( .27 )
Beep! Beep! Beep!
The buzzing of the alarm can only be described as obnoxious. It's loud, tinny and Jisung had specifically chosen the most annoying tone to ensure that he wakes up when it rings.
Curse his past self for setting the damn alarm, he thinks, annoyed as he stretches across the bed so he can reach for his phone.
Who the fuck wakes up that early?
Not Jisung, not usually, yet here he is anyway, grumbling under his breath as he forces his eyes open. He considers going back to sleep, but he knows that in exactly five minutes and thirty-six seconds, Felix will barge in and pull him out of bed for breakfast anyway.
So he forces himself out of bed, and when Felix pokes his head in, Jisung is dressed and ready to break his fast, never mind the comical way his fluffy hair is sticking out all over the place. He can fix that later.
Fuck, he thinks. If he knew he was going to be living this exact day for the rest of his life then he definitely would have done a few things differently – not setting his alarm obnoxiously early being the least among them.
Mostly, he would have stopped at one bottle of beer during the previous night's bachelor-centric festivities, because the worst thing about reliving this particular day is the way that it always starts with him waking up to a shitty hangover, the type that involves a constantly thrumming headache and a very uncomfortably dry mouth.
Granted, at least he's figured out how to get rid of it. The nice waitress at the hotel restaurant who also doubled as a bartender during night shifts, Chaeyoung (whose name, admittedly, Jisung didn’t really learn her until maybe day five) had whipped up a surprisingly effective hangover cure for him after he was desperate enough to whine to her about it one morning while she was serving him eggs — carrot juice, apple extract, ginger ale and raw egg in one concoction works for Jisung apparently.
It’s the first thing he asks for now every time he has breakfast with Felix at the hotel restaurant; his friend always gives him a look that’s halfway between curiosity and disgust.
“What?” Jisung sniffs at him today. “It’s an instant cure, wanna try?” He knows from experience that Felix will turn him down with a grossed out expression, but that doesn’t stop him from offering the orange-brown drink that Chaeyoung has just served him.
“I’m fine, thank you,” Felix huffs, and it doesn’t matter how many times Jisung has seen that sour expression on his face by now, it still makes him laugh.
He shrugs. “Your loss,” he mumbles, even though he can’t help but wrinkle his own nose before he lifts the glass to his mouth; it also doesn’t matter how many times he’s had this drink now, it still tastes disgusting every time, so he holds his breath and gulps down as much of it as he can in one go.
At least he knows it works.
He starts to dig into his eggs after, pretending to be completely engrossed in his food because he also knows what's going to happen now. Felix will be casting pitiful glances at him while he devours his own breakfast, and quite frankly this is something else that he wishes didn’t have to happen on this forever day.
“Take a picture,” he grumbles eventually when he can’t bear it anymore. “It’ll last longer.”
Felix chuckles lowly, the deep thrum ticklish in Jisung’s ears. He wishes it could stop there, but he knows what Felix’s next words are going to be – they’re always the same, no matter the little changes Jisung has made in this early part of the day.
“Bro,” Felix starts, soft and concerned. “I just want to know if you’re okay.”
Jisung looks up; his hangover is slowly, but finally, ebbing away so he more easily manages to flash a cheeky grin. “Why wouldn’t I be?” he asks, clearly being obtuse on purpose.
“Just. Last night…” Felix trails off. “I heard that you got pretty wasted last night.”
Jisung forces out laughter. “It was our friends’ last night of bachelorhood!” he points out. “We had to celebrate accordingly.”
Felix laughs softly, but he’s also shaking his head. “Changbin texted me, saying that you kept the party going even after you guys helped Hyunjin’s drunk ass into bed though.”
“Into Seungminnie’s bed you mean,” Jisung sing-songs in return; it’s an attempt to be playful but the worried crease in Felix’s brow is proof enough that his friend isn’t buying it. “You should be more worried about Changbin,” he keeps going, trying to bulldoze right past his friend’s concern. “He isn’t here, so obviously his hangover is much worse than mine.”
( - 1 )
“I want to see Seungmin,” Hyunjin slurs as Jisung and Changbin both assist him into the hotel elevator.
It’s almost midnight and they’ve just come from the hotel bar where they had toasted to anything and everything they could think of—from Hyunjin's upcoming wedding to Changbin apparently having gotten his teeth cleaned just the day prior. It was all due to Hyunjin's insistence; he's so happy that all he wanted was to celebrate everything remotely good in his and his friends' lives.
So happy that now it's his very same friends that are stuck trying to help get his drunk ass up to his room. Trying being the keyword. It's lucky (and smart) that Jisung followed Changbin's lead of slyly passing on every other shot earlier that evening.
“Come on, take me to Seungmin instead,” Hyunjin demands; he's always been an extremely whiny drunk, and Jisung and Changbin, as evidenced by the way they exchange knowing glances, are both aware of it.
“You aren't supposed to see each other before the wedding,” Changbin points out, a lot calmer than Jisung thinks he's capable of.
“That's for brides and grooms!” Hyunjin huffs. “And there are no brides here!”
Jisung snorts at that, because fair enough.
“Wouldn't Seungmin be asleep by now? Do you really want to disturb his beauty sleep?” Changbin grimaces. “Seungmin's scary when he has no sleep.”
Unlike Hyunjin, who decided that he wanted to spend his last night of bachelorhood getting smashed over expensive hotel cocktails, Seungmin had opted for a more quiet and relaxed evening with Felix. Jisung had scoffed and called them boring, but Seungmin just rolled his eyes at him—he really wouldn't be surprised if, as Changbin predicts, Seungmin really is in bed, asleep, by now.
“Noooooo,” Hyunjin continues to press. “Seungmin.”
He sounds petulant but determined, and what are Changbin and Jisung supposed to do? Say no to his whims?
Changbin shrugs off Hyunjin and lets him lean completely on Jisung when they reach Seungmin's room; he takes the initiative to step forwards and gently knock on the door, while Jisung grunts, uncomfortable with the entirety of Hyunjin's dead weight resting on him.
“Bro, you reek,” he mutters, because he can easily smell his best friend's breath. He's sure he smells vaguely the same, but instead of pointing this out, Hyunjin just happily giggles.
The door finally opens and Seungmin appears, clad in soft-looking flannel pajamas; initially, there's an annoyed crease visible on his brow, but it disappears as soon as his eyes settle on Hyunjin.
“I knew this was going to happen,” he says, resignation and fondness mixing in his tone.
“Seungmin!” Hyunjin chirrups, grinning as he untangles himself from Jisung to throw himself at his fiancé. “I'm home!”
Seungmin laughs and mutters something about a hotel room being far from their home; meanwhile Jisung winces quietly—the loss of Hyunjin's weight makes him feel empty, and the way Hyunjin's arms naturally wrap around Seungmin like that's where they belong, pulls harshly at his insides.
“Get him hydrated,” he tells Seungmin, a lot sharper than he intends. It earns him a curious look, but Jisung is quick at flashing a sassy grin. “You don't want your husband-to-be crying tomorrow because he's got a hangover.”
“Maybe you shouldn't have let him drink so much then,” Seungmin muses.
“Hey now!” Changbin interjects. “He was the one paying for all the drinks and insisting on round after round.”
Jisung can only nod solemnly in agreement; once again, Seungmin looks resigned, but there's a hint of a smile that graces his lips—one that only grows when Hyunjin giggles again, and burrows into the crook of his neck.
Jisung also knows that Hyunjin can be a frisky drunk, and that's how he figures it's absolutely time to leave Hyunjin and Seungmin be.
Besides, the way Seungmin is being so soft—so gentle; the way his arm is sweetly curled around Hyunjin's waist naturally supporting him as the latter nuzzles against his side – Jisung feels sick and woozy. He blames the alcohol in his system, even though he knows better.
“Let's raid the minibar in my room,” he announces to Changbin after Seungmin closes the door on them. His friend gives him a strange look, but he simply shrugs before following as Jisung leads the way down the hall.
( .27 )
Right as they’re finishing breakfast, Felix's boyfriend, Chris, arrives at the hotel and the first thing he does is seek them out because he and Felix had arranged to go on a morning swim. Ever so polite, he asks Jisung to go with them as well. The first time today happened, Jisung had turned the invitation down under the guise of having errands to run. ‘Best man duties, and all,’ had been his exact words, paired with a pained (read: hungover) smile. The truth is that he just wanted time to himself; Felix’s pitying glances were irritating enough to deal with, he didn’t want to deal with Chris’ unsubtle attempts at getting him to talk about his feelings as well.
But that was the first day, and more often than not since then, he’s decided to throw caution to the wind and say yes. Today, he decides as he steals the last piece of bacon off Felix’s plate, is going to be one of those days.
“I’ll change and meet you guys at the pool in ten,” he announces, pushing back his chair so he can get up and hurry back to his room.
Jisung stopped keeping track of the days a while back, but if he has to guess, he'll say that he has spent the rough equivalent of a month in this same day.
The first time he repeated the day—Day 2, in his mental iteration, also occasionally referred to as D-Day + 1—he had been confused; he didn't think much about it though. He figured maybe he was dreaming – never mind that no matter how many times he pinched himself he wouldn't ‘wake up.’ Nevertheless he went through the motions—went on autopilot and proceeded to make the same decisions and do exactly the same things as he did the first time he experienced the day.
And then he woke up on the same day for the third time in a row, and Jisung knew something was up. It was a weird feeling, but it was clear enough to him that he was the only one experiencing the same day for the second— third time.
He started changing little things—he waited in bed until Felix came for him; he ordered his eggs scrambled instead of over easy; he ordered orange juice instead of pineapple. At first he tried not to change anything too much – the day was his best friend's wedding after all, and as far as he knew it had gone perfectly for his friend.
He's human, though, and his attention span has never been the best so he eventually got bored – after he figured out how to rid himself of the World's Worst Hangover, he thought to himself — fuck it.
If he was doomed to repeat the same day over and over, then there was no point in keeping it the same, was there?
(Except there's one thing – one thing he can't bring himself to change.)
( 0 )
Everyone looks happy— elated.
By everyone, Jisung mostly means Hyunjin, but he's the groom so he reasons that it makes sense his eyes are only on his friend. And okay, Seungmin—right, he's a groom too, and hey, he looks positively beaming as well, so Jisung's observation holds.
It's to be expected – not only is it their special day, but thanks to Seungmin's meticulous planning, everything is perfect. They had chosen a beachside hotel as their venue, with the actual ceremony held near the shore as the sunset colored the skies with a perfect blend of oranges and purples. The wedding party isn't very small, but it isn't big either – it's just the right amount of intimate; a select number of close family, friends and esteemed colleagues who are all more than happy to celebrate the nuptials. The reception is held out in the open air garden reception area that the hotel regularly offers for events such as this.
Jisung grins—mostly for show, because he has to assert his supposedhappiness too. It's time for his best man speech, and as he stands up so he can make his way to the front, Changbin gives him a pat on his back. The gesture is meant to be comforting and encouraging, he knows, but it makes his smile momentarily falter. It makes him feel pitied because of feelings that he has no control over.
“Hey everyone,” he greets as soon as he has possession of the microphone. He glances around at the crowd; some are busy with their food but most of them are watching him, curious as to what he has to share. He inhales deeply and gathers all the energy he can muster so he could project confidence. Speaking in front of an audience isn't what's nerve-wracking; as a junior sales executive at a mid-sized marketing firm, he does enough of that work when he has pitch presentations. He knows how to wow a crowd with words, but right now it's more the nature of his speech that's making him nervous.
“I'm Jisung and I'm sure that most of you already know me, especially if you're from Hyunjin's side of the guest list.” He pauses to chuckle, before continuing, “We've been friends since we were what—? Ten?” He looks towards Hyunjin who snorts at his words.
“Friends since ten is a stretch!” Hyunjin interjects, and the crowd laughs because just as Jisung had said, most of them know him, and most of them know his history with Hyunjin.
“Okay yeah,” he admits with a chuckle. “We kinda hated each other for a while there, but we were best friends by the time we were twelve,” he points out, once again venturing a glance at Hyunjin, who casually shrugs this time as a form of acknowledgement. “I've known him for so long I could probably regale you all with all sorts of stories—from his first kiss, to all sorts of other firsts—”
“Hey!” Hyunjin yells, and Jisung can't help but snicker.
Jisung lowers his voice to a whisper—a gesture rendered moot by the fact that he's speaking into a microphone. It's more for effect anyway. “It was me, by the way,” he says. “I was his first kiss.”
Hyunjin groans and Seungmin rolls his eyes; the audience simply laughs, just as Jisung intended for them to. It's not an unknown anecdote. Jisung and Hyunjin gave each other their mutual first kiss when they were fifteen and curiosity got the best of them. Hyunjin had laughed after, wrinkling his nose not quite in disgust, but more because, in his words, it was ‘weird.’ Jisung—well, Jisung simply laughed along.
“But what I mean to say,” he continues, “is that there's no point in telling stories about firsts, not when what really matters are the best things in life, not the firsts—and I've been the best man in his life for a time—” he takes a deep breath before flashing the best smile he can offer his audience. “But despite getting to keep that title today, my friend has found the best fit in Seungmin, and so now, we're all here to celebrate the two of them, and to wish them the best that life has to offer.”
He grins and turns to the head table; he lifts his champagne flute to toast – his heart is twisting in his chest; every night it's the same. He has to pause, not for effect, but because he has to push past the heaviness in his gut; has to concentrate hard to make sure the carefully crafted happiness on his face doesn't falter.
“Congratulations Hyunjin, Seungmin,” he eventually manages, and the crowd immediately erupts into cheers. “May you continue to be the best for each other in this life.”
His best man speech isn't something that Jisung had written beforehand; he had winged it for the most part, yet night after night, he recites it perfectly. At this point he has memorised it, every last word. The way Hyunjin laughs, ecstatic and appreciative is what drives him.
Because Hyunjin's happiness, cheesy as it may be—torturously cliché as it may be, is Jisung's genuine wish.
Every night, at exactly 11:10, Jisung looks up at the sky – he anticipates the shooting star whose appearance he has now mastered by heart; when the clock strikes 11:11 and the passing twinkle streaks across the night sky, he makes his wish.
Please let me move on from these exhausting feelings. Please let my happiness for Hyunjin and Seungmin be completely real.
( .35 )
“Nice speech. ”
The unfamiliar voice echoes from behind Jisung, and despite its softness, it catches him off-guard.
“Um, thanks?” he answers as he turns around to face the speaker; he's immediately taken aback. Not only is the man talking to him beautiful – jaw-dropping, head-turning kind of gorgeous if Jisung is to be honest – but he's new.
Jisung has experienced the same day at least thirty times at this point, and he's quite sure that he has all the wedding guests memorised by now. This man, despite being dressed appropriately and not at all looking out of place, is definitely not one of them.
“Do I know you—?” he asks, brow creasing with a mix of confusion and curiosity.
“Minho,” the stranger answers simply. “Now you do.”
Jisung snorts; the ease in which Minho interacts with him is amusing even though it probably should be more off-putting.
“Now I know your name,” he corrects. “Knowing your name doesn’t mean I know you.”
Minho grins—rather, he smirks, and Jisung feels his heart skip a beat. Smug and teasing is a good look on this man, and that’s always dangerous. If he was smart, he would turn around and not encourage this interaction. But Minho is handsome and intriguing and more than these things, he’s new, and it has been so long since Jisung has been sidelined like this, so he lifts his chin and puts on the cockiest grin he can muster.
His confidence is met with an arch of Minho’s left eyebrow. “We can always fix that,” he says. “We can always get to know each other—” he pauses as the song playing in the background shifts from a mid-tempo beat to a fast-paced melody, “you can start by giving me this dance.”
Jisung tilts his head, taking a second to consider the offer before nodding in consent; Minho doesn’t wait as long. He flashes a wide grin and immediately circles his hand – almost as small as Jisung’s own, probably smaller, he notes – around Jisung's slender wrist so he can tug and lead him towards the middle of the dance floor.
As enthusiastic as the music that’s playing, the first thing that Minho does is playfully spin Jisung around; both of them laugh and soon enough the two of them are dancing together – not exactly in sync, but Minho easily meets Jisung’s silly dance moves step by step, almost as if wordlessly daring him to bust out the most embarrassing moves he can think of.
Jisung thinks he has been interacting with this man for less than ten minutes, and this silly dance-off they’re having is already ranked in the top three most fun moments he’s had in this same day that he has repeated thirty times too many.
And then the music abruptly switches again; like he’s in a silly little romantic comedy because it goes quickly from a fast song to a slow tune. The dance floor crowd disperses, leaving only several couples who stick together and Jisung exhales quietly before offering Minho a smile shyer than the ones he flashed before. He expects to be led off the dance floor, but Minho just shrugs. He cautiously places his hands on Jisung’s waist, pausing as if giving Jisung time to disentangle from him – and when Jisung doesn’t do anything, Minho’s smile curves into a smirk again and Jisung is pulled closer to him.
Jisung feels nervous as he places his hands on Minho’s shoulders – he’s even broader than he appears, he realises, and as he allows himself to relax in Minho’s hold; as they gently sway in sync, he’s able to catch a faint whiff of Minho’s cologne. Pine based, with a hint of citrus, and it almost makes him want to move closer and burrow into the crook of Minho’s neck.
Han Jisung, you’re being fucking weird, he thinks to himself.
He clears his throat. “You're new,” he tells Minho, thinking that if he starts actual conversation then maybe all the weirdness with how nicely dizzying Minho’s scent is will subside.
Minho snorts. “Am I?”
“Well, I've never seen you here before.”
“Because you know all of their wedding guests?”
Jisung has to laugh. “I know most of Hyunjin’s side,” he says.
“Well obviously I’m a friend of Seungmin’s.”
Jisung pulls away a little so he can look directly at Minho; never mind that his features are kind of blinding, there’s something about the way he’s speaking that draws Jisung's gaze towards him.
“Yeah,” he plays along. “But you’re new.”
Minho chuckles. “You keep saying that. What does that mean?”
Jisung wrinkles his nose; he gazes directly into Minho’s eyes. “I mean that you’re new. Here. Today. New. I’ve experienced this wedding over thirty times now and—” his breath hitches because he really just said that out loud, but there’s an immediate flicker in Minho’s eyes that has him exhaling with relief.
Minho is so sparse with words but Jisung can see he understands; can see that Minho gets it.
( .36 )
Beep! Beep! Beep!
There goes that obnoxious alarm again. Jisung groans and, almost on autopilot, he reaches across the bed to grab his phone and turn the annoying sound off.
Fuck, he thinks. He especially wants to bang his head against the wall this morning; it feels like forever ago since he emptied out his room's minibar but his hangover still feels extra fresh every day.
He sighs and rolls onto his back; his temple is throbbing but as usual he forces his eyes open. He stares up, squinting at the ceiling pattern as he recalls the events of the day before – rather, the events of this same day the last time it looped for him.
Minho, he muses, wondering if he was some kind of dream or hallucination. If his brain is so sick of processing the same day over and over that it broke and conjured a time loop companion for him. It would make sense too – Minho looks like the stuff of dreams after all.
He groans and forces himself out of bed. He hopes he hasn't gone completely crazy just yet.
Jisung is halfway done with his eggs and halfway rid of his hangover (as usual thanks to Chaeyoung's highly effective concoction) when Minho appears in his line of sight.
This time, Jisung spots him as soon as he enters the hotel restaurant. Unlike what he remembers from the night before when Minho was decked in formal wear, he looks a lot more casual now – he's wearing a gray knit cardigan with dark jeans that hugs his thighs and calves far too well. When his eyes fall on Jisung and their gazes lock, he almost chokes on his food.
Concerned but confused, Felix immediately turns to look over his shoulder so he could see what surprised Jisung.
It's still Jisung's turn to be surprised apparently, and he can only gawk when Felix greets Minho with casual familiarity, even waving him over to their table.
“You know him?” he asks in a hushed tone.
Then again, he shouldn't really be shocked. Minho did say he was at the wedding as Seungmin's friend, and the same way that Jisung is familiar with most of Hyunjin's half of the guest list, Felix, as Seungmin's best man, is familiar with his half of the list.
“Yeah.” Felix shrugs. “Minho used to work with Seungmin at Young Wings Publishing—his first job.”
His first job, meaning before he met Hyunjin, and in effect way before their separate friend groups started spending so much time together that their social lives naturally merged into one.
“Oh.” Jisung tries hard not to frown, but even he can feel his bottom lip quivering, wanting to betray his casual demeanor. “How come I've never met him before?”
He asks anyway, because considering that Seungmin and Hyunjin have thrown more than a few joint dinner parties in the two years that they have been a couple – all of which Jisung has loyally attended – even Seungmin's acquaintances are now familiar to him. It's how he and Felix have developed a relationship of their own, a friendship that was only strengthened by their joint best man duties during the months leading up to this wedding.
Felix shrugs. “He and Seungmin have a weird relationship,” he explains. “Besides, last I heard he was working overseas. I guess he’s back now, but I'm surprised he even came.”
Jisung blinks. “What do you mean—?”
Before he can get an answer, however, Minho arrives at their table. His smirk is just as lazily casual and frustratingly attractive as Jisung remembers it.
“Hey Felix,” Minho greets with a nod; he turns to Jisung—who immediately wants to sink into his chair—and after a beat, he adds, “Hi Jisung.”
Felix, understandably, looks confused; Jisung had just told him that he has never met this man before yet he's acting quite familiar. He wracks his brain for a lame excuse, but Minho seems unbothered.
“You guys have any plans this morning?” he asks, not even asking before pulling out a spare chair and parking himself on it.
“Chris is on his way—we made plans to go swimming before we get ready for the wedding later,” Felix explains; he's still looking at Minho and Jisung alternately, clearly curious, but knowing Felix, Jisung is sure he won't actually inquire unless one of them opens the topic first.
“Are you going with them?” Minho asks, turning to Jisung with a smile.
Jisung was initially on the fence that morning; he already went swimming with Chris and Felix the day before, so he figured he could do something else today – like get out of the hotel for some air and alone time.
“I have errands to do,” he explains; this is the exact excuse he had used during his first run through of this day. “I have to pick up Hyunjin's suit. He had some last minute adjustments made.”
Minho nods slowly, as if taking in the information. “Can I come with?”
Felix lifts an eyebrow. “Have you seen Seungmin yet?”
Minho shrugs. “I'll see him at the wedding later,” he answers. “It's not like it'll make any difference if I see him this morning.”
Felix hums. “I'll tell him you dropped by this morning?”
Minho laughs. “Sure, you do that,” he says, before gently tapping Jisung's arm and tilting his head; he's clearly waiting for an answer to his self-invitation.
“Uh.” Originally, Jisung really did want to have time to himself so he could will away the little of what remains of his hangover and sort out the rest of his thoughts. He doesn't feel like saying no to Minho, though. “Sure, I guess—?”
Apparently Minho has a car, and after they part with Felix (and Chris), he volunteers to drive Jisung to wherever he needs to go; Jisung doesn't hesitate to accept the offer because it would be much more convenient than using public transportation, and much cheaper (read: free, presumably) than getting a cab.
Said car turns out to be a mint-colored Volkswagen beetle. When the hotel valet drives up in it, and proceeds to hand the keys over to Minho, Jisung can't stop himself from giving Minho a look that's a mixture of amusement, curiosity and shock all in one. His choice of car is eccentric to say the least, and yet, despite knowing Minho for less than 24 hours, Jisung could tell that it's a fitting choice.
Minho smiles and shrugs, quite nonchalant, and Jisung laughs.
“Actually, I can just call and have the tailor deliver the suit to the hotel,” Jisung quietly admits after he is hurriedly ushered into the passenger seat by Minho.
“Oh?” Minho gives him a brief look, at the moment still busy maneuvering them out into the street. “Hm,” he adds, looking pensive as they exit the hotel driveway.
“Uh.” Jisung nods. “Yeah. The first day I just really needed to get out of there and get time to myself, so I decided to pick it up.” He chuckles. “Had a few too many drinks last night at Hyunjin's stag night so—”
“So you volunteered to run an errand instead of choosing to shirk all responsibilities and sleep in?” Minho supplies teasingly.
Jisung laughs. “I wasn't thinking straight. 50-50, I've had it delivered the last thirty times I've gone through this day. But sometimes I make the active choice to pick it up myself – everyone at the hotel has wedding fever. There's only so much of it I can take.”
“You do realise you can just get it delivered anyway while you make your escape?” Minho clicks his tongue.
“I do,” Jisung wrinkles his nose. “But I like feeling useful. Besides, it was always my errand to run, being Hyunjin's best man and all. Either way, it's a good excuse to get time to myself.”
Minho spares him another brief glance. “Time to yourself, huh?”
“Are you sure it's alright that I'm tagging along, then?”
For some reason, that makes Jisung laugh; Minho's concern is a little too late now that they're in the car together, but lucky for him (for both of them, really), Jisung finds that he genuinely doesn't mind the company. It's weird, they've only just met but Jisung already feels quite at ease with Minho.
Maybe it's because Minho has proven useful with his car (as tiny and cramped as it is), or maybe it's because he's clearly unaware of Jisung's unrequited feelings for one of the grooms and is therefore less prone to casting pitiful glances his way. Frankly, it's likely because of the simple fact that Minho is experiencing the same time loop anomaly that Jisung is, and that in itself is enough reason for him to want to spend time together with Minho. The truth is that it has been depressingly alienating, having to spend the same day over and over and over again by himself.
“More than sure,” he confirms; and then he grins cheekily. “You're proving to be a grade A chauffeur after all,” he adds, boldly reaching over and patting Minho on the arm.
“You should make the call to have them deliver the suit,” Minho suddenly says.
“Take it off your plate and let's do something else,” Minho clarifies. “This way we don't have to get back to the hotel until right before the wedding— if we even have to.”
“Hey, of course we have to! I'm also in charge of the wedding rings,” he adds, remembering to pat his jacket's breast pocket where they had been the last couple of days for active safekeeping.
Minho snorts. “Either way, the wedding isn't until six. That gives you eight hours to kill—what do you say about killing that time with me?”
Jisung only needs a couple of seconds to consider the offer.
“Well you're in control of the car aren't you?” he retorts with a chuckle. “I can't just jump out of a moving vehicle, so I guess I'm stuck with you.”
“So dramatic.” Minho snorts. “But if you do decide to do that and you end up dying in the process, you'll probably just wake up today anyway.”
”Do you want some burgers? I could go for some burgers.” Minho had asked, but it barely mattered because by the time he posed the question he was already entering the McDonald's drive-thru they had passed.
“I just ate breakfast,” Jisung responded in turn. “But I'll have what you're having.”
And here they are now, parked near the airport, several miles away from the hotel where they should be, leaning against the side of Minho's car while scarfing down Big Macs and greasy fries instead of helping their friends get ready for their wedding.
No matter, Jisung thinks – he's spent the last couple of weeks doing exactly that; the last thirty days doing more or less that.
“Why are we here?” Jisung asks in between chomping down meat and taking a long sip of his rootbeer.
“Well we needed some place to eat—driving and eating at the same time isn't very wise,” Minho tells him, almost scolding in tone even though it's clear that he's teasing.
Jisung rolls his eyes. “We could have just sat at McDonald's,” he points out.
“Too many people,” Minho points out. “And I like it here.” He chuckles, glancing at the sky as a plane flies over them, low enough that their drinks tremble where they stand on the roof of the small car.
Jisung gives him a strange look; he can't say he understands the preference. Low flying planes make him a little nervous, if only because the rumbling noise of their engines always make him feel like they're going to come crashing down instead of flying up and away from him.
Minho laughs. “So I've been told.”
“Okay.” Jisung scoffs; he doesn't doubt Minho's words, but somehow, his self-awareness on the matter is endearing. “Why do you like it here, though? It's kind of noisy.”
“That's what I like about it,” Minho admits with a shrug. “I grew up near here, so the sound of planes taking off gives me some kind of nostalgic comfort.”
Jisung hums, filing the information away for possible future use – or perhaps just filing it away because Minho is an interesting man, and Jisung doesn't mind learning little tidbits about him.
“We should talk,” Minho suddenly says.
“Isn't that what we're already doing?” Jisung clicks his tongue. “Talking,” he chuckles and gestures at their collection of burger wrappers, “and eating.”
“I mean we should talk,” Minho repeats with an exasperated scoff, “about the time loop.”
Jisung had figured that's what he meant, but he snorts anyway. “Don't be vague next time.”
“Well don't be willfully obtuse next time,” Minho shoots back, sticking his tongue out.
The childishness of the gesture makes Jisung laugh, but also, touché, because Minho is right.
“Well what about it do you want to talk about?” he asks. “Because I have no idea why I'm— we're stuck repeating this day, and I don't think I have the brain capacity to figure it out. Rather—I don't have the cranial energy, you could say.”
Minho laughs. “Maybe we're dead and this is hell,” he comments. “Isn't that the simplest explanation?”
Jisung wrinkles his nose. “See? Morbid theories like that are why I don't want to think about the hows and whys of the loop.”
“Fair enough,” Minho caves with an amused smile. “So what have you been up to?”
“Things,” Jisung answers, while staring at the exposed cross-section of his almost finished burger; the wilted looking lettuce is a little distracting so he quickly takes another bite before continuing to speak, cheeks still half full. “Not much, really. One time I spent the entire afternoon watching pay per view porn at the hotel—I figured I wouldn't get charged for it anyway so it was the perfect opportunity to check out their catalogue.”
Minho cackles, and for some reason that makes Jisung proud; like making Minho laugh so freely is a kind of happy feat. “Was any of it good? The porn, I mean.”
“Boring, to be honest,” Jisung admits. “I know where to find better content for free.”
“But is it really free if it comes with an annoying virus?”
Jisung snorts. “Fair enough,” he admits, shuddering at a memory from five years ago of him needing to take his laptop to a service center because of trojans he probably got from surfing free porn websites. Granted, he was a broke college student at the time – but that's also why the repair for his laptop, whose warranty had expired one month prior to the incident, had cost him a pretty penny.
Geez, why is he even thinking about that right now? His mind is all over the place—has been all over the place recently; he wonders if that's a side effect of being stuck in the same day. He's been thinking more and more about random past memories recently.
“....Jisung?” Minho's voice snaps him out of his distracted reverie; Jisung looks up and puts on a sheepish smile. “You went somewhere for a minute or two. Porn doing a replay in your head?”
He flashes a grin that Jisung could only describe as flirty, and Jisung groans. “Fuck off with the porn already.”
Minho laughs again. “You're the one who brought it into the conversation to begin with.”
Jisung huffs because there's no denying the truth. “Whatever,” he grunts, hand waving the topic. “My days have been slow and repetitive—sometimes I go swimming with Felix and his boyfriend. Every so often I end up spending time with Hyunjin and his family.” He unconsciously wrinkles his nose; he likes Hyunjin's family because they have always been kind to him, and have always treated him like a part of their family, but it really isn't any fun being with them in the hours leading up to Hyunjin's wedding because that's all they want to talk about. Hyunjin and how lucky he is to have found Seungmin. A lot of the time when he ends up with them – usually after he delivers Hyunjin's adjusted suit – he can't help but wonder how much of a masochist he is, that he has chosen to spend the same afternoon with them more than once. He clears his throat. “Some days I end up just hanging out with Changbin, counting down the hours to the wedding.”
“Oh yeah.” Jisung forgets that Minho isn't familiar with all the wedding guests like he is. “He's one of Hyunjin's closest friends,” he explains. “The three of us go as far back as high school. I'm sure you saw him last night—small guy, but built like a tiny truck?”
Minho snorts at the description. “Ok, because you're six feet tall?”
Jisung grins and shrugs, straightening up so he can stand at his full height. “I'm not, but I'm taller than him, at least.”
“I guess I'll just have to see when you point out this Changbin guy to me later.”
“There's no ‘seeing’ – facts are simply facts,” Jisung petulantly insists.
The comment makes Minho laugh. Jisung scowls; he thinks he takes it back – making Minho laugh isn't a happy feat; not when it's at his expense. But then Minho grins and Jisung feels the faint hint of a flutter in his stomach and all he can do is look away immediately.
“Yeah, whatever,” he grumbles while gnawing at his straw. “What about you? How have you been spending your repeats of this fine day?”
Minho shrugs. “The first couple of weeks, I went to the mall and ate at a different restaurant every day—also I got my cats different toys every day.”
“You have cats?” Jisung interjects, his interest immediately piqued. He always liked cats, but his mother was deathly allergic to cat fur, and even he wasn't above getting a runny nose if exposed to them for too long.
“Three of them,” Minho answers, his smile wide and proud; it's different from his amused smirks and teasing grins, and so far Jisung thinks he likes this one the best. “My first two I adopted a while back,” he goes on to explain. “First one at the end of high school, the next one in university. I had to leave them with my parents when I worked overseas for more than a year, but they're back with me now! The youngest I just adopted from an abandoned shelter a few months ago.”
He sounds so enthusiastic talking about his cats; so proud and happy that Jisung feels another flutter in his stomach – still faint, but decidedly stronger than before.
“At first I got them toys I had to assemble – spent a lot of afternoons assembling different cat tree designs,” Minho recalls, eyes dancing with delight as he talks. Jisung is amused that such a simple story is so exciting to Minho, but he's the one listening with all ears, so he figures he can't judge. “I started spending big bucks on these assemblables – one time I bought a luxurious cat playground, and I almost didn't finish putting it together because it took me until late into the evening. Also blew half a paycheck on that because apparently you're supposed to buy it in parts and collect them through the years—not in bulk, and definitely not in one go!”
“I don't get it,” Jisung gawks, “it isn't as if you would have been able to keep them?”
“That's the point!” Minho shrugs. “Putting them together was a way to pass time, and my cats got to have fun with their new toys. But at the end of the day, I get to keep my money—basically the same concept with you and your paid porn.”
Jisung whinges. “Enough with the porn!”
“Hey, again—you're the one who supplied me with that information to begin with!”
“And now I regret it,” Jisung shoots back; he's laughing, because Minho is right, and Jisung can't fault him. He can't even bring himself to genuinely regret that bit of overshare, because truth be told, banter with Minho is kind of fun.
“And this last week—” Minho sighs, seemingly hesitant. Jisung tilts his head at him, and motions with his hand, urging Minho to continue. “I've been going to the library,” Minho eventually admits. “Once I went to a science center, as well. I figured I would try and figure out why and how I got myself in this predicament.”
“Oh.” Jisung had never really thought about the why of his situation; he had just settled in the loop, grudgingly accepting his situation for reasons he doesn't really want to analyze. “Did you find anything out?”
Minho laughs and shakes his head. “Not really. My only theory remains that we're in hell—or limbo.”
Jisung groans and holds up his palm. “As far as we know, I’m breathing, and you're breathing. If this really is the afterlife, it would probably be best if we continue not to know it for a fact.”
“Valid,” Minho agrees with a nod.
“Hey, though—” Jisung decides it's time to steer the conversation elsewhere. “You weren't at the wedding on D-Day. Why was that?”
Minho shrugs. “I just didn't feel like going?”
Jisung looks at him, curious, knowing there's bound to be more. Minho averts his gaze, but ultimately he sighs and goes on to clarify.
“Seungmin and I haven't seen each other in a while. I mean, we occasionally leave comments on each other's SNS, but I was out of the country for over a year, and even before that it isn't as if we were constantly in touch,” he explains.
“But you were close when you worked together?” Jisung asks; he knows for a fact that Seungmin made sure that their wedding guest list was carefully curated, especially his side of it.
“I guess you can say we worked closely together,” Minho muses with a chuckle. “The thing is, I ran across him and Hyunjin a few weeks ago—? Imagine my surprise, honestly— far as I knew, Seungmin was still based in the city, working at the same company, so he was the last person I expected to bump into around these parts.” He clicks his tongue and shrugs. “Turns out they were here finalizing wedding plans. Considering that, it felt a lot like an invitation was given out of obligation.”
“No fucking way!” Jisung shakes his head immediately. “It's not like they planned a particularly big wedding party. And Seungmin especially made sure to invite only people he genuinely wants to be around on his special day. I know because Felix and I had to sit through his obsessive wedding planning!”
Minho laughs. “That does sound like Seungmin,” he acquiesces.
Jisung shrugs. “Because it is. Classic Seungmin.” He grins cheekily. “But that brings me to—why did you suddenly decide to attend, then? On Day 35—36? Thirty-something, damn, I've lost count of the looped days.”
“Thirty-five, I think, if you don't count D-day,” Minho confirms. “No particular reason, really. I wasn't getting anywhere with my research, and I was already bored at home. I had reached a point where I already managed to buy and check out every other cat toy and tower the pet store at the mall had to offer. I tried calling a few friends to hang out, but most of them are busy—” he laughs, “—some of them are busy at Seungmin's wedding. Like Chris.”
“You know Chris?”
“Who do you think introduced him and Felix?”
“Ah.” Felix and Chris were already together by the time Seungmin and Hyunjin had merged friend groups, and it never occurred to Jisung to look back and wonder how they met in the first place.
“Yeah, it was me. Chris is a friend from my university days.” Minho smiles faintly. “Anyway, I figured I wouldn't lose anything if I showed up at the wedding—I had an invitation and this place is only an hour of driving away from where I live. If anything, it's a free meal, right?”
Jisung chortles. “Seungmin did choose the best buffet spread for the wedding.”
“He always did have great taste,” Minho agrees, a smile spreading across his lips. “I'm glad I finally attended though, not just because of the food, but because I met you.”
The bluntness of his words take Jisung by surprise, and he feels heat rapidly creeping up his cheeks. “Boldly flirting already, huh?” he spits out, relieved that he doesn't stammer his words. “Am I just that irresistible?”
Minho snorts and pinches his cheek, playful but surprisingly gentle with his touch. “Don't be a dumbass. I only said that to mean that at least now I know I'm not alone in experiencing this stupid day over and over again. Makes me feel a little less tired and a lot less lonely.”
Jisung takes a deep breath; flirtatious assumptions aside, it's as if Minho has taken Jisung's own feelings and voiced them out loud.
That only serves to make his face feel warmer; only serves to make the butterflies in his stomach flutter a little stronger.
The wedding, even though Jisung doesn't get back to the hotel until the last minute, goes on the same as ever – perfect and without a hitch. Granted, the look of relief that passes Hyunjin's face when Jisung finally shows up with the rings is priceless; 10/10 Jisung would consider pushing his minutes again if it means he gets to laugh at his best friend for it. (But he isn't mean, and ultimately he knows he won't be able to do that a second time—he makes a mental note to arrive back at the hotel no later than 5PM next time.)
Jisung performs his best man speech just like he always does, almost verbatim down to the dramatic punctuations and the negligible pauses. The only difference this time, is that as soon as he gives up the microphone, Minho is by his side, offering a sweet smile and an invitation to the dance floor.
“Deja vu?” Minho teases, when the music morphs into a slow ballad and just like the night before, the two of them settle into each other's hold instead of leaving the dance floor.
Jisung chuckles. “Isn't that every day?”
“True,” Minho agrees, his forehead resting against Jisung's shoulder as he laughs. “Thank you for today,” he murmurs as he straightens up, his voice ticklish against Jisung's ear. “I'm glad I went and asked you to spend the day together.”
“A day better spent than putting together cat towers?” Jisung teases; they hadn't even really done much together – after they finished their burgers, they continued to watch planes while telling each other their time loop experiences. Nothing exciting or life changing, and the basic conclusion had been that they can both use a little more excitement considering they seemingly have an endless amount of time at their disposal. Still, somehow, Jisung feels infinitely closer to Minho already.
“You tell me—was it a day better spent than watching pay-per-view porn?”
Jisung groans at Minho's teasing; he supposes the comfort and ease he feels with Minho holds true the other way around as well, and the problem with that is the way Minho is now far too comfortable teasing him about embarrassing things like this.
“Well, I suppose that depends,” Jisung answers cheekily, leaning away so he can look directly at Minho. There's a hint of innuendo in his tone, and the way Minho's eyes sparkle with amusement tells Jisung that said innuendo isn't lost on him.
“Oh yeah—?” Minho smirks, and Jisung feels excitement buzzing through him. “What would it depend on?”
“Hm.” Jisung grins, but he has to take a moment to gather enough courage to continue this brazen flirting – unfortunately for him, it's a moment too long because before he can provide an actual answer, they find that Seungmin and Hyunjin had sashayed across the dance floor towards them.
“Hey Jisung,” Seungmin greets him with a nod before turning completely to his dance partner, “Minho. I'm—Hyunjin and I are glad you could come.”
Minho shrugs, so casual and nonchalant as if his attendance is a complete non-event. “Just wanted to congratulate you guys in person.”
“Thank you,” Hyunjin graciously accepts, his smile wide and happy.
“Hey, Jisung,” Seungmin turns to him again, “you mind if we switch for this next song?”
Jisung is surprised, and he has to turn to both Minho and Hyunjin for their reactions. Neither of them seem to mind, so Jisung shrugs and steps to the side so he and Seungmin can exchange dance partners.
“Thanks,” Seungmin tells him. “I just want to catch up with Minho for a bit—take care of Hyunjin for me for the length of a song.”
Jisung scoffs; instinctively his first thought is that he's been taking care of Hyunjin for far longer than Seungmin has known him, but after a second, as Hyunjin casually places his hands on Jisung's shoulders, he finds that he doesn't really feel that way.
“You take care of Minho for me!” he shoots back at Seungmin, laughing and giving them a three finger salute before he allows Hyunjin to sweep him away on the dance floor.
“Did you know Minho before tonight?” Jisung asks Hyunjin once he's sure they're out of earshot of the other pair.
“Oh, yeah,” Hyunjin nods, much to Jisung's surprise. “Seungmin and I had lunch with him a few weeks ago after we ran across him. He's nice. He was Seungmin's senior at his first job, and apparently he helped Seungmin a lot with settling in.”
“Ah.” Jisung knew most of that already, but Minho never mentioned sharing a meal with Hyunjin. He finds his gaze being naturally drawn towards Minho and Seungmin who seem to be having a cordial conversation as they sway to the music.
“You two seem very close,” Hyunjin comments with obvious amusement. “Did you know Minho before today?”
Jisung blinks rapidly; despite the question being valid, it catches him off-guard. “Ah no—we just met,” he carefully answers. “But I guess we hit it off pretty easily.”
Hyunjin smiles. “Really? That's so nice to hear! I hope you keep hitting it off well—I'm so happy for you.”
Jisung thinks that he's being a little too enthusiastic at the idea of Jisung being extra friendly with someone at his wedding. “What does that even mean?” he asks with a shake of his head.
Hyunjin slightly shrugs a shoulder; when Jisung leans away and their eyes meet, he playfully wags his eyebrows. “Oh. You know.”
“Oi!” Jisung groans. A month or so ago, Hyunjin had offered to set Jisung up with someone at the wedding—apparently he read somewhere that weddings are a great place to meet someone, whether you want someone for a one night stand or to start a possible relationship with. Jisung had promptly turned the offer down, but he's pretty sure Hyunjin's teasing implications has to do with this scenario. Despite the burning feeling on his cheeks, he simply huffs and gently punches Hyunjin's shoulder which prompts them to laugh together.
As their combined cacophony fades away, and the song in the background transitions into the final bridge, Jisung sighs and shakes his head. He wraps his arms tighter around Hyunjin, and he gives his best friend a hug. “I'm really happy for you as well, Hyunjin. Congratulations on your perfect day.”
Hyunjin beams at him, and Jisung realises that he means his words just a tad more than he had every single time he had told Hyunjin the same thing every time over the last forty-seven days.
When the song shifts, they separate and Jisung watches Hyunjin make his way back to his husband. Before he realizes it, Minho is by his side again, elbow gently nudging his side.
“Wanna get out of here?” Minho asks calmly.
A smile tugs at Jisung's lips. “And go where?”
Minho shrugs. “We can go for a walk?”
“Or—” Jisung pauses and considers the answer that immediately forms at the tip of his tongue. “We can go up to my room?”
Minho looks to be genuinely surprised at the offer, but Jisung is able to note the hint of a smile gracing his features. He nods, and soon Jisung is leading the way back inside the hotel and up the elevator. They're quiet as they go, but any time their elbows touch, or the backs of their hands graze against each other, Jisung feels a jolt of eagerness; feels a thrum of excitement coursing through him.
( .37 )
Beep! Beep! Beep!
Jisung groans, on autopilot as he reaches for his phone and he hits the snooze button.
He sighs; he doesn't know if it's just because he's woken up everyday with the same headache that he's numb to it now, or his morning hangover really isn't as bad as it usually is.
He closes his eyes and immediately images from the previous night run through his thoughts. He remembers standing in front of his hotel room door with Minho, the two of them eyeing each other with tension thick on the air.
“I really want to kiss you right now,” Minho had said, blunt and straight to the point – Jisung had been tongue-tied initially, caught off-guard and at a loss how to answer.
I would really like that too, was his first coherent thought, but before the thought could be vocalised, Minho broke into a smile and shrugged.
“But we probably shouldn't.”
Jisung's expression had immediately fallen. “Wait—what?!”
Minho laughed at that, but at least he had enough self-awareness to duck his head in shame and embarrassment. “I mean—we only have each other as company and I really enjoyed our day together and now I'm thinking... what if sex fucks that up?”
Jisung could only gawk at him, not sure he understood Minho's thinking.
“Are you implying that I would be a bad lay?” he asked, turning to humor to mask confusion and bits of insecurity.
Minho's eyes widened at first, but soon he was laughing again. “What the fuck?” he asked, in between wheezing.
“Or—” Jisung was glad to make Minho laugh, but he wrinkled his nose and attempted to keep his composure. “Maybe you're scared you are.” Frankly, the shit that comes out of his mouth when he's overcompensating surprises even him sometimes.
“I just—” Minho averted his gaze, and murmured, “I just want to have more days like today.”
Jisung felt the sincerity in Minho's words and it tugged at something in his heart.
“...Can't we at least kiss?” he found himself asking; probably not the best response to Minho's confession, but Jisung has chronic foot-in-mouth disease, and he couldn't stop once he started. “It's been the equivalent of over a month in this hellish loop and I'm —touch starved.”
He couldn't believe he just said that out loud, if only because even he could hear the legitimate desperation in his voice. He's well aware of how embarrassing he could be sometimes, and instead of buckling down, he lifted his chin and boldly met Minho's gaze.
As it was, his whining once again set Minho off into a fit of giggles. “Han Jisung,” he began, and then their eyes met again. “You have a wedding party filled with attractive people and you're telling me you didn't try and get into anyone's pants?!”
Jisung laughed; he was relieved because Minho operated on the exact wavelength. He always pulled when Jisung pushed, and Jisung was learning that he could say anything to Minho and he will never end up shamed for it. “Okay one time — do you know that Juyeon guy? I think he worked with Seungmin at Young Wings too?”
Minho blinked – adorably, if Jisung might say so, but he would digress. “Tall guy? Kinda feline features?”
“Yeah.” Jisung nodded. He couldn't help but realise that Juyeon and Minho had similar eyes, but he tried to push the intrusive thoughts away, to be dissected at another point in time.
“Yeah, we were friendly when I still worked at Young Wings too,” Minho confirmed. “I lost his contact a while back though. Huh. So. You and him—? That's your type?”
“Um yeah. Just once,” Jisung answered. He was bored and kinda horny, but in the following repeats of the same day, he realized he really didn't feel like making a checklist out of Hyunjin and Seungmin's wedding guests, even if they're weren't going to be consequences because none of them would remember anyway – or maybe it was that, as well. They wouldn't remember, so what was the point? “Around Day 10,” he added. “He's really pretty but too tall for me.”
Minho snorts. “Too tall? Then wouldn't that be everyone?”
Jisung huffed with faux annoyance. “ You're no giant.”
It was clear from Minho’s wide grin that he was amused by Jisung. Whatever tension was in the air just minutes ago had dissipated, and yet, the next thing Jisung remembers was the way Minho had leaned in and planted a chaste peck on his lips.
Jisung groans; it was a ghost of a kiss—fleeting and barely one—but the feeling of Minho's lips on his haunts his memory anyway. He had wanted so bad to pull Minho closer – to keep Minho in place, and kiss his brains out, but ultimately Jisung understood what Minho meant by not wanting to ruin what they had found, companionship in this timefuck phenomenon that they have yet to understand.
He sighs to himself and tightly shuts his eyes; he knows he needs to shake off any and all physical attraction he has towards Minho, and right now the only way he has of doing that is to remind himself that he has actually been in love with his long time best friend for at least ten years now – which really sucks for him, because it’s clearly a choice between a rock and a hard place.
Amidst his mental soliloquy, someone knocks at the door and interrupts his thoughts. He knows it's Felix because on all previous days that he hadn’t gotten up within twenty minutes of his alarm screeching, he had missed his scheduled meeting with Felix down the hall, and every single time, Felix had dropped by to check on him.
“I’m awake!” he yells, scrambling out of bed and crossing the room to open the door for his friend. “I’m awake,” he repeats as he swings the door open, offering Felix a small, apologetic smile as Jisung lets him in. “Let me just wash up and we can go get breakfast.”
“You're in love with Hyunjin aren't you.”
Jisung almost spits out his corn dog. Just like the day before, Minho turned up in the middle of Jisung and Felix’s breakfast, except this time he was armed with a more believable excuse on how he and Jisung knew each other. (Well, okay, saying that they were long-time penpals with no real explanation as to how that happened isn't really ‘believable’ but like Minho pointed out, it didn't matter—they could say anything and it would never stick.)
Once again, they both turned down the invitation to swim with Felix and Chris at the hotel pool, but this time they chose to spend the morning somewhere closer to the hotel. They're walking along the beach, potato corn dogs bought from a nearby food stall in hand, when Minho drops the bombshell of an inquiry.
It's not even really a question; Minho voices it more like a statement. Like a fact he knows and is merely just confirming with Jisung.
“What the fuck are you on?” Jisung asks in between coughing; he has to spit out a piece of hotdog and gulp down a mouthful of water so he can calm down. “Were there drugs in your breakfast? Are you freaking high?”
Minho snorts. He probably figures that Jisung overreacting means he's correct, which makes Jisung curse at himself mentally.
“Come on,” Minho says with a shake of his head. “I've seen how you look at him every time you perform your best man speech.”
“Excuse me? And how is that?”
“Like you're in love,” Minho answers simply, and his tone makes Jisung wonder why he ever expected a different answer. “You know what I mean,” Minho continues, “you look happy—yet pained.”
Jisung presses his lips together tightly. That's exactly how he feels every time he delivers that damn best man speech, but he always thought he managed his expression better. He always assumed he was successful in showing the happy side over the pained side. They walk together in silence for a few more yards before he lets out a resigned sigh.
“Well, congratulations,” Jisung mutters. There's no use in lying to Minho. “Mind you, everyone and their moms know. I think even Seungmin knows.”
Jisung shrugs. “Felix figured it out, just like you did—although it did take him months.” He feels a little too seen with Minho. They've known each other for barely 36 hours but he can already read Jisung – it's strange, yet weirdly comforting. “I figure that if Felix knows, then he must have told Seungmin. They're best friends, after all. Barring these God awful feelings, I tell Hyunjin everything.”
“Felix isn't like that,” Minho assures him. “He would never tell Seungmin even if they're best friends—then again, Seungmin isn't slow or dense, so he probably suspects your feelings at the very least.”
Jisung chuckles, feeling melancholic. “He's a good man if that's the case. If I were him I’d have punched him already. And then I would have tattled. Maybe.”
“You know what—he's probably just really secure about his relationship with Hyunjin.”
Jisung scoffs. “That actually makes it even worse. For me, I mean. Like. Fuck!” All he can do is laugh at his own misfortune. As happy as he is about his best friend's luck with finding someone so good to and for him, it doesn't mean it hurts any less.
Minho squeezes his arm, and Jisung finds that the smile that curls on his lips is genuine, if bittersweet.
“Does Hyunjin know, though?”
Jisung shrugs. “Nah. Not exactly. He's pretty thick, that one.” He laughs at a memory that comes to mind. “I confessed one time—it was around Day 25, I think. I gathered enough courage and I told him how I felt. I did it a couple of hours before the wedding, which would normally not only be really stupid, but also really shitty of me – but hey, he'd forget soon enough right? And for once, I wanted to see how it would feel to unburden myself of these damn feelings.”
Minho looks somewhat pensive. “And how did that go?”
Jisung winces. “He cried. Burst into ugly tears and apologized profusely for being unable to return my feelings. Let me tell you—I didn't feel unburdened at all. Felt like a turd, if anything because his eyes were still kinda red when he said his I Do's. Luckily people assumed they were from happy tears. Worst day so far of the loop. Never again.”
Minho hums, and squeezes Jisung's arm again before gently resting his hand on the small of Jisung's back. It feels nice, like a simple gesture of support. It makes Jisung relax.
“I only brought it up because I was wondering if maybe you confessing to him would be the key to getting out of this loop,” Minho explains softly. “Because in movies there's always something that needs to be done to fix the timeline. I guess that wasn't it.”
“I guess not,” Jisung echoes in agreement.
They silently walk a few more feet before,
“Okay, but isn't Hyunjin also a little too tall for you—?” Minho suddenly asks.
Jisung has to pause so he can recall their conversation from the night before. He groans. “Oh, fuck off!”
Minho starts laughing, while Jisung attempts not to join him. It's not easy, and he ends up coughing back chortles. When their combined teetering taper off, with no other preamble, Minho suddenly asks,
“So, hey. Wanna go to the aquarium?”
“What?” Jisung blinks, getting mood whiplash. “Right now? That's so random!”
“Yeah, but random makes for the most fun sometimes, doesn't it?”
It turns out to be more fun than Jisung anticipated. Two days with Minho, and he’s already wondering why he never thought to go and explore further away from the hotel before. Day in and day out, he kept mostly to the same area – there was even a point where he was so bored that he actually went and worked out at the hotel gym. Not that that did him any good – not when any work he could have put into his body reset by midnight anyway.
He’s even more glad for Minho’s companionship now; that's part of the beauty of having someone else who shares the loop because two heads are definitely better than one, especially when it involves coming up with ideas on how to spend the same one day over and over.
He discovers Minho loves animals as much as he does, and Jisung happily supplies him with little factoids he retained from years of watching the National Geographic channel for fun.
(“Did you know there’s a species of jellyfish that’s immortal? But only because they revert back to their childlike state after they sexually mature—isn’t that weird? You become ready for reproduction and then you go back to being a kid.”
“Why would one want to ever go back to being a kid again?”
“Well. Things are a lot less complicated when you’re young. Plus—immortality! Maybe in my next life I would like to be born as this particular type of jellyfish.”
“Last life, you mean. Cause if you're reborn as one then you’re never gonna die, are you?”
At the aquarium—officially a marine preservation exhibit and laboratory according to the signage at the front —Minho pays for both of their tickets before Jisung can even pull his wallet out, the former simply waving him off when he insists on paying for snacks later on. Minho also takes on the role of navigating them through the labyrinthian aquarium, excitement in his eyes as he follows the color coded map they were handed at the entrance.
“I was originally going to suggest we go to the zoo,” Minho shares as they watch a school of pretty angelfish swim around in a massive glass tank on display. “But zoos make me feel so conflicted these days. I love the animals, but it also sucks seeing them in cages. All the stories you read on the internet how they're treated don’t really help either.”
Jisung hums. He feels guilty because despite having a fascination with the animal kingdom, he has never thought about these things too deeply. Now that Minho brings it up however, he does have a point.
“Let's be real, it's more or less the same with aquariums, but it's also really beautiful and peaceful every time I go.” A small smile graces his lips. “I loved going here when I was in high school, and I'm glad that when I read up on this place, there were no blatant horror stories. Like—for example, the dolphins they have here are ones they're nursing back to health because they were caught and injured in fishing nets.” He hands Jisung an open brochure. “It's all in here—then again, maybe I'm a hypocrite. Maybe I'm giving it a bit too much leeway because I’ve always really liked it here.”
Jisung smiles. “Hypocrite or not, I like that you at least think about these things.”
“I just like animals a lot,” Minho admits. “At one point I almost decided on becoming a veterinarian, but in the end a business degree was more practical. But yeah—animals are nice. They're less complicated than humans.”
“I guess so,” Jisung murmurs, turning and fixing a curious stare on Minho as the latter watches the fishes. “It's true that some humans can be pretty complicated. They can be easy to read and hard to understand at the same time,” he surmises softly. The perfect example is standing next to him, he adds mentally.
Minho smiles, ponderous. “Yeah?”
“Mhm.” Jisung nods. “And I kind of like that. Those types of people are never boring.”
Minho laughs. “Interesting.”
“Exactly.” Jisung grins. “And speaking of interesting—did you know that the French angelfish mate for life?”
Minho laughs, and Jisung feels his chest swell with pride.
( .80 )
“Pick a number between 1 and 9,999, and I guarantee that my partner here will guess it accurately,” Jisung announces.
“Is this a pick-up line?” The guy—Yang Jeongin, one of Hyunjin’s cousins—looks confused, brow furrowed and gaze switching between Jisung and Minho. He can’t be blamed – Jisung and Minho were once more subtle in their approach with him, but tonight they literally just marched up to him with this declaration.
“No, it isn't. It's magic, and if Minho gets it right, you're going to give us those last pieces of eclair.”
Jisung nods at the desert pastries on Jeongin’s plate, one for him and one for his girlfriend that’s waiting for him at their table. Jisung and Minho know as much because they’ve been through this before; this is why they also know for a fact that Jeongin is going to say 417.3 because they first asked him this same question 15 days ago. They have asked him the same thing, and cheated him out of his eclairs every day since then – they can’t help themselves because it’s the best dessert on the buffet spread and it always goes first. Jeongin’s baffled expression that makes them laugh each time, is the icing on top.
Jisung’s days have started to feel more fleeting—maybe because of Minho's company. The recent days certainly have been brighter; less repetitive, and even exciting.
During the mornings, when the sun is still out, they try to find things to do away from the hotel—away from the beach resort. Once, they drove two hours to the nearest amusement park, only to fall in line for just one ride—and it wasn’t even the rollercoaster but the tower drop. Apparently they were both scared shitless when it came to heights, but they clasped their hands together, shut their eyes tightly and screamed like banshees as they dropped to the ground from a hundred feet high. The rest of their time at the park was spent walking around leisurely, both of them using the excuse of not really wanting to queue for another ride, when really it was because neither of them were ready for another round of heart-stopping adrenaline rush.
In contrast, there are some days when they want peace and quiet; days when they don’t bother talking even to each other, and those are the days when they choose to spend an hour or two at the aquarium, watching pretty fishes in the central tank swim the same patterns over and over.
They always rush back to the hotel in time for the ceremony. To be safe, Jisung has taken to leaving the wedding rings with Felix before he sets off on his adventures with Minho, but he still refuses to miss Hyunjin’s wedding and Minho respects that.
At the reception, they would ham it up on the dance floor – Minho once pointed out that they’re the only ones with the ability to choose different steps every night, so they switch it up every time they can – they robot dance to slow songs, and play tango for fast jigs. They always get strange stares and laughs, but Jisung finds that he doesn't care so much when he’s with Minho. The other male never acts like he cares what people think, and it has rubbed off on Jisung in the nicest way possible.
Inspired by their little eclair trick with Jeongin, the past week has been spent building up to tonight. The last seven nights, they have taken note of little things – like the way Seungmin’s niece would whine and pout, denied from having another slice of cake, until her father pulls her onto the dance floor at exactly 8:33 PM; or the way one of Hyunjin's dudebro cousins always starts a conga line on the dance floor at exactly 9:01 PM.
Tonight marks the culmination of all that observational work. The silly aim is to catch people off guard – to surprise them by beating them to the execution of their ideas. At 8:32 PM, Jisung interrupts Seungmin’s niece’s crying to ask if she would like to dance, and at 9:00 PM on the dot, Minho leads the wedding party in a silly conga line instead of Hyunjin's cousin.
What they're doing is pointless, really, but the varying expressions of surprise on people's faces are entertaining; for Jisung, it's the small changes to everyone’s nightly routine, and the way they create a ripple of effect that amuses him the most.
Seungmin's sister’s husband, free of entertaining his daughter, was free to dance with his wife instead. Hyunjin’s cousin had looked upset at being thrown off his chance to be the center of attention – but a pretty girl pulled him into the dance line, and suddenly he looked much happier than he usually does, most nights. They aren't changes that would take, and if Minho and Jisung choose not to do anything the following night, everything will revert to how they always unfold, but having that bit of control – that bit of variety, even for just one night is both comforting and exciting at the same time.
“What should we do next?” Minho asks Jisung, grabbing two glasses of wine from a server that walks past them; he promptly hands one to Jisung who exchanges it with one of Jeongin’s eclairs that they’d won.
“We toast to the night?” Jisung offers, not waiting for an answer before clicking his glass against Minho’s and taking a sip of the drink right after.
Minho chuckles, mirroring the action before shaking his head. “I mean tomorrow, not tonight. Do we let Hyunjin's cousin get the girl again?” he asks, chuckling as he nods towards the direction of a table where said cousin is having a deep talk with the girl from the conga line earlier.
Jisung laughs and shrugs. “If he's nice to us, maybe,” he suggests; a fruitless suggestion because they already know that they won’t cross paths with him unless they deliberately seek him out in the day—which they won’t. “How about we gather as many phone numbers as we can over the next week?” he offers as he bites into his eclair.
“Phone numbers?” Minho’s brow creases, and he takes another sip of wine. “Why do I feel like this is an excuse to flirt with wedding guests?”
Jisung shrugs while holding back a chuckle, “It’s a way to pass the night.”
“This is really coming from someone who hooked up with exactly one guest despite all the nights he's spent at this party.”
“That's different!” Jisung argues.
Jisung huffs and has another sip of his wine. Truth be told, he doesn't mind flirting; doesn't mind buttering up to people because it gives him an excuse to practice self-confidence. Growing up he had a lot of insecurities that led to a lot of anxiety, and it was only in adulthood that he learned to combat all of those by putting himself in the position of having to fake confidence until it felt more real. Flirting was a way to do that – he just didn’t appreciate feeling like an asshole when he knows nothing is going to come out of the flirtation.
“Acquiring numbers only involves a little coy flirting. A bit of swagger, a bit of cockiness – hook-ups involve a lot more. They involve follow through and awkward morning afters—”
“To be fair, our entire set-up right now does away with the morning afters,” Minho interjects.
Jisung opens his mouth, closes it, and opens it again – nothing comes out because Minho does have a point.
“Are you sure that you aren’t just getting a little too touch starved again?” Minho laughs, clearly teasing.
Jisung initially bites his tongue because while that is absolutely not his intention, overall Minho isn’t wrong. It's been days, weeks, months and it isn't as if Minho has helped him any with his touch starvation. One time, they stayed in and Jisung showed him the pay per view channels he gets in his hotel room and, well – nothing came out of it except strange tension in the air. He has resigned himself to the fact that Minho is a eunuch – that or he just isn't into Jisung. The latter hurts somewhat, but ultimately Jisung values Minho’s company above his own hormonal desires that he doesn't push or question it. On the other hand, while Minho is wrong about this being a result of Jisung’s touch starvation, the idea was born from a need to feed Jisung’s ego.
God, he thinks. He feels like a tool, but oh well. Comme ci comme ça.
“You’re an ass,” Jisung huffs, but without any real bite. “I think you're just scared that you’re going to lose.” Here he goes as usual, putting on an air of confidence that he isn't really feeling. “Besides, if I just wanted to fuck, I’d simply go for Juyeon again.”
A flash of something hard to describe passes in Minho’s eyes. Jisung isn't sure what it is – jealousy? Flat out annoyance? Maybe it’s just as simple as Minho feeling challenged; one of the things that Jisung has learned about Minho in the days that they have spent together is that while Minho seldom shows it, he really hates losing. He would act unbothered, but he gets really testy when he loses bets or when he’s unable to live up to dares.
“You know I’m not stopping you if you want a night with Juyeon right?” Minho’s countenance softens. “Not here to stop you from getting laid.”
It takes Jisung a beat to react, because Minho sounds guilty, and that is not what he had been expecting. It doesn't help that the idea of Minho pushing him into some sexual dalliance – encouraging it instead of pulling him back stings more than Jisung cares to admit.
“Minho!” He laughs and hits the latter’s arm, harder than intended, as if he’s trying to slap them both out of the sudden tense atmosphere. “I don’t care about getting laid, I swear—but if you’re that scared about losing to me on this, then—” he makes a show of shrugging both shoulders.
Minho glowers at him. “You’re only saying that because you know I wouldn't be able to say no if you put it that way.”
Jisung laughs; whatever brief tension was in the air is gone now. “True,” he admits with a grin; being able to read Minho so well now is a source of pride, he realises. Which is clearly another win for his ego. “And we both know I’m not wrong, so just go along with the idea!”
“It's such a stupid idea, but fine,” Minho caves with a snort. “We start collecting phone numbers instead of observations over the next seven days.”
Jisung grins and triumphantly pumps a fist in the air. “What does the winner get?”
Minho groans, but he also pauses to consider the question. “A wish.”
It’s Jisung’s turn to pause; a fleeting thought about how wishes can be dangerous passes through his mind, but shakes it off immediately.
“Alright then,” he eventually agrees. “Winner gets a wish.”
Minho beams, and they shake on it.
“Can we get out of here now?” Minho asks after their hands separate. “Some night air would be nice.”
Almost 10 PM and they find themselves sprawled out on the beach. Sand is ruining their dress slacks but neither of them care; they're both so used to spending the day with no real consequences by now.
“So,” Minho muses. “What do you want to do tomorrow morning?”
Jisung hums softly in response, unthinkingly leaning closer to Minho who just lets him.
They’re huddled together, sharing a blanket that Jisung stole from his room, and staring up at the night sky. The moon is waning crescent, but the stars provide enough twinkle that it isn’t completely dark. They do this sometimes when they want to unwind from the party, and to sober up before Minho drives home. He usually doesn't go until around 11, sometimes a little past. Apparently night traffic is never as bad, and apparently he easily makes it back to his place in less than an hour. They never push their time together until midnight, but according to Minho, his day doesn't really reset until he wakes up in the morning.
“How about we take it easy tomorrow?” Jisung suggests. “Let's go for a swim with Felix and Chris—it's been a while since we joined them at the pool.”
“And that's because you know I don't swim.”
“You mean you can't,” Jisung corrects playfully.
“You know we might be able to work on that—as far as we know we have all the time in the world to get you to learn how to swim,” Jisung surmises.
Minho laughs. “You think I’ll retain the skill?”
Jisung shrugs. “It’s something you learn, right? It’s a skill, a form of knowledge.”
“Mhm, but it’s a physical skill. Wouldn't it involve muscle memory?”
Jisung grows quiet as he ponders the question. One thing they have learned is that their body always resets when the day does; any bruise, any scar, any physical derailment they might incur disappears the moment they wake up in the same morning all over again. One time, they were bold enough to go and get matching tattoos on the insides of their wrist – the date of the loop inked in black ink. It was quick, but not quite painless and Jisung had practically bawled his eyes out as the artist worked on him – to be fair, he always did have a thing against needles, but he would digress. The point is that the next day, when he woke up, the inside of his wrist was smooth and without blemish, just as it always has been.
“But your mind will retain the information,” Jisung argues. “Either way, we won’t know for sure unless we try! Consider it a little experiment.”
“Okay, sure. Maybe.” Minho clicks his tongue, and then he finishes the rest of his eclair. “I really wish I didn't have to waste an hour driving up here every day.”
“At least it's only an hour,” Jisung points out.
“Yeah, but it would still be very convenient if I could just wake up here.”
Jisung nods. “Yeah, but what could we do?”
“No idea.” Minho laughs. “Guess I was just thinking out loud.”
Jisung lifts an eyebrow, and then he adjusts the covers wrapped around their shoulders before elbowing Minho’s side.
“Do you ever wonder what would happen if you slept over?”
“I’d probably wake up back home in my bed anyway.”
Jisung chuckles; he has a feeling that Minho’s right about that. “What if… I wonder what would happen if we both ended our day elsewhere? If we both slept elsewhere?”
“What do you mean?” Minho glances at him. “We don’t have reason to think anything new will happen, do we?”
Jisung hums softly. “Your loop always waits until you’re tucked into the safety of your own bed—waits until you fall asleep before your day resets, doesn’t it? We’ve never considered trying to see what happens if we face the reset together.”
“Huh.” Minho snickers. “You’re suddenly thinking about this a lot, aren’t you?”
“Sometimes my brain works hard when it's in the right mood.”
“Working hard?” Minho laughs, teasing. “Aren't you being a little too generous with yourself?”
Jisung sticks his tongue and shoves Minho; the latter almost topples over, but he manages to keep himself steady by quickly wrapping an arm around Jisung's waist and holding on to him tightly.
The action causes a fluttery eruption in Jisung's stomach; his first instinct is to push Minho away but he's also frozen. A couple of seconds pass and Minho naturally loosens his hold – this allows Jisung to relax, even appreciating and reveling in the way Minho keeps a casual hold around him.
“What if we camp out here for the entire night?” he suggests softly. “Here, on the beach. See how the morning greets us if we ride the night out together.”
“Camp? Here? Tonight?”
“Yes, sure, when else?” Jisung ticks each answer off with a finger.
Minho laughs. “We don’t have a tent.”
“We have this,” Jisung points out, tugging at a corner of the blanket that they have wrapped around themselves. “It’s a clear summer night. We’ll be fine! And even if we get sick, we’ll be fine in the morning.”
“Your daily hangover notwithstanding,” Minho deadpans.
Minho smiles and shakes his head, seemingly amused. He nudges Jisung gently, and in response Jisung lets his head fall and rest on Minho’s shoulder. Like this, they fall into companionable silence, with only the sound of the water splashing against the shore keeping them company.
More than how Minho never fails to make his days brighter and never boring, in the time they have spent together, Jisung has come to learn that these quiet moments together are even better. He has always had trouble keeping still and not running his mouth when he’s surrounded by people; just as he constantly has to feed his own ego to build up his own confidence, always making sure to be the life of the party—always making sure he’s making people laugh so he can bask in attention is part of the process. It started as a way to put himself out there, to mimic extroversion in order to meet people back during his university days, and then the bright cheerfulness became what was expected of him and he didn’t know how to backtrack from it. Even with Hyunjin, he finds himself constantly turning that mode on, and frankly, it’s tiring.
Maybe it's because he and Minho literally only have each other to turn to in their current circumstance and Minho can't get tired of him even if he tries; maybe it’s because he and Minho met as complete strangers, on their own, that there aren't any expectations that Jisung needs to live up to; or maybe, simply, the two of them really do just match very well in their humor and their moods – whatever it is, Jisung never feels like he has to turn his switch mode to ‘on’ when he doesn't want to. With Minho, even the quiet moments are comfortable and he appreciates that.
“I used to go camping with my grandfather when I was a kid.” Minho eventually breaks the silence, and Jisung hums softly to encourage him to continue. “During summers, I would go and stay with him for a couple of weeks at a time, and we would go camping in the woods close by his house.”
“Mhm.” Minho nods. “I was young so it isn’t as if I retained a lot of nature skills from those times—besides, my grandfather did everything for me, but I have a lot of fond memories from back then. I still go fishing sometimes though, not that I ever catch a lot of fish.”
Jisung snorts, but admittedly, the image of a young Minho out in nature is an adorable thought.
“I was always a homebody,” Jisung shares. “Bad with nature, and awful at sports—but Hyunjin and I used to have sleepovers in the summer where we’d camp out in his backyard? I had a Peter Pan sleeping bag. Does that count?”
“Sure.” Minho chuckles. “A Peter Pan sleeping bag, huh?”
“It was on sale when my mother bought it for me.” Jisung shrugs.
“Cute,” Minho murmurs, so quiet that Jisung almost misses it; he doesn't though—he hears it, and it makes him smile.
“I know, right?” he beams, cheeky in his tone and Minho rolls his eyes. “Hyunjin and I tried learning constellations one summer, but we were bad at identifying them.”
Those summer sleepovers are some of Jisung's fondest memories. He was pretty sensitive as a young boy, easily riled up to the point where it was hard for him to make friends. It was why he and Hyunjin had initially butted heads when they first met – but Hyunjin was also the only person to keep trying with him despite all the petty playground squabbles, and that’s why he is Jisung’s best friend; why he’s thankful for Hyunjin and why even after so many years, it’s not easy letting go of the love Jisung has built and treasured in his heart for him.
“Did you make wishes?” Minho asks, interrupting Jisung’s wandering thoughts. “On the stars? My grandfather taught me to wish on Scorpius because I’m a Scorpio. I can't even remember what kinds of wishes I made anymore—I think I once wished I’d grow up and become a clown.”
Jisung laughs. “Hey, at least that came true!”
Minho glowers at him, and Jisung only cracks up even more.
“What about you?” Minho asks after lightly slapping Jisung’s arm.
“Hmm,” Jisung looks back with a hum. “One time, there was a meteor shower and I did a rundown of wishes in my head—wishes that ranged from wanting to become a successful rapper when I grow up, to wishing that I would come home in the morning to my mother cooking my favorite meal. Not one of them came true, except for one.”
“Which one was it?”
Jisung ducks his head, embarrassed – he had wished to be friends with Hyunjin for a long time, and that has held true to this day.
“If I tell you it might stop being true,” Jisung answers, shaking his head, and turning up to look at the sky instead. The night sky is beautiful, and the view brings him back to D-Day and the first time he made that wish about wanting to be genuinely happy for his friend and his marriage.
He had repeatedly made that wish day after day in this time loop, at least until he met Minho. He’s realising now that he hasn’t thought about that wish – he hasn’t felt the guilt that prompted that wish to begin with – in a while.
“Lame,” Minho comments, but as usual, there's fondness rather than malice in his tone.
“Okay, clown,” Jisung retorts back, and Minho laughs.
“Thank you,” Minho suddenly says, prompting a strange look from Jisung.
“For calling you clown?!”
Minho snorts. “I meant for keeping me company in the loop, you clown.”
Jisung huffs. “It isn't as if I have a choice,” he jests. “I’m literally stuck here with you.”
“I know. But I’m thankful anyway. I’m glad it’s you.”
“Oh. Well.” Jisung blinks. “I’m glad it's me, too.”
And extra glad that it’s me and you, he mentally adds, cheeks feeling heated. He considers saying it out loud, but the sparkle in Minho’s eyes and the curve on his lips tell Jisung he already knows.
( .81 )
Beep! Beep! Beep!
Jisung is back in his hotel bed when he wakes up. He has a pulsating hangover, as per usual, and there's no Minho anywhere in sight.
He doesn't remember falling asleep, but he's pretty sure he had ended the night next to Minho, out in the beach, huddled together for body warmth to keep the chill of the summer midnight breeze at bay.
He sighs; clearly Minho was right about not being given reason to think that anything new will happen and Jisung doesn't know why he expected anything differently. He grumbles as he expertly swipes his phone from across the bed so he can turn the alarm off. He's about to put it back to sleep when he notices a bunch of message notifications on screen – those are certainly new.
It’s an unknown contact, but he easily recognises the number. Their phones always reset their address books every day, so he and Minho have both taken it upon themselves to memorise each other’s contact details.
are u not awake yet?
what time do u even wake up?
hey do u want to come over to my house instead today?
He supposes Minho posed the question rhetorically because Jisung hasn't even responded yet and there's already a location attached to the message. The idea of visiting Minho puts a smile on Jisung's face; something in his stomach does excited flips, and the feeling allows him to easily ignore his headache for now. He starts typing a response, but before he can finish typing ‘see you soon!’ another message goes through, and this time it’s a picture of Minho himself, one of his cats cradled in his arms and made to look at the camera.
“Ugh,” Jisung groans. He’s fully awake now, and if he wasn't already excited before, he sure is now. “Cute,” he mutters as he hastily types ‘getting ready and then im omw!’ as a reply.
Minho lives in the suburbs, where he rents a modest bungalow that boasts a small but lush backyard. It’s certainly not what Jisung imagined Minho's home would be like, but it’s a pleasant surprise to behold when Jisung steps out of the cab at the address that Minho gave him. At the very least, it's a refreshing change compared to what Jisung is used to from living in the city, where everyone lives in tall apartment buildings, him being no exception.
“Hello,” Minho greets him at the door with a smile and Jisung almost melts at how soft the older man looks. He's so used to Minho looking relatively made up whenever they hang out – even though Minho doesn't change into his formal dress wear until right before the wedding ceremony, he usually arrives at the hotel with his hair made up, and his outfits matching well and put together properly.
Right now, though, he looks very natural. His hair looks fluffy without any sort of product applied to it, and a pair of round rimmed glasses are perched atop his nose. He's also wearing an oversized knit shirt made out of worn looking threadbare material, and with sleeves that only showed the tips of his fingers. Jisung wants so badly to reach out and touch him, to check if he feels as soft as he looks – lucky for him, he manages to exercise enough self control.
He can't believe it has taken either of them this long to suggest that Jisung go to Minho instead of the other way around; he can't believe he didn't come up with the idea earlier – can't believe he could have witnessed Minho at this level of carefree if only his brain had functioned better earlier.
Minho smirks when he notices that Jisung is gawking and staring. “I would say take a picture, but we both know it won't last longer,” he comments, laughing as he motions for Jisung to follow him inside.
A cat nuzzles Jisung’s ankle after he takes his shoes off by the door, and he almost trips over the small furry feline; a source of entertainment for Minho if the way he laughs is any indication.
“You said to me once that you wanted to play with my cats, right?” Minho asks even as Jisung is already crouching on the ground so he can mew at and pet the gray feline. “That one's Dori, by the way.”
“Dori, gotcha,” Jisung repeats, already mostly distracted by the cat that's clearly already taken a liking to him.
Minho squints at him. “Dori usually isn't very friendly with strangers like that,” he says. “Do you have catnip on you or something?”
“Huh?” Jisung looks up and laughs. “Maybe I’m just that attractive to cats!”
Minho snorts. “Yeah, sure, okay.” He shakes his head, but he does seem fond and amused. “Soonie is in the living room and Doongie is… somewhere. They'll show up when they get curious enough about you.”
Jisung nods, scratching behind Dori’s ears.
“Do you want to feed them?” Minho asks. “The other two will come out if you bring out the goods.”
Minho, of course, is right, and Soonie and Doongie both come out of hiding as soon as Jisung lays out the food. It’s like this that time flies by; Jisung amuses himself with the cats, most of which seem to have taken a liking to him. Granted, Soonie takes a while to warm up to him, initially keeping a distance, but eventually Jisung finds the orange and white tabby taking a nap right next to him on the floor; according to Minho that's the best kind endorsement from Soonie.
“You know, sometimes I think the three of them are stuck in this loop with us,” Minho muses as he picks up Soonie and settles him on his lap.
“Hmm.” Minho lifts the cat to eye level, giving him a nose nuzzle, and Jisung has to briefly assure himself that no, there's no way he just felt a tinge of jealousy against a cat. “Just the way they sometimes act in pretty unexpected ways,” Minho continues to explain after Soonie jumps out of his arms, only to suddenly pad over to Jisung. “See?” Minho huffs. “That's completely unexpected and inexplicable.”
Jisung chuckles, stretching his hand so that Soonie can butt his head against Jisungs palm. “That's right—my cat appeal is too good that there's no humanly explanation for it.”
Minho rolls his eyes, stretching his leg across the couch where he's seated, so he can poke his toe against Jisung’s shoulder. “Whatever,” he waves his hand. “My point is that Soonie, Doongie and Dori act differently every day—there's nothing constant about their behavior, like they consciously make different choices every day. Like you and I do.”
He slides off the couch, sitting on the floor next to Jisung, which causes Soonie to scamper away in surprise. Minho pouts at that, as if upset that his own cat is playing coy with him; but then he sighs and turns back to Jisung, stealing Dori away from him.
“Then again, it could also just be that they're just reacting to me—to the things I do differently each day, like the rest of the guests at the wedding do.”
“Cats are curious beings,” is all Jisung can offer back. He has always thought that way – as a kid, he had been partial to cats because they always look at you like they know something that you don't. Jisung likes to think that's because cats have secrets, ones that he would love to discover.
“Are you getting hungry?” Minho eventually asks, probably tired of being ignored by his cats in favor of Jisung. The latter almost calls him out on it, but a quick glance at his phone screen surprises him when he sees that it's almost noon.
“Now that you mention it…” Jisung nods, patting his stomach. “A little. What are we getting?”
Minho grins, and he starts to get up on his feet. “I was thinking of making something, actually.”
Jisung narrows his eyes at him. “Are you sure you aren't about to poison me?”
Minho snorts. “Why in the world would I do that?!”
“For a variety of reasons.” Jisung shrugs. “Maybe because your cats love me more than they love you?”
“Please, you're a fleeting novelty to them!”
“Keep telling yourself that, I guess!” Jisung scoffs. “It could also be that you’re conducting a weird experiment to see if I wake up again in the same day if I die—”
“...what?” Minho bursts into laughter. “What?! And to think when we first met you called my line of thinking morbid.”
“What can I say?” Jisung grins, as usual a little too pleased at having been able to make Minho laugh so well. “Your gallows humor seems to have rubbed off on me.”
Minho clicks his tongue. “You're a dumbass,” he comments, shaking his head in both obvious exasperation and fondness. “Anyway—as I was saying, I do cook, you know. I've lived by myself since shortly after high school. I can easily whip up a dish or two.”
Jisung would point out that with today's food technology, you can easily live by yourself and survive without learning how to make anything from scratch—he knows this from experience, after all. He bites his tongue though, because he knows that this shouldn’t be a point of pride.
“What are you making then?” he asks instead.
“Hm,” Minho taps his chin. “Would you prefer a pork dish or a chicken dish?”
Jisung shrugs. “Surprise me.”
When Minho goes to work in the kitchen, Jisung follows.
“Do you want me to help?” he asks as he watches Minho tie an apron around his waist.
“Depends. Is there anything you can do to help?” Minho looks at him suspiciously.
Jisung laughs. “Surely I won't hurt anyone or ruin anything by washing vegetables or something like it?”
Minho squints harder, as if he's considering the offer, but eventually he relents and nods. “Okay, go wash your hands. There's an extra apron folded in that last drawer—wear it and then you can wash the bokchoy and peel the potatoes.”
Dori, who was still cradled in Jisung's arms (hey, he and the little furball have formed a special kind of bond in the few hours that they've known each other, if Jisung can say so himself), has to be put down on the floor; the cat whines] at that, and Jisung has to pout and give him a pleading, apologetic look which clearly Minho catches and is entertained by, if his chuckling is any indication.
“I've been telling you, your cat loves me a lot,” Jisung declares as he gets the apron out and follows Minho's instructions.
He isn't able to do much past potato peeling and dish washing, but Minho more than impresses with the way he expertly moves in the kitchen. It isn't long before the delicious fragrance of pork braised in soy sauce with potatoes on the side fills the room, and Jisung's stomach is loudly rumbling in hunger and anticipation.
The food is as good as it looks and smells, the meat practically melting in Jisung's mouth as he moans in satisfaction around it.
“Calm down,” Minho teases him. “It's just a meal.”
“But it's so… good…” Jisung gushes in between chewing. He can't believe that he has spent so many days in this awful time loop with Minho, and yet he's still learning new things about the man.
“Whatever,” Minho answers, looking down and digging into his own plate of food; the corner of his mouth quivers though, a proud smile threatening to break through his stoic expression.
“So. Good!” Jisung repeats, beaming and flashing two thumbs up.
He thinks Minho deserves to know how good his cooking is, but it isn't just that. Jisung is coming to a realisation that Minho is truly special in his uniqueness. He's handsome, capable, funny and great company to boot – Jisung could only thank his lucky stars that out of everyone in the world, this is who the universe has chosen to throw into a time loop with him.
With the nice, slow, very domestic way they spend the day, Jisung almost forgets that they had agreed to start their little competition that night.
It's Minho who reminds him as he hands Jisung a champagne flute after he finishes his patented best man speech that evening.
“A little liquid courage?” he teases with a grin, and initially Jisung doesn't even realize what he means. Minho must have noticed his confusion because he laughs and immediately clarifies. “You know. To flirt your way into people's contact details.”
“Oh. Right.” Jisung forces out laughter, and takes the offered drink to gulp down half of it one go.
“Calm down, Cassanova,” Minho tells him. “You can always stop this entire competition now and declare defeat if you're that nervous.”
“Not nervous!” Jisung insists. “Just thirsty. No way I'm backing down, so get ready for your inevitable defeat.”
Minho laughs. “Sure—but just so you know, I already got one number. I think Hyunjin's friend from work or something—” he pauses and waves at someone over Jisung's shoulder; when Jisung turns to check, he finds that Yeonjun, a guy he and Hyunjin both know from university ( not Hyunjin's work, as Minho mistakenly thinks), is smirking as he eyeballs Minho. A sick feeling circles in Jisung's gut and he has to consciously make sure that his smile doesn't falter when he faces Minho again. “I'm pretty sure Yeonjun hooks up with Beomgyu in every other iteration of tonight,” he tells Minho.
“So?” Minho's eyes annoyingly winkle with smug mischief. “They can hook up tonight for all I care, I still scored his number.”
“Fine.” Jisung quickly downs the rest of his champagne and forces the glass back into Minho's hand. “I'll even the score out, easy.”
He's speaking out of his ass because he really isn't the mood for greasing and flirting. He had been feeling so good the entire day, but now he's just annoyed and petulant. He eyes the party, wondering who would be easy enough to approach—he considers walking up to the aforementioned Beomgyu, who he knows from previous loops is related to Seungmin, a third cousin or something. The consideration feels slightly fueled by jealousy though, and refusing to accept that, Jisung ultimately decides against him.
It doesn't take long before his eyes settle on someone. “Target locked,” he comments to Minho as he nods towards Juyeon's direction.
He thinks he notices Minho's expression go ashen for a split second, but it's gone just as quick that Jisung assumes he imagined it. Wishful thinking on his part, maybe.
“Good luck,” Minho tells him, stoic, deadpan and sounding like he absolutely does not mean it.
“I don't need luck,” Jisung bluffs. He even winks exaggeratedly at Minho for good measure, before he goes ahead and makes a beeline towards Juyeon. The only reason Jisung settled on him is because he's a safe choice – he's well aware he can sweet talk the man into bed if he really wanted to, and Jisung doesn't even really want to. Getting his number should be a piece of cake.
And it is – Juyeon is as much of a gentleman as he was that first night that Jisung braved flirting with him. He's polite and well-mannered, but he laughs quite genuinely at all the jokes that are cracked. Jisung doesn't regret picking him because flirting with Juyeon gives him an ego boost, lifting his spirits just a tad compared to several minutes ago. By the time that Juyeon voluntarily taps and saves his number in Jisung's phone book, the grin on Jisung's face is bright and natural.
Nevertheless, with his mission done, Jisung decides to call it a night. He figures he can lord this particular get over Minho for now – and then maybe he can attempt to call it even while they have an equal score.
This part of the evening usually sees the two of them on the dance floor, so his eyes look around the venue for the older man. He knows for a fact that the deejay is about to play one of his favorite songs in a minute or two, and his mood is certainly better enough that he wants to dance. When he spots Minho, however, he's already on the floor, engaged in a flirty little dance with Yeji, yet another one of Hyunjin's many cousins and someone that Jisung himself considers a close friend.
Suddenly, he's feeling pinpricks in his chest. He frowns, seeing them laugh together when Minho twirls Yeji around. Jisung is way across the room from them, but for some reason, just watching them makes him feel left out and it irrationally annoys him.
His mood drops yet again, and in an attempt to push all ugly feelings away, he stops watching them, instead heading to the open bar to get himself another drink.
The bartender has just given him his vodka sour when Minho suddenly slides up to his side.
“So. Juyeon again, really?” Minho comments after asking the bartender for a simple glass of whiskey.
“He's hot,” Jisung shrugs as he sips on his drink. And, again, he was playing it safe, but he won't admit that out loud, especially to present company.
Minho huffs. “I got two numbers.” There's something childish and whiny in his tone, and Jisung would laugh except—
“Whatever,” he mutters, this time taking a more than generous sip of his drink. “Congratulations.”
Suddenly he just feels very, very tired.
( .86 )
Five nights. They've been at their stupid competition for five nights now. The score is Jisung, 10, Minho, 11. They even managed a few overlapping contacts, but that's to be expected with the medium-sized guest list. Jisung is losing because, quite frankly, his heart just isn't in the game. To be fair, Minho is gracious and has kept his lead to a minimum – which only says more about the kind of person he is. Jisung has a feeling that even if he was competing wholeheartedly, Minho would still be in the lead anyway – likely with a bigger score gap. He has watched Minho flirt with both men and women, and he's a natural with people. He never hesitates when striking up conversation with strangers, never gets conscious when getting the other person to talk about themselves – all things considered, Jisung should have expected this of him, since this was exactly how Minho had approached him that night when they first met.
So. In conclusion, Minho is going to be the winner of this stupid competition, and every night Jisung finds himself growing more frustrated and hating that he suggested they do this to begin with. Put into a certain perspective, what they’re doing makes them jackasses anyway, whether or not it has lasting consequences. To make it worse, instead of healthily feeding his ego, the entire setup has only fed into his insecurities. Not even the type of insecurity that simply makes him generally feel lesser—at least that feeling usually tends to make him strive to be better.
Instead, it's the type of insecurity that makes him feel inadequate; not enough for someone as gracious; as well-rounded; as handsome; as perfect as Lee Minho. It’s the type of insecurity that reminds him of the way Minho has made it clear from day one (technically day 36) that he can easily curb whatever minimal attraction he might feel—might have felt for Jisung. He doesn't see Jisung in that kind of way, and maybe he’s justified in feeling as such. He’s Lee Minho, and Jisung is… just Jisung.
He swallows quietly, as if trying to push back all the burgeoning feelings that he has for Minho. The initial physical attraction hadn't been too hard to curb; Minho’s company in general meant a lot more to Jisung than any fleeting fix for his hormonal problems. But recently, as much as Jisung would love to deny it; as much as he would like to keep it all in and pretend that they don't exist, he knows that attraction has morphed into something else. Into something more that is getting harder and harder to keep at bay.
“Is everything alright?” Minho asks Jisung, pulling him out of his jumble of thoughts. They're dancing together; it's a slow song though, so really, they're just swaying with arms loosely wrapped around each other.
He and Minho make sure to still share at least one dance every night, even amidst their silly competition that involves talking to and dancing with mostly other guests over the last few evenings.
“Huh? What do you mean?”
“You seem distracted,” Minho points out, his tone soft and clearly concerned. “What's on your mind?”
He can't very well admit that it's his feelings for Minho himself that are troubling him, so he picks out something else—another thought from the jumble in his brain.
“What do you think will happen if we willingly cross time zones?”
“What?” Clearly that wasn't what Minho had been expecting because he looks surprised right before he starts laughing. “What do you mean?!”
Jisung shrugs, keeping his cool. “I mean—what if we go back? What if we travel to a later time zone? Go somewhere earlier—to a country behind in time. Would we be able to run away from tomorrow? The tomorrow that’s today, I mean. Or—what if we go back and time pushes us forward instead? What if we need to go back, to get to tomorrow—the tomorrow that's tomorrow.”
Minho blinks, looking like he's letting Jisung’s theories settle. He grows silent, and he stares at Jisung, regarding him in a way that makes the latter want to shrink in his own skin—so of course he does the opposite. He pulls himself up, standing at his tallest, and lifts his chin so he can look Minho directly in the eyes—so he can give Minho a challenging look. The one he knows Minho never backs down from.
“You really have been thinking about our situation a lot more than usual lately, haven't you?” Minho murmurs.
Yes, he has, Jisung admits to himself. Outwardly, he simply shrugs. “It's only a random thought,” he says. “And you asked about my thoughts.”
Minho used to be the one regularly making theories about the time loop. Nothing too serious, or anything that was scientifically sound, but he used to make comments about it earlier in their time together, enough to show that it was constantly in the forefront of his thoughts. He doesn't talk about it as much these days, and Jisung has always figured it was because he was never really that responsive when it came to Minho's time loop theories.
Truth: Jisung has never really wanted to figure it out before because he never thought there was anything for him moving forward. It isn't as if his life sucks—it just isn’t exciting either. And with his best friend now married—the idea of tomorrow is even harder to stomach. Sure, maybe a day that wasn't Hyunjin’s wedding would have been a better choice for an eternal loop, but at the same time it felt fitting. His day as Hyunjin's best man, looping like this.
Funny thing is that he’s now realising that this attachment he feels is not just because he was in love with Hyunjin, but more that Hyunjin is the one person he has experienced almost everything with. All the firsts that matter—all the bests. And now Hyunjin is starting a part of his life that doesn't involve Jisung, and that was what had been so hard to face—at least back in D-Day, it was.
He thinks that he's finally moving on from that feeling; that he's finally ready to move forward because of this. He doesn't know how to explain it. Maybe it's because he's gotten sick of living through the same day over and over again—it has even gotten to the point where he misses the winter cold.
Or maybe it's because Minho has given him new experiences, all of them simple, yet special in their own way. It's bittersweet, though, and maybe the universe thinks it was being funny when it put Jisung in this situation.
Maybe it's a joke to the universe, how Jisung needed a time anomaly to help him move on from his first love, only to find himself drawn towards—stuck on another person. At least Jisung now knows, getting away from the loop will make it easier to move on from Minho. Now he knows that to move on, he has to move forward.
“Ok then,” Minho suddenly says. “Let's do this. The airport is barely an hour’s drive from here. So let's go and look at what night flights are available.”
Night flights, Jisung repeats in his head. Minho is considering this with the thought that Jisung still wants to not miss his best friend's wedding, and Jisung finds that sweet.
“Sure.” Minho grins. “It isn't as if we have anything to lose by trying these kinds of ideas. Where should we go, you think?”
“Hawaii,” Jisung answers immediately, and without hesitation. He laughs. “Or anywhere really—anywhere that'll take us to a different time zone.”
Anywhere, as long as it's with you, he finds himself thinking automatically, and he winces, the realisation sinking into the pit of his stomach, uncomfortable but inescapable.
He supposes that he’s really fucked unless he finds a way out of this.
( .87 )
“What if this works?” Jisung is nervous. They're at the airport, tickets in hand as they pass through immigration.
“What do you mean?” Minho laughs and gently pats Jisung on the shoulder. “If it works, then it works. And also—we end up broke.”
The comment is an exaggeration, as they're both gainfully employed young men. Nevertheless, they had decided to splurge and so they got the most expensive first class tickets to Hawaii, so if they do wake up to a new day, then they would considerably be poorer than they had been when they woke up that morning.
“Uh-huh. Stuck in a foreign country with no money—no anything,” Jisung plays along with the scenario anyway. “How ideal for us.”
Minho’s hand moves down, gently settling on the small of Jisung’s back, causing the latter to feel a slight jolt of electricity pass through him. Minho's touches, as fleeting as they are, have been making him feel more self conscious lately.
“Hey.” He grins at Jisung. “We’ll still have each other though, won’t we?”
Jisung can only laugh. He doesn't know how to tell Minho to stop saying things like that. The entire point of wanting to break free of this loop is so that he can leave behind these feelings that he has developed for Minho, and when he says things like that, it only makes Jisung wonder how well they would fit outside of this single, cursed day.
And then Minho smiles, and Jisung could only feel his resolve chip away further.
( .88 )
Beep! Beep! Beep!
Jisung could only sigh when he once again wakes up to that annoying alarm tone.
Fuck, he thinks. Fuck, fuck. Fuck.
He wishes he had one of those traditional alarm clocks with a wind-up hand and two bells that ring at the set time. Or maybe even a digital alarm clock that plays the radio if you set it to that option—that was what he had in high school. It would probably feel so satisfying right now, to grab it—to pull it out of the socket, and throw it across the room; would be so satisfying to hear it crash and break against the wall.
As it is, he likes his phone too much to break it so early in the day, so as usual, he reaches for it and promptly turns it off by swiping his thumb along the correct button on the screen.
Jisung sighs again.
Fuck his life.
“Maybe before the how… we should figure out the why first,” Minho suggests as they wait for Hyunjin's readjusted suit at the tailor's. Still bummed at the failure of their experiment, they had decided to go back to the basics of D-Day, which includes Jisung running his unnecessary best man errands.
“The why?” Jisung asks.
“Mhm.” Minho confirms with a nod, “As in—why us? Why are we the only ones in this loop?”
There's something that Jisung has never told Minho, and that is, he thinks he knows why—why him, anyway. That earnest wish he made on the shooting star so many nights ago, the wish that he had kept repeating over and over again, until Minho helped make him want different things. These days, he has been thinking about that wish a lot.
It had been made with a genuine desire to move on from his feelings for his best friend. He wanted to feel genuine happiness for his best friend’s happiness, and this time loop has helped him achieve this exact goal. Ultimately—who is to say that this loop has not been caused by the supernatural? By magic? By a wishing star? The predicament clearly defies science, so why should the explanation be scientific?
He considers telling Minho this, considers admitting the silly wish to Minho but in the end he bites his tongue.
“Maybe the universe just hates us, specifically,” Minho ends up concluding.
Jisung’s chest feels incredibly heavy.
( .96 )
“Their seafood pasta is really good,” Jisung suggests as he and Minho pore over the hotel restaurant's menu.
The last several iterations of the loop have seen them going to nearby university libraries, as both of them have discovered a sudden interest in finding an explanation for their circumstances. They even revisited libraries that Minho had already gone to before he met Jisung, figuring that a fresh pair of eyes with a new perspective might bring about new discoveries. As it is, Minho tends to disappear into the Physics and science sections, while Jisung looks up old folk tales and the like.
Today, they've decided to take a break from all the seemingly fruitless research, and for the first time since they have met, they have decided to eat at the hotel restaurant together. Jisung has pretty much tried all of that day's specials thanks to his earlier days in the loop, so he's throwing suggestions at Minho.
“You should try the Thai curry. It's really good, and I think you'll like it,” someone interjects from behind Jisung.
He quickly turns, surprised at finding Seungmin there.
“Hi,” he greets, seemingly directed at them both, but he's gaze is trained more at Minho. “You came,” he observes with a smile, “and… you know Jisung?”
Jisung has somehow forgotten that this is around the time that Seungmin has lunch here with his parents and his sister. If memory serves him right, Hyunjin is busy with his cousins – Jisung had spent some afternoons with them before Minho.
“Um.” Jisung tries coming up with an excuse on the spot. Before now, Seungmin had only ever spotted them together at the wedding reception, and it was easy to pretend that they had only just met. Like this, it was probably obvious this isn't their first time meeting, not if they're having lunch together. And Seungmin isn't like Felix, who would easily let it go—Seungmin likes concrete answers.
“Dating app,” Minho says simply, causing Jisung to almost choke on his own spit in surprise. He shoots Minho a confused look, but the latter only smiles calmly. “Small world, right? We've been talking for a couple of nights and then we realized we were attending the same wedding.”
“Oh.” Seungmin looks amused but unsure if he should buy the story; eventually he shrugs, probably knowing that he isn't going to get any explanation beyond that. “That's interesting, does Hyunjin already know?” He turns to Jisung, who shakes his head.
“Ah, no,” Jisung answers. “The decision to meet up was a little last minute.”
“I see.” Seungmin nods. His surprise and suspicion have now completely made way to amusement, it seems. “Well I'm really glad you made it,” he tells Minho. “Let's catch up later—I should get back to my family. But yeah, try the curry. It's very spicy, you'd love it.”
“Okay,” Minho agrees. “Thank you. I'll see you at your wedding.”
Seungmin nods and turns to Jisung. “See you later as well!”
Jisung nods mutely, and then he turns to Minho, confused. “You like spicy food?”
Minho shrugs. “I don’t mind it, he says, but somehow Jisung can now tell that he’s downplaying it.
“You never eat it with me,” he says accusingly.
Minho laughs. “Well—you aren’t any good with it. I remember you telling me that, early on.”
“Okay, yes, but…” Jisung can only trail off as he thinks how sweet it is that Minho even remembers that.
“Whatever,” Minho interjects, waving a hand to dismiss the subject. “Should we share the seafood pasta like you wanted? That, and a steak should be enough for both of us, right?”
“We could have the curry if you want,” Jisung offers. The realisation that Minho has always been considering his preferences has him feeling conscious; he wants to do something nice and let Minho have what he wants, for once.
Minho pauses, and then he closes the menu. “Are you sure?” He chuckles. “The pasta looks great and besides, I don’t want to have to watch you ugly cry from the spiciness.”
“Hey!” Jisung laughs. “If I do cry, so what? I promise not to wipe my snot on your shirt, so if you wanna try it, then let’s try it.”
“Alright, then.” Minho nods, laughing along presumably at the image that Jisung had conjured with his words. “If you’re sure.”
“I am,” Jisung assures him, and Minho proceeds to wave down the waiter so they can order.
While waiting for their food, Minho opens up the menu once more. This time, Jisung notices that he’s looking through the dessert section. It’s something that Jisung would do as well, but something else is chipping away at the back of his thoughts.
“So…” he starts, “how close were you and Seungmin, really?”
He has always figured that they had a pretty good relationship, because just as he asserted before, Seungmin definitely wouldn’t have extended an invitation to Minho otherwise. Then again, there always seems to be some kind of tension between them the few times that Jisung has watched them interact. It has always rendered him curious, but Minho never really gives him an opening to ask about the specifics of their friendship.
“Close enough,” Minho answers curtly; right there is why Jisung has always been wary of inquiring.
“Hmmm.” He refuses to back down easily this time, his curiosity having gotten the better of him.
Minho eyes him. “What’s that hmmm for, huh?”
Jisung shrugs, trying to appear nonchalant. “There seems to be more to it,” he says, braving a quick glance at the direction of the table where Seungmin and his family are sharing a meal.
“What do you mean more to it? What more is there, do you think?”
“I don’t know.” Jisung shrugs again. “You tell me.”
Minho sighs. “Fine. Okay.” He sounds exasperated, but not upset. Jisung will take it. “I guess you can say that we were kind of a thing for a while.”
“A thing?” Jisung’s brow furrows. “Like? You were boyfriends?”
“I don’t know if you can call it that… we never did, but that’s probably as good a way to put it as anything else,” Minho accedes. “We were sleeping together for a while.”
For the second time in the last ten minutes Jisung almost chokes on saliva. “What?!”
Minho laughs and hands him a glass of water. “You okay there, Jisungie?”
“Yes, but—” Coughing, he pauses to gulp down water, before continuing in the same incredulous tone, “You and Seungmin?! Really?!”
“Uh-huh.” Minho snorts. “This was before he even met Hyunjin. Sort of.”
“Well, they met at the tail end of it all,” Minho clarifies with a shoulder shrug. “Does all that answer your question?”
Jisung wants to say no, it doesn’t, because now he just has more of them. He supposes that did at least explain the weird tension between Minho and Seungmin, though.
“Minho…” he starts.
Maybe the universe hates him more than it does Minho, because right then and there, it interrupts whatever he has to say by sending the waiter over with their food.
“Looks delicious,” Minho comments, and just like that Jisung knows he's missed the opportunity to pry further.
“You really mean it don't you? When you wish for them to be the best for each other, for a long time, you mean it with your entire heart,” Minho comments when he approaches Jisung after that night's best man speech.
“Huh. I do,” Jisung answers truthfully. “These days, I really do.”
Minho smiles. “You’re a really good friend.”
“Not always,” Jisung says. “There were times before…”
Minho laughs. “Even if you didn’t completely mean it in the past, you always wanted it to be true—and that’s what makes you a good friend.”
“Yeah?” Jisung feels warmth on his cheeks. “I guess. Maybe. You’re right.”
Minho grins and nudges him gently before handing him a champagne flute. “Do you still want to know about me and Seungmin?”
“Yeah?” Jisung gawks, surprised at the offer, but decidedly eager to take Minho up on it. “Yeah! Um—I guess, yeah. If you want to tell me.”
“Alright, come on then.” Minho wraps his tiny fingers around Jisung’s slender wrist, and pulls at him. “Let's go and get some air.”
Just as they have multiple times before, Jisung and Minho find themselves strolling along the beach, shoes and socks off, the feeling of sand and water mixing in between their toes in a way that Jisung would dare describe as ticklish, almost.
“Seungmin and I,” Minho begins, “it isn't really a very long or very complicated story. It isn't salacious either, or anything like that. We met when he started working at Young Wings—it was my second year there, and we were the two youngest editors in our team. Before he came along, I was the rookie, so I wanted to be nice and help him out. We ended up spending overtime hours together at the office a lot.”
“That sounds a lot like Seungmin,” Jisung murmurs in agreement, remembering how Hyunjin used to complain to him about the hours that Seungmin used to keep at the publishing house. Jisung had urged him to complain to his boyfriend directly, but Hyunjin was afraid at first, initially second guessing his right to assert himself. They had eventually talked things out, and Seungmin had managed to learn how to balance work and personal life – just one example among many of the ways that the two of them are good for each other.
“Does it?” Minho chuckles. “It sounds a lot like me, too. Early on, it seemed to us that we had a lot of similar outlooks when it came to love, life and work. Seungmin was very driven, and by his own admittance that led to him not having much time for social life.”
“You were the same?” Jisung asks in surprise. The Minho he has come to get to know is very good with people; he has been very good with Jisung, anyway.
“In some ways?” Minho shrugs. “I think we regarded people similarly—we both had a hard time letting them in. He didn't have the time, and I guess I didn't have the patience.”
“But—you're so good with conversation and interacting with people…” Jisung mutters, a montage of the times he has seen Minho flirt to win phone numbers playing in his head.
“Being good at small talk is different from letting people in, Jisung,” Minho explains. “It's the latter that I was bad at – still am. Anyway, none of that is the point—and it really isn't important how it started either, but we ended up sleeping together. And—it was pretty good sex.”
Jisung groans – a review of how Seungmin is in bed is not really something he wants to hear. Minho laughs, likely at the way Jisung's expression has rumpled.
“Anyway, yeah. It was what it was. It started out like that—just something physical. A way to pass time and relieve stress without going through the trouble of meeting other people. It was unsaid, but the point was to not get attachments. But then we started spending time together outside the office—outside the bedroom. We didn't talk about what was going on, and we didn't apply labels, but we had a good time. At least I think we did?” Minho shrugs. “I guess—I guess Seungmin started wanting more? But I wasn't there at that point with him. I don't know…relationships are kind of a hassle. Companionship is nice, but I get enough of that with my cats and some friends.” He chuckles, ducking his head as if embarrassed by the admission. “Relationships come with a lot of expectations that I just don't care about.”
“Oh.” With each word Minho says, Jisung feels his heart sink lower and lower to his stomach.
“I think Seungmin started leaning more and more on those expectations—and I just didn't care enough to abide by them.” Minho laughs, bittersweet, almost. “I sound like an asshole, don’t I? I probably was. Actually, I’m pretty sure I was a jackass. That's why I didn't think the wedding invitation was for real at first. But that first night—remember when Seungmin and Hyunjin cut into our dancing? He let me apologise, and he said that he was genuinely happy to see me. He’s a better person than I am, for sure.”
Jisung nods, remembering that night vividly.
“I’m truly awful though.” Minho laughs some more. “For a while that conversation made me feel really bitter. Seungmin moved on and found happiness, while my life is the same. I just relocated twice over. I know that's on me obviously — I never learned to open up to people. It isn’t Seungmin's fault that he has.”
“No, it isn't,” Jisung murmurs. The same way he can't blame Hyunjin for being the person to help Seungmin do exactly that.
“You know what's funny though? If there's something being stuck in this time loop has made me realize… It's that I’m tired of being so closed off. Of being stuck in my way of life—stuck behind my metaphorical walls. I think I want to try and let someone in. Someone who will be good for me the way I’m good for them. The way you always describe Seungmin and Hyunjin in that speech of yours.” Minho smiles, wistful, but real. “It’s a really nice image.”
“Minho…” Jisung has so much he wants to say; rather, there's a lot that Jisung is feeling but he doesn't know how to put into words.
“Hm?” Minho turns to face him; the faint light of the crescent moon hits the contours of his face at just the right angle, while the stars are mirrored in his eyes, sparkling— twinkling so majestically.
Beautiful, Jisung thinks, awestruck.
“Beautiful,” Minho echoes, and for a split second, Jisung panics because he thinks he had said his thought out loud. And then he realises that Minho is looking at him—gazing at him with such fondness that it’s almost embarrassing. “You’re beautiful,” Minho repeats. “A beautiful image.”
His words set something ablaze in Jisung. Now or never, he thinks.
And then Jisung is pulling Minho towards him—or Minho is pulling Jisung towards him. It doesn't matter, because they're kissing, mouths mashing, tongues tangling—teeth clacking, even.
They're both so eager and wanting, and Jisung almost thinks he’d gladly give up air if it means he can remain close to Minho like this; if it means they can continue to soak up each other, until one couldn't tell where one of them ended and the other began.
( .97 )
Beep! Beep! Beep!
The alarm is as obnoxious as ever, but Jisung wakes up wearing a smile. He rolls over so he can grab his phone and turn the noise down without much grumbling. Even his hangover induced headache isn't throbbing as hard as it usually does.
He doesn't remember how he got back to his room last night. All he can remember is being in Minho’s arms, the two of them kissing, and kissing, and kissing. Maybe that's how he fell asleep – maybe he just passed out from lack of air because kissing Minho took precedence to breathing.
Jisung giggles softly. He hasn’t felt this good in a long while.
He unlocks his phone, half expecting to find messages from Minho, but so far there's nothing. A shadow of a frown passes his features, but he figures maybe Minho is busy feeding his cats—or maybe he's already on his way to the hotel.
good morning, Jisung types, deciding he might as well send the first message. what should we do today?
He thinks he would love to spend the entire day making out some more with Minho, and he makes a mental note to bring that up once the latter arrives. Just the thought makes him giggle some more, and God, he feels like he’s going through puberty again with how giddy this is making him feel.
After breakfast with Felix, Jisung had gone ahead and joined him and Chris for a swim because Minho still hadn't gotten back to him. Even now, his messages have been left unread and Jisung's good mood from that morning has all but disappeared completely.
Felix and Chris invite him to have lunch with them, but Jisung knows that whenever he says no they always opt to get room service instead, and Jisung is pretty sure that means they get a little afternoon delight for dessert.
He ends up having lunch by himself at the hotel restaurant, and after he’s full, and his messages still haven't been opened, he braves calling Minho directly.
Alas, he gets redirected to voicemail.
Minho still hasn't arrived by the time the wedding ceremony is about to start. Jisung is distracted, and Changbin is sending him loaded glares presumably because he keeps taking quick looks at his phone.
He's worried. If Minho gets in an accident, that only means his day would reset, right? So he probably should be patient until the next day, he assures himself. Not that there's any reason for Minho to get into an accident, considering he has made the (literally) exact same drive from his house to the hotel dozens of times.
The whiplash going from the dreamy vibes of the previous night, to this nightmarish radio silence now – it stings. No matter how much Jisung tells himself to calm down, that there's obviously (probably) an explanation, he can't help but feel that the reality is very simple:
Minho has changed his mind about Jisung, and that's why he hasn't contacted him.
Jisung wants to cry, but he puts on a blinding grin instead – his best friend is walking down the aisle and there’s no space for sadness in this special moment.
It’s immediately after Jisung recites his best man speech that night that Minho finally touches base. He won't be surprised if Minho timed it specifically so that Jisung feels the buzzing in his jacket pocket right after he surrenders the microphone and the audience erupts into cheers.
He excuses himself immediately; as guests start to make their way to the dance floor, he finds himself walking away from the party, to the direction of the open beach so he can get some air before he opens the messages.
sorry i couldnt make it today
i think i just need to figure a few things out
im rly sry abt last night
pls dont blame urself
but also know that i dont have regrets
and im sure ur speech just now was as wonderful as always
ill see u soon, hopefully
This time around, out of frustration, he doesn't hesitate to throw his phone across the sand and into the sea.
( .98 )
Minho is still a no show.
Jisung, of course, gets his phone back in the morning when he wakes up, as unscathed as it was before he threw it into the water.
The morning alarm is more annoying than ever, and his hangover is the worst it has ever been. He skips out on breakfast with Felix for the first time in all his 90+ days in the time loop, instead choosing to wallow in self-pity with the comforter pulled over his head.
Pining after his best friend for give or take a decade is one thing, but pining after a self-professed jackass after one day repeated tens of times over… well. Jisung should have known better.
Never mind that he's an extremely beautiful jackass who has always known how to make Jisung smile, and has always known how to make Jisung feel special through little things – like laughing at Jisung's stupidest jokes, or remembering Jisung's favorite song to dance to, or making sure to always order Jisung's favorite food even without being asked to.
He probably doesn't mean anything by those things, and really—that's why Jisung should have known better.
He doesn't emerge from his room until it's around noon, when finally Hyunjin himself comes barging in, telling him that it's time to get up.
“Are you sick?” Hyunjin asks. “Because if you aren't actually dying, you need to get over yourself. I'm not letting you waste away in bed on my wedding day of all days.”
He's standing tall over Jisung's bed, arms folded across his chest, with a threatening look on his face. Hyunjin has never been scary, not even when they were kids and he and Jisung were beefing over petty things; sure, Hyunjin was taller, but little Jisung had spunk and he never would have backed down even from a physical fight against Hyunjin.
Today, though, the way Hyunjin is staring at him gives Jisung the chills. Like this, he realises that Hyunjin has truly grown up in a kind of way that Jisung hadn't noticed before. Whenever he thinks about Hyunjin, he still thinks of the boy he grew up with, and not the man he has become – maybe that's also why he was stuck on a love that blossomed when they were young.
Not anymore, though.
“I—I’m fine,” he grumbles, pushing the covers away and immediately sitting up. “Just had a hangover from last night. I can push through.”
Hyunjin frowns, his demeanor softening out of clear worry. “I have some aspirin in my room—do you want some?”
Jisung shakes head. “I have some too, don't worry.”
“Okay, good.” Hyunjin sighs, eyeing him as if considering if he should further pry because it's probably obvious that Jisung has issues past a stupid hangover. In the end, it seems that he decides against it. “The tailor called—apparently you were supposed to pick up my suit?”
Jisung groans. Something so simple that he has consistently taken care over the last hundred days, give or take, and he forgot about it. “Shit, yeah, I’ll give them a call.”
“Don't worry, I already asked them to have it delivered instead,” Hyunjin informs him. “And I already paid the extra fee so it's all taken care off.”
“Oh. Sorry. Thanks.” Jisung winces, fingers combing through his hair.
Hyunjin shrugs. “It's my suit anyway.” He flashes a grin at Jisung. “Come on, let's have lunch together instead.”
“Huh? Aren't you supposed to be with your cousins right now?”
“Eh.” Hyunjin waves a hand dismissively. “It's my last afternoon being single and I want to spend it with my best friend.”
Jisung laughs; this is new. Hyunjin usually spends his afternoon with his family, but he supposes that's because he has always been MIA at this hour before. Either way, he won't say no to quality time with his best friend.
“What should we eat?”
“Burgers,” Hyunjin immediately answers with a grin. “I’ve been craving. Let's go to McDonald’s.”
“McDonald’s?! You want your last meal as a single gentleman to be McDonald’s?!”
“Sure, why not?” Hyunjin laughs. “Seungmin's been talking about wanting to go organic, so this might be one of the last times I can splurge on greasy fast food. Besides—it'll be just like high school, except now we can afford a Big Mac each instead of splitting the cost of one.”
Jisung snorts. “Fine. Who am I to say no to the man of the day?”
They head to the nearest McDonald’s, found on his phone’s GPS, and when they get there, Jisung realises that it’s the same one where he and Minho had ordered by drive-thru. The memory stings a little, but Jisung manages to keep his cool.
“So. How are you feeling?” He asks Hyunjin after they order and find a corner table to eat at.
“Good,” Hyunjin answers as he unwraps his Big Mac. “Nervous, but mostly excited.”
Jisung smiles. “Hey, do you remember when you and Seungmin first started seeing each other?”
Hyunjin laughs. “Of course! I’m marrying the man, why wouldn't I remember when we first met?”
“Okay, fair point.” Jisung grimaces. “It wasn't always so smooth sailing with him, was it?”
“No.” Hyunjin shakes his head. “I mean—the thing is, I think I fell in love before he did.” Hyunjin shrugs, pausing so he can take a bite off his sandwich. “But I really liked being with him right from the get go because he was a good listener. He always made me feel heard. The problem is that there were times when he couldn't be around—times when I felt like he had priorities that came before me. Those were the hard times.”
Jisung nods slowly. “I remember this,” he says; he really does because this was why he really didn't like Seungmin at the beginning – then again, it isn't as if he really liked any of Hyunjin's old boyfriends. “You were so bad at asserting yourself with him, but ace at whining to me.”
“Hey!” Hyunjin glares at him. “I resent that!”
Jisung laughs. “How can you resent the truth?”
Hyunjin groans. “Fine, maybe you're right.” He rolls his eyes, but there's a smile on his lips. “And it was thanks to you that I gathered enough courage to sit down with Seungmin and tell him how I really felt. You sat me down and told me to buck up and talk to him. In hindsight, it was silly to be so scared of being real with him—I liked him because he's a good listener, so why was I so scared of making him really listen?”
“Because you're a big dumbass?” Jisung teases.
Hyunjin rolls his eyes again. “Whatever. A lot of things changed after that and I don't think I ever really thanked you for getting me through that, ‘Sung. Through that—and through a lot of other things over the years that we’ve been friends.”
Jisung's heart feels warm. He and Hyunjin have always been the type of friends to be affectionate with each other, but somehow, this time, it's different. Maybe it’s because Jisung isn't in love with Hyunjin anymore, and this time he can appreciate Hyunjin's words for what they are – best friend to best friend.
“Yeah, you never did,” Jisung teasingly retorts; he thinks if he doesn't go the playful route he just might cry. “So ungrateful!”
Hyunjin snorts. “You know though—you know I’m thankful. And even if I never said it before, you always knew!”
“Yeah yeah. It’s always better to hear it out loud though.” Jisung points out before taking a long sip of his soda. “But—hey.” He looks at Hyunjin across the table, his tone suddenly a lot more sincere and subdued. “I have a question.”
Jisung nods. “Say… hypothetically you spend—uh.” He pauses to try and gather his words because he can't exactly say he's been spending a time loop with someone. “A night to remember,” is what he ends up with, “with a very interesting man—”
“Oh?” Hyunjin interrupts him and wags his eyebrows. “Hypothetically, huh?”
“Yes. Hypothetically,” Jisung presses. “Anyway, you spend a wonderful night with a wonderful man, and then the next day he basically borderline ghosts you—”
“Basically borderline? Is that a thing?” Hyunjin wrinkles his nose. “I'm not sure ghosters deserve your time and energy, ‘Sung.”
Jisung sighs. “Well what if he did send a message, but it's confusing as fuck? Like—something along the lines of ‘hey no regrets and I'll see you soon maybe but for now I need to be alone with my thoughts.’” Jisung winces. “Similar to that, anyway.”
Hyunjin squints at him. “Han Jisung, did you get laid last night after I turned in?!”
“Huh?” Jisung is confused at first, until he realises that to Hyunjin, last night means his bachelor’s night out, where he got smashed at the hotel bar, only to end it with whining for his fiancé. It's weird, because to Jisung, that night in particular feels like a lifetime ago already. “Tch,” he scoffs once he makes the connection in his head. “I already said that this is a hypothetical!”
“Yeah, okay, sure if you say so.” Hyunjin shakes his head, clearly not buying it but willing to go along with the farce. “I mean… look, Jisung, There are a lot of assholes in this world. One wonderful night doesn't necessarily mean anything—then again, I don't know this guy, so you can only trust your own gut. The truth is, sometimes, you have to take hold of an opportunity when it presents itself. Do you think this man is an opportunity worth taking hold of?”
“What are you saying? This isn't about me—” Jisung sighs, cutting himself off and deciding to just give up the facade. “Okay, fine. All cards on the table… yeah. He just might be. And last night night not exactly be the first time I met this man…”
“Wait!” Hyunjin gasps dramatically, even hitting the table with his palm for effect. “Have you been seeing someone without telling me?”
“Calm down!” Jisung snorts. “Um. It hasn't been long, okay?” To be fair, he has known Minho for the equivalent of roughly two months that has been spent daily with each other, but he can't exactly explain that to Hyunjin. “I guess you can say that we’ve been getting to know each other and… we fit in all the right ways. You know how you said that Seungmin made you feel heard and that's why you liked him so much?” Jisung takes a deep breath. “Well this person makes me feel seen.”
“Oh.” Hyunjin nods; he looks more serious, like he's very carefully thinking over Jisung's situation. “This man—he gave you a way to contact him, right?”
“Yeah. I told you he texted me some weird cryptic shit—I have his number.”
“Right. So. Then. Use it! Normally I’d be all for giving people space that they need, but more than that I think it's important that everything is laid out on the table before you can give each other what you both need. So if you're confused, reach out, talk to him—isn't this exactly what you told me before when things got rocky with Seungmin? Tell him what you think, how you feel—and then figure things out together.”
“Um, I keep getting his voice mail but I do know where he lives,” Jisung murmurs. “It's not far from here.”
Hyunjin narrows his eyes at him. “Okay dude, I love you and I want you to get dicked down good, but you aren't gonna go chasing after your man on my wedding day. You can do it tomorrow. He isn't going anywhere!” And then he pauses, confidence faltering momentarily. “Or wait… Is he? Like is he moving to another country or something? Do you have a time limit for going after him?”
Jisung bursts into laughter. He has no doubt that Hyunjin will let him go right here, right now, if he implies that Minho is on a one way flight to nowhere by the end of the day. But he's pretty sure that Minho isn't going anywhere—he isn't even going any when. Besides, in the last 90+ iterations of this god-forsaken day, he hasn't missed his best friend’s wedding once and he isn't about to start.
“Okay,” he agrees. “Tomorrow, I’ll go and talk to him in person.”
“Good. And when you fix things—and I’m sure you will, because he would be a dumbass to let you go—you better introduce him to me.” Hyunjin chuckles. “Honestly, whoever this is, it would be really nice to see you happy with someone, Jisungie. You deserve it. All the guys you were with before never lasted, but you never seemed too broken up over any of them, so in comparison, the way you're agonizing over this one… I have a good feeling!”
Jisung snorts. He used to hate it when Hyunjin said things like that before because Hyunjin is annoyingly the type of person who thinks that just because being in love makes him happy, then everyone else should be happy from being in love as well.
It was torture considering Jisung was in love yet miserable.
But that was then, and right now, he thinks he'd take the well wishing with open arms.
( .99 )
Jisung stands in front of Minho’s house, silently staring at the door, too nervous to press the doorbell. Is he doing the right thing? Minho did say that he needed to think some things through – but Hyunjin is also right. If Minho needs time to himself, then he should tell Jisung to his face instead of a half-assed text message.
He takes a deep breath, and then he finally pushes the doorbell button. He hears the faint ring inside the house, and then he waits for the sound of feet padding across the floor but there's nothing save for the soft mewls of Minho’s cats.
He frowns, and then he knocks directly. “Minho?” He calls out, but there’s no response. He stands there for a few more minutes, waiting, but nothing happens.
Impatient, he walks around the house so he can peer in through the windows. Sure enough, the house looks empty except for Minho’s cats. Doongie is lounging on the couch, while Soonie is nowhere to be seen – likely, he's hiding in Minho’s room, or so Jisung assumes. Before he can figure out where Dori is, the little furball jumps up on the window pane, meowing loudly as it taps against the glass.
Yep, he thinks with a smug grin, he and Dori definitely connected the last time he was here. And maybe Minho was right – Dori seems to remember who he is, so maybe they’re just as conscious as he and Minho are of this repetitive day.
“Hi Dori,” he whispers, lightly tapping his finger against the glass pane. “Minho around?”
All the cat does, expectedly, is meow some more and Jisung can only sigh out of frustration.
“Where in the world are you, Lee Minho…” He mutters softly, walking back to the front of the house, and plopping down on the patio steps. Maybe he’ll wait for an hour—two, at most.
When the audience claps and cheers for him at the end of his best man speech, Jisung is smiling, but he feels empty inside. He had waited for a little over two hours at Minho’s, but the older man continued to be a no-show even at his own home.
Jisung had felt melancholic the entire day because of this, practically moving on autopilot during the wedding, and even now, at the reception. For once, it's a good thing that he's done it so many times that he can recite his speech even in his sleep.
He surrenders the microphone to the emcee, who, as usual, announces that the dance floor is now open for the guests. Jisung is about to make a beeline to the open bar, when a familiar presence walks up to him.
“Hi.” The presence greets, familiar yet soft, uncertain.
“Minho.” Jisung presses his lips together tightly. He feels initial relief upon seeing Minho, but it’s fleeting, immediately replaced by frustration. He glares at Minho, tired and angry at the latter for disappearing on him. “You’re alive, huh.”
“I’m sorry,” Minho whispers, quiet but pained, one hand outstretched offering him a half-filled champagne flute just like he always does. Just like that, Jisung feels his anger melt away.
“You’re a dick,” he tells Minho anyway, only there's hardly any bite to his tone.
“I know.” At least Minho isn't denying it. “Will you let me have this dance with you anyway?”
A part of Jisung wants to be petty and say no, but he nods, incapable of denying himself this. “Fine. Okay.”
Minho smiles, and offers his hand which Jisung cautiously takes. The song changes into a sweet, slow one which surprises him because this is not a part of the usual playlist that the deejay plays.
“I asked the deejay to play this,” Minho explains, presumably upon seeing Jisung's confusion. “You like this artist, don't you?”
Once, they had spent an entire afternoon comparing their go-to playlists. Jisung had found out that Minho had a quite varied taste, if only because he tended to add random songs he enjoys into one big playlist. There is no theme, apart from that Minho likes them. Compared to Jisung, who has a themed playlist for everything – Songs to Fall Asleep To, Songs to Listen On The Train to Work, Songs to Cry To As I Wallow In My Unrequited Love. He also had one that was titled Songs I Want To Fall In Love To, and the current song playing is at the top of that list.
Butterflies in his stomach flutter, and his face warms up at the thought that Minho probably remembers that.
“You already know I love this song,” he mutters in response, not arguing when Minho places Jisung's hands around his neck.
“I do,” Minho admits with a small smile.
They fall silent, simply swaying to the melody of the song. The tension between them feels thick, however, and Jisung is sure it's from everything that remains to be said.
“I’m sorry,” Minho repeats, leaning in so that the words brush directly against Jisung’s left ear. He shudders quietly, and his hold around Minho tightens. The latter seems to have taken that as a positive sign to continue because he does. “I know you're in love with, um—” his gaze travels across the dance floor where Seungmin and Hyunjin are caught up in their own embrace, enjoying their dance as newlyweds. “You know. Hyunjin.” He says the name in a very quiet whisper, obviously avoiding nosy eavesdroppers.
Jisung pulls away some, blinking incredulously because— what? Yes, Minho once called him out on his feelings for Hyunjin, but it isn't something they often discussed, that frankly, Jisung has long forgotten Minho's awareness of them.
“What are you saying—?”
Minho shrugs. “I shouldn't have pushed my own feelings on you. I shouldn't have taken advantage of your moment of confusion—”
“Minho,” Jisung interrupts him. “What the fuck are you trying to say?!”
“I—I’m sorry that I kissed you even while knowing that you were in love with someone else,” Minho clarifies, slowly this time, his voice audibly wavering like he’s nervous. For someone who usually seems so calm and collected, it's almost endearing. “I should have told you—should have made myself clear before I did that.”
“Made yourself clear over what?” Jisung asks. He thinks he might have an idea, and it spurs him on—makes him feel bolder, more confident, but he doesn't want to assume things either. He wants to hear it directly from Minho.
“That I like you,” Minho says, clear and straightforward. “That I like you a lot, and that I wanted so badly to kiss you.”
“Minho, I was right there,” Jisung retorts. “I kissed you right back. Maybe I even kissed you first—I don't remember, because all I can recall is that we both clearly wanted it.”
Minho winces. “Yeah. Looking back… I think I thought it over too much.”
“Yes, you fucking did.”
“You already said that.”
Minho sighs. “Do you want to know what else I thought about over the last 48 hours or so?” He offers quietly.
“You bet I do,” Jisung huffs. “You ignore me for so long, you better tell me what the fuck has been going on through your head during that time.”
Minho chuckles, and when he leans forward, resting his head on Jisung’s shoulder, it tickles a little. Jisung can't help but smile, fond.
“Han Jisung,” Minho calls for him softly. “I have realised that I really, truly, want to get out of this loop. For a while I was fine just staying in this one day—we had fun, didn't we? And I liked spending all that time with you—just us, in our own world, in this little pocket of time. It was fine to show who I really am—it was easy to open up, little by little, because there's no real tomorrow. No lasting consequences.”
“Ah…” Jisung sighs, unsure whether this admission is good or bad; the tiny pinpricks in his heart makes him lean towards the latter.
“Ssssh.” Minho hushes, his hand leaving the small of Jisung's back where it had been resting, and relocating onto the spot on Jisung's chest where his palm can feel Jisung's heart beating. “Like I said—I don't feel like that anymore. I want more. I want…” his voice shakes, and his nerves make Jisung smile; it calms him down, knowing that he isn't the only one feeling anxious here. “I want tomorrow with you, Han Jisung.”
The song changes, and Jisung recognises it as yet another track from the same playlist. God, Minho planned this perfectly, he thinks. How can he be angry, when the soundtrack to Minho pouring his heart out to Jisung, is the exact soundtrack that has always reminded him of the feeling of falling in love?
Minho continues, softly, quietly – just for Jisung to hear, “I want to take pictures that will last – pictures that I can look at so I can smile fondly as I recall memories connected to them. I want to be able to save your contact on my phone and name you something like… I don't know. Dumbass. Or Idiot Squirrel. Or Stupid Boy (Cute)—”
“Hey!” Jisung interjects, and Minho laughs, music to Jisung's ears.
“And I want to experience the changing seasons with you, Jisungie. I want to enjoy with you the crisp autumn breeze that fall brings, and I want watch the first snowfall together—”
“Me too,” Jisung returns, fingers gentle as they press against the back of Minho’s neck; as he leans in to press his face against the curve of Minho’s shoulder. “I want to see the cherry blossoms in full bloom when spring comes, and I want to do that with you.”
“You get it,” Minho murmurs, soft but with almost palpable happiness.
“Yeah. I get it,” Jisung agrees. “And I feel the same. I like you too, jackass.”
“Okay.” Minho chuckles, shaky when he takes a deep breath, “Alright, then.” He nudges Jisung off his shoulder, but apparently only so that they can rest their foreheads against each other. “Let's figure this out together?”
Jisung laughs, leaning closer so that their mouths briefly touch in a sparse kiss. “Okay,” he agrees, and their mutual hold around each other tightens, their nerves and anxieties, their insecurities and misunderstandings fading away as they sway to the music that’s playing in the background.
Later, as usual, when they decide that they want to get away from the crowded party, they find themselves out on the beach, sitting on the sand just a few meters away from the shore. Even though Jisung is more than ready for them to propel themselves into the future, he thinks he still hasn't gotten tired of this particular night sky—if only because, and he's willing to admit this now, the illumination from this set of stars always captures Minho’s beauty perfectly.
He takes a deep breath; there's something that he has been meaning to tell Minho ever since earlier that night when they had agreed to do their best to figure out their situation.
“I have a confession.” He looks up; he had just checked his watch so he knows that it's coming; the star – his star. “I think we're stuck in this time loop because of me—because of a wish that I made.”
“Huh.” Minho, understandably, is confused.
“In around—” he gives his watch another quick glance, “—a minute or so, a shooting star will streak across the sky. The first time that I saw it—the first thirty, maybe forty times, even—I made a wish on it. I asked…” He trails off, needing a moment to inhale deeply and gather himself together. “I wanted to move on from Hyunjin. I wanted to do away with my feelings for him, and I wanted those feelings replaced with real happiness for him and Seungmin. And when I woke up the next day… It wasn't the next day. It was the morning of Hyunjin's wedding all over again.” He chuckles softly. “So there you go. I think that's the key, and all of this is my fault. I’m sorry.”
Minho blinks; he still seems confused.
“There!” Jisung excitedly points at the sky as the aforementioned falling star appears. “Quick— I wish to wake up and find that it's tomorrow!” He yells the last part enthusiastically; earnestly.
Minho continues to blink, hard and rapidly this time. And then he's laughing out loud and Jisung has to hit him on the arm, thinking that he’s being made fun of.
“It was worth a shot!” he points out huffily.
“Yeah, sure, except that wasn't a star. That was an airplane!” Minho points out, still laughing.
“Huh? No way!”
“Trust me,” Minho presses. “It was a plane. I saw enough of those when I was a kid, and I made the same mistake dozens of times. We lived pretty close to the airport, remember?”
Jisung frowns; he had been so sure that was it, and he had been so nervous to make the admission to Minho, that it's a little hard to back down and admit to being mistaken. Besides, if he's wrong, then they’re back to nothing—no theories regarding this time loop business. “If it wasn't a star… if my wish didn't cause this, then what then…?”
Minho sighs. “I have to tell you something as well, then,” he exhales. “That night… That first night, I made a wish too.” It's his turn to look at his watch, chuckling when he sees the time. “It was around this time too—the clock struck 11:11 and I wished that I would stop feeling so lonely and alone.” He ducks his head; Jisung notices the deep shade of red coloring his ears and he can't help but squeeze Minho's hand. “I guess I got that wish,” Minho shrugs, “because having you with me in this loop… Yeah. I never felt lonely for even a moment.”
Jisung softens, and leans in to kiss Minho on the cheek. He finds that the other man feels so warm—so right, and so comfortable.
“I guess we both made wishes that night,” Jisung muses, “and they both came true. So—what now?”
Minho shrugs. “What now indeed…” he echoes with a soft chuckle.
Jisung realises that they both might be eager for tomorrow, but the truth of it is that they don't really know what it's going to bring them, or where it's going to take them. He has faith that they’ll be just fine – they work so well, fit so well together so they can take whatever is coming to them. Then again, that doesn't mean it would hurt to focus on right here, right now, in this moment.
“We can go up to my room,” Jisung offers; quiet, soft—almost inaudible.
“Okay,” Minho agrees, just as soft, just as quiet—yet completely decided.
The tension is thick and palpable on their way up. It's familiar – the way Jisung's skin buzzes with excitement each time the backs of their hands brush against each other, and each time their elbows accidentally touch. This has happened before, so long ago in some ways, but also like yesterday because of how vivid the memory is in Jisung's head.
Last time it had ended abruptly; confusing. Jisung knows well enough this night is headed in another direction.
They regard each other consciously when they arrive at Jisung's room. Minho looks nervous – adorably so, and Jisung would coo and tease him if he wasn't feeling so anxious himself. The last time this scene happened, Minho had admitted to wanting to kiss him, only to immediately pull the metaphorical rug right out from under him.
We probably shouldn't, Minho had said before, words that still haunt Jisung, words that had once made him feel like he wasn't enough for Minho. That he was never going to be enough.
But this time is clearly different. Not only because of Minho's earlier confession either. He allows himself to look up, to meet Minho's gaze, and he lets himself realize that even without Minho explicitly having told him about his feelings, the way Minho is looking at him should be proof enough.
The clear fondness—the love reflected in Minho's eyes is almost crippling in its intensity. Jisung has never felt more wanted in his entire life, and the best thing about it is that he feels the exact same about the man in front of him. It's a kind of reciprocity that allows him to bask in the adoration without guilt. He opens his mouth to say something— anything, but no words come out; no words are enough to express what he wants to say.
It's frustrating, especially for someone like Jisung who prides himself in his way with words. And then Minho smiles, clear understanding mirrored in his features, and Jisung realises that he doesn't really have anything left to say because Minho already knows.
His breath hitches, and then Minho is leaning in, one hand moving to rest against the back of Jisung's as he presses their lips together.
This isn't like the very brief and very chaste peck Minho had given him all those nights ago; it's a little more forceful and a lot more eager and it makes Jisung release a laugh into the kiss. All that nervousness for naught, when it’s clear that they both want this. He leans into the kiss, one arm circling around Minho’s neck to pull him closer, even as he attempts, with his free hand, to swipe his room key against the door reader so he can unlock it. It takes a few attempts, and by the time they stumble inside, they're both laughing into each other’s mouths.
They pull away for air, and so that Jisung can properly close the door behind him. The room is dimly illuminated, only the bedside lamps automatically switching on when they entered. Their eyes meet as Minho loosens his tie, but he doesn't even manage to finish that task before Jisung's impatience takes over and he’s attacking Minho again.
Shoes are soon kicked off carelessly, dress shirts torn off eagerly; Minho is the one to pull Jisung over him onto the bed, both of them laughing when that results in Jisung’s forehead clumsily knocking against Minho's chest as the latter's back hits the mattress.
There's an obvious size difference between the two of them – while they're roughly close in height, Minho is broad and thick, wide planes all over, while Jisung is more petite in frame, narrow shoulders and an even narrower waist. Nevertheless, like this, as he hovers above Minho, he feels bigger. A rush of adrenaline shoots right through him as he regards Minho under him, hair fanning out against the pillow, lips swollen from kissing, and eyes blown wide from obvious arousal.
“You’re so fucking beautiful,” Jisung mutters as he leans down, teeth pulling at Minho’s bottom lip, abusing it gently and then licking it as if for gentle comfort.
Minho chuckles, shaking his head as his hands cup Jisung’s face, holding his head in place. “You're even more beautiful.”
Jisung wouldn't normally believe it. He doesn't find himself ugly, but he also knows what he looks like. He might talk big sometimes, but that’s just false bluster. He thinks he's average looking at best, maybe somewhat good-looking on better days. He would never use the word ‘beautiful’ on himself, not when men like Minho exist, gorgeous and ethereal even on their worst days. But Minho says it like he means it, so Jisung lets himself bask in the compliment. He leans in for another kiss, moaning when Minho licks into his mouth. His hands learn to wander, adoring Minho’s body through loving, yet desperate touches. His fingers brush against Minhos nipples, and Jisung decides that he adores the way Minho groans softly— needily— at that, so he pulls his mouth away from Minho's, deciding to move down, leaving a trail of fond kisses along Minho’s beautifully cut jaw, down the expanse of his neck to his collarbone, and further down some more until he can tease by playfully biting down around Minho’s nipples, one after the other. He nips and nibbles, deliberately leaving marks, traces of which would probably be gone once they wake up again in the same morning as they always do.
The thought riles him up, frustrates him, and makes him leave darker bruises on Minho’s chest, causing the latter to gasp and tug at his hair – Jisung likes the feeling, but at the same time there's an ache in his chest when he thinks about the disappearing marks; it only grows when he realises that unless they figure out an exit plan to their situation, this also means he is never going to wake up in the morning next to Minho; never going to see him at his most vulnerable, with bed hair, and sleepy eyes.
And then Minho's hand snakes in between them, squeezing his crotch and making Jisung momentarily forget that ache.
“Jisung, I want you,” Minho whines. “Do you have—?”
Yes. Jisung has. He came to this wedding well prepared because, as Hyunjin loved to point out to him, weddings are a great way to meet someone, never mind that Jisung was too hung up on Hyunjin himself to actually hook up with anyone at his wedding.
But that was before; Hyunjin is just a fleeting thought now, barely registering in Jisung's mind as he scrambles out of the bed so he could go through his suitcase and grab his barely used bottle of lube and a condom.
Minho moves as well, taking the opportunity to unbuckle his belt and discard his pants completely, pushing it off the side of the bed without further thought. He grins at Jisung, who does the same before returning to bed with him.
“How do we do this?” Jisung asks.
Minho laughs, nervous, with his hand stroking Jisung's cheek. “How do we…? What? You're not… You know. This isn't your first time, is it?”
“What?” Jisung is shocked and taken aback by the question. “No—what! Where did you get that idea?!”
Minho laughs even more. “Well, I—you—why are you asking how, then?!”
“I just meant—” Jisung winces. “I meant what position do you want to—” he groans, embarrassed. He thinks if this wasn't Minho, Lee Minho who is looking extremely exquisite, naked, glowing and completely in love with him, this back and forth would have ruined the moment already. “Fuck, just get on your side and let me do the work.”
“Oooh. So bossy.” Minho laughs, and then he pauses, before he adds, completely teasing, “Daddy.”
Jisung freezes, one knee on the bed. “Minho, I swear to God... Do you want my boner to go away?!”
“No.” Minho is laughing even more, cackling almost, but he's shaking his head and stretching out one arm towards Jisung. “Sorry... sorry! Come here. Please. Jisung. I want you.”
His voice gets softer, whinier, with each word, and once Jisung is close enough, he realises something that wasn't very clear in only the dim, incandescent lighting of the room. Minho is flushed a deep red, almost as if embarrassed by how much he actually wants this.
Jisung smiles, the effect he has on Minho propelling his ego. “I want you too,” he whispers, planting a kiss on Minho's shoulder as he settles behind him. He lathers a generous amount of lube on his fingers, making sure to warm it up before dragging his fingers along the crack of Minho's ass; before teasing around the rim of his hole, and causing Minho to let out a very needy moan.
He's deliberate in the slow and gentle way he pushes the first finger in; careful, and taking his time even after it's joined by a second. And then Minho groans and attempts to push back, and Jisung has to bite down his lip so he doesn't laugh out loud.
Minho isn't just gorgeous, he's also so fucking cute.
“Jisung, we have all the time for you to get cheeky in the future, but right now I just want you so stop—”
“You want me?” Jisung teases, his fingers poking and prodding inside Minho, pressing and rubbing against his walls, causing the older man to squirm even more. A sharp gasp, paired with Minho’s back arching against Jisung as the former moves his hips back against him tells Jisung that he expertly—maybe luckily, or maybe a little of both and he really just knows how to read Minho exactly—managed to find that extra sensitive collection of nerves.
“And you want me too,” Minho points out harshly, gasping and wanting. “So get on with it.”
He isn't wrong, and the way that Minho is backing against him, hips grinding in an attempt to feel more, tiny hand already wrapped around his own erection, isn't helping with Jisung's resolve. As much as he would love to keep teasing – would love to play with Minho until he's falling apart just from Jisung's bare minimum touch, he's getting quite impatient himself.
“Okay,” he breathes out, surprised by how shaky he sounds himself. He bites Minho’s shoulder, hard and leaving marks that he immediately soothes right after with kisses; and then he pulls away, Minho whining at the loss which makes Jisung smile with smug pride. It drives him to hurry even faster at rolling the condom onto his own dick, impatient as he slathers himself with more lube.
“Okay,” he breathes heavily. “Alright.” He holds Minho's arm as he settles behind him, his erection ghosting along Minho's ass crack. The older man continues to rub against him, which only results in further proof of Jisung's own impatience.
“Shit,” he mutters, breath hitching as he slowly guides himself inside Minho. “Fuck,” he whines. “You feel so…”
Good. Fine. Amazing. Wonderful. Tight. Warm.
So many words run through Jisung's head at once, but none of them feels apt enough to actually be voiced out.
Minho feels indescribable, is the only way to put it.
Minho grunts, hums, moves against Jisung, each movement sloppier as he tries to get Jisung to move faster, harder. Despite the lack of finesse, it works, as Jisung snaps his hips, slow at first, but quick in building momentum. He moves his hand, settling on Minho’s hip, fingers digging into his skin as his thrusts get harder.
“Jisung—” Minho gasps, hand going over Jisung's. “Wait. Hold on—”
“What. Why—” Jisung whines, breathless; he does start to slow down, but he can't bring himself to completely stop from grinding into Minho. He's close— so close, and he can tell they both are.
“Let me turn around.” Minho sounds like he's pleading. “I want to see you—I want you to see me.”
The words light something inside jisung. A second fire, maybe, separate from the already scalding desire he's already feeling. Whatever it is, it burns. He feels consumed by his feelings for Minho, like white hot heat coursing through his entire being. As they both turn and maneuver themselves into the position Minho wants, Jisung finds himself getting closer and closer to feeling overwhelmed.
“I love you.”
The words spill from his lips as they face each other, and he slides into Minho again. The latter's eyes widen, and Jisung is unsure if it's from the confession, or if it's from Minho having to adjust again with Jisung filling him in this new position. But then they're both moving again, Jisung practically folding Minho's legs against his chest as he finds the best angle for thrusting inside him.
Their eyes meet, and they keep their gazes locked together; they're both so, so, so close—and when Minho reaches his climax, Jisung follows off the edge soon after.
Panting, Jisung takes his sweet time soaking in Minho's features; he looks even more gorgeous, fucked out and satiated. He realises that his words, while unexpected in the moment, are a hundred percent meant.
“I love you,” he repeats, to make the sincerity in them clear.
Minho doesn't look less surprised at the repetition, but after a beat, he smiles—bright, and wide, and causing his eyes to sparkle with joy—and he wraps his arms around Jisung, pulling him down until they're chest to chest.
“I love you too,” he mumbles, and as his feelings reach Jisung, wrapping him in warmth and comfort, Jisung can't help but think that the words have never sounded sweeter.
Beep! Beep! Beep!
Jisung groans when the usual alarm jolts him into wakefulness. Another fucking day in this same fucking day, he grumbles to himself. Like he always does, he stretches his arm across the bed so he can grab a hold of his phone, except—
The other side of the bed isn't empty and his arm hits a warm body. A warm body that grunts and shifts, and—
“Minho?!” he exclaims in surprise.
Said man rolls over, muttering something incoherent under his breath. By the time he's fully facing Jisung, it's obvious that he's still unconscious, and just talking in his sleep.
Adorable, Jisung thinks, as a fond smile spreads across his lips.
“Minho,” he calls out again, this time softer, almost a whisper.
He can't help but observe that Minho is even more breathtaking in this peaceful state, with his lashes fanning across his sculpted cheekbones, and his lips parted slightly while curved down in a natural pout.
Nervous, Jisung reaches for him, one finger lightly bopping Minho's elegant nose. He holds his breath for a couple of seconds, afraid—almost expecting Minho to disappear after that. He doesn't, he remains right where he is, just shifting in position and whining in his sleep.
Jisung exhales shakily; he feels excitement brew in his stomach, spreading through his entire body. Holy shit, he thinks, immediately sitting up and sliding off the bed so he can look around for his phone. He finds it still in the pocket of his dress jacket that's messily laying on the floor.
He takes a deep breath and then he turns on the screen to check the date.
“Holy fuck!” he can't help but exclaim when he sees the date. “It's tomorrow!”
“Jisungie, you're being noisy,” Minho speaks up, clearly half-asleep still even as he cuts through his excitement.
When Jisung turns to him, Minho is busy rubbing his eyes open and trying his best to fix an angry glare at Jisung. It doesn't work, because Minho simply looks sleepy and adorably harmless.
“Jisungie just come back to bed,” Minho keeps whining, the meaning of Jisung's earlier pronouncement lost on him. Nevertheless, how can Jisung say no to such a cute request?
He puts his phone down on the bedside table and he slips back into bed, under the covers, where he confirms that Minho is just as naked as he was when they fell asleep the night before.
The night before. Literally, finally, the actual night before, and he feels a surge of happiness.
He was afraid of never being able to experience this, a sweet, lazy morning after with Minho, but here they are.
“Minho,” he whispers, cupping his lover’s face with both hands. “Wake up. It's tomorrow. Tomorrow is today.”
“What. Huh.” He blinks cutely, and Jisung almost wants to kiss his eyelids just because he can—so he does, gently, one after another. It only renders Minho more confused. “Tomorrow… Today…” he continues muttering, and then, as if the information has finally settled, his eyes open round and wide.
So, so damn precious, and Jisung is so, so damn in love.
“We got out of it?!” It's Minho's turn to exclaim excitedly.
Jisung nods eagerly.
“And we're waking up together,” Minho observes.
“Well, I woke up first,” Jisung teases with a laugh, “But yeah, This isn't a dream.”
“Holy shit. Pinch me.”
“I know.” Jisung grins and reaches under the covers to pinch Minho's bare stomach.
“Ow!” Minho huffs, a little too high pitched, which sets Jisung off laughing; he grows even louder when Minho joins him.
“I don't know what's so funny,” Minho comments amidst their combined teetering.
“I don't know either,” Jisung wheezes. “Maybe we're just happy.”
“I know I am,” Minho agrees. Without warning, he rolls on top of Jisung. Covers fall off him in the process, and Jisung can only gasp as he catches full view of Minho's torso, bruises all over, all thanks to him.
“You…” he murmurs, giggling softly as his fingers trace the spots. It's really a new day, and Minho has been marked – all his.
Minho looks down, realises what he's doing, and snorts.
“Admiring your handiwork huh?” He chuckles, but he doesn't wait for Jisung to answer before he's leaning down and kissing Jisung all over his face.
It makes Jisung sigh, but he allows himself to be showered in Minho's clear affection.
“How did this even happen?”
Jisung grins cheekily. “Well clearly I fucked you so good that I ended up fucking us right out of a time anomaly,” he says, “Damn—maybe if we had sex right at the start we wouldnt have spent all that time repeating the same damn day! This is on you for rejecting me at the beginning. Tsk.”
Minho wrinkles his nose and lightly hits Jisung's chest. “You're so full of it," he comments, but he's also clearly trying to hold back a laugh. “There was clearly a right time and place for your magic dick, idiot, and that was last night.”
That sets Jisung off all over again, and he keeps laughing, louder and heartier, and when Minho collapses on top of him, cackling, they shake together in pure happiness.
He doesn't know how it happened – how they finally got out of the loop. Maybe it's because both of their wishes have come true – maybe it's because they both acted to ensure that those wishes remain true. Or maybe the universe just got tired of them reliving the same day. Whatever it is, Jisung isn't about to question it.
He finally has his tomorrow with Minho, and that's what's important.
“I love you,” Minho suddenly whispers, right into his ear, ticklish and making him giggle.
It's fucking music to his ears.
“I love you too, Minho.”
(“When we saw the two of you dancing last night it was such a surprise,” Seungmin tells them when they all have brunch together.
The newlyweds have a flight to the Bahamas in a few hours, but they wanted to have a farewell meal with their closest friends before they go, and Jisung had gone ahead and taken Minho as his plus one.
“Right!” Hyunjin agrees heartily. “It was a shock because after we first invited Minho to the wedding, Seungmin and I talked about setting you two up at the wedding.”
“Huh.” Jisung stares at them; everyone else at the table, from Changbin, to Felix and Chris, to Hyunjin’s favorite cousin Jeongin, just seem amused, all ears as they listen to the story of how Jisung and Minho met.
“And then it turns out you already met. Through a dating app, no less!” Hyunjin exclaims. That was the official story they had gone with – they swiped right on each other, and they decided to meet up when they realised they were invited to the same wedding.
Doesn't really sound as romantic as falling in love in a time loop, but much more believable.
“Funny that,” Seungmin comments. “I wouldn't have pegged Minho to be a dating app kind of guy, but I always had a feeling that the two of you would hit it off.”
“It makes sense, actually,” Felix interjects, nodding as if he has given the match deep thought.
“It makes sense, actually,” Minho echoes softly, seemingly amused, and Jisung can't really blame him.
Their story is strange, and unbelievable, but it's real and it's all theirs. The thought makes Jisung smile, and he reaches for Minho’s hand under the table to give it a knowing squeeze.
“Yeah, well,” Hyunjin interjects with a grin. “All I wanted was for my best friend to get laid, so at least that happened regardless.”
The entire table simply erupts into collective laughter.)
( +1 )