Mina was exhausted, she wanted to take a break from life.
She was tired of listening to the constant pitying whispers coming from her classmates.
She was tired of worrying her friends and especially Kami who had been feeding her candies to keep her thoughts off the breakup.
Kami had hoped that the sugar rush would put some life back into her friend but only gave her a stomach ache in the end.
"Can you take some notes for me? I'm going to the infirmary." asked Mina to her friend.
"I can come with you if you want!"
"No I'm fine..."
Mina could feel the heavy and almost predator like gaze of her male classmates on her back.
That's all she was to them, a piece of meat back on the market.
She missed Minhyun, and especially the Minhyun that had always protected her from them.
"Mina-" Called out a boy before being stopped by Kami.
"Tututut sit down. She can go there alone."
"No but." said Kami, winking at her friend.
"Thank you." whispered Mina before leaving the classroom.
There was finally some silence in her life.
The hallways were empty and only the sound of her steps could be heard.
She stopped by a window and stared at the blue sky,wondering what would happen now.
Minhyun had been perfect for her, he was a safe person able to help her achieve a safe life.
Or so she thought.
Mina barely remembered her father's face but clearly remembered his voice that always screamed at her mother. She remembered their last argument before he left her and her pregnant mother forever.
She remembered her mother often hugging her and crying as she held a newborn baby brother in her arms.
She may have been two then but had never forgot what it meant to be abandoned.
She had tried to be a perfect sister,daughter and girlfriend to never be abandoned, all for nothing.
She had lost Minhyun.
She felt empty.
Mina entered the nurse's office and noticed her absence.
A sigh escaped her as she opened a curtain only to see a sleepy Myungsoo laying on the bed.
"Myungsoo?" called out Mina as the president opened his eyes and rose up.
"Mina? What's wrong?"
"Stomachache and you?"
"Headache." growled the young man.
"Ah~So even the great and scary Myungsoo is a victim of his human condition~"
Mina laughed and sat next to him.
"That's what others think, not me." smiled Mina
"And what do you think about me?"
"....I thought that you were angry at me."
Myungsoo took her hand.
"I am just glad to have you back! You are the best thing that happened to me this year."
"...You never lost me."
Mina smiled and realized how big his hand had become since the time they used to play together.
He was almost an adult and would graduate in less than a year.
He would go away again.
"Then what are we now? Are we childhood friends again or just highschool friends?"
Mina blinked a few times before eyeing him.
"Ah…? What then?"
"Nothing…?" asked a hurt Mina, before standing up again. "...I see, sorry."
Maybe she had been wrong to think that things had gone back to the way they were.
Maybe she had been the only one liking being able to spend time with him.
Myungsoo grabbed her wrist and brought her to him as she was about to leave his side, stopping a few inches away from her face.
"I don't want you to misinterpret things again."
"...You were clear enough in what you meant I think." whispered a confused Mina. "I won't bother you again if I truly am nothing to you."
"But you did misinterpret me." sighed Myungsoo before brushing her cheek with his hand. "I didn't meant that you did not matter to me with these words."
"You aren't just a friend...You are more."
A disappointed and painful laugh escaped his lips before sighing and running a hand in his hair.
"..That's what you want? Do you want me to be a big brother figure to you?"
Mina was confused, what did he meant to be to her then?
"..Forget it, it doesn't matter anymore."
"It does! Tell me."
"...Can't you see?" asked Myungsoo in a whisper
Mina eyed how tensed he was, how pink his cheeks had become, how his fingers had sled down to her lips. She felt his hand on her waist and could feel his pulse.
His heart was racing.
"...No way." blushed the young woman.
"I love you. I have for years."
Mina was confused.
"...Is this a joke?"
"No it isn't."
Mina sat back down on the bed in disbelief.
Kim Myungsoo,Kim Myungsoo loved her.
Kim Myungsoo the always so perfect and handsome school president was in love with her.
"...I never knew."
"I know." said Myungsoo "But I tried to tell you…"
A sad smile graced his lips , making Mina think about the letters.
"...Then the letters were…"
"All of them..?"
"All of them."
Mina felt hot, just as if she had a fever.
"...I...I don't know what to say...I just broke up with Minhyun and -"
"I'm not asking you to go out with me...I just wanted you to know that things have changed in a way. We can't just go back to the way we were when we were in elementary school."
"Then...Will I lose you if I never like you the way you like me?"
"You won't. But you can't expect me to sleep over in your bed like last time."
Mina blushed more, what had he thought that night? What was he thinking when she was sleeping in his arms?
Her heart was racing.
" I don't know…" replied the girl.
"...I'm scared Myungsoo."
"Of everything, everything is changing around me and it terrifies me." whispered Mina. " My mom is always abroad now, Junho doesn't need me anymore, I broke up with Minhyun, Minju will be less and less present since she is dating Yohan and now even you...You and your feelings."
Myungsoo leaned in and kissed her cheek.
" You'll be alright."
"How can you know…?"
"Because I will be there for you, always."
"...If there is something that I don't believe in it is the notion of something eternal." sadly smiled Mina. "You'll stop loving me one day."
Myungsoo played with her hand.
"Maybe...But you know...I have loved you for most of my life. Always, every day." smiled the school president." I've grown so used to it that I don't think I will ever stop."
Mina felt her eyes fill up with tears.
"I'm sorry...Why...I don't understand how and why you love someone like me."
"There is no reason...Don't cry ok?" smiled Myungsoo. " I just love the person you are and you are beautiful but so much more inside."
"...I'm not rejecting you, I just...I just have to deal with some issues before thinking about it a..and then I'll see." sighed Mina. "I never saw you this way before after all… I need some time."
"You can have all the time you need." smiled Myungsoo
Mina wiped her tears and looked at him.
"So you'll wait for me…? Even if I do not chose you in the end..?"
"....There is no always." sadly smiled Mina.
"There is for me, you are my always." whispered Myungsoo. " You have always been."
Junho was sad.
He was sad because Yujin was depressed and refused to talk about it.
He hated seeing her like this,he hated not hearing her laugh.
The morning after the party had been an awkward one, especially when the two middle-schoolers had caught the new couple kissing in the kitchen.
It hadn't even been a regular kiss, it had been a passionate kiss that was still haunting the young boy's mind.
"Yujinnnn~" called Junho, waving her favorite sandwich under her nose that he had bought especially for her, taking an extra 20 min out of his morning routine. "Look at what I have for you~"
"Thanks but I'm not hungry…" sighed Yujin,laying down on her desk.
"...Ok we have to talk about what's wrong then."
"Because you never say no to food! You are scaring me!"
Yujin sighed before caressing Junho's hair with her hand.
"Don't worry...I just...I'm just sad. It's not important."
"But it is for me...I want you to be happy…"
"It is because of Minju right?"
Yujin sighed and nodded.
"How did you know..?"
"...You weren't really discreet about it."
"But Minju doesn't know, she rarely knows."
Junho remembered all the times his sister and cousin had been followed around by boys(or even girls) in love with them,boys that never entered their sight.
Junho knew that they weren't ignoring them, they were just so used to all the attention that they weren't able to notice what was going on outside of their immediate circle.
"Well...That's nice? I guess…"
"I don't get why everybody love her that much...She is pretty ,yes, but scary sometimes."
"I don't care. I like her." pouted Yujin
"You barely know her!!!"
"You're not helping…"
Junho brushed his hand against her cheek,playing with a few strands of her hair.
"Forget her, you'll find someone better."
"You can. How can you not when you are so wonderful and pretty?"
"Of course!" smiled Junho
Junho pouted and also laid down on his desk.
"I am being honest. You are really pretty."
"I act like a boy, I am not delicate like Minju... Who would ever like me?"
"Me." replied Junho maybe too quickly. "...as a friend."
"I'm not talking about friends!"
"I know I know...Sorry."
Yujin sighed and eyed her friend.
"No...I should be the one apologizing. You are just trying to help me…"
"I am a sad excuse for a best friend."
"That's not true..You are always there when I need you." finally smiled Yujin, taking his hand in hers. "You were there yesterday to comfort me when we...saw them."
Junho had spent the previous day calming down Yujin who had been grieving the premature loss of her first love.
She had drenched his brand new shirt with her tears and snot without him scolding her.
He had just sat there, slowly rubbing her back until she stopped sobbing.
"I was more like a pillow than a best friend."
"I like you as a pillow." joked Yujin. "Especially when it's one that brings me food."
Junho looked at the sandwich.
"So you want it?"
"Yes, but not because I am hungry. Because you keep staring at me with your puppy eyes."
Junho blinked a few times.
"Yeah, it's hard to refuse after seeing them. I think it's genetic, your sister and Minju also have this...skill…?"
Yujin took her lunch and bit into it under the longing stare of her friend.
Junho was hungry but would rather die than admit it.
"...Where is your lunch?" asked a suspicious Yujin.
"...I took my lunch money."
"I bought the sandwich for you.
"There was no money left for my lunch."
"..Idiot." laughed Yujin, cutting the sandwich in two "There, take half of it."
"No but. I won't eat if you do not."
Junho scratched his head.
Junho didn't particularly like sandwiches, he preferred hot meals but was happy as long as he was with Yujin.
"Are you ok?" asked the boy
"No and I don't intend to be ok for some time."
"Because we are middle schoolers...And I want to rebel."
"Yeah. If I rebel now it is a life crisis but if I rebel in high school that's just me being childish."
"...Isn't it the contrary…? Life crisis in high school and childish behavior in middle school…?"
"...You know what I meant."
"...You are an idiot."
"...Why do you want to rebel?"
"To busy my broken heart."
Junho shook his head and sighed.
" How will you rebel?"
"I don't know."
"....Yeah that's what I thought."
"...I'll run away?"
"You won't last a day without food and you like your parents."
"...I'll steal an object."
"You felt bad for a week when you forgot to give back a pen to the science teacher."
"You hate the smell of cigarettes."
"..I'll date bad guys."
"Because I won't let you."
"Because I am your friend and I don't want you to ruin your life."
Junho eyed her and patted her head.
"Instead of rebelling, we can hang out."
"Hmm Han river?"
"But we have a sport class…"
"I thought that you wanted to rebel?"
Yunseong had underestimated Wooseok's ability to adapt to new environments.
The boy had imagined that his friend would go around silently, unsurely eyeing his surroundings but Yunseong was too far away from the truth.
Wooseok had been a social butterfly waiting to come out of his cocoon and that was now going up to people, talking to them as if he was the most extroverted person this world had ever seen.
Maybe he had been wrong, maybe Wooseok didn't really need his help.
"I want to get my ears pierced."said Wooseok, slurping his strawberry smoothie.
Yunseong coughed on his drink and eyed him with worry.
This was not expected, none of this was.
Wooseok was supposed to be calm and discreet.
"I want earrings."
"You can get some clip earrings-"
"No,I want the real deal."
Yunseong thought that he may have freed a monster. Where was the silent Wooseok with whom he had shared his kimbaps?
"I don't know. It's impulsive and I never am impulsive."
"..That's especially why you should think about it again."
"No. I want to leave a trace of my new found freedom."
"On your body…?"
Yunseong sighed, at least he didn't want a tattoo.
"Alright, let's go."
"Do you know a shop?"
"Yeah I was there when Yohan got his piercings done." said Yunseong ,drinking the last drop of his shake before standing up and bringing the empty glass to the counter.
Wooseok smiled, mirroring his action before running to his side and taking his hand again.
Yunseong blinked a few times.
He had taken his hand in order not to lose him in the subway but Wooseok hadn't let go of his until they had reached the coffee shop.
Yunseong had wondered if it was due to him not knowing the place or just because he had forgotten about it.
It didn't bother him, his hand was warm and the weather was still cold outside.
"I like it here. " said Wooseok with the biggest smile on his lips. " I feel alive."
"Well...If you felt dead here I would be worried about you." laughed Yunseong. "Everyone likes this place."
"Will we go to clubs in the evening?" asked an ever so happy Wooseok.
Yunseong could almost hear Minhyun scream a big "no" in the horizon and could imagine Yohan's cousin punish them until the end of times if they ever got caught.
"...No…? We are minors."
Wooseok stopped and eyed him with surprise.
"...You have never been there?"
Wooseok scratched his head.
"Have you ever consumed alcohol then…?"
"Half a glass?"
Wooseok gasped, lowered his voice and whispered.
A laugh escaped an amused but defeated Yunseong's lips.
"No. Why would you even think that? I am not a criminal."
"...Oh." replied a blushing and embarassed Wooseok. "I thought that since you like this place..uh..you…"
"Tend to play around often?" asked Yunseong, smiling.
"I don't. I come here to dance."
Wooseok seemed to remember the young people dancing on the main street they had passed by an hour ago.
"Like the guys from before…?"
"Yeah...But less often now. I used to come a lot with Seongwu."
"That's nice." smiled Wooseok.
Yunseong stared at the pavement, thinking of the time before Seongwu fell in love with Minhyun. They would spend their whole weekends dancing into the night, until their bodies were exhausted.
They would get drunk on the people's ovations.
He missed it, the rush that came with performing.
His life was emptier now, more mundane.
But there was Wooseok, and being with Wooseok made his existence less boring.
"...Let's go dance then." said Wooseok, dragging him into the streets.
"Wait- You know how to dance? What about the earrings?"
Wooseok slowed down and laughed.
"I came to our school because I love dancing. I came for the dance program." smiled the boy. " And the earrings can wait."
Wooseok stopped in front of street dancers and watched them for a while until a man asked people from the audience to join them.
"Here!" shouted Wooseok, waving his hand at the MC. "The two of us!" added the teenager, pointing his finger at his friend and himself.
"Come to the center~"
Yunseong hesitated, it had been a long time since he had last performed, what if he was not as good as before?
Yunseong watched his little friend introduce them, still not letting go of his hand that he had been nervously clenching.
"You'll be fine." whispered Wooseok in his ear as the music started .
His hand slept away from his and suddenly Yunseong felt empty.
Wooseok started dancing and invited him to do so too.
His friend's steps were less precise than his but didn't lack energy, he had practiced a lot and he could see it.
Soon, Yunseong let the music take over his body and started dancing effortlessly, not taking his eyes off his friend.
Wooseok was breathtaking in his oversized
(really oversized) black outfit.
Well he had always been beautiful in his eyes but never this much.
There was something that made him shine more in that instant.
Maybe it was because they were in Hongdae, because all those people were cheering for them or because he looked different than usual.
But one thing for sure was that he shined way brighter than everyone else.
"Wow! That was amazing guys!" shouted the MC as the public clapped.
"Thank you!" said the smaller boy.
Wooseok turned around and smiled at Yunseong who's cheeks were burning.
"...Let's go." said Yunseong as he grabbed his hand once again.
Yunseong wanted to steal him away and regretted ever bringing him out there.
Was it selfish of him to want be the only one to see him shine? It probably was and he knew it.
But he wanted this day to be to the two of them.
Yunseong brought Wooseok to a calm park, away from all of the noise.
"Where are we?" asked Wooseok.
"I don't know...I just needed a break."
"Alright. A break it is then."
Wooseok laid down on a bench, looking up at the dark sky.
"There are no stars here…" said Wooseok in a whisper.
"Yeah..That's the only thing that I don't like about the city." replied Yunseong, laying down on the opposite bench.
The night was cold, maybe too cold for them to still be outside but it didn't matter to Yunseong, he liked it.
He liked the numbness that came with it.
It calmed the fire in his cheeks.
"Thank you Yunseong." said Wooseok, looking at him.
"For this…For today."
Wooseok stood up and walked over to him, kneeling beside him.
" Thank you…" smiled Wooseok.
Yunseong couldn't take his eyes off of him.
And that's when he understood that he wasn't feeling hot just because he had danced.
He knew that it was something different, something more special.
That's when he understood that he was crushing on Kim Wooseok.
Not a girl from his class or a beautiful stranger, Kim Wooseok.
He liked Kim Wooseok out of all the persons in this world.
Wooseok had woken up with the weirdest feeling that day. A feeling that his small and barely stable world was going to collapse at any given second.
A feeling that had only worsened as he had gotten closer to the school. A feeling that had started to boil inside of him as he witnessed students whisper every time he passed by one of them.
A feeling that had been brutally confirmed when he saw Minhyun and the 3rd years from afar.
There had been a fair distance between them but not enough not to hear their words.
Wooseok had clenched his backpack straps so hard that his joints turned white.
It couldn't be...
Minhyun? Minhyun out of all people?
Wooseok didn't care about his cousin' sexuality but cared more than everything about their mutual trust.
He would have told him right? He would have told him before anyone else if it had been true right?
Wooseok watched Mina drag him away and felt Yunseong's hand on his shoulder again.
The boy had a peculiar ability to appear whenever he was at his worst.
"....Did you know?" asked Wooseok who had finally gotten closer to him after they had spent an afternoon together.
"Did you know?" repeated the first year in a stricter voice.
"...Seongwu told me yesterday."
"And the others…? Do they know…?"
Yunseong bit down on his lip, scratching his head.
"....Everyone does.Someone spread it around."
Wooseok felt nothing but betrayed.
He was the last one to know something so important.
"...You should have told me." said Wooseok.
" I thought that you knew...Minhyun is your cousin after all."
Was he really?
Wooseok couldn't help but think that the older brother figure he had followed to Seoul had been kidnapped by an alien only to be replaced by this fake version of him.
Wooseok didn't know this Minhyun.
"I...I don't know…" sighed Wooseok, distraught.
Yunseong raised an eyebrow and caught sight of the crowd now focusing their attention on his new friend.
"...Let's go." said Yunseong, grabbing his hand and quickly walking.
"Uh?But we aren't done talking and..and the classes-"
"Let's skip class."
"What? W..Wait- Where are we going?"
Yunseong slowed down and looked back at him.
"You haven't visited Seoul yet right?"
"Uh….I have been to Namsan." replied Wooseok in a small voice.
"...Yeah that won't do. Come with me."
Wooseok walked, struggling to match the quick pace of Yunseong.
Wooseok's eyes couldn't help but stare at his hand holding his as they went through foreign streets to him.
They crossed a park, a big road and then a small street before arriving in front of an apartment building.
" I thought that we were going to visit-"
" I'm not going anywhere with you wearing these glasses and the uniform."
" What's wrong with gla-"
"Nothing.But you'll see it's better not to have them where we are going."
Wooseok swallowed his saliva.
The student may have gotten closer to Yunseong but realistically knew nothing about him.
Maybe he was part of a gang and carefully hid tattoos under his sleeves, maybe he was scarier than what he looked like with his pretty face.
His mother may have been right, Seoul inhabitants were frightening.
The ride in the elevator was silent, almost awkward.
"After you." said Yunseong after having opened the door to his apartment.
Wooseok gulped and entered.
It was a nice and well lighted place.
"I live with Seongwu." said Yunseong, taking his shoes off and disappearing into his room. "My parents work in another town and his too."
Wooseok blinked a few times before undoing his shoes.
The two of them had more points in common than what he had expected.
Wooseok popped his head into the room and stared at Yunseong, throwing clothes on the bed.
"What are you doing..?"
"Here. Try these." said Yunseong, burying his friend under clothes.
Yunseong raised an eyebrow.
Wooseok hesitated and then nodded as Yunseong also changed into more comfortable clothes.
Wooseok was not in the mood for an argument that day.
He wanted to forget about the scene at school.
Maybe breaking rules for once wasn't that bad.
Yunseong turned around to check the newly dressed Wooseok who was uncomfortably pulling at his black t-shirt.
"....Take off the glasses."
"But I can't see without them!"
"No complaining. Let's go buy contacts." said Yunseong, grabbing his hand once again
"Wait Wait-Why are you doing all of this..?" asked a concerned Wooseok
"...You'll see. Just trust me."
Wooseok held on his hand a little more,maybe because all of this was new to him (or maybe because he was currently blind).
After quickly buying him lenses, the two of them headed for the subway and rode it for about thirty minutes before Wooseok felt a light tap on his leg.
"Hongdae. Hongdae station,the doors are on your left."announced the recorded voice.
"Hongdae…?" asked a confused Wooseok who had only read about the area on internet.
Yunseong took his hand again and got off the train.
Saying that there was a lot of people was an understatement.
The place was so crowded that in an instant Wooseok got scared of losing Yunseong.
What would happen to him if he let go of his hand?
A man bumped into Wooseok who almost fell on the ground but was swiftly caught by Yunseong's arm behind his back.
Was he smiling?
"Careful." said the boy before helping him up."People don't mind where they are going here."
"I have noticed…" sighed Wooseok.
"..Let's have fun." smiled Yunseong, not letting go of his hand.
"I can't,not right now with everything-"
"Forget about it." stated Yunseong."Forget about about school, rumors...hell...Even forget about your bloody cousin!"
Yunseong grip on his hand grew tighter.
"You don't have to be like him to be liked. You don't have to be someone else...You are enough as a person as it is." said Yunseong as busy people mumbled,annoyed that the two teens blocked their way.
"You don't know me."
"I am not blind to what I see."
Wooseok bit down on his lip.
Was it so bad to want to be like the person you admire?
There was something so different about Yunseong that Wooseok liked.
He liked how free he was.
Wooseok usually hated spending time with other people,but weirdly, not him.
He was the exception.
Yunseong had never lied to him and had always been honest,a quality that was rare but so important to him.
"...Then what?" asked a confused Wooseok. "What should I do?"
"You have to let go of the facade."
Yunseong grabbed his hand and started running, climbing up the stairs and ignoring the angry shouts around them.
Wooseok blushed in embarrassment as Yunseong simply laughed.
"No, I'm just young!" cheerfully shouted Yunseong.
The two of them finally climbed the last few flights of stairs, panting, before finally joining the outside once again.
This was a whole new world for Wooseok,a world unknown and fantastic with so much to discover.
The roads of Hongdae were packed even for a Monday.
Shops,young people,cars,scooters and a heavy music.
It was chaotic.
But he liked it.
There was something calming about the noise and crowd.
Wooseok felt as if he could melt right into this and never have to force himself to be someone else again. He would disappear for a while, be another stranger on the streets,a passerby at most.
He liked it.
He really liked it,and slowly, the mask fell off.
Minhyun was walking the corridors, lost in his thoughts. A lot had happened over the weekend or even the night after Seongwu had confessed to him.
They had exchanged a kiss under the tree.
A small and shy kiss that felt more like a promise than anything else.
A promise that they would be there for one another, not just as friends but as lovers.
They hadn't spoken a lot, simply exchanging smiles and enjoying every second of their new found joy.
This time Minhyun wanted to take things slowly.
He wanted to make him feel loved, he wanted Seongwu to be happy.
A smile appeared on his lips as he recalled their walk on the way home and how Seongwu wouldn't let go of his hand.
He loved him so much and everything felt like a sweet dream's embrace.
"He is what..?" whispered a girl behind him
" Well... you know...Gay or so I heard." replied her friend.
Minhyun turned around, confused.
The girls covered their mouth,surprised as their eyes met and ran away.
Minhyun felt dizzy and clenched his fists.
He must have misheard them right?
His steps were now heavier and slower, breathing suddenly seemed so hard.
Were they all staring at him? Why were they laughing?
Where was Seongwu? He needed to see him, everything was fine when they were together.
What about Wooseok?
"Faggot." heard Minhyun as he passed by a group of third years.
His whole body froze as they started giggling.
There was no mistake, they were all talking and laughing about him.
"...What did you say?" asked Minhyun, trying his best to not let them hear the slight tremor in his voice.
"Faggot." repeated one of them with a sly smile on his lips. "Funny to think that you went around campus acting like a prince when you are this disgusting."
Minhyun wanted to run away.
It was so hard for him to breathe.
He had spent a full year as Minhyun, the perfect student and perfect teenager, fearing that the true him would not fit with others.
What had his efforts been for?
" Someone saw you kiss Seongwu under a tree. There's no point denying it." said a senior girl, uncomfortable.
Minhyun felt violated.
It was supposed to be their moment.
The beginning of something great.
The moment he broke free of the chains he had imposed on himself.
How could they?
Minhyun thought that this must have been karma plaguing him for harming Mina.
It had to be.
"Poor Mina...She deserves so much better." said one of the 3rd year.
Minhyun remembered him.
He had been one of the many boys to confess to her when they still were just friends.
He couldn't blame them, he too had once loved her.
Mina was pretty,kind and rich even if she didn't go around showcasing it.
She was the daughter of a successful lawyer that had created her own law firm , one of the best in Seoul and Minju, her cousin, was the daughter of a gigantic shopping mall's owner.
Dating her, her cousin, her brother or even Yohan (also from a rich family ) was the ultimate prize sought after in their school.
"This has nothing to do with her." tried to say Minhyun,hoping that he could at least salvage her reputation. "She didn't know."
"Oh? Why the violent break up then? Why did the pretty cousin hit you if it had nothing to do with you?" asked another boy with hatred in his eyes. " Was it the money that made you hide who you truly are?"
A hand slowly grabbed his from behind.
"Minhyun." said a most familiar voice.
"...Mina?" asked the young man on the verge of crumbling down.
Minhyun had imagined meeting her again.
He had imagined her getting angry at him and slapping him.
He had imagined all the violent scenarios but not this one, not her warm fingers slowly brushing against the back of his hand to calm him down.
"You're back Mina! Have you heard-" asked the senior student that had insulted him.
"Who are you?" coldly replied the girl."Am I supposed to know you or your little group?"
The group exchanged a nervous look.
"It wasn't really a question I think." said Myungsoo who had been by her side since the beginning, arms crossed.
"I don't recall knowing people as disgusting as you all are."
A scoff escaped the third years lips.
"Why are you defending him after what he did to you…?!"
"If I defend him or not is my choice and concerns me and only me. Leave him alone."
"But he is a disgusting! You can't-"
Mina slapped the group's leader before the surprised eyes of Minhyun and Myungsoo.
"You know how my cousin slapped him. What made you think that I would not hit you if you insulted him? Who do you think Minju learned that from?"
Myungsoo gently patted her head.
"Let me take care of this alright?"smiled Myungsoo.
Students had started to gather around them.
"Aren't you going to say something for god's sake?! You are the student's president-"
"Oh yes I am indeed. Should I also report your words to the principal then? I am sure that he would not mind a single slap to defend a fellow student but words such as yours...I am not sure that he'll like them." stated Myungsoo, stepping closer to him and pushing him against the wall. "And I for one...I'll personally make your life a real hell if you ever think of reporting her. I'll make sure that your parents know what kind of trash you are here at school." menaced Myungsoo.
Minhyun didn't know a lot of things about Myungsoo apart from what he had heard from Mina. He was an usually silent , law-following good student and was the son of a lawyer that had graduated the same year as Mina's mother.
Myungsoo's father on the other hand, came from a rich and influential family of politicians.
Myungsoo threw a cold look at him.
"Don't think that I am doing this because I like you. In fact,I don't like you at all."stated the president, sighing " I'm doing this for her and because whatever I may think of you,their actions are not right,that's all."
Mina's grip on his hand tightened as they walked away from the scene.
The young girl brought him to the empty and usually closed roof.
"How did you get the key- ...Oh." said Minhyun, catching the president's name written on the key.
Mina let go of his hand and walked to the edge of the roof,eyeing the tall buildings fading into the horizon.
The silence was heavy, maybe even heavier due to her lack of wrath.
" Aren't you mad?" asked Minhyun, walking to her.
" I am." replied his friend.
Minhyun bite down on his lips.
Of course she was, how could she not?
"...But I am more sorry than anything else." sighed Mina before looking at him with tears in her eyes.
"...Because I should have known. Because out of everyone I should have known that you didn't-" her words were cut, as if locked in her throat. "...That you were not into me."
Tears started rolling down her cheeks.
"I should have been the one to hug you and tell you that everything would be fine. I should have been the one letting you go so that you would be happy with another...With Seongwu."
This was not right, she had to get mad at him, she had to slap him and tell him to disappear.
"Don't be sorry...Scream at me, tell me that you wish me dead if it helps you but...Don't blame yourself."
"How can I not when I think that deep down I knew Minhyun? Every time I kissed you, every time I told you that I loved you...I could see it in your eyes that you didn't." whispered a shaking Mina." I trapped you and I am sorry…"
"I am the one that should have let you go..Not you."
"....The thought that you suffered by my side is...It's pure torture. I should have known that you didn't love me."
Minhyun back-hugged her.
"You are wrong...I did love you,not romantically in the end but at one point I did...And I still do love you in my own way." murmured Minhyun in her ear. "I loved you so much that I was scared to tell you the truth. I was scared that I would lose you over this."
"...But even then...You should have stopped. You should have stopped before that afternoon,that's the only thing I am angry at you about." said Mina "...That was my first time, a first time that I wanted to be with someone that loved me. A first time that I will never have back."
"Sorry…I'm so sorry..."apologized Minhyun,hugging her tighter against him. " I am the worst."
" You are...But I don't hate you, I can't...I just can't."
Minhyun felt her inhale to calm down.
"...Was...Was everything really for nothing? Was I the only one happy?"
"No...No I liked all the memories we made together. All our dates together...I loved them all."
"That's a relief…"sighed Mina, brushing her fingers against his.
His now lost lover turn round to face him and in that instant he hated who he was more than ever.
He hated the fact that he hadn't been able to reciprocate her feelings.
He hated the fact that in trying to protect her he had only harmed her more.
"I loved you. I loved you to the point that I felt like my heart was burning."
"Don't apologize I was happy to love you." smiled a teary Mina "I am happy that you were my first love."
Mina tiptoed,hesitated and kissed the corner of his mouth.
"Please be happy."
"..Is it a goodbye?" asked a heartbroken Minhyun, scared to lose his best friend.
Mina cupped his cheek.
"How could it be one when we attend the same school? I...I just need some time for things to go back to the way they once were."
Mina smiled before turning her back to him again.
"Go to class first, I need some fresh air."
Minhyun hesitated and headed to the staircases.
A small laugh escaped her lips.
"For a lot of things, too many things." said Minhyun. " For being my friend, for loving me when I needed to be loved, for not hating me despite everything that I messed up...Thank you for not looking at me with disgust even now." said the student as tears fell from his eyes.
Mina ran to him and hugged him.
"How could I ever look at you with disgust?" cried the young woman.
"I..I don't know…"
"I want you to be happy. I want you to fully love and be loved."
"Promise me that you'll be happy. That's the only thing I'll ask of you."
Minhyun wiped his tears and smiled.
"Good. And no matter what...Don't let others' opinion drag you down." whispered Mina."Wooseok, Seongwu and me….We will always support you."
"Show them how strong you are, show them that you liking a man changes nothing." smiled the girl."That's what the Minhyun I loved would have done."
"I will...I promise."
Minhyun kissed her cheek before cupping her face in his hands.
"Don't stay outside for too long alright?"
"Hmm.."replied Mina, swallowing back her tears and trying her best to smile.
Minhyun knew that she would crumble down as soon as he would leave her.
But he had to go, he had to let go.
It took all of his strength to step back and open the door.
After going down a few steps, Minhyun caught sight of Myungsoo,leaning against the wall with his arms crossed.
"...Go see her,please." said Minhyun.
"I'm not sure that she wants to be seen."
"If it is you I am sure that she'll be alright and...She needs someone." sadly smiled Minhyun. "..She'll need someone for a while. Please be there for her."
Myungsoo eyed him for a while.
Minhyun hadn't noticed that tears were falling from his own eyes.
"..She may have forgiven you but I won't."
A small smile appeared on Minhyun lips who remembered catching Myungsoo longingly staring at Mina and her sometimes looking for him in busy crowds.
"...You should tell her one day."
"About what you feel for her."
Myungsoo frowned a little before sighing and massaging his temples.
"...Does it show a lot?"
"Yes." smiled Minhyun.
Minhyun slowly climbed down the stairs before being called out by Myungsoo.
"...Good luck Minhyun."
"For the future. For what they'll say about you." said Myungsoo. "Be strong."
Seongwu's face appeared in his mind as well as a smile on his lips.
" Don't worry, I will be fine."