Sitting with his friends at the school library, Hyunmin busies himself by staring at the information area where a certain Park Hyunchul serves as a student assistant to the librarian. The prettiest boy on the campus and in his eyes.
Gwangchul notices the lack of scribbling or reading beside him and decides to check on the older boy. Seeing what Hyunmin's doing, he puts down his pen, and says, "Hyunmin-hyung, this is our last year in high school, right?"
"Yes," Hyunmin answers, his eyes never leaving Hyunchul.
"Do you think you should finally do something about that already?" Gwangchul asks as he cradles his face against his palm.
Intrigued, Younghak and Yejun stop writing their notes to focus on Hyunmin.
Hyunmin rolls his eyes and turns to Gwangchul. "What are you talking about?" he asks.
"Hyung, you've been crushing on Hyunchul-hyung since our freshmen year," the younger boy tells him, "are you just going to continue admiring him from afar?"
Chuckling, Younghak says, "You never really made a move on him."
"What the hell?!" Hyunmin exclaims in disbelief.
"It's true," Yejun says as he stretches his arms upward with a yawn, "it doesn't suit your image well, Mr. Playboy."
Younghak nods, and adds, "You had like – what? Three girlfriends back in our freshmen year, another two on our junior year, a pretty boyfriend after that, then another boyfriend at the start of this school year...but none of them lasted for more than three months."
"If you like him, go for him now," Gwangchul says as he places his arm around Hyunmin, "don't waste your time on other people anymore…"
"Why are you so scared of Hyunchul-hyung anyway?" Yejun asks, grinning, "He's like one of the nicest people here at school."
"I'm not scared of him!" Hyunmin exclaims, standing up, "I just –"
"Excuse me, Hyunmin-shi?"
Hyunmin freezes at the sound of that voice.
The four boys turn their attention to the person who just joined them and sees Hyunchul standing beside their table.
Hyunmin looks away in embarrassment. "Uh, I – is there anything we can...uh...help you with?" he stammers.
With a pleasant smile that made Hyunmin hold his breath, Hyunchul says, "Not really. I just came here to ask the four of you to keep your voices down. You won't want Lim-songsaengnim to kick you out, do you?"
"Sorry about that," Hyunmin says in a hushed tone.
"No problem," Hyunchul tells him and goes back to the information area.
The three other boys can't help but laugh.
"Seriously, Hyunmin," Younghak says, picking up his pen to go back to his homework, "if you don't make your move, someone else will."
Hyunmin sighs. His friends are right. He has liked Hyunchul since their freshmen year, but he never got a chance to do anything about it. To other people, he's overconfident and too full of himself. However, when it comes to Hyunchul, he loses all that confidence and becomes a silly boy who ends up making a fool of himself in front of the pretty boy.
"Tell you what, hyung," Yejun says, making Hyunmin look at him, "tomorrow, after the championship game, whether we win or lose, you should go up to him and confess."
"Or else I'll set him up with other people," Younghak adds, wiggling his eyebrows, "I have, like, a list of people who have the hots for him, you know."
Hyunmin looks back at the information area and thinks about it. As Hyunchul checks out some books for his fellow students, Hyunmin realizes that not taking his chance on the pretty boy will be one of his biggest regrets in his life. So, he turns back to his friends with a grin.
"I'll do it," Hyunmin declares, making his friends high-five one another for their success.
Half of the crowd cheers wildly as the final buzzer of the basketball game ends. Hyunmin and his friends storm towards their side of the bench to cheer with other teammates and coaches – they have won the championship. As everyone celebrates their victory, Younghak, Yejun and Gwangchul pull Hyunmin away from the cheering crowd.
"What's the matter?" Hyunmin asks, confused.
"Are you going to make your move or what?" Younghak asks, pointing to the direction where Hyunchul was sitting among the crowd.
Hyunmin looks at the direction Younghak pointed and sighed. Though he thought of a plan, Hyunmin isn't sure if it will work. With uncertainties plaguing his mind, Hyunmin thinks of just forgetting about the whole thing. He'll just accept the fact that the idea of him and Hyunchul together is never going to happen.
"Hyung! Don't tell us you're chickening out!" Gwangchul exclaims, sensing the older boy's hesitation.
Yejun puts a hand on Hyunmin's shoulder, and says, "You'll never know if he's going to reject you or not if you don't do something about it. What if he likes you too? You'll regret not knowing it just because you run away from what you feel about him..."
Hyunmin smiles at Yejun and nods in agreement. Taking a deep breath, Hyunmin leaves his three friends and pushes against the crowd towards Hyunchul's direction. The three boys watch Hyunmin and give each other a bunch of high-fives before joining the rest of their team back to their dugout.
"Hyunchul! Hyunchul!" Hyunmin calls as loud as he can among the chaotic crowd.
Hyunchul turns his head from left and right, searching for the owner of the voice. Smirking, Hyunmin climbs up the railings to the bleachers, surprising the other boy.
"Hyunmin!" Hyunchul gasps, startled.
"Hi, are you coming to the victory party?" Hyunmin asks, breathing heavily from running from court up to the bleachers and from just merely standing in front of Hyunchul.
With a smile, Hyunchul shakes his head, and says, "No, I'm sorry. It's not my thing. Congratulations, though, that last shot was awesome."
Hyunmin places a hand at the back of his neck, embarrassed. "Thanks...so, uh, are going to do anything else tonight?" he replies, nervous.
Hyunchul looks at Hyunmin in confusion, and answers, "No. I'm just going to go home. Why?"
"Well...I was hoping if we could hang out," Hyunmin says, shyly.
Raising an eyebrow, Hyunchul comments, "I didn't see that coming... that's nice though, but don't you need to go to the victory party? We can hang out some other time."
"Don't worry about that, they won't need me there," Hyunmin tells him, "there'll be other victory parties that'll come anyway."
Hyunchul chuckles, and says, "You're pretty sure you guys will win the national tournament, huh?"
Feeling confident all of a sudden, Hyunmin replies, "Of course, we did it last year, right? We just have to train and work harder."
Nodding, Hyunchul says, "If you say so...I'll wait for you at the gym's entrance then."
"Cool!" Hyunmin exclaims, excitedly, as he claps his hands together, "Don't worry, I'll be quick."
With that, Hyunmin quickly descends the bleachers and runs straight to the dugout.
After taking a shower, talking to his friends and teammates, and explaining to the coaches why he cannot attend the victory party, Hyunmin leaves the dugout and heads straight to the gym's entrance where he saw Hyunchul leaning against a post, listening to his iPod. Calming himself, Hyunmin takes slow and steady steps towards the pretty boy. Just when he's about to call him, his cell phone starts vibrating in his pocket. Shaking his head, Hyunmin takes out his cell phone and reads the text message that was sent by Younghak.
Good luck, buddy! – Younghak
Do your best, hyung!^_^ – Yejun
Please don't mess up! LOL – Gwangchul
Smirking, Hyunmin put his cellphone back to his pocket. He admits that, even though his three best friends are extreme dorks, they always can boost his confidence.
"Hey," Hyunmin calls the attention of a slightly spaced-out Hyunchul.
Hyunchul sharply turns to him and quickly removes his earphones and says, "You startled me there."
"Oh, I'm sorry," Hyunmin replies, sheepishly.
Hyunchul shakes his head, and said, "Don't worry, it's nothing big...so, where are we going to hang out?"
Biting his lip, Hyunmin answers, "I was thinking dinner at my place and some DVDs? How does that sound?"
Hyunchul puffs his cheeks, thinking. Though Hyunmin's invitation sounds interesting, he can't help but feel confused with the sudden attention the other boy is giving him. Despite meeting each other back in the first day of their freshmen year, they were never really close, and it is only this year that they got to belong to one class.
"Do you always do that every time you think?" Hyunmin asks, amused.
Putting his hands on his face, Hyunchul replies, "Sorry about that. It's a habit of mine..."
"No worries, I think it's cute," Hyunmin tells him, smiling.
Blushing, Hyunchul looks away to hide his face.
"So...what do you think?" Hyunmin asks once again, referring to his idea, "If you're not comfortable with it, we can always do other things. Maybe you have better ideas?"
"No, it's okay," Hyunchul tells him with a shy smile, "I'm a homebody, I don't know any cool places to go to..."
Nodding in understanding, Hyunmin claps his hands and says, "Let's go, then."
Hyunchul follows Hyunmin away from the gym. They take a cab and sit in silence for awhile at the backseat. Hyunmin may appear relaxed to Hyunchul's eyes, but his heart is beating faster than from playing basketball. As Hyunmin racks his brain to think of anything to break the silence between them, Hyunchul's cellphone suddenly rings.
"Hello?" Hyunchul answers, "Suhoon-hyung?"
Hyunmin's ears perk up at the mention of the name. He knows the person Hyunchul is talking to, and he can't help but feel a bit jealous. Lee Suhoon is a former student from their school who just graduated, and he used to spend a lot of time with Hyunchul since both of them are from the music club. Hyunchul wasn't a student assistant at the library back then, and he would spend most of his vacant time with the older student.
Ever since they were freshmen, Hyunchul has always been popular. Boys mistake him for a girl. Girls are intrigued who's the boy they're talking about. Similarly, Suhoon was a popular upperclassman. Girls were confessing to him left and right, every single day. So when people began to see the two of them together, rumors about them going out began to spread. However, the two of them neither affirmed nor denied them. No one could blame them; no one asked them anyway.
"Yes, they won," Hyunchul says, and Hyunmin assumes Suhoon's asking him about the championship game, "No, I'm not," Hyunchul adds, chuckling, "you know me, hyung, I don't like parties..."
"You should learn to go," Suhoon tells the younger boy from the other line.
"Who are you to tell me that? You didn't go yourself either," Hyunchul retorts, laughing.
"Well, I should have," Suhoon replies.
Hyunchul mischievously narrows his eyes, and says, "Let me guess, you've been out partying a lot since you stepped into college."
"What? No!" Suhoon answers, laughing, "Fine! I've been to a few. You know my girlfriend's stubborn, I can't refuse."
"Noona got you wrapped around her finger, huh?" Hyunchul says, giggling.
Hyunmin suddenly turns to Hyunchul after hearing the word "noona." As Hyunchul notices Hyunmin's gaze on him, Hyunmin quickly looks away in embarrassment.
Biting his lip, Hyunchul says, "Hyung, I think we should just talk some other time...maybe tomorrow morning?"
Curious, Suhoon asks, "Why? Are you busy or something?"
"Well, yeah," Hyunchul answers, debating whether he should tell Suhoon the truth or not.
"Are you with someone?" Suhoon replies, intrigued.
Hyunchul shrugs, and says, "You're asking too many questions but, fine, yes... I'm with Hyunmin right now."
"Hyunmin? Woo Hyunmin? The varsity?" Suhoon replies, surprised, "I thought you're not going to the victory party?"
"Yes, I'm not...we're not..." Hyunchul tells him, shyly.
Suhoon suddenly laughs as he can perfectly picture the look on Hyunchul's face that moment.
Hyunchul scowls, and exclaims, "Hyung!"
"I'm sorry," Suhoon says, calming himself down, "you should've told me earlier, you know that I don't call for a short chat."
Biting his lip, Hyunchul replies, "Yes, I know..."
Chuckling, Suhoon says, "Alright, I'll talk to you tomorrow. Tell Hyunmin I didn't mean to disturb you and...you have to tell me whatever it is that's going to happen later."
"Fine, fine..." Hyunchul tells the older boy, totally embarrassed.
"Bye, then," Suhoon says.
"Bye," Hyunchul replies and ends the call. Turning to Hyunmin, he adds, "Sorry about that."
Hyunmin looks at him and smiles. "It's okay...you and Suhoon-sunbae are still pretty close even he's in college already, huh?" he comments.
Hyunchul doesn't answer. Instead, he narrows his eyes and grins, saying, "Don't tell me you believe those rumors back then. Did everyone really think Suhoon-hyung and I were dating?"
"Uh, well...I didn't really think of that..." Hyunmin lies as he put a hand at the back of his neck, "I don't have time with rumors..."
"Oh, that's good, it's not true anyway," Hyunchul says, buying the lie, "if Suhoon-hyung is dating anyone, that will be my older sister."
Hyunmin could not help but grin at that. "You have an older sister?" he asks, feeling comfortable all of a sudden.
Nodding, Hyunchul explains, "She studied in a boarding school...she and Suhoon-hyung got together during their freshmen year, and she forced me to study at our school because Suhoon-hyung would be there. She said it'd be for the better since she won't worry about me too much. She babies me a lot..."
"Or could it be that she wants you to study at our school so that you can watch Suhoon- sunbae for her?" Hyunmin jokes.
Laughing, Hyunchul replies, "Suhoon-hyung thought that way too, and he finds it cute... but he was proved wrong when she just laughed at us when we told her about the rumors."
Hyunmin congratulates himself for being able to converse with Hyunchul properly. Looking outside the taxi's window, he sees that they are just a couple of blocks away from his house. "We're almost there," he tells Hyunchul. After a minute or so, Hyunmin calls the driver to stop. When he was about to pays, Hyunchul beats him to it.
"What are you doing?" Hyunmin asks, holding onto Hyunchul's wrist to stop him.
Hyunchul looks at him, confused, and answers, "Um, paying?"
"No, you're not going to pay anything, I'll do that," Hyunmin tells him, smiling.
"Oh, okay..." Hyunchul agrees, shyly.
After Hyunmin paid the driver, the two of them head inside the house. Hyunmin takes out his keys from his pockets to opens the front door.
Noticing this, Hyunchul asks, "You're living alone?"
"No," Hyunmin answers as he lets Hyunchul inside, "my parents are just currently out of the country for their wedding anniversary."
Hyunchul nods in response. "You've got a very nice house," he says, looking around the living room.
"Thanks," Hyunmin replied, "umma's a neat freak."
"I wish umma is too," Hyunchul comments, chuckling, "it's only me and noona who do the decorating stuff around the house."
Hyunmin smiles, happy that Hyunchul is comfortable being alone with him. "You can sit here in the living room while I prepare something to eat," he tells Hyunchul, "make yourself at home."
"Wait!" Hyunchul exclaims, tugging on Hyunmin's arm, "I'll help you."
Hyunmin smiles and shakes his head. "No, you're my guest," he tells him, "I'll do the work."
"No," Hyunchul says, firmly, "I insist. Please?"
Hyunmin is about to say 'no' when he sees Hyunchul looking at him with his big, round eyes that appear to belong to a cute little puppy. Sighing, Hyunmin grins and thinks how he'll never be able to say 'no' to that. Hyunmin put his stuff at the couch, and says, "You should put down your bag too, you won't need them there anyway."
Smiling that he got Hyunmin to agree, Hyunchul did what he's told.
Taking Hyunchul's hand with his, Hyunmin says, "Let's go."
Hyunchul blushes as Hyunmin leads him to their kitchen.
Hyunmin releases Hyunchul's hand and starts bringing out the things they'll need for cooking. Hyunchul goes to the sink to wash his hands before checking out the ingredients Hyunmin prepared. "You're going to cook some pasta?" Hyunchul asks.
"Ah...yeah, is that okay with you?" Hyunmin replies, suddenly becoming uncertain.
Noticing how nervous Hyunmin had become all of a sudden, Hyunchul gives him an assuring smile. "Of course, I don't mind," he says, "can I chop the carrots?"
"Oh...uh, yeah, sure, thank you," Hyunmin replies, smacking his head in his imagination on how stupid he became in front of Hyunchul at his own house.
They were in the middle of preparing the ingredients when Hyunchul asks, "Really, Hyunmin, what do you want from me?"
Hyunmin freezes and stares at Hyunchul, who has just finished chopping the carrots as if he did not say anything. However, Hyunmin knows that he can't ignore Hyunchul's question. 'Maybe I should just tell him now...' he thinks, debating with himself.
"I'm not going to be mad or anything," Hyunchul assures the other boy, "I just want to know why you suddenly asked me to hang out with you when you should be partying with your teammates right now. On top of that, we're not really friends."
Hyunmin puts down the knife and the bell pepper he is holding, and says, "Let's go outside."
Both wash their hands and head out to the garden. Hyunchul looks around and admires the beautiful orchids that decorate the place.
"Umma took care of them, she's really into this whole homemaking and gardening stuff," Hyunmin tells the other, seeing how Hyunchul takes an interest at his mother's plants.
"They're beautiful," Hyunchul says, looking at Hyunmin, "small cactuses don't even survive in our house, good thing we live in an apartment so having plants and such isn't that necessary."
Hyunmin nods and takes a deep breath. "About why I asked you to spend time with me out of the blue..." he starts, clearing his throat, "I'm planning to tell you something...something important and something I've kept for a long time already..."
"What is it?" Hyunchul asks, his full attention on the boy in front of him.
With eyes tightly shut, Hyunmin says, "I like you, and I'm hoping if I can ask you out."
Hyunchul's eyes widen at the confession.
Not waiting for Hyunchul to say anything, Hyunmin continues, "We first met during the first day of school back in our freshmen year. We were checking our names in that huge board to find out the class where we belong...I didn't have a pen with me, and you lend me yours. It cliché, but I already liked you at that time. I'd always try to find you whenever I pass by your classroom or during lunchtime at the cafeteria. Even though I didn't believe those rumors about you and Suhoon-sunbae, I was jealous. I may have dated several people back then, but I did that so that I can get over you. Stupid, I know. I've hurt most of them, and I've made a fool of myself by thinking they can replace you...I know I have all the time in the world to tell you how much I like you, but I really couldn't bring myself even to say 'hi' and I don't know why... I'm not shy, I'm pretty confident about myself and with the things I do, but you have this effect on me that turns me into a total opposite of who I am...but right now, before I run out of time, I'm taking this chance to tell you that I really like you, Park Hyunchul."
"It took you long enough to tell me all that, huh?" Hyunchul says with a smirk on his face.
Hyunmin blinks, and asks, "What...what do you mean?"
"I'm not stupid, Hyunmin, or worse, I'm not numb," Hyunchul tells him as he steps closer to the other boy, "I noticed looks and wondered what they meant...I've assumed a lot of things, but I didn't want to expect something that seems so impossible..." he adds, chuckling, "I was actually hoping, every single day, you'll come up to me and tell me that you like me because I feel the same way."
Eyes widened in disbelief, Hyunmin replies, "Re-really?"
Giving a small smile, Hyunchul slowly wraps his arms around Hyunmin's waist and leans his head on Hyunmin's shoulder, whispering, "Do you think I'm lying?"
Hesitantly, Hyunmin put his arms around Hyunchul and smiles. "Of-of course not," he says, laughing, "I'm just surprised."
"I bet you are," Hyunchul replies, stepping back and looking at Hyunmin with his sweetest smile.
Mesmerized, Hyunmin can't help but lean forward and kiss Hyunchul. Smiling at the kiss, Hyunchul moved his hands from Hyunmin's waist to his neck.