went back to their instruments.

"So, we're going to play you one more song," said Jenny, "One I'm sure you'll recognise, although this is the original version, and it's slightly different from the one you're used to... 'Sexy Yellow Roller-Skates'!", and they went straight into the song, as the crowd cheered.

They got to the end of the first verse of the song, and as they went into the chorus, four girls, each wearing what is probably best described as 'cheer leader outfits', along with yellow roller-skates, skated out and onto the front of the stage, and started to sing. It took the crowd just a moment to realise who they were: Jelly Fish! As they started to sing, the crowd went wild! As the four girls from Jelly Fish sang, they skated around on the stage, just as they had rehearsed the day before: the crowd loved it!

As the song ended, the four CJDL girls joined Jelly Fish at the front of the stage.

"Jelly Fish everybody...." said Jenny, confirming who they are.

"And put your hands together for CJDL!" said Min Jee in both English and Korean.

All eight of them held hands, bowed to the crowd, then turned and walked off the stage: they were all smiling!

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Re: Story: Carol
« Reply #52 on: 03. March 2023, 23:14:12 PM »
Chapter 28 - backstage and on TV again

Back in their 'green room' trailer, Dae-jung took off their mics and in-ear monitors, disconnecting their ear-moulds and attached tubing from the belt-pack units, carefully putting them into the box that they had specifically for them. He then took the girls two guitars, wiped them over, and put them back into their flight cases.

On stage, the stage crew had already removed the drums and keyboards: after the stage was ready for the next band, they would bring them over to the band's trailer.

The day was hot, so the girls were towelling themselves dry yet again, as well as grabbing some more cold water to drink.

"Hey, Carol, you want these?" asked Ben. In his hand, he held out Carols retainers. "I'm guessing you probably want to give them a rinse, I just put them in my pocket." Carol took her retainers from Ben, and found her bag, where her retainer box was, and put them back in there.

Hon Su and the four girls from Jelly Fish came in, still wearing their stage costumes.

"Very good set!" said Hon Su, "the fans definitely like you! And as for your encore: just perfect!" Hon Su was very pleased that not only did all the girls get on so well, they performed well together too.

"We heard you won't be able to watch us tonight..." said Taeyang.

"No, we have a TV interview this evening, we'll have to watch you on TV!".

Just then, there was a knock on the door. Hon Su went over, saw who it was, then turned to the girls. "TV team, they'd like to do the post-performance interview..."

A cameraman, a presenter and a producer came in, and Paige grabbed her camera, quickly swapping out the memory card and batteries: this would be another worthwhile thing to video. As the TV presenter had a quick pre-interview talk to both CJDL and Jelly Fish, Callum arrived back.

"Hey, sorry I took so long, there's a lot of fans out there I had to get through! Hey, Mike, thanks for backing up Paige out there." - with Callum not being on-stage, Mike had volunteered to work with Paige: his job wasn't actually THAT hard, mainly logging the used memory cards, and making sure the batteries went into the charger. Callum would offload the memory card contents onto disk and into the cloud later on.

"So, we're backstage with CJDL, and Jelly Fish are her too... let me speak with CJDL first though..." The interviewer spoke good English, which is why she had specifically been asked to do this interview. She asked the obvious questions: why were they here in Korea? Were they enjoying it? When were they going back to England? Then she asked about the different styles of music: "Your first and last songs were very different from the rest, why is that?", giving the girls an opportunity to explain how things had changed, and let Jenny introduce Ben.

"Jelly Fish joined you on stage, will you be joining them later on?"

"Sadly not," replied Carol, "We've been asked to go on a TV show this evening."

The camera then panned over to Paige, who turned to the cameraman herself: two cameras looking at each other. "I understand this lady is videoing you for a documentary?"

"Yes, this is Paige, she works with us, and she's been videoing us loads, you might have seen her on stage earlier too." replied Jenny.

"So, Jelly Fish joined you for your encore: I'm guessing you are enjoying working together? Any more plans for the future?". That gave her a chance to move over and have a quick chat with Jelly Fish.

"Well, that you ALL for talking to us!" then turning to Jelly Fish, added "and we'll see you guys again, after your set this evening!".

The TV crew left, and the CJDL girls needed to change, but not after hugging the other girls. "Have a great set tonight!" said Linda, "Sorry we won't be there to cheer you on!". The four Jelly Fish girls left to get changed.

"Clearly, I'll be staying with my four girls, but Dae-jung will stay with you, and there should also be a couple of other guys you've already met waiting on the coach," explained Hon Su.

In the background, they could hear the next band starting to play, and a bit after that a couple of stage staff came in, and loaded up their guitars onto a small trailer, to take them to their coach.


For pretty much the first time since being in Korea, the CJDL team were separated from the Jelly Fish team: Hon Su was with Jelly Fish, along with a couple of others assistants from JY, as they would be staying at the festival to play in the evening.

So, JY had organised Dae-jung and a 'yet-to-be' idol (who lived in an adjacent apartment) to be with them as they went back to their apartment to get freshened up, then go off to the TV station. Even better news was that FY had realised that they needed to get to the TV station early, so had organised someone to make them a bit of light snacky food, to keep them going - unsurprisingly, it included gimbap, noodles and kimchee, as well as other rather nice Korean stuff!

They all made it to the TV studio in plenty of time, and were sitting around in their green room for ages, so they were able to watch the start of Jelly Fish's performance on the TV, as they helped themselves to the light buffet that had been organised for them. Their TV appearance was relatively short, but was carried out very pleasantly. The questions were very similar to their earlier interview, plus they got to see a short clip of their earlier performance, the bit where Jelly Fish joined them on stage.

Yes, it had been a good performance!

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Re: Story: Carol
« Reply #53 on: 05. March 2023, 23:20:30 PM »
Chapter 29 - Pictures

It's Sunday morning.

Last night, they all got back to the apartments within about 30 minutes of each other. They were all quite tired (the girls I mean, it had been a busy Saturday for them!), and after chatting for a bit, they all went to bed, leaving Callum and Paige who sat together chatting for a while.

Carol slept amazingly well, and got up a bit earlier than the others. After getting dressed, she went through to the Jelly Fish apartment, where she found Taeyang sketching again: Taeyang seemed to be a bit of an early starter, compared to the other 3 girls. After getting a coffee, Carol went over to see what Taeyang was drawing: it was a landscape.

"Hey, done any other sketches recently?" asked Carol.

"Yeah, I did a couple while we watched you play yesterday..." replied Taeyang. She closed the sketch pad, then re-opened it at an earlier page.

"Hey, that's Jenny, at the piano, it's really good!" said Carol taking a look. Taeyang went to the next page. "Ah, Paige on the drums. I like the sweat! Very realistic!"

"Yeah, that was about halfway through your set. Hey, can I do one of you?"

"Sure, what do you want me to do?"

"Just sit down there, and drink your coffee!"

"Oh, that's easy, I'm well practised at coffee drinking!" said Carol, sitting down. "So, what you going to do with all these drawings?"

"Just keep them, I guess..."

"You could do something good with them..."

"What do you mean?"

"Sign them, add a letter of authenticity, and sell them for a charity. It would give Jelly Fish some VERY good PR!"

"You think so?"

"Look, Taeyang, you guys have just made number 1, you're big now, like us. Fans and collectors will pay stupid amounts for anything of yours. Now make them one-offs, created by a band member... see where I'm going? We're talking substantial amounts."

"What about FY, won't they mind?"

"Ah yes, I forgot: you signed a contract that lets them own your souls as well as your first-born, didn't you!" replied Carol, starting to giggle, revealing the wire of her retainers. "Ok, question: did they teach you how to draw?"

"No, I just found I could do it... so I guess I'm self-taught."

"So they're going find it hard to own something you did in your own time, aren't they? Besides, you're not selling it for you, it's all for a worth cause. And in any case, any PR they get will be huge - the kind of good PR that's almost impossible to buy. Let me give you an example: Jenny used to have long hair, and had it cut. She donated her hair to a charity that does wigs for kids with hair-loss. She's now an ambassador for them. Both we and the charity got so much positive feedback out of that. We actually got a couple of the kids who had wigs to join us on-stage at one of our gigs, and promoted the charity, and had the stage crew collecting money in buckets as the fans all left. It was a win-win all round!"

"Hey, look at me for a moment, and smile..." asked Taeyang, "just want to work out exactly how that wire goes across your teeth...". Carol turned, and smiled widely, letting her see the wires of her retainer that hugged her teeth.

"Oh, it looks a bit more complicated than a normal retainer - is it some sort of special appliance?"

"No, it's pretty much just a retainer, but with a couple of extra springs to help pull this tooth in a bit." said Carol, pointing. "It started to move a bit, and it seems to be working to pull it back into line again."

"Tell you what, Yun Hee is really looking forward to get her braces, she's very grateful for what you and Jenny did."

"Another example of using our 'powers' for good. Hey, Taeyang, I don't think you're the sort to do it, but don't let the fame take you over."

"What do you mean?"

"There's some bands out there, when they get really big, well, they seem to forget WHY they started playing music. They let record companies and managers turn them into a 'money machine'. They go on long tours that they don't really enjoy. That sort of stuff. Take Jenny for example, she struggles on her own when we're out on tour. She'd be struggling here too, but luckily Ben is really good for her, allowing her to cope!"

"What is it that she struggles with?"

"The same as the rest of us, just seems to have more problems with it: having to live out of a suitcase. Different beds in different hotels almost every night. Problems sleeping. That's why, when FY offered us the apartment, it was a no-brainer choice for us all! But we're lucky, with Jenny's parents being our managers, they'll not push us that hard. I guess what I'm saying is don't be scared to say 'no' if you really don't want to do something. Whilst the money is nice, remember WHY you wanted to become an idol in the first place!"

Taeyang smiled: like her band-mates, she appreciated the free 'coaching' that the CJDL girls were willing to give them. "Want to take a look?" Taeyang passed her sketch pad over to Carol.

"Yeah nice, you're good at this!" replied Carol. "Sign it, and let a charity make some money! You should do a set of all four of us, then do the same for yourselves, sell them as a set of eight...."

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Re: Story: Carol
« Reply #54 on: 13. March 2023, 01:05:00 AM »
Chapter 30 - Lazy Sunday Afternoon

Brian and Lisa had been invited to Hon Su's house for lunch on the Sunday, leaving the rest of the team free to do what they wanted: someone would be coming in later to make some sort of evening meal, but they would need to go out somewhere and get themselves some lunch.

"I'm thinking that, if we all went out as a big group, we'd probably have big fan issues, so how about we split up into 3 or 4 smaller groups: one of us with some of you guys." suggested Yun Hee.

"I'm up for that!" said Dianne. "How about one of you come with me and Mike, another one of you with Jenny and Ben, and something similar for the rest of you?"

"Just for a change, Paige, would you like to pair with me?" asked Carol.

"Yeah, why not, that would be nice. So I guess that means Linda will be with Callum?"

"Ok with me," replied Linda, "you ok with that, Callum?"

"Sure! So who's going to team up with us then?"

"Jenny, would you mind if I joined you?" asked Yun Hee, "I'd like to ask you about getting braces, if that's ok?"

"Yeah, that's ok with us!" replied Jenny, knowing full well that Ben would also thoroughly enjoy talking about braces!

Soon after, Carol and Paige left with Taeyang: where she had decided to take them was maybe 10 or 15 minutes walk, but it was so nice to actually be able to get out and actually walk. It also let Paige and Carol 'get a feel' for what Seoul was like. They ended up at a slightly smaller shopping mall, but it had several places they could eat, as well as a few other shops they had a look at.

After wandering around, and buying some of the rather strange-looking Korean sweets, they went for lunch, at a very typical Korean style of restaurant. It was busy, but not full, and they managed to get a table.

"Ok, so no worms today!" said Carol. "Or anything like octopus or squid either....".

"Oh, you are so boring at times, Carol" replied Taeyang with a big smile. Around them were lots of small family groups, as well as a bigger group that looked like they were celebrating a birthday or similar, and no one seemed to be paying any attention to them, which the three of them were very happy with.

"Beer or coffee?" asked Taeyang.

"Uh, beer please!" replied Paige. "Hey, I always thought tea was a popular drink in Asia, but all I have seen here so far, apart from beer, is coffee. Don't you guys do tea?"

"You're right, we're all about coffee, aren't we, no idea why though." Taeyang ordered for them, and the food arrived soon after.

Carol was just about to start eating, when Paige said "Hey, Carol, aren't you forgetting something?"

"What?" replied Carol.

"Well, you normally take out your braces when you eat..."

"Ah, yes, good point. How COULD I forget that?". Carol got her retainer box out of her bag, then removed her retainers - sucking the drool off them as she did so - then putting them in the retainer box, and slipping it back into her bag. "Shows how used to it I've got!"

It was actually a pleasant change for them all to be in such a small group: the last few days, there were a dozen or more of them eating together, so today, with just the three of them, they could actually have a nice simple conversation.

"Hey, after lunch, can I draw you?" Taeyang asked Paige.

"Yeah, sure, of course you can!"

"I'm trying to persuade Taeyang to draw all of us, and donate the sketches as a set to a charity - I'm sure it would make them a load of money, and it would be great PR for jelly Fish too!" said Carol.

"Oh, yeah, great idea! You really should do that, Taeyang!"

Over lunch they chatted about Korean food, shopping in Seoul, and stuff like that.

"Hey, there's that big tower up on that big hill, can you go up on it to look out?" asked Paige.

"That's the N Seoul Tower. Yeah, you can, and there's a couple of there restaurants too. You can see all over Seoul from up there."

"In that case, we gotta go sometime!"

"We were thinking of maybe taking you there this week sometime, have a meal, make it an evening out. Fancy going up on the cable car?"

"There's a cable car? Oh, yeah, sounds like fun!" said Carol. "So, what we doing after lunch? It would be nice to kinda go somewhere..."

"Fancy trying out our busses? We could maybe go down to one of the parks by the river, and have a bit of a walk? And I could do a bit of drawing."

One of the joys of having split up into small groups was that it was a lot less likely that they would be recognised out in public: people would most likely be looking for four girls together, and and expecting them to be dressed up a bit more than they were now. So going out in public wasn't too much of a worry for Taeyang. As for Carol, who would recognise her, here in Seoul?

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Re: Story: Carol
« Reply #55 on: 17. March 2023, 21:00:46 PM »
Chapter 31 - Let's take the bus to the park...

It wasn't long before the bus arrived that would take them to the park by the river. As they walked towards the back of the bus, a voice said "No way! Carol bloomin' Danvers, is that really you?"

Carol turned to face the person who had just spoken, a very Korean face, but with excellent English. "You're kidding me? Nabi? What on EARTH are you doing here?"

"Oh, I'm living back in Seoul for a bit," replied Nabi, "heck, what's the chance, eh? I mean, I KNEW you were in Seoul, I saw you at the Park Festival yesterday, but meeting you on the bus?"

"You two know each other?" asked Paige.

"Yeah, she was in the same year as me at Croydon College!"

"Yeah, everyone knew you three, you were going to be the ones to make it big out in the world of music... and you did!"

"I guess we did, but it did take a bit longer than we hoped. So you saw us yesterday?"

"Yeah, I went with a friend, I'm on my way back from her place to my place, I stayed over. It was a great day, and I loved your set, I'm a big supporter - for obvious reasons! Tell you what though, you didn't half tease us with Jelly Fish at the end of your set! We assumed that Jelly Fish would come out as soon as you started playing your encore, but no, you made us wait.... and then when they DO come out, they're all on rollerskates! Absolutely amazing!"

"And how were Jelly Fish? We had to go on TV, so didn't really see them..."

"Oh, they were great too!"

"Well, this here is Taeyang, she's one of the girls in Jelly Fish... And by the smile on her face, I'm thinking she's happy with your comment there!"

"Oh cool, nice to meet you, Taeyang.." and they spoke briefly in Korean.

"Hey, you in a rush to get home?"

"Not especially, why?"

"Well, we're off to a park by the river, just to chill out a bit, and Taeyang wants to draw a sketch of Paige here. Paige just finished at Croydon College last year, and she works with us now."

"You know, it would be nice to catch up with you. So which swanky hotel are you guys staying  at then?"

"We're not, we're in the apartment next door to the one that the Jelly Fish girls live in. You'd be very welcome to come back and say 'hi' to everyone, I'd guarantee they'd love to see you too!"

"Hmm, let me think a moment. Go back home all alone, or join two top girl bands back at their place. Hard decision!" said Nabi.

"Hey, we're almost there..." said Taeyang.

At the park, while Taeyang sketched Paige, Nabi and Carol had a chat. Nabi had come over to the UK with her parents when she was about eight, and had done most of her schooling in England. After college, she got an internship at a merchant bank in London and had done well, and about six months ago, was offered a two year posting in Seoul, her home town. "It was a no-brainer, coming back here for a couple of years. I've been able to meet up with a load of extended family, and being that I'm from here, I seem to fit it really well. Although I do miss London a bit... but wow, bumping into YOU, that was the last thing I expected! So, you're CJDL now... who's the fourth girl, the 'L'?"

"That's Linda, she was actually in the year below us, also did music. I wonder if you'll recognise each other?"

Nabi and Carol had most of ten years of catching up to do. Carol told her what the band had been upto since college, and Nabi explained what she'd been up to.

Paige got up, and went over to Taeyang, who by now had finished her sketch. When she saw the sketch, she smiled. "Hey, guys, take a look, it's nice...".

"Wow, that's pretty good!" said Nabi, "If you ever get fed up with being an idol, then you could always just do that! Something you learnt at school?"

"No, just something I found I could do, and something that I find relaxing. I sometimes sketch when I'm waiting for us to perform, it take my mind of getting stressed!"

They all went for a bit of a walk through the park and along the river. While they did so, Paige called up Callum. "Hey, Callum, you guys back at the apartment yet?"

"Yeah..." he replied.

"In that case, can you get the two cameras ready for when we get back. Point one at the door, the other at Jenny, Dianne and Linda. I'll let you know when we get back..."

"Oh, what's going on?"

"We were on a bus, and Carol bumped into someone they all knew at Croydon College, so it's gonna be interesting to see them react when she comes back with us. And definitely worth filming!"

"Yeah, like it, no probs... see you later on then..."

"Don't say anything to them, just make up some bullshit, like you normally do! See you later!"

Paige explained to Carol what she'd asked Callum to do. "Yes, it's gonna be priceless seeing how they react. Shame you didn't catch me earlier on when I first saw her!"

"That would have been amazing, but its too late now. I was thinking that maybe you and I could also have our phones videoing when we get back...."

"Sure, good idea..."

They all sat down at the edge of the river and just sat there looking around for a while: whilst there was a little bit of traffic noise in the background, it was otherwise quite peaceful.

"We all ready to go home yet? If so, I'll get us a taxi..." suggested Taeyang.

"Yeah, I think I've seen enough of this park and this river! It's nice and relaxing, but I want to see how the others react when we get back!"

Taeyang used a local Seoul Taxi app: a taxi arrived within minutes, and took them all back to the apartment. On the way back, Paige texted Callum, so he had the cameras running.

"Ok, Taeyang you go in first followed by Carol," said Paige, as they went up in the lift, "I'll wait behind you all, using my phone to video you.... ".

Finally they were outside the Jelly Fish apartment. Taeyang opened the door, went in, closely followed by Carol. Carol could see that, apart from Jenny's parents, they were the last to return.

"You'll NEVER guess who we bumped into this afternoon!" said Carol, looking at Jenny and Dianne. Carol stood aside, letting Nabi come in. There were a couple of very surprised girls.

"Nabi?" said Dianne, "What the fuck are you doing here?"

"Nabi?" added Jenny, "No way! OMG, it's actually so good to see you again, it's been YEARS! So, yeah, what ARE you doing here in Seoul?"

Nabi had a big smile on her face too: yes, they hadn't seen each other since they all finished at Croyden College, so about 6 or 7 years ago. "Well, I'm actually living here now..."

"What? I though you'd gone to work at a bank?"

"Yeah, I did, and six months ago they needed someone to work in Korea, and they knew I was from Seoul, so asked if I was interested in working here for a couple of years! Wow, it's so good to see you guys again!"

Jenny and Paige by now had flung their arms around their long lost friend....

"Hey, Callum, you're all grown up now! It's good to see you too.... so who is everyone else then?" asked Nabi.

"Well, this is Linda, our most recent recruit to CJDL, then that's Ben, Jenny's fiance, and that's Mike, who's Dianne's fella. Then we have Min Jee, Ahnjong and Yun Hee... along with Taeyang they are Jelly Fish. I should explain for the rest of you that we three were at college with Nabi."

"Hey, guys, it's great to meet you. Yeah, we had a bit of fun back then, didn't we? Carol's been telling me what happened to 'Just Three Girls'... Oh, and before you ask, yes, I did see both all of you perform at the Park Festival yesterday - the whole day was amazing."

Paige went over to Callum. "Good call there, Paige, the look on their faces when they saw Nabi was priceless!"

"Yeah, shame I didn't have a camera running when Carol saw her on the bus, that was even better!"

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Re: Story: Carol
« Reply #56 on: 21. March 2023, 22:57:11 PM »
Chapter 32 - A live stream

Late afternoon they were all in the Jelly Fish apartment, sitting around and chatting, when Brian, Lisa and Hon Su arrived.

"Hey there, it's nice to see so many smiles from you all!" said Brian.

"Hey Dad! Don't be so negative, we smile!" replied Jenny.

"Didn't see so many smiles yesterday..."

"Yeah, ok, well it was a bit stressful, we always get a bit stressed when we're waiting to perform, and yesterday doubly so," added Jenny. "Anyway, do you remember Nabi?"

"Oh, yes, hello Nabi..." replied Lisa after a few moments, turning to face her. "You were at college with Jenny and the girls, weren't you?"

Nabi explain what she was doing in Seoul, and how she had met Carol earlier.

"So, how was lunch?" Callum asked his parents.

"Oh, we had a lovely time with Hon Su, and his wife and their two lovely kids. And some lovely food too. But what did you all get up to?"

"Oh, we all split up, and went shopping and had lunch in small groups," explained Dianne.

"Yeah, after lunch, Taeyang, Paige and I were on the way to the park by the river, and that's when I bumped into Nabi, and invited her back." added Carol.

By now, someone had come in and was setting out some simple cold food and cakes for their tea: the place got a bit crowded with 15 of them there, but it was fun.

"Hey, Nabi, you want to join us in a live-stream?" suggests Jenny after they had all eaten.

"You kidding me? Of course I will! That would be so cool!" she replied.

Jenny had been teasing their fans back in England that they would probably do a live stream on the Sunday, either lunchtime or early afternoon. So, it's about 8pm in Seoul, and thus about 1pm in England... Callum and Paige got the camera and microphone out, and connected up to the laptop, and checked it all out, while Jenny put out a message, telling everyone to expect the stream to start soon.

"Ok, you guys ready?" asked Callum, maybe 10 minutes later.

"Yeah, let's do this!" shouted Jenny.

"Ok, we're streaming!"

"Hey there everyone, this is Jenny from CJDL, reporting live to you from Seoul! Currently we're all crammed into in Jelly Fish's apartment. Hey, we got any viewers yet?" Jenny asked Callum.

"Yeah, plenty..." he replied.

"Oh, good! So, let me introduce everyone....". Jenny started with the members of CJDL, introducing Ben and Mike. Then she introduced her mum and dad, then Callum and Paige. "So, these four girls are the main reason we're out here...", and she introduced the 4 Jelly Fish girls.

"There's one more person we need to introduce, and I'm going to get Carol to explain why she's here..."

"So," started Carol, "at lunchtime today, we split up into four small groups, and went off for lunch. Taeyang, Paige and I went and had a lovely traditional Korean lunch, and decided it would be nice to go and see the river, so we got onto a bus to get to the park by the river, and as I was walking down the bus, I bumped into someone that we were all at college with... meet Nabi! I mean, who'd expect that I'd bump in to her almost half way around the world?!"

"Hi everyone" said Nabi, waving. "Yeah, the last time I saw these girls was two or three years ago, back in England, but I'm now working here in Seoul, and when I saw Carol, well, I don't know who was more surprised. But haven't they all done so well? Tell you what, I saw both CJDL and Jelly Fish at the Park Festival yesterday: both of them were absolutely awesome! The best bit was when these guys were doing their encore, and the four girls from Jelly Fish came on stage to join them: in rollerskates! Guys, my respect!"

"So yeah, as you know, we came over last week, primarily to go on TV with Jelly Fish, to sing 'Sexy Yellow Rollerskates' with them, then we did a 30 minute set yesterday at an open-air festival. And today we've been chilling out a bit, before we start 2 weeks of dance classes!" said Jenny.

"They are asking online where we are..." said Callum.

"Oh, yeah, OK," said Linda. "I'm sure you know we're staying in the apartment next door to Jelly Fish, well, this is their place. It's a bit of a squeeze with 15 of us, but it's a nice place, much nicer than staying in a hotel, plus we get to spend loads of time with these great girls! Hey, let's try and show you you the place...". Paige picked up the camera, slightly limited by the cable, and looked around the place as Linda described it. "And before you ask, NO, we're not going into ANYONE's bedroom!!!"

They spent a bit just generally chatting about all sorts of things. As they chatted, Carol went over to see what people were putting in the chat.

"Ok, let's see if I can answer some of your questions. 'Have you been writing anything new' and 'Has being there inspired you to write anything yet?'. Well, Jenny was inspired with an amazing worship song on the flight here, something we're still trying to get to grips with. I've certainly have a few ideas already, but it's been too busy this last week to do anything, but maybe the next couple of weeks. Anyone else has inspiration?"

"It kinda hard NOT to be," said Dianne, "things here are so different, yet at the same time, a lot is similar. Take the food for example, it's so different from what we eat in England, but it's really nice to get to try it out. Maybe we should write a food song?"

In the background, Ahnjong started singing "I love Kimchi, Kimchi and Bimibap too....", causing several giggles from the others.

"What I want to know..." asked Linda, "is, when I've watched Korean programs on Notflix, why is there so much food and eating going on?"

"Oh, we Koreans just like our food!" replied Yun Hee. "Especially the Kimchi!"

"But, you asked about inspiration: I've got a couple of ideas in my head that I need to do something with, so I guess I need to see who else fancies working with me on them..." added Linda.

"They want you to sing something!" said Callum.

"They want us to SING?" said Dianne. "Hmmm, anyone got any suggestions? I mean, if ONLY there was a song that we all KNEW..... Tell you what, give us a minute or to to get some guitars and so on, and I'm sure we can all sing you 'Rollerskates'!"

A couple of people went and got the three acoustic guitars that were in the flat, and they also found a tambourine and a 'shaker', then all 8 of the girls got in front of the camera, and sang an acoustic version of 'Sexy Yellow Rollerskates', with many of the others there joining in for the choruses. Needless to say, they got a lot of positive feedback.

"Hey, would you like us to play another one of our songs?" asked Min Jee. With everyone saying 'yes' they played a couple of their other songs. While they did that, Carol once again checked the chat.

"So, someone here is asking about my braces.... Yes, Jenny isn't the only one with braces right now, although mine are just retainers." She bent down closer to the camera, and smiled, letting everyone see the thick wire of the retainer across her teeth, plus the extra bits of wire over her canine. "I was having a problem with that tooth there..." (she pointed at the tooth) "It had moved a tiny bit, and I managed to actually break my my old retainers when I put them in, so I got an updated pair of retainers, to hold everything else in place but also pull that tooth back into line. And it seems to have done it's job pretty quickly, but I guess I now need to keep wearing them, so that it settles into place, and stays there long term. Yes, I had a lisp to start with, but I don't think I have a problem now. Yeah, I took it out when I sang on stage yesterday, but I sang with it in just now. Hey, Jenny, wanna give an update on your braces to our viewers?"

Paige panned then zoomed the camera in on Jenny, and the microphone got passed over.

"Yeah, my braces are doing well. As you know, I started off with headgear and an expander, but the expander got removed ages ago, and I only wear the headgear for fun, like I have a couple of times on stage." Jenny smiled, showing her metal smile. "So, just the metal brackets now... you know, I do like the look, so I'm not really in a rush to get them off, but my teeth are pretty much where they need to be, so yeah, it's going ok!". Of course, when she said 'I do like the look', whilst she did enjoy flaunting her braces, it was more Ben that enjoyed her braces!

They answered a few more questions: some were about Jelly Fish, but most were about CJDL.

"Ah, someone is asking about who's behind the camera! Go on Paige, introduce yourself..." said Callum.

"Hi, I'm Paige, you've seen me online quite a bit, I do a lot of posts for the group on social media, but this is actually my first video stream I've been been on... So, maybe I shouldn't be telling everyone this, but Callum and I have been videoing the girls a load since we've been here, and we're hoping we can persuade someone to use the footage to make some sort of 'CJDL do Korea' video. Next week the girls are going to be doing some dance classes, that's going to be fun to record!"

With that last news, the chat exploded... people were definitely hoping there would be a program made.

"Ok, I think we've been streaming long enough" said Jenny, "So how about we end with us singing a song... I'm thinking we should do one of our new ones, something you won't have heard yet... so an exclusive preview for you all".

After singing the song, they all waved, and Callum ended the stream.

"You know," said Yun Hee, "we've never thought of doing a live stream like that, maybe we should?"

"You should... It's kinda like meeting your fans, but a lot easier - and safer - and they love it. I think I've probably done a load more live streaming than these guys, but I think we all enjoy it!"

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Re: Story: Carol
« Reply #57 on: 23. March 2023, 20:44:13 PM »
Chapter 33 - Acapella

Nabi left soon after they finished the streaming, and everyone just chatted for a while.

"Hey, anyone want spend a bit of time trying our new song again?" suggested Jenny.

"Yeah, why not. Maybe we should go next door, so we don't annoy everyone?" replied Carol.

Having gone back to their own apartment, they found their music sheets, then spent a minute or two warming up their voices.

"Ready?" asked Jenny. Everyone nodded, and Jenny started to sing. About three lines in, Linda made a mistake, but they carried on, and by the end of the song, they had all screwed up at least once. They took a quick break, then tried again: still just as bad: about the same number of mistakes, just in different places. Over the next hour, they must have tried singing the song a dozen times, and still hadn't managed to sing it without making a mistake.

"What's wrong with us tonight? asked Jenny, "we should be able to do this! Yes, it's hard, but so is some of the other stuff we do!" They sat down and took a few minutes break.

"Come and stand in a circle," said Linda, "then join hands." They all held hands. "now close your eyes". The four of them were standing silently, in a circle, holding hands, with their eyes closed. "Dear God, you've given Jenny an amazing song for us to sing, and we'd really like to sing it for you, but we seem to be having a few problems. I'm pretty sure that we are capable of singing it, so maybe we just need to ask for your help. Please help us as we have another go at it: we really want to sing this for you... Amen!"

"Amen" echoed the other three. They stood there quietly for a bit longer.

"Nicely said Linda!" said Dianne, "we ready to try again?".

This time they managed to sing the song through without anything going wrong: it sounded pretty amazing.

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Re: Story: Carol
« Reply #58 on: 23. March 2023, 20:48:46 PM »
Chapter 34 - Tom

They were all in Jelly Fish's apartment, chatting and laughing, having had their dinner. Carol looked at her phone yet again: she had been messaging Tom since lunchtime, but hadn't had a response, and was feeling a bit pissed off. Ok, yeah, they weren't actually dating, but simple common courtesy said he should have replied.

The doorbell rang, and Taeyang got up and went to the door, and opened it.

"Carol, it's someone for you...."

Carol got up, and went to the door.

"Tom, what the hell are YOU doing here?" asked Carol excitedly.

"I've been missing you, so I decided to jump on a plane and surprise you! I would have told you, but that would have rather spoiled the surprise!"

"I was wondering why you weren't answering my messages.... come on, let go into our apartment, it will be a bit quieter there...". Carol quietly closed the door behind her, took Tom's hand, and led him next door. With the door closed, they were now alone, and very unlikely to be disturbed.

"Tom, I've missed you so much. Missed talking to you, sharing cups of coffee...." said Carol, as she gently put her arms around him. She did think for a moment that maybe she was being a bit presumptive in doing that, but heck, if Tom had no feelings for her, why had he just jumped on a plane and flown for 12 hours to get to Korea?

Tom reciprocated, gently putting his arms around Carol, who was looking at him. Tom smiled, letting Carol see his lovely teeth, and more importantly, those lovely metal braces that he had on his teeth. She had no idea why, but a pleasant shiver went down her spine: Tom's braces made her feel good.

Of course, Carol and Tom had never actually kissed, and Carol so wanted to put her lips to his. More specifically, she wanted to run her tongue over his braces. But she was worried that, if she made the first move, Tom might think she was a bit 'forward', but after thinking about it for maybe as much as 1.5 seconds, she leaned towards Tom. Luckily, Tom was having similar thoughts, and he leaned towards Carol: their lips met.

Carol wasn't quite sure how it affected Tom, but she felt as if she was in the middle of a fireworks party! It had been a long time since she had kissed a guy, and this felt good. VERY good! Their lips parted briefly, but touched again. And again. And again. This time their lips stayed together, and then she felt a tongue gently poking between her lips, so she let her tongue meet it: their two tongues danced together for a while, then Tom pulled his tongue back, letting Carol's tongue into his mouth, letting it finally touch the metal on his teeth. To Carol, his braces felt like they were full of electricity, and as she touched them, she was sure she could feel sparks: the feeling was simply amazing.

Carol slowly ran her tongue along his top braces, getting about as far as his canines, then came back along the bottom. Carol had wondered what it would be like to kiss Tom with his braces, and now she knew: it was definitely good.

Carol pulled her tongue back into her mouth: she wanted Tom to feel the wire across her front teeth, and the plastic of the plates inside her own mouth, and Tom's tongue obliged. Whilst she couldn't actually feel his tongue touch her plate, she could tell he was doing so, and again, it felt really good. Tom seemed to be enjoying it as much as she was.

Their kiss finally ended. "Come into the bedroom, in case someone comes in here..." suggested Carol. With the bedroom door closed, she motioned to Tom to lie with her on the bed. Once again they cuddled, and once again they started kissing. And again, it felt very good.

Then Carol felt someone touching her shoulder, but she ignored it, assuming it was somehow Tom. Then there was another touch, this time with a bit of a shake.

"Carol...." said a voice. "Carol....". Carol turned around, and realised that Linda had somehow crept into their shared room without her realising it. "You ok there?" Linda asked. Carol turned back to kiss Tom again, but he wasn't there, he had disappeared. Instead, Carol realised that she was tightly hugging - and had probably just been kissing - her pillow.

"I wasn't sure if you were having a good dream or a bad dream" said Linda, "so thought maybe I'd better wake you."

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Re: Story: Carol
« Reply #59 on: Yesterday at 13:43:54 »
NiceOne  ;D But they should definitely come together  ;)