Suhoon is not a fan of chocolates or of Valentine's Day or of those kinds of days for that matter. Still, Hyunchul wants to give him something. He has already brought chocolates for Jihwan, Injoon and Hyunmin - they will devour the sweets in less than 15 minutes, that Hyunchul knows. If he buys chocolate for Suhoon, he knows that the leader will accept it with a "thank you" but might give it to Jihwan the moment he turns his back on him.
Scowling, Hyunchul rubs his hands on his face in frustration. 'Why do you have to be so complicated?' he thought as he unconsciously entered a bookstore, desperately looking for something Suhoon might like. He is walking along the aisle filled with Valentine's Day cards when his phone suddenly starts ringing.
"What's up, Hyunmin?" Hyunchul answers, stopping in front of sickening red cards.
"Suhoon-hyung is starting to like these futuristic novels," Hyunmin tells Hyunchul, confusing him.
"And so?" Hyunchul asks for the other to elaborate.
Hyunchul hears Hyunmin shrug and says, "Just give him a book."
Walking away from the cards section, Hyunchul says, "You do still know why I'm doing this, right?"
"Of course!" Hyunmin exclaims, indignantly.
"Well, I don't think a book can scream 'I like you,'" Hyunchul tells him as he enters the sci-fi section of the bookstore.
"Then make it so, besides, giving chocolates to four of us doesn't scream 'I like you' either," Hyunmin replies and Hyunchul can imagine him rolling his eyes, "want to know something?"
Hyunchul grunts in response as he pulls one book from the shelf.
"He likes to receive chocolates, okay? But he wants to get it from someone he likes," Hyunmin explains.
Hyunchul pouts and says, "So he doesn't like me? I mean I know he doesn't like me the same way I like him -"
"Yet," Hyunmin interjects.
"Shut up," Hyunchul snaps, putting the book back on the shelf, "but does it mean he doesn't like me enough as a friend?"
Hyunmin laughs and Hyunchul knows it's because he sounded stupid and childish. "Hyunchul, hyung is a hopeless romantic! What do you expect?" Hyunmin says, stifling his laughter.
"For someone who's a hopeless romantic, he sure hates the most romantic time of the year," Hyunchul mumbles.
"Well, for someone who doesn't have that much romance in his bones, you sure make a huge deal about it," Hyunmin counters.
"He's making me, that's why, even though he doesn't know that," Hyunchul replies in an attempt of an explanation, "if I don't like him so much, I won't bring myself to fuss over this annoying day."
"I get you," Hyunmin says, smiling, "just buy him a book he can like and maybe write a letter inside."
Hyunchul is about to reach for another book when a sudden realization hits him. "Are you telling me to confess?" he asks, eyes open wide.
"Yes and no buts," Hyunmin answers, "you can do this, Hyunchul, it's time you do this!"
"I said no buts!" Hyunmin tells him, firmly, "I have to go now. Injoon wants me to accompany him buy some plushie he can show to his girlfriend when they Skype tomorrow."
However, Hyunmin puts his phone away from his ear and screams "Bye, Hyunchul!" at the speaker before ending the call, leaving Hyunchul in the middle of an overwhelming amount of books.
Hyunchul quickly stands up from his seat at the dining area after he heard their front door close. He's sure it was Suhoon coming back from his afternoon outing with some of his friends. So, clutching the book he chose the day before, he walks out of the dining area to approach Suhoon.
"Did you have fun?" Hyunchul asks, nervously.
Suhoon turns to Hyunchul and nods. "Are you alright?" he asks, noticing how terrified Hyunchul appears.
"What?" Hyunchul blurts out, panicking.
"Aren't you feeling well? You look pale..." Suhoon comments as he steps towards Hyunchul, worried.
"I'm fine," Hyunchul says, quickly, backing away before Suhoon's hand reaches his forehead and giving a forced chuckle, "I...I just..."
"What is it?" Suhoon asks, still not convinced that the younger boy is alright. However, he was not able to hear anything from Hyunchul as the younger boy just pulled one of his hands and shoved a small paper bag on it. Confused, Suhoon opens his mouth to ask what is going on, but Hyunchul beats him to it by saying something about going out with one of his friends and coming back really late and, before Suhoon knows it, Hyunchul was already out the door.
Suhoon sighs and looks down at the paper bag in his hand, thinking that it is probably a box of expensive chocolate Hyunchul buys for the four of them every Valentine's Day. Not bothering to open the paper bag, Suhoon walks to the direction of Injoon and Jihwan's room and knocks on the door.
"Hey," Suhoon greets as Jihwan opens the door.
Jihwan stares at Suhoon in surprise. "Wow, you're early," he says.
"Yeah, most of the guys have other plans for tonight," Suhoon explains, peering inside the room and only seeing Jihwan's PSP and a box of chocolate, "where's Injoon?"
"Oh, he and Hyunmin-hyung went out because Injoon-hyung suddenly thought that he should also buy flowers for his girlfriend," Jihwan answers, shaking his head, "I find it pathetic though since he won't be able to give it to her."
Suhoon chuckles and says, "Just let him be. You know that he misses her so much."
"Yeah, whatever," Jihwan mutters in reply, glancing down and seeing the paper bag on Suhoon's hand, "what's that?"
"Oh, I almost forgot," Suhoon says as he raises the paper bag to Jihwan, "I just thought that you might want more chocolate."
Taking the paper bag, Jihwan asks, "Is this from Hyunchul-hyung?"
"Why don't you take them? They're delicious," Jihwan tells the older boy, "besides, even though he's not showing it, he feels bad when we don't accept the things he gives us, you know that."
Shrugging, Suhoon replies, "I told him not to bother giving me chocolate for Valentine's. It's not my fault anymore if he feels hurt."
"Okay, I get it but..." Jihwan trails off as he peers inside the paper bag, "I don't eat books."
"What?" Suhoon asks as Jihwan hands the paper bag to him with a grin on his face. Taking the paper bag from Jihwan, Suhoon slips his hand inside and pulls out its content which happens to be a paperback book.
"I guess he finally learned his lesson," Jihwan says, smiling at Suhoon who is reading the book's synopsis. "Enjoy your book," he adds as he closes the door.
Suhoon is a fast-reader. He can finish a book in one seating, especially if the material is engaging enough. He can forego eating or sleeping to finish what he is reading.
Just like now.
Lying on their living room couch, Suhoon glances at his phone and sees that it is already 11:47 pm and he just finished the book Hyunchul gave him. It's about two boys who have been friends for a long time. One of them is in a relationship with a lovely girl they've also known since childhood. Unfortunately, the girl died from an accident, so one of the boys tried to cope up in a way that his best friend doesn't approve.
The book was a good read, but aside from the plot, there was another thing that made the book interesting, and Suhoon knows that his copy is the only copy that has it.
Suhoon puts his pen down and smiles at the words he wrote on his notebook.
"I don't know how to tell you this directly, but I like you for a long time now. Keep smiling."
Twenty words hidden inside the twenty chapters of the book. At the beginning, he didn't pay attention to the words that were carefully crossed with a black sign pen because they did not appear out of place. However, the seventh word wasn't crossed out as neatly as the first six, so Suhoon looked at it carefully and noticed that the word was crossed out on purpose. He then went back on the first six chapters to look for the first six words and wrote them all at the back of his notebook.
Stretching his arms above his head, Suhoon stands up from the couch and walks to his bedroom he shares with Hyunchul and Hyunmin. However, he only finds empty beds since Hyunmin is at Injoon and Jihwan's room to watch Injoon talk to his girlfriend all evening and to make fun of him with Jihwan. On the other hand, Hyunchul hasn't come home yet, and Suhoon feels that the younger boy has all the intention in the world to avoid him. However, after reading the book and deciphering the hidden message, Suhoon understands why Hyunchul couldn't act comfortable around him.
Knowing that the younger boy may take a couple more hours to come home, Suhoon thinks of a way to answer Hyunchul's confession as he makes his way to his bed.
Hyunchul snuggles closer to Suhoon's chest as he allows himself to be serenaded with the leader's beautiful voice. He's still sleepy after arriving home at 3 am, so even though he wants to open his eyes and to look at Suhoon's serene face, he kept his eyes shut. However, he starts to feel that sleep is slowly drifting away from him. Apart from Suhoon's voice, he can now hear the faint sounds of a piano. The lyrics are also starting to become clearer, making Hyunchul furrow his eyebrows as he tries to figure what song Suhoon his singing.
'What is this song?' Hyunchul asks himself as he realizes that the song is foreign to him except for the voice and the language used on the song.
Frustrated, Hyunchul finally opens his eyes only to find himself staring at the ceiling. Sitting up, he sees that he is the only person in their room. 'It's just...a dream?' he thinks, disappointed. However, he can still hear Suhoon's voice singing to his ear. Slowly, Hyunchul brings his hand to his ear and feels an earphone slightly placed on it. Tracing the green cord, Hyunchul finds a small black MP3 player under his pillow and reads the song's title flashed on the screen.
Suddenly, Suhoon enters the room, making Hyunchul look up. "You're finally awake," he says, sitting on Hyunchul's bed, "it's already 3:30 pm, you know."
"Sorry," Hyunchul mutters as he pulls one of the earphones away from his ear, "what's this?"
"Just some song I recorded last night," Suhoon answers, smiling, "do you like it?"
Hyunchul nods. "It's good," he says, putting the earphone back to his ear, "who's it by? I've never heard this before."
Suhoon chuckles and says, "I made it."
"You...did?" Hyunchul asks in surprise despite knowing that Suhoon writes and composes songs on their free time.
"Yeah, it's one of the first songs I wrote," Suhoon tells him, scooting closer to Hyunchul, "it's a song I made after meeting you."
Hyunchul stares at Suhoon with eyes full of confusion. All of a sudden, as if on cue, some of the lyrics resonated through his ears.
"Destined for loneliness even before I was born
Heaven took pity and gave me a gift
365 days after my birth
Took me 18 years to find
I'll keep it forever, I promise..."
"I'm sorry if I didn't tell you right away," Suhoon says as he brings his hand to caress Hyunchul's hair, "I was scared...I didn't want to hear you say that you don't feel the same..."
Smiling, Hyunchul taking Suhoon's hand in his. "It's okay, I don't care about that anymore," he says, happy.
Suhoon beams at the younger boy and says, "The book's great. I love it."
"I'm glad you do," Hyunchul replies, looking down at the MP3 player.
"That was clever too," Suhoon adds, grinning.
Hyunchul laughs and replies, "You think? It wasn't original though. I just got the idea from this high school girl after buying the book. I also think it was a bit lame and lazy. The words I used were on the first and second pages of the chapters, but it's the best I can do since I don't have enough time to finish the book. I'm not like you."
Laughing along, Suhoon says, "It doesn't matter. I don't care about that anymore." Placing his fingers under Hyunchul's chin, Suhoon leans forward and captures the younger boy's lips.
"Can I keep this?" Hyunchul asks, raising the MP3 player as they briefly break away from each other.
"Of course," Suhoon answers as he kisses Hyunchul once again.