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dreamsafterhours · 3 days ago
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MAZE TRIAL ZERO: An NCT Dream x The Maze Runner AU (Report: Day One)
[WORLD IN CATASTROPHE: KILLZONE EXPERIMENT DEPARTMENT Memorandum]
Folder: MAZE TRIAL ZERO > Folder: Progress Reports > Folder: Week One > File: Report: Day One
Attached files > File: Potential Subject Profiles
Report: Day One (01/01/231)
12:00: SUBJECT 01 summoned to PREP WARD.
12:30: PREP SHOT administered to Subject during operation to insert BIO CHIP into Subject's KILLZONE.
17:00: Preparations to insert SUBJECT 01 into MAZE completed.
17:00:08: ELEVATOR activated. Ascent into MAZE begins.
17:00:36: SUBJECT 01 wakes inside ELEVATOR.
17:00:41: Subject attempts to access NAME MEMORY FILE.
BIO CHIP indicates acute activation of sympathetic nervous system: elevated heart rates, incr. perspiration, heightened adrenaline and cortisol levels, widened bronchial passages, temporary deactivation of all immediately non-essential bodily functions.
BIO CHIP measures heart rate past 100 BPM. Peaks at 154 BPM.
Note: Side effects of PREP SHOT include impermanent retrograde amnesia, nausea, spatial and temporal disorientation. SUBJECT 01 may experience fluctuating perception of time in ELEVATOR.
Transcript of ELEVATOR audio recording at 17:00:00:
Recording Begins.
[Elevator gears grinding. Continues for approx. 36 seconds.]
Sedative properties of PREP SHOT fully wear off as SUBJECT 01 wakes with a gasp.
[Nausea causes emesis.]
[Spluttering as Subject recovers and orients himself.]
SUBJECT 01: What the... (inaudible.)
[Subject stands.]
SUBJECT 01: Hello? Hey! — hello?
17:01: ELEVATOR completes ascent into MAZE.
[Silence for approx. 5 seconds.]
[Elevator doors open overhead.]
SUBJECT 01: [REDACTED]!
[Silence as Subject recovers from sudden light.]
Remainder of audio consists of Subject climbing to exit Elevator.
Recording Ends.
17:03: Subject enters HOMESTEAD.
17:03:11: Subject attempts to access NAME MEMORY FILE.
17:03:31: SURVEILLANCE CAMERA #43 captures Subject examining the surroundings, spinning in circles as Subject processes INNER MAZE WALLS.
BIO CHIP indicates further activation of sympathetic nervous system: elevated heart rates, incr. perspiration, heightened adrenaline and cortisol levels, widened bronchial passages, temporary deactivation of all immediately non-essential bodily functions.
17:05:37: Subject collapses to knees. Minor bruising occurs. Remains in position for approx. 6 minutes.
17:05:55: Subject attempts to access NAME MEMORY FILE.
BIO CHIP indicates incr. activity of parasympathetic nervous system: decr. heart rate to 99 BPM at 15:10:22. Heart rate lowers to 94 at 17:11:03.
17:11: Subject stands and walks towards SOUTH WALL.
17:16: Subject reaches SOUTH WALL. Knocks on the stone twice. Places his fingertips on the stone and runs it along the wall until he reaches SOUTH DOOR.
17:18: SURVEILLANCE CAMERA #3 captures Subject reaching SOUTH DOOR and looking into the MAZE. Remains in position for approximately 1 minute.
BIO CHIP measures incr. activity in medial temporal lobe as Subject processes spatial components of the MAZE beyond SOUTH DOOR. Subject's sympathetic nervous response is activated.
Transcript of SURVEILLANCE CAMERA #3 audio recording at 17:18:52:
Recording begins.
SUBJECT 01: What...?
Recording ends.
17:20: Subject turns and walks away from SOUTH DOOR. Subject approaches FOREST.
17:26: SURVEILLANCE CAMERA #93 captures Subject reaching FOREST and walking west along tree line.
17:28: Subject sits at edge of FOREST, looking to SOUTH WALL.
17:29:35: Subject attempts to access NAME MEMORY FILE.
BIO CHIP indicates activation of sympathetic nervous system and heightened activity in prefrontal cortex.
17:48: Subject stands and walks toward SOUTH DOOR.
17:52: SURVEILLANCE CAMERA #3 captures Subject pausing in front of SOUTH DOOR.
17:52:36: Subject enters MAZE SECTION 6.
BIO CHIP measures incr. heart rate, peaking at 137 BPM at 17:57:36.
17:53: SURVEILLANCE CAMERA #4 captures Subject walking slowly down SOUTH DOOR CORRIDOR.
17:54:19: Subject reaches first alternate path. After careful consideration (heightened activity in prefrontal cortex and medial temporal lobe), Subject turns right.
17:54: Further exploration of SECTION 6. Encounters 3 dead ends. Continuous active use of medial temporal lobe and hippocampus indicate spatial memory at work.
17:57:43: SURVEILLANCE CAMERA #7 captures Subject staring up at darkening sky, turning back after approx. 9 seconds and retracing steps to HOMESTEAD.
17:59:50: Closing of all MAZE DOORS initiated.
BIO CHIP measures sharp incr. in adrenaline levels as Subject breaks into a sprint.
18:00:00: MAZE DOORS close. MAZE BEASTS #1 through #8 are released into the MAZE from respective SECTIONS.
18:00:00: Subject collapses to knees. Further bruising occurs. Remains in sitting position for approx. 1 minute, recovering from fear response.
Transcript of SURVEILLANCE CAMERA #3 audio recording at 18:08:57:
Recording begins.
MAZE BEAST #6: [Screeches]
SUBJECT 01: [REDACTED]!
[Subject stands and distances himself from CLOSED SOUTH DOOR.]
Recording ends.
BIO CHIP measures activation of parasympathetic nervous system and incr. activity in hippocampus and prefrontal cortex.
18:10: Subject approaches ELEVATOR and opens hatch. Subject examines contents of Elevator and jumps in.
Transcript of ELEVATOR audio recording at 18:10:14:
Recording begins.
SUBJECT 01: [Reading labels on boxes] WICKED.
SUBJECT 01: What the [REDACTED] does WICKED mean? (Inaudible.)
Remainder of audio consists of Subject reading labels of equipment and supplies aloud.
[Click as Subject turns on a torch.]
Recording ends.
18:11: SURVEILLANCE CAMERA #43 captures objects being thrown out of Elevator. First, a sleeping bag, followed by a bag of clothing. Continues until all supplies are unloaded from Elevator.
18:15: Subject climbs out of Elevator and closes hatch. Proceeds to organise supplies.
18:23: Subject completes supply organisation. Begins setting up makeshift tent.
18:39: Subject completes tent set-up. SURVEILLANCE CAMERA #78 captures Subject starting to eat in rations.
19:11: Subject sets up sleeping bag and prepares for sleep.
MAZE BEASTS continue to howl and screech throughout the night. As a result, Subject experiences difficulty falling asleep. Audio recordings from SURVEILLANCE CAMERA #78 coincide with BIO CHIP measurements of bursts of activity in sympathetic nervous system at 19:12:37, 19:23:40, 21:05:36, 22:46:29, 23:07:47, 23:07:49 and 23:34:40.
23:38:47: Subject attempts to access NAME MEMORY FILE.
23:39:56: Subject accesses NAME MEMORY FILE.
Transcript of SURVEILLANCE CAMERA #78 audio recording at 23:39:57:
Recording begins.
SUBJECT 01: Mark.
[Subject laughs and repeats his name twice.]
Recording ends.
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suh-insane · 10 days ago
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Promiscuous (M) - Preview to Part 2
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Pairing: Street Racer!Jeno X Female Reader
Genre: Angst, Smut, Ex Lovers (could baby mama drama be classified as a genre? lol probably not.)
Warnings: Swearing, Mature Content, Mentions of Unprotected Sex (Wrap it before you tap it), Mentions of cheating and abandonment, ect.
Synopsis: Dragged to an illegal race with your roommate, you come in contact with an ex from high school. Deciding to give your relationship one more chance you’re met with the challenges of having to deal with not one, but three baby mothers, three children, and multiple run ins with the police every week. Will you stay, or is your relationship doomed to be nothing more than a memorable mistake?
Teaser Word Count: 0.8k
Estimated Word Count: *violent shrug*
A/N: This is me being a responsible adult and forcing myself to write now that I'm done with my finals :) Part 2 will be split into 2 parts and part 2.1 will be up within a week. Also I promise Renjun interactions will be included in this part
Series Masterlist
Taglist: @ceruleanskies @bumblebeenct @bl--ankhaeji @jeongyoonohs @ushi-bakatoshi @weivzhn @eeyoreisloved @jenotation @jjikyuu @venusrae @donkey-hyuck @jenosvoir @seoyutayong @doyoungsarabbit @sunshinedhyuck @eveningcomenightfall @joyfuleggsfishbanana @doyoungsarabbit @whathamelon @ziziziondean @poutypoutybin @lenaluvs @sleep-is-all-i-seek @lauraneuuh @jenopollo @cherrym4rk @jenotation @neovrse @kkakkdugi @melaninjhs @luvlyjaemin @ashtz @tiramisubox @yixing-jaehyun @nctflix @thejeongjaehyun
Couldn't tag: @tenisaking127 @animeboihoe
[ Message me or send me an ask if you would like to be added to the taglist ]
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“I hate that bitch.” Hana groaned as she tapped away at her cracked device, attempting to get her broken phone to turn on. It was no use at that point, there was no way she could have revived her phone.
“That doesn't mean you can go all Hulk on her in a public setting, Right Shotaro?”
You didn't even have to wonder why Hana had behaved the way she did earlier. You should have been back in the bar enjoying drinks with your new friends, but Hana showed everyone that she could not be left alone without proper supervision in public.
You see, Hana was a firecracker with an active flame always lit near her that inched closer to the fuse every time someone or something pissed her off. Unfortunately, that night it was Sofia. You were not able to properly monitor her, so the first thing you saw when you exited the restroom was a very angry Hana clutching a broken phone in her hand as she lunged across a table and onto Sofia who you assumed had 'accidentally’ broken her phone.
She continuously ripped away at Sofia’s extensions while the young woman screamed out in pain. It took three people and a miracle to finally pry Hana off of her. You barely had time to say goodbye to Jeno before you and Shotaro had to literally drag her out of the bar and into the parking lot where you two were seated in the back of her car.
“Did you win at least?” Shotaro questioned and you groaned at his response.
“Hell yeah I won” Hana exclaimed, jumping slightly to reach her boyfriend’s raised hand.
“That's my girl.”
“You two are unbelievable, did you know that” you breathed out and threw your head back onto the headrest before instantly jerking yourself up at the sound of a loud crack right before the headrest went tumbling down. You’d think as a mechanic’s girlfriend Hana would have kept her car in a better condition.
Turning to meet your gaze, Hana stared at you in disbelief for a moment before speaking “What about you huh?”
“What about me Hana?” you exhaled, as you felt the incoming headache that was long overdue. You had contemplated downing a couple of tylenol once you got back to the apartment.
“Why were you in that bathroom with Jeno for so long?” Hana pestered. She continued to poke at your side, waiting for your answer. Had she not been one of your best friends you would have kicked her. You contemplated doing it for a moment but ultimately decided against it because you didn't want to end up life Sofia.
You shrugged, not giving in to her excessive attempt to get you to talk. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“So you want to play dumb huh?” she questioned, picking at her nails, a nasty habit she had picked up since she had stopped smoking a couple of months ago. You looked down in humiliation as the atmosphere around you suddenly got warmer at the thought of Jeno.
“Um.. I’d rather not say right now,” you mumbled, your voice almost inaudible as you gestured towards Shotaro in the front seat, who you did not feel comfortable enough to share personal information with yet..
“He doesn’t care, he probably won’t remember what you say by tomorrow” She chuckled at you and wrapped an arm around your shoulder in a playful manner.
“I can plug my ears if you want,” Shotaro suggested. You couldn’t help but slightly cringe at the young man’s comment as you pondered on how the situation would have ended. “I want to make it home alive if that's okay with you Shotaro” you fired back, as you wished that he would have kept both of his hands on the wheel.
“Just whisper it to me.” You leaned over and whispered to your roommate the events that had occurred earlier in the night. You watched as she squealed and flailed her arms in excitement before engulfing you in a bone crushing hug. “Oh my God, can I tell Renjun?”
“Please don’t” you begged, “he’s never gonna shut up about it.” Knowing your other roommate you knew he would judge you, just as he did every other day of the year. He was quite snobby for someone who spent their days wallowing in self pity. “I’m gonna tell him anyway, you know that already.” Hana proclaimed, as she reached over and nudged your shoulder.
“I’d prefer if you didn’t” you sighed. Lifting your head up you were met with the sight of Hana waiving a track of long black hair in front of your face. You hoped it hadn't came from where you thought it did. “Please tell me that isn't Sofia’s.”
However, your suspicions were confirmed when Hana broke out into an almost cynical toothy grin. “Well it obviously aint mine, that's for damn sure.”
“What am I gonna do with you?”
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dreamsafterhours · 14 days ago
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[WORLD IN CATASTROPHE: KILLZONE EXPERIMENT DEPARTMENT] MAZE TRIAL ZERO: Official Proposal
Folder: MAZE TRIAL ZERO > File: Official Proposal to Dr Ava Paige
To the desk of Dr Ava Paige
Date: 03/01/230
To Dr. Paige,
I write to you in regards to a new experiment proposal from the Department of Experimentation.
In order to map out the neural pathways of those Immune to the Flare in hopes of developing a universal cure for all, there remains an inherent need for new and efficient ways to stimulate subjects with an adverse environment for observation as to how Immune brain structures differ from those susceptible to the Flare virus.
Thus we present for your consideration:
THE MAZE TRIALS
in which subjects are placed in an unknown environment (The Maze) and are tasked with escape.
Please see the Details of Stakes Involved, Predicted Cost and Ethical Implications, attached as separate files.
In its preliminary stages, we have selected 10 Potential Subjects to participate in the first Maze Trial, to which we have coined the term Maze Trial Zero.
Profiles of Potential Subjects have been attached as separate files for your viewing.
We thank you for your time and look forward to hearing from you soon.
Regards,
Jeong Jaehyun
Head of the Department of Experimentation
World In Catastrophe: Killzone Experiment Department (W.I.C.K.E.D.)
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dreamsafterhours · 14 days ago
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[WORLD IN CATASTROPHE: KILLZONE EXPERIMENT DEPARTMENT] MAZE TRIAL ZERO: Potential Subject Profiles
Folder: MAZE TRIAL ZERO > File: Potential Subject Profiles
Subject 01
Name: Lee Minhyung (Mark)
Age: 18
Origin: Toronto, Canada
Status: Immune
Notes: Given his being the eldest of the group, he has already displayed acts of leadership for his fellow subject candidates. Seems to have a particular affection towards Subject 02.
Subject 02
Name: Park Jisung
Age: 15
Origin: Seoul, South Korea
Status: Immune
Notes: Youngest of group. Initial tests showed highest fear response to given stimuli alongside Subject 04. Close observation and comparison of results recommended.
Subject 03
Name: Lee Jeno
Age: 17
Origin: Incheon, South Korea
Status: Immune
Notes: Most compliant to directions. Frequent mediator of conflict between subjects (see Subject Observation Report 03.1.3). Initial tests show increased intelligence and advanced problem solving skills. Physical tests show consistently high results. Seems to have formed a friendship with Subject 07, who arrived at facility on same day.
Subject 04
Name: Lee Donghyuk
Age: 17
Origin: Seoul, South Korea
Status: Not Immune
Notes: Brought to facility as control subject while recruiting Immune siblings. Initial tests show advanced problem solving skills and highest fear response to given stimuli alongside Subject 02. Close observation and comparison of results recommended.
Subject 05
Name: Zhong Chenle
Age: 16
Origin: Shanghai, China
Status: Immune
Notes: Brought to facility by mercenaries in exchange for reward money upon finding him Immune after Crank attack. Seems to have formed a friendship with Subject 10, who is the same age. Hostile towards staff. Total of 4 behaviour warnings issued thus far.
Subject 06
Name: Huang Renjun
Age: 17
Origin: Jilin, China
Status: Not Immune
Notes: Particularly uncooperative in initial transport process to facility (see Subject Observation Report 06.1.1). Additional personnel called in for restraint when subject managed to get a hold of guard's taser and proceeded to attempt escape. Controlled doses of amnesia-inducing pills administered, subject now cooperative and willing to follow orders.
Subject 07
Name: Na Jaemin
Age: 17
Origin: Jeonju, South Korea
Status: Not Immune
Notes: Surrendered to W.I.C.K.E.D. by parents at Korean Peninsula control border. Mostly compliant, if not silent. Initial tests show increased stamina and physical ability. Seems to have formed a friendship with Subject 03, who arrived at facility on same day.
Subject 08
Name: Liu Yangyang
Age: 17
Origin: Düsseldorf, Germany
Status: Immune
Notes: Surrendered to W.I.C.K.E.D. by parents at Germany control border. Only speaks to Subjects 05 and 06, given the language barrier between the rest.
Subject 09
Name: Osaki Shōtarō
Age: 17
Origin: Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan
Status: Not Immune
Notes: Recruited at Japan control border. Has refused to speak since arrival to facility, even to Japanese-speaking staff. Otherwise unable to communicate with other subjects due to language barrier.
Subject 10
Name: Jeong Sungchan
Age: 16
Origin: Seoul, South Korea
Status: Immune
Notes: Seems to have formed a friendship with Subject 05, who is the same age. Initial tests show advanced problem solving skills and good physical ability.
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dreamsafterhours · 14 days ago
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MAZE TRIAL ZERO Masterlist
An NCT Dream x The Maze Runner AU
What if Alby wasn't the first Glader?
enjoy as i write purely for self-indulgence, born from my love of the series and a passion for putting my biases in fictional situations of mortal danger
this series will be formatted as report files from W.I.C.K.E.D. as they test out their maze on our seven boys from NCT Dream
there is no y/n in this series, only secondary observation reports
to clarify, this plot can be read as a 'prequel' to The Maze Runner by James Dashner. there may be references to preexisting characters, however they will not be active agents in this series. technically, this is an alternate universe for the dreamies, not thomas and his friends.
the warnings below should be enough to prepare you all for what's coming lol. buckle up
⚠️ tw: major character death, violence, grievers, swearing, graphic depictions of gore and blood, weapon use, possible spoilers for The Maze Runner series. i cannot stress enough that you should read at your own discretion.
naturally, the genre is horror and will involve scientific observations to suggest adverse emotions, such as fear.
this is a work of fiction closely tied to James Dashner's novel series, The Maze Runner. while i do not intend to plagiarise any of his works, i will be using many of his plot points, including the maze, grievers, w.i.c.k.e.d., and some characters, e.g. Dr. Ava Paige, etc., however, the details of the plot will be of my own imagination.
i do not own these characters, nor do i own James Dashner's name or those of NCT Dream's members. i am merely borrowing them for alternate universe purposes.
Folder: MAZE TRIAL ZERO > Folder: Pre-Trial Preparation and Planning
File: Official Proposal to Dr Ava Paige
File: Potential Subject Profiles
File: Details of Stakes Involved
File: Predicted Cost
File: Ethical Implications
File: Map of the Maze
Folder: MAZE TRIAL ZERO > Folder: Progress Reports > Folder: Week One
Report: Day One
Report: Day Two
Report: Day Three
Report: Day Four
Report: Day Five
Report: Day Six
Report: Day Seven
Folder: MAZE TRIAL ZERO > Folder: Conclusion
File: Discussion and Advice for Future Development
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theleemark · 18 days ago
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a slice of watermelon 
word count: 1.3k 
genre: soulmate au; friends to lovers
pairing: childhood best friend!mark x reader (ft. donghyuck)
-> on your eighteenth birthday, everyone gets a matching tattoo with their soulmate. you were a little confused when your tattoo was a slice of watermelon. 
a/n: this was requested! it kinda became longer than i thought, but i hope you all enjoy (i still have a couple more requests in my inbox tho so bare with me while i try to manage this and exams)
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“so you got your tattoo yesterday?” donghyuck asked as both of you walked down the hallway to class. 
“yeah i got it last night,” you mumbled, putting your phone into your back pocket. your right hand pulled up your sleeve, and you shoved your left arm in donghyuck’s direction. “it’s a slice of watermelon.” 
donghyuck snorted as he gently held your arm to take a closer look. “it’s kinda cute.”
“its also kind of stupid,” you sigh, walking through the door of your classroom. “i tried looking it up to see if there was any deeper, metaphorical meaning, but i don't think there is.” 
“maybe your soulmate just likes watermelons,” donghyuck replies simply as he slides into a seat. you slide in next to him and place your books down. 
“you never know, maybe its mark,” donghyuck winks at you. 
with raised eyebrows, you turn towards him and scoff. “there's no way. you can't use the fact that i'm in love with him against me, hyuck. besides, i’ve known the kid since we were in diapers.”
“so?” donghyuck questions, stealing a pencil from your backpack earning a glare from you. “wouldn’t it be nice to know your soulmate has been your best friend who has always been there for you?” 
“yeah i guess,” you slump against the table. “it’s just- the thought of him being my soulmate makes my heart flutter, and i don’t like it. cause i'm positive he doesn’t like me back.” 
“you’re impossible,” donghyuck rolls his eyes. “and blind.” 
“yeah yeah, whatever, hyuck,” you try to ignore his comment, but a part of you is wondering if he is being serious. “did you finish the homework?”
“we had homework?” donghyuck yelled, eyes as wide as saucers at your question. 
“yes,” you reply. now it’s your turn to roll your eyes. “maybe it's you who is impossible.” 
-------
as you exit class, parting ways with donghyuck, you see mark lee leaning against a pole with his headphones in, head nodding to whatever he was listening to. 
you stood there for a second completely allured by his beauty- his, now, blue hair which you dyed for him was ruffled by the wind, and his transfixed eyes looked like they held all the stars in the galaxy. 
mark looked up at you from underneath his lashes, and you look away as quickly as you can. he straightens his posture and strides his way towards you. 
“why are you just standing here,” he says, gently tapping your nose to get your attention. 
“just blanked out,” you whispered, not being able to look him in the eyes. the conversation you had with donghyuck kept replaying in your mind. there was no way, right? 
“anyway,” mark starts, motioning for you to follow him. “i found this really cute cafe we can go to across the street. the fairy lights inside are so pretty, and it kind of reminds me of our childhood treehouse.” 
“our treehouse was not pretty,” you retort. “we literally colored all over the walls, and the lights were wonky.” 
“still pretty to me,” he said, looking down at you. when you looked into his eyes, it's as if the world stopped spinning. 
"we're here!" mark was the first to break eye contact and point towards the cafe. he was right- this cafe looked so pretty. from the outside the dainty sign spelled out "dream cafe", while the inside was lined with lights that connected to look like constellations. above the front counter was a simple menu, listed with coffees, teas, and little pastries.
"one grapefruit honey black tea and- hey y/n, what do you want?" mark says, interrupting your train of thought.
"uh," you quickly scan the menu, "a small caramel latte and a chocolate croissant."
the barista nods at your words and in response, you shuffle through your bag for some money. mark notices your movement and reaches down to whisper in your ear, "hey don't worry, it's on me."
you try to protest but the butterflies in your stomach intensify at the sound of his raspy voice so close to your ear. "a-alright."
you and mark take your drinks and the pastry to a booth. as he bends over to place his drink across the table from you, his shirt dips down past his collarbone revealing a small semicircle tattoo.
it was a quick glimpse, but it wasn't hard to decipher his tattoo. "watermelon?"
"huh?" mark raises his eyebrows at you with confusion.
"your tattoo," you shakily point towards his chest. "it's a watermelon... right?"
mark looks down his shirt, and a small smile dances across his lips. "yeah, it is."
"we never really talked about our soulmate tattoos, have we?" mark stirs his drink, the ice clinking against the glass.
"no," you gulp, almost paralyzed at the fact that you were in front of your soulmate. your soulmate being mark lee.
"hyuck told me you got yours but refused to tell me," he says, pushing your pastry towards you. "i was gonna ask you myself yesterday but i completely forgot in the excitement of you turning eighteen."
"so what is your tattoo anyway?" mark takes a sip of his tea. his eyes are trained on the drink and not you, which made you feel a little less nervous.
you considered lying to him, saying you got a little cat or a tattoo of a butterfly, but your heart was telling you to tell him the truth.
"a watermelon."
mark begins to choke on his drink, some of it spilling out of the glass and onto the wooden table. he looks up at you slowly, while you're more concerned about him choking on his drink.
"are you okay?" you exclaim, taking some napkins and quickly cleaning up the mess.
"it's you," he completely ignores your question and looks straight at you. "it's you. it's always been you."
you gave a confused look, urging him to explain what he meant.
"i've been in love with you since we were kids, and after i got my soulmate tattoo, i couldn't help but feel guilty," he continues. "and when i heard you got yours, i so badly wanted to know, but i knew it would shatter my heart if you weren't my soulmate."
"i- what," you're frazzled at his response. "you're in love with me? i've been in love with you since we were kids."
"wait what," he replies, dumbfounded at this whole situation.
"yeah," you push your drink to the side. "i thought you only thought of me as a friend and i didn't want to ruin our friendship because it means the world to me."
"but i have liked you ever since we met in the sandbox."
mark raises one eyebrow at you. "really the sandbox? i liked you way before that."
"i didn't know this was a competition," you smirked leaning closer to his face.
"oh it definitely is, cutie," mark leaned in even closer, causing your foreheads to touch.
for a second the world went completely silent. all you knew was that his lips were ghosting yours, and you could smell his captivating cologne. before you knew it, your body automatically closed any distance between you two.
sparks.
maybe those rom-coms were right about your first kiss with your soulmate being absolutely magical. because with mark lee, even magic was too weak of a word to describe the feeling. charming, enticing, magnetic- it was magnetic.
it was as if the world pushed you two towards each other- ever since you were little. it was a sign that you two were made for each other. a sign that you two were soulmates.
out of breath, you both pull away. eyes closed and foreheads still resting against each other.
"you know i thought the watermelon tattoo was lame,"
"you're lame," you could hear the pout in mark's voice. "i thought it was really cute."
you chuckle, comforted by the feeling of the weight on his head on yours.
maybe it was a little cute. just a tiny bit.
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dreamsafterhours · 27 days ago
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⚠️ tw: weapon use, mentions of blood
1:07 pm: “well, you’re not cod.”
it was not the silky smooth skin (scales?), nor the somewhat fascinating slits for gills flaring in the creature’s shock that first caught your attention. not even the wriggling tail, shimmering golds and greens and blues even in minimal sunlight with every movement.
it was the eyes. the wild young eyes that defied the status of prey and established itself as a living being, not just a body of meat and bones. there was a soul there, so hungry and alive, barely containing the storm behind them.
it was startling how such fire could come from a child of the sea.
thetis had blessed you today with your first close-up look at a real merman, suspended above you in a fishing net. still hissing and thrashing, it bared its teeth at you and the crew, fighting for freedom, but only managing to tangle itself further in the process.
"lucky catch?" first mate!johnny mused, shrugging his shoulder.
"didn't think we'd see merpeople in these waters," quartermaster!jaehyun muttered.
cook!chenle was shaking his head. "we can't eat that," he said, arms crossed over his chest.
"no shit," pirate!haechan replied, "we've all heard the stories — men's blood freezing up in their veins." he shuddered. "don't know about y'all, but i'm not about to have my blood turned into slush."
your crewmates' words hung about you like the low-hanging clouds on a still day, and yet you couldn't take your eyes off the creature, so very clearly out of its element.
to see such a beautiful, fatal beast struggling in such a way under your hand, exposed and vulnerable — so wonderfully voyeuristic and intimate, you couldn't help but become intrigued by it. him.
his eyes had turned from furious to panicked as the net was lowered down onto the deck, grabbing at the ropes and swiping desperately as if his claws could cut through in such a time.
you still had yet to say a word, still stunned with awe as he spilled out onto the wooden deck along with the rest of the catch — but found yourself lunging forward as you saw your crew stepping forward to handle him however they planned.
hand at your sheathed cutlass, you stepped in front of the merman, turning to face your crew with a daring glare.
"you won't touch him," you warned, raising your chin to challenge anyone to question your authority.
jaehyun let out a sigh and motioned for the others to step back. they begrudgingly obeyed, just as the captain's quarters opened and captain!taeyong, your brother, stepped out on deck.
"what's going on there?"
"merman, sir," cabin boy!jisung piped up, "pulled up the fishing net and there he was, sir."
"merman, you say?" taeyong repeated, taking his time down the stairs. "you mean that boy?"
looking back at him, your jaw dropped as the boy's tail seemed to melt away, fins into flesh and bending into knees — real knees, ankles and feet and all — right before your very eyes.
the boy's face was twisted with nausea and pain, and you realised he must have been enduring the sensations of new limbs being created in real time, bones fusing and scales sinking into skin, then splitting into two separate legs. you winced as he visibly fought back a strained groan of agony.
you took a second to process the transformation before you as the crowd parted for your captain like the splitting sea as he approached. you clenched your jaw when he signalled you to step aside, but you did so cautiously nevertheless.
crouching in front of the naked half-boy, taeyong ignored his (weaker) warning hiss and held a short blade under his chin, tilting it upwards so as to get a better look at his gills as they vanished, fusing back into the skin of his neck. he took a long gasp of air, strained with the position he was held in.
"now, what's a pretty thing like you doing in our fishing net?"
instead of replying, he snapped at his hand, jaws opening to reveal a normal, human set of teeth. instead of flinching, however, like most of the crew, your brother gave him a warning of his own, stabbing downwards at the half-boy's no-longer-webbed hands. the blade caught the gap between his thumb and finger, which would have pinned him to the deck had he still been in his merman form.
your grip tightened on your cutlass' handle as the creature yelped in shock. "taeyong, enough!" nudging him hard out of your way, you reach down and pull the knife out, throwing it aside. you turn on your brother, recovering from his fall. "get away from him," you snapped, only to be met with laughter.
"what's it to you, whether it dies or not?"
"you'll leave him alone, and that's that." you tried to put as much finality as you could into your voice, half-worried it wouldn't be enough — but to your surprise, taeyong snorted and gave you a nod.
"suit yourself," he placed his hands on his hips, "what would you have us do with him, then? leave him in the sun to dry?"
the merman let out a low growl at that suggestion, but you ignored it.
"we let him go."
pirate!jaemin threw off his shirt to drape over the shivering boy as he was hauled up onto shaky new feet, legs buckling and knees giving in with the first few steps he took.
as soon as he could take certain steps, taeyong ordered for the plank to be taken out, and they were quick to usher him onto it to drop back into the sea. he hadn’t helped at all, squirming profusely in protest all throughout.
the boy's previous feral ferocity had long since gone, and his eyes now screamed of a strange panic and fear. glancing from the horizon to his feet and the waters below and back, he seemed to be hesitating. wasn't the ocean his home?
you didn't dare move a muscle in anticipation until he looked desperately over his shoulder, staring straight at you — begging for mercy from the only person who had granted it to him.
pure instinct launched you forward, stepping onto the plank and tiptoeing over to him, ignoring your crew's exclamations behind you.
"it's okay," you called out, "you can come back."
the boy clutched at the shirt, wrapping it tighter around himself as he trembled in cold, beautiful face twisted in anguish.
"come back with me," you beckoned, reaching your open hand out. "i can protect you."
you realised you didn't even know for certain that he knew what you were saying, but your eyes seemed to say enough for him. he managed a shaky step towards you, then another, and another, until he was within reach for him to take your hand (albeit tentatively).
the plank was nowhere near wide enough for you to support him side by side, so you offered your arm and shoulder for him to grab onto and lean on as you led him back onto the ship. the crew allowed enough space for him to collapse to his knees almost as soon as he climbed back on deck, and you ordered for jisung to bring him a new outfit.
soon, the crowd dispersed, returning to their duties — you looked up from helping him put on a clean shirt to taeyong, grinning down at you.
"you'll be responsible for him from now on," he said.
"i know."
"good," he nodded slowly, seeming to be proud of himself.
you fastened the last button for him and examined his face as he stared down into his lap.
"do you have a name?"
the boy's pale lips twitched, like he was trying to form words as you had done.
you repeated your question, softer and slower.
you didn't know what voice you were expecting from him, but it was more melodic and fragile than you could have ever imagined.
"renjun," he murmured, "my name is renjun."
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dreamsafterhours · a month ago
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1811: the 166th day of your voyage in space with your sole flight companion, astronaut!haechan, starts like any other.
the mission had been running smoothly, with nothing remarkable on the schedule. analyse some samples, go through any new messages from earth, double-check supplies.
on paper, it was meant to be one of the least eventful days of the week ahead.
you had both been spending time in the gym in your rare overlapping break time, getting your daily exercise; running on the treadmill with him on the one adjacent, in the middle of a contest of endurance to see who could hold out the longest.
the ship spins around to grant you a once-in-a-lifetime view of earth through the windows, just a tiny blue speck against the vast void of space. your gaze locks onto your home, and you let yourself get lost in thoughts of your life. right there, on that pinprick of colour smaller than your fingernail, was everything you knew and loved.
"missing home?" haechan calls out, seeming to have noticed what your attention was on.
you glance over at him with a sheepish laugh. reaching out to slow the treadmill down, you catch your breath before you make to reply as he does the same.
"it's been so long since i've seen my niece," you tell him what you've been dwelling over for a few nights in a row, chest still heaving from effort.
he snorts, wiping sweat from his forehead with a towel. "she sent you a video message just yesterday. what was it about? her new elephant plushie she named after you?"
you can't force the smile off your lips as you recall the very file he was referring to. "yeah, well... you know it's different."
he sucks his teeth and nods slowly. "fair."
"just the thought of her naming a doll after me because i'm not there in person, you know?" you don't need to verbally add that it breaks your heart for him to understand.
"yeah." his eyes fall to the treadmill control pad in front of him. "hey, i'm sure she's super proud of you. she's probably bragging to all her friends that she has an actual astronaut in her family, and they're 'up in space at this very moment'." he holds up air quotes and speaks in a proud, matter-of-fact voice in an attempt to imitate your niece.
your smile breaks wider at the image of her, beaming baby teeth and all. "hey, what about you? who's boasting about you back home?"
haechan opens his mouth to speak, but is cut off by your yelp of surprise as your weight vanishes with warning, your stomach lurching with horror as the floor disappears underneath your feet. you register him cursing loudly as his body floats—floats—up, without the comfort of gravity.
you swear the ship has abandoned you.
you were, of course, familiar with the sensation of weightlessness in space—but only when it was meant to be so, and the very implications makes your brain go haywire.
"shit, shit, shit—" momentary panic forces your arms to flail out to grab onto something, anything—and a hand catches your wrist as haechan pulls you into his chest.
"i got you," though comforting, haechan fails to hide his own shock and confusion, "i got you."
he unwraps one arm from around you to gently push off the approaching ceiling, sending the two of you drifting slowly back towards the floor again.
grabbing onto the handlebar of a treadmill (you felt tremendously thankful for the fact that they were fixed to the gym floor), he pulls both of you as close to the floor as possible in case the gravity machine decides to function properly again without warning.
your heart jumps to your throat again as his back thuds on the floor and pulls you down with him, falling onto his chest. neither of you having let go of one another the entire time you spent in unplanned non-gravity. "are you okay?"
your stray hair falls on your face as you push your head off his chest and nod blankly in reply.
"well, that wasn't supposed to happen," he says, though his face shows no sign of joking like usual.
"no shit," you breathe out.
you both flinch when an alarm blares through the speakers, screaming of certain impending doom in the form of a system malfunction.
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your-world-with-nct · a month ago
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— inspired by jun - silent boarding gate
💌 • 2:31am
observing the way his breath transformed into a cloud of palpable smoke, exboyfriend!renjun sighed once again, realising how pathetic he probably looked standing outside on the balcony of his dorm during the pitch black hours of the night, in his mismatched set of his pyjamas and his thick padded coat, wistfully staring out into the distance wondering about what could’ve been.
sleepless nights were nothing new to renjun, in fact he had gotten used to them, ever since... well, he didn’t exactly want to think about it, yet it was the only thing that was ever on his mind.
the memories of the countless nights you two had spent in this exact spot, doing absolutely nothing whilst being content with each other’s company, flooded back almost immediately, as he looked up at the night sky, rapidly blinking to suppress the tears.
however, this simply had the opposite effect, further encouraging the tears to fall, as the mere sight of the glimmering sky had renjun picturing your gleeful grins and your endless conversations about the beauty of the universe–although he never really understood what you were talking about, since he was always too preoccupied admiring the way your eyes outshined all of the stars in the galaxy or the way your honeyed voice raised in pitch when you were talking about something you were particularly passionate about.
“–there’s a theory that for every decision we make, there’s an alternate universe for every other option we could’ve chosen,” your speech slightly muffled as your face was buried into the warmth and comfort of renjun’s shoulder, “like... there’s probably another universe out there where everything’s the exact same, except i used the self-service checkout at the grocery store instead of the regular checkout.”
“really?” his eyebrows raised out of curiosity, receiving a quick affirmative nod from you, “so, does that mean there’s a universe where we’re not dating?”
“i mean, probably, but that doesn’t sound like a nice one to live in,” you grimaced, shuffling even closer to renjun to convey the message that you were trying to subtly get across through your words—‘i couldn’t live in a universe without you’—to which he smiled softly to himself once he understood what you meant by that.
“i like the universe we’re in right now, i mean, i’ve made lots of choices in the past that i’ve regretted, but, would i be here right now if it wasn’t for them? would they have made so much of a difference that i would be leading a whole different life now? well, it doesn’t matter, all that matters is that in this life, and in this universe, i get to be with you,” renjun looked over to see if you had caught all of his rant, eyes widening once he realised that you had fallen asleep in his arms at some point during his ramble.
he wrapped the thin blanket you two had brought outside with you around your trembling frame, tightening his embrace and placing a light kiss on your forehead, one on each of your closed eyelids, one on your cheek, and the final one on your parted lips, to which you seemingly smiled at in your sleep. despite the cold temperatures nipping at his body, his heart was bursting with warmth as he watched your chest rise and fall during your calm slumber, and your hands that were just about sticking out of the sleeves of your (his) sweater reach for his touch. in that moment, renjun had never felt so grateful for the decisions he’d made in his life up until now, forever thankful that they had led him to meet the love of his life.
with every crystal droplet rolling down his face, renjun had never felt the intense piercing of the cold as much as he did right now, with no warmth in his heart, no warmth in his touch, feeling as empty as the velvety blanket above him and as exhausted as the restless city beneath him.
“remember when you said there might be a universe where we’re not dating?” he said aloud to nobody in particular, simply voicing his pent-up thoughts, “well, it exists, and we’re in it. turns out you were right, it’s not a nice one to live in.”
renjun’s voice quivered as he shoved his hands deeper into his pockets, pouting slightly when he felt the cold metal of his ring against the warm fabric, having not had the courage to take it off after four months and get rid of the last connection he had to you. as he sighed and wiped the waterfall of tears with his sleeve, he wiggled the small band off of his finger, holding it over the edge of the balcony and swallowing the lump in his throat.
“you know what, there is a choice i regret, and that was breaking up with you, y/n,” he closed his eyes and turned his head away, his arm dangling further over the edge with the ring in his hand, unable to witness what he was about to do to the miniature thing that held so much meaning to him.
as renjun’s hand shivered from the nerves and the frosty air, he felt his fingers suddenly clench around the tiny band, something inside of him not wanting to accept his fate and move on just yet. he shook his head at his cowardice taking over him, his eyes flickering from the vast view of the city to the small ring in his palm, glinting as the faint beams of moonlight struck the engraved letters—your initials.
“i-i wish that i was in the universe where i never made that choice.”
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suh-insane · 2 months ago
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Promiscuous (M) - Part 1
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Pairing: Street Racer!Jeno X Female Reader
Genre: Angst, Smut, Ex Lovers (could baby mama drama be classified as a genre? lol probably not.)
Warnings: Swearing, Mature Content, Fingering, Public Indecency, and Mentions of cheating
Synopsis: Dragged to an illegal race with your roommate, you come in contact with an ex from high school. Deciding to give your relationship one more chance you're met with the challenges of having to deal with not one, but three baby mothers, three children, and multiple run ins with the police every week. Will you stay, or is your relationship doomed to be nothing more than a memorable mistake?
Word Count: 13.9k
Series Masterlist + Playlist
A/N: This Literally put me through hell. I was gonna make it one long ass fic but ultimately decided against it so I'm actually motivated to get shit done. I hope y'all like it. Thank you to my babes @ceruleanskies @bumblebeenct @neocitybynight @byunbaekby and @theunicornotaku for helping me put shit into perspective when I really needed it.
Taglist: @jeongyoonohs @ushi-bakatoshi @xiaocvlts @eeyoreisloved @jenotation @jjikyuu @venusrae @donkey-hyuck @jenosvoir @seoyutayong @doyoungsarabbit @sunshinedhyuck @darkyumeko @joyfuleggsfishbanana @doyoungsarabbit @whathamelon @ziziziondean @tenisaking127 @animeboihoe @poutypoutybin @poutypoutybin @lenaluvs​
“I thought you said your boyfriend works on cars.” You whined as your roommate dragged you through the harsh winter air and towards the crowd of rowdy bystanders waiting for the gates to open.
At that moment you couldn't help but think about how you should have been laying in your bed, watching Christmas movies, and complaining about how cold it usually was inside the apartment. Had it not been for Hana’s endless pleads for you to attend so she could introduce you to her boyfriend Shotaro, you would have been sleeping. So there you were, surrounded by people who looked like they may have served time in prison for either vandalism or armed robbery, freezing your ass off for the sake of your dearest friend. 
“Well if I told you that he works for illegal race car drivers would you have come with me? Honestly?”
“Probably not, but why don't you ever invite Renjun to come? He needs to get out of the house more than me.” You groaned, he should have been the one out here instead of you. It's not like he had anything better to do anyway. You could have easily persuaded him to take your place with $20 and a 12-pack of Coke. Renjun was your other roommate who seemed to never leave the apartment ever since he found out that his ex girlfriend cheated on him with their Bio professor, who just so happened to be his cousin. Holidays must be awkward for him. You almost felt bad for him, but in that moment you envied him. Yes you were just as antisocial as the young man, but at least you left the apartment from time to time to get some fresh air. Renjun just layed in bed most of the time and blamed the world for all of his problems. 
“Nope, fuck that lopsided, good for nothing bitch, he ate all of my bown sugar pop tarts and used my bra as a slingshot for one of his science experiments.” Hana huffed out, earning an eyeroll from you. It wasn't unusual for the young man to ‘borrow’ your things for his projects. Sometimes your objects would return to you in the condition in which they left, other times you were lucky to even get your shit back. 
“Anyways, what do you think he's doing?” Hana spoke up as if she doesn't already know what the young man is always up to when you two leave the house. He’s a simple man. He doesn't do much.
“Fucking the neighbor again. What else would he be doing?” 
The young girl would always show up at your apartment asking for a cup of sugar. You knew it was just to see Renjun because the girl obviously couldn't bake for shit as the fire department had been called one too many times for you to not notice. The poor freshman didn't realize that he wasn't looking for a relationship and only came knocking at her door for a good time. She reminded you of Hana during your first year of college; spunky and looking for validation from juniors and seniors.
“I mean the man’s gotta get some action too, not all of us can be a prude, miss.’I’m happy all by myself’. ” Hana spoke, eliciting a scoff from you.
“I'm not gonna address your last comment. I’m just gonna act like you never said that, but he can go to the neighbor’s house and have fun because I’m sick of him leaving traces of his could have been children around the apartment.” 
Snorting at your remarks Hana just simply agreed as she continued to lead you around the back gate of the parking lot and into an area that was set up with tents for the employees all while completely avoiding having to play for entry. There must be certain perks to having a boyfriend that works at these things.
“Well we can't ask him to leave, he pays half of the rent. Anyway, he wouldn't have enjoyed it here anyway, there's not enough boobs for his liking.”
She was right, the attendees of the race seemed to be overwhelmingly male with the exception of a few older women who stood at the gates collecting the money that was being placed for bets. The air smelled of motor oil, desperation, and cheap weed. All smells you were not too fond of. The loud chatter of the men ranged from those in their early twenties to late thirties was too abrupt for anyone to assume that these races were supposed to be inconspicuous. It made you wonder if it was even legal to even be in attendance. 
“I still can't believe I agreed to this” you huffed out.
“Well I'm glad you agreed to come this time, Shotaro really wanted to meet you after I told him you're the one who got me to stop smoking.” She spoke, you could hear the genuine tone in her voice, which was extremely rare. “Plus these things are really fun.”
“Oh yes… potential death seems exhilarating” you exclaimed. Hana became visibly annoyed, you swear that if she rolled her eyes any more by the end of the night she would have been able to see the back of her skull. Letting out a groan of distaste she starts to wonder why she even bothered with inviting you. It's not your fault, you're just not drawn to dangerous things. Hana thinks you're boring, you think you're just cautious.
“Can you not be a killjoy for once Y/N? It’s a friday night in December, we finished our finals, and you're about to meet the first man who I haven't let corrupt me into doing bad things.”
Scoffing at her words you feigned a shocked expression. You had become accustomed to Hana’s light verbal assault. It wasn't like her words had any impact on you; she never really meant what she said to you. Anyway, you weren't trying to bring down the mood, you were just simply trying to be realistic.
“We’re literally at an illegal race right now, do you even hear what you're sayi-”
“I'm not listening to you la la la la.” Hana interrupted, plugging her ears with her fingers as she walked in the direction of the waving young man who you assumed was her boyfriend you attempted to quicken your pace but to no avail as your strides were blocked by a unrealistically large man covered in ink and a rather large scar that seemed to have caused him to lose his left eye.
“Excuse me” you spoke. Not wanting to cause a scene you simply tried walking around the man, only to be stopped once more as he copied your movements in order to block you from moving once more.
“Woah, what's the rush sweetheart? Why don't you come sit on my shoulders so you can see the race better?” 
His words did not phase you at all, you had dealt with sleazy men all your life, his height however left you quite terrified. “Well I actually came here with someone, I should go look for her.”
“Oh? Well let's make it a threesome” he spoke. The man was closing in on you, every step you took back to distance yourself he took another towards you. You were visibly uncomfortable and hoping that Hana would notice that you were no longer behind her. 
“Um I actually gotta g- HANA!” catching the man completely off guard you decided to make your way around him and towards a very confused Hana. “You weren't just behind me?”
“No, I was too busy being harassed by the Hulk over there. I think he's still looking this way.” You breathed out and pointed in the direction of where the large man stood. Your actions earned a soft chuckle from the man who had his arm wrapped around the waist of your friend causing you to look at him questionably.
“That's Buldozer, he's gay. He just likes messing with people'' the young man spoke up. 
“Could've fooled me, he’s quite terrifying. Anyway, you must be Shotaro.” The boy only nodded and gave you a quick smile before Hana elbowed his side slightly telling him to introduce himself. 
“Yes, and you must be the infamous Y/N I’ve heard so much about.”
“The one and only.” You could see why Hana liked the young man so much, he seemed sweet and they looked really good together. He wasn't too tall but he towered over her as if he was a giant. Well, anyone was a giant when compared to Hana, she was barely five feet tall.
“Shotaro says we can sit up front with him and his friends because the stands get really cold at night.”
“Baby I told you, they’re my friends outside of work, but right now they're my employees. I gotta be professional right now.” He spoke, as he adjusted his glasses in an attempt to look more put together. Professional? How professional can you get in some oiled up sweats in the middle of an old abandoned racing lot about 25 miles away from the rest of civilization?
“Anyway, do you want something to drink? The race is gonna start in about ten minutes.” 
“Do they have any cokes?” Already rummaging through the cooler your friend humed in response.
“I can check. Let's see, they have water, Capri-suns, and umm... Henessy?” Hana questioned, turning towards her boyfriend with a questioning look as the man raised his hands in defense. “That's not mine it's Mark’s” She only rolled her eyes in disbelief as she placed the bottle back into the cooler and handed you a water bottle.
“So, how did you guys manage to find this place for the races?” You asked, tearing the man’s attention from whatever he was organizing at that moment.
“Huh? Oh this place?  It's been abandoned for about 50 years. Jeno found it about a couple months back. It’s good he did because it was getting kinda risky to race in the streets ya know? The cops would start to suspect us.”
“Did you say Jeno? As in Lee Jeno?” You questioned as your eyes widened in disbelief . It had been a few years since you had heard that name. A name you thought you would not have encountered again.
“You know Jeno?” Shotaro questioned.
“I don't think we're thinking about the same one.” He couldn't have been talking about the same Jeno you dated your freshman year of high school right? What are the odds?
“I mean Jeno isn't really a common name.”
“Jeno? The one who thinks with his dick rather than his brain?” A man from behind Shotaro spoke up. He was wearing something similar to Shotaro’s outfit, but he surely sported less greasy stains and looked slightly more put together. You could sense the hostility in his voice. It seemed as if the young man was not too fond of Jeno.
“Sungchan don’t be salty because you’re on probation and can't race this week.” A woman sitting only a few feet from you spoke. 
“Mind your business Milly. I’ll be back on the track next week” the young man apparently named Sungchan exclaimed coldly.
“We’ll see about that.” You couldn't help but hear the quiet curses from under the man’s breath as he mumbled something about wishing the young woman would just go home and how he shouldn't have to deal with this mistreatment. It wasn't before long that the woman who's name you have come to learn was Milly patted the seat next to her, motioning for you to sit next to her. You accepted her offer and happily made your way towards her with the intent of striking up a conversation with one of the only other women there, especially because Hana seemed rather distracted by her boyfriend's lips at the moment.
“Don’t mind him, he's always in a bad mood.”
“That's unfortunate.” You said, voice barely above a whisper, afraid that he would have turned around and engaged in a dispute with you.
“Not really, I find it funny. He's really cocky and thinks he can out-race my boyfriend. Somebody has to put him in his place.” She spoke, emphasizing the last part so that Sungchan was able to hear her. He only responded with a quick eye roll before he returned to his work. “This must be your first time here, I'm Milly.” Extending her hand out, you accepted her greeting.
“Am I that obvious?” 
She only nodded in response. “You look like a lost puppy.”
You hated sticking out in crowds. In fact you hated attention being drawn to you at all. You started to worry that other people had noticed your presence as well and had already started to comment on your appearance, something you worried about frequently. You decided not to let your mind wander any longer, instead you decided to talk to the young woman who was seated next to you. As you two conversated you found that you two had many things in common, one being the distaste for illegal activities such as the one you gathered at.
“So, how long have you been coming to these races?” Your question only prompted the young woman to sit up in her lawn chair from her slouched position as she prepared to give you the whole run down.
“For about two years now I've been coming to these. At first I didn't come to these because I was scared of what might happen to Hyuck, but then I realized it was better to be here for him instead of staying at the apartment in fear of what might happen.”
“Yeah that makes a lot of sense. But, how long do these things usually last?”
“Well on a good night two hours but sometimes these things run for hours upon hours. It gets exhausting. That's exactly why I have these for runoffs.” She spoke as she reached into the bag that sat under her chair that held mountains of snacks all atop a weighted blanket.
“You seem like you got it all together huh?”
“You’ll get used to it” she chuckled.
“Oh no, I'm sure this is my last one.” You had a strong feeling that you would not return, despite the strong welcome feeling everyone emitted. Except for Bulldozer.
“You’ll be back I promise.”
“I’m not so sure abo-” 
“Hey Chubbs, come here. I got a surprise for youuu.” Hana sang out from across the seating area. Her voice echoed through the night, but no one seemed to care. However, it was still embarrassing as you had asked her numerous times not to use your nickname in public or at all as a matter of fact. You turned towards your new friend, whispered a quick ‘one moment please,’ and made your way towards your roommate, all while you made a mental note to ask Milly for her Snapchat later.
“You summoned me?”
“Yeah, I was just talking to Jaemin and he says he knows you. So I assumed you would feel more comfortable around people you know.” She gestured towards the man who was in fact Na Jaemin, the best friend of your ex boyfriend Jeno. You two only had interactions that involved Jeno, so you wouldn't say you two were friends, more like forced acquaintances.
“How sweet of you.” you mumbled under your breath. She threw her hands up in defense before turning around and walking away from you once more, a habit she seemed to have developed for the night. She could never stay in one place for long, but you expected her to at least stay near you for the night, right? 
“I must say. You are the last person I expected to see tonight” Jaemin spoke, pointing his finger at you. He reeked of alcohol and his words were slurred to the point of being unrecognizable.
“Ditto” you replied coldly, not able to meet his gaze.
“You still can't look at me” he sighed and threw his head back ever so dramatically. “It was 6 years ago and I apologized.” 
It was a long time since you had last spoken to Jaemin. Well, he was the reason your first ever serious relationship with his best friend came to an abrupt end. You don't want to harbor any anger, but you can't help the tight lipped frown that sneaks itself onto your face at the sight of him.
“No, I'm over it, that was so many years ago. I just didn't expect you to be here that's all” you lied.
“Water under the bridge right” he spoke and extended his hand out for you to shake, to which you responded with a quick “right,” avoiding his gesture.
You didn't feel like conversing with Jaemin any longer, but you didn't want to leave and come off as rude so you attempted to make small talk anyways. He seemed distracted as you tried to ask him about how he's been since he graduated. 
“Oh wait one moment” he spoke, as he craned his neck towards something standing behind you.
“Hey Mark! Look who's here” Jaemin sang teasingly.
“I can't see without my glasses Jaemin. Who's there” the young man asked in an unamused tone. The woman who he has his arm wrapped around seemed to be displeased by Jaemin's outburst as well. The woman was beautiful in every way. It was as if you had seen her before, but you couldn't quite put your finger on it. 
“An old friend, I think she's your type.” You looked at him in a questioning manner. You hadn't even spoken to the man for five minutes, and here he was pulling some of his old antics.
“You know I’m in a relationship. Don’t be stupid” Mark scoffed, obviously used to Jaemin's foolishness at this point. You pitied the man, despite not knowing him, you were once in his shoes.
“I was just saying. If you ever wanna get rid of the Wicked Witch of the West over there I have another one of Jeno’s exes for you to come bang. You know? Since you like that type of stuff.” Jaemin had caught the attention of most of the people surrounding you two, including Milly who sat nestled up against her boyfriend Donghyuck who seemed to be deeply invested in the free drama he was provided with. Hana gave you an apologetic look, while Shotaro sat back as he enjoyed his oreos, completely unprovoked by the situation at hand.
His actions earned a sigh from Mark and a very angered look from his girlfriend who did not hesitate to flip him off; which, in return, earned a deep chuckle from Jaemin. You could not fully register what had happened. You had still been in shock from the man’s boldness. It wasn't shocking, back in high school if a fight was occurring on campus, 9 out of 10 times it was because of him. He always got himself into stupid situations, all in which Jeno would always end up getting him out of.
“Dude what the hell is wrong with you” a familiar voice called out from behind you. A voice you had not heard in years. The man of the night, Lee Jeno. Taking in his appearance, he looked ethereal. He had surely matured since you had last seen him a few years ago. Your palms began to sweat in anticipation. You nearly contemplated leaving in order to avoid confronting him as you hoped it would quell your flustered state. 
“Nothing man, what's wrong with you” Jaemin questioned nonchalantly, smiling satisfiedly as he had just succeeded in angering Mark. This earned him a deep sigh from his best friend. “When are you gonna leave them alone?”
“When that bitch admits she was wrong.” Jaemin's voice echoed through the night as he made sure to emphasize his disgust for the woman, who you had realized was Jihye, Jeno’s on and off ex-girlfriend from high school. “You're drunk aren't you? Let's get you to a seat okay buddy?”
As he grabbed Jaemin by his upper arm he dragged him to the dusty chair that was seated next to an ice cooler in a corner with little effort. You watched as a giddy Jaemin struggled to remove himself from Jeno’s hold. You could only assume this was a frequent recurrence. It would have been hard for him to cause any disruptions while he sat away from everyone else, but that didn't mean he wouldn't try later.
“You know what Jeno? I don't care what they say about you. You're alright in my book. I love you man” Jaemin mumbled, causing Jeno to roll his eyes in response. “Save it for Kai.”
Jaemin shrugged, as he leaned further into his seat. “I'd rather not. She says I’m ‘too mean’ and that I need to ‘fix my attitude’ or whatever the hell that means” he spoke, sitting up from his slouched position as he reached down into the ice chest to grab a beer, only to have had his hand slapped away by Jeno. “Hey!”
“I thought you said you wanted to quit drinking.” Jeno questioned.
“I did. I’ll start tomorrow.”
Jeno let out a sigh, grabbing the last of the alcoholic beverage before handing Jaemin a bottle of water. “Drink this. You're starting tonight.”
“I take back what I said a moment ago. Lee Jeno you aren't shit, and you never will be shit. And I hope you lose tonight… but don't actually lose.” Jeno could only smile at his best friend who was buzzed beyond the point of being just tipsy.
“I'm so sorry about him, he's usually not like this” Jeno sighed as he turned towards you while an apologetic look adorned his face. 
“It’s okay, he's still the same wild card he was in high school.” you spoke, as you struggled to keep your composure. Your actions earned a light chuckle from Jeno. “I just assumed he'd always be the dude that filled the entire swim team's shampoo bottles with nair forever.”
“He's a bit much at times, but I’ve had him by my side so long it’d be hard for me to return him” he spoke, as he ran his hand through his jet black hair in frustration. You would be lying if you said you weren’t still attracted to him. He’s more handsome now than ever. You were either simping over your ex again or delusional from not having daily interactions with men other than Renjun.
“So um… how have you been?  It’s been a while since we've seen each other hasn't it?”
“Yeah it's been how long since you graduated? 4 years” you shrugged in hopes he had not caught on to your ‘cool’ front that you would put on in order to make people believe you weren't freaking out on the inside. You did this quite frequently because you didn't like human interaction. Jeno, having dated you for a while, was still able to tell you were uneasy in that moment.
“Just about.” 
“Time sure did treat you well, you look good” he responded, eyeing your figure up and down.
“I finally got around to watching those self care videos I’ve been avoiding for years” you confessed. You felt your cheeks almost burning at his comment. The air around you felt like it had suddenly heated up, despite the fact that it was almost 37 degrees (just about 3 degrees celsius) outside. 
“Jeno stop flirting and get your ass in this car before I make Bulldozer drag you here.” The sudden outburst from a woman standing at the start line caught the two of you off guard. There weren't many women there, but the ones that had attended were stunning to say the least, and she was no exception. You assumed she must have been his girlfriend.
“I thought I had more time” he sighed, as he reached for his phone in his pocket to check the time. To his surprise it was in fact time to start. 
“It was good seeing you again. Let's talk after the race so we can catch up” he suggested, coming out more as a question.
“Sure. I think I’ll still be here. I kinda can't leave without my roommate, she dragged me here so I could meet her boyfriend” you answered. 
“I'm glad she did.” Jeno responded, giving a quick smirk that had butterflies fluttering within your stomach in seconds. Your mouth went dry as you attempted to come up with a response only to be interrupted by the same woman from earlier once more.
“Jeno!” Yelled the young woman. She stood there, hands practically glued to her hips as she eyed you up and down. Her glare sent a shiver down your spine as her eyes stared daggers into your soul. 
“I'm coming. Calm the fuck down” Jeno yelled before he mumbled quiet curses under his breath. He gave you a quick wink before he turned towards the agitated young woman and begrudgingly making his way towards her. 
You couldn’t help but overhear her yells of “what the hell is your problem” and “who the fuck is that.” You wondered what she was to him. She obviously wasn't his sister, as you had met her before, nor did you remember her going to school with her. You couldn't ponder as to who this woman was any longer as your thoughts were interrupted by an exasperated Hana jumping on your back and squealing. “What the fuck!”
“So? You weren't gonna tell me you knew thugs huh?” Hana questioned as she tightly wrapped her arms around your neck so she wouldn't fall. This was a regular reoccurrence in your day to day life. When Hana got excited or couldn't reach something she would jump onto your back. You were grateful you hadn't lost your balance or else things may have ended badly for you.
“That was so long ago. Don’t worry about it” you breathed out, once you had regained your composure. Hana however, was full of questions as you two never talked about your relationships since you promised yourself that once you got into college you would not let a relationship get in the way of your grades.
“Oh my god. Did you see how he looked at you? That man wants you bad” Hana spoke. “Wait… is he the one that” she continued, making lewd gestures with her fingers in front of your face, almost causing herself to fall and bust her ass. If it wasn't for your grip on her legs she would have fallen straight onto the freezing concrete. Her actions caused a small chuckle to fall from your lips, before you quietly reprimanded her for her careless actions.
“You're so childish, and no. He’s not the one who took my virginity. I dated him freshman year of high school. He was a year ahead of me” you paused. “We didn't end on bad terms; it was just a matter of Jaemin’s foolishness.”
“Fucking Na Jaemin ruins everything.”
“You know he can hear you? He's like 2 feet away from us” you pointed out, gesturing towards a very calm Jaemin.
“No he can't. Watch this.” Hana made her way towards the sleeping young man, leaned down slightly, and proceeded to give him a slight flick on the head. “Jaemin! Jaemin! Na Jaemin! Wake the fuck up.” Hana screamed at the sleeping man who didn't seem to budge. He only let out a loud snore in response. It was amazing, with Hana’s loud ass screaming at him he didn't even flinch. 
The sound of a loud screeching from the old speakers above your head made you flinch. It seemed as if you weren't the only one as the sound awoke a sleeping Jaemin. Of all the screaming Hana had done, he woke up because of the speaker? The announcer came on and announced the beginning of the race; the loud vibrations from the speakers caused the seats around you to rattle slightly.
Ladies and Gents, grab those wallets and take out those cellular devices. This is a racing season you do not want to miss.
“Ooh let's go sit. I spent good money on this” Hana nudged you and pointed towards her seat, leaving a confused Jaemin to wonder where he was.
“You bet on this race? You do know you're broke right?” You would think Hana would be responsible with her money, as she was a finance major, but she actually only had about $3 and a pack of gum in her purse. More times than not you dound yourself lecturing your roommate about her spending habits, but you shouldn't complain as she always comes up with her portion of the rent on time.
“Don’t worry. Jeno never loses, especially not to Mark or Donghyuck” Hana reassured you, eyes not leaving the track ahead.
“Damn. Is he really that good'' you questioned. Hana smirked at your question. You quickly interjected before she could make another sexual remark that night. “Not like that. You know what I mean.”
“He's the best damn racer here, I’ve never seen him lose, but if Milly asks, I never said that. Just tell her I bet on Donghyuck. He's good but he couldn't beat Jeno even if he tried.” She quickly gazed behind her to make sure that Milly was in fact not listening to your conversation. Instead she seemed more interested in looking out for her boyfriend who looked slightly panicked. It must have been the pressure of racing in front of so many people.
“How much does he get for winning?”
“Well all racers get about 2k a week, but the winners get a 3k bonus, so he's easily pulling in 20k every month. I don't know what the hell he spends it on because it obviously isn't his damn wardrobe.”
From what Hana had told you prior to your arrival you remembered that the race started at the start point up ahead. They would speed through the old abandoned streets of the so-called ‘ghost town’ until they reached steep slopes of the mountainous range that laid behind the racing area, giving everyone the perfect view of who was the top contender of winning the race. The risk seemed worth it when you compared the prize money to the measly $9.25 an hour you made.
“Holy shit. Do you think if we got Renjun to race he’d finally replace my air fryer he disgraced?” You questioned.
Renjun’s the reason you cannot walk around the house freely without being greeted with the sight of random used condoms laying somewhere around the apartment. Once you found one hiding in the air fryer your mother bought you upon moving into the apartment. Needless to say he was met with the threat of either death or purchasing a new air fryer. It's been two years and you have yet to see a new air fryer.
Hana sighed at your remark, knowing you were asking too much of your other roommate. “I hate to break it to you girly, but you're never getting an air fryer out of that boy. He's just as broke as u- wait we should get him to race.” You and Hana paused for a moment before turning towards each other as you two bursted out into a fit of laughter causing a very confused Shotaro to eye you two from the track where he was checking Mark’s tire pressure.
You didn't want to admit it at first, but you were having a hell of a time and the race hadn't even begun. You had not been very social prior to the race, but the events of the night had you feeling like your high school self once again. 
Attention all spectators, please make your way to your seats and finalize your bets as we get ready to begin shortly.
-
The purring sound of engines roared through the night as the race was only just about to begin. Six cars lined up, side by side ready to begin. You had never experienced racing firsthand nor had you ever had the intention of watching one, but the anticipation you felt waiting for the race to commence was killing you. You could see the grand marshal up ahead as she approached the small tower directly facing the start line, flags in hand. It wasn't long before the bright green flag was raised and the cars took off in a flash.
“Holy shit. Don’t they get sick going that damn fast” you asked, completely in awe.
“Probably. I wouldn't know; I never get in the car with them” Milly responded. It didn't seem like she was paying much attention to the race after the cars made it out of view of everyone else and into the city limits. Hana seemed to be distracted as well, as she typed away on her phone, occasionally laughing at a funny video that popped up on her feed. 
You were too focused on what Hana was doing that you almost didn't see the young woman that made her way towards Milly. As she crouched down to talk to the girl next to you, you noticed it was Jihye. You didn't know where you stood with Jihye. You two never had classes together as she was a year above you, nor had you paid much mind to each other in school anyway. She was always just Jeno’s girlfriend to you.
“You got the goods babe” she questioned. Milly sighed before she grabbed the packed bag under her chair and rummaged through the contents.“Umm… I don't have barbecue tonight, I have cheddar and original though.”
“That's fine, I've been craving cheddar” Jihye replied, grabbing the container and you could see Milly visibly sigh. “You're having cravings again Jihye? Did you let that fool get you pregnant?” Jihye scoffed at her friend in an attempt to sound offended. She then proceeded to throw a chip at Milly, to which the young girl quickly dodged. You couldn't help but chuckle at the exchange as Jihye pretended to be hurt after Milly stuck her tongue out at her, mocking her for her terrible aim.
“No, I'm not pregnant again. If I get pregnant again it's going to be after I get my degree” Jihye explained. It wasn't long before she acknowledged your presence. She looked at you with a puzzled expression. It was almost as if she was trying to read you. Standing up from her crouched position, she circled around you effortlessly, hoping to figure out why she knew you. It took her a good two minutes until she spoke up.
“Don't I know you from somewhere” she pondered. Her eyes scanned over your features, analyzing every part of your face, which earned a questionable look from Hana and a sharp intake of breath from her close proximity on your part.
“We went to school together a couple years ago” you answered. Jihye smiled big, eyes widened as she yelped in joy. A complete 180 from the girl who had earlier flipped Jaemin off. “You were a grade under me right” she asked excitedly, to which you nodded in response. 
“I remember you now.”
Hearing the exchange before her, Hana shoved your shoulder, almost a little too hard. She felt satisfaction seeing that you were welcomed so lovingly by her peers. “You’ve only been here for about an hour and have managed to make so many new friends. I'm so happy you're adjusting” she cheered.
“I don't think the girl over there is too fond of me. She looked like she wanted to rip my head off.”
“Who? Sofia?” Jihye inquired with a sigh of irritation. You sensed that Jihye was not too fond of her. If looks could kill, she would have been charged with first degree murder on the spot. You couldn't help but wonder if Sofia was a factor as to why Jeno and Jihye had no longer been together. Everyone in high school thought they were perfect together. Some students even inquired as to what their wedding would have been like.
“If that's her name, then yes” you answered calmly.
“She’s not going to bother you unless you make advances on Jeno” Milly muttered as she took a swig of whatever beverage she was drinking. Jihye rolled her eyes, dropping down into the chair next to Milly’s. Sofia seemed to have noticed that you all were talking about her as she crossed her arms and walked over to the far side of the seating area where Jaemin was sleeping once again.
“Are they together” you questioned. Your question only resulted in Milly and Jihye’s loud fit of laughter. You and Hana looked at them questioningly, wondering why your question was so funny. You swore you saw tears come to Milly’s eyes and Jihye almost fall over in her chair. 
The sounds of hysterical laughter boomed through your ears, almost to the point of it being unbearable. “She wishes. That bitch is delusional” Jihye explained. 
“People just think they're together because she follows him around everywhere like a lost puppy” Milly chimed in, fanning her face in an attempt to quell her excited state.
“Well she could’ve fooled me.”
Jihye gave a dismissive wave of her hand as she continued to laugh. “Don't worry about that thing, she’s not cool enough to be in the exes club like us” Jihye chuckled, gesturing between the two of you to emphasize her point. She rested her chin on her palm as she watched an aggravated Sofia scowl at her. 
“I guess not.”
The next few minutes were filled with Jihye explaining to you the basics of racing that Hana had failed to inform you of. She wanted to make sure you were able to identify each of the racers so you wouldn't be confused when the cars came dashing back towards the end. 
You learned that there were usually six racers on a good night, but they could still have an interesting race with five, never less than four. Jaemin was benched from driving that week as the result of an accident that occurred earlier in the month. Luckly, he only suffered from back pains. Jihye also explained to you that Sofia’s brother, Lucas, was a top contender in the races most nights. Racing was his life, he dedicated most of his time to driving. He also hated losing, especially to Jeno. Mark and Donghyuck just raced for the hell of it. 
“Where the hell have you been Kai? The race started already?” Jihye stopped her explanation and directed her attention towards the gate and pointed at the young woman who approached, carrying a purple mesh bag full of various medications.
“I’m distancing myself from Jaemin during the day so I can finalize my applications, but I got a little sidetracked and forgot what time it was. Where is he by the way? Jeno texted me and said he needed medications.” Kai tilted her head in confusion, as she looked around only to realize her boyfriend was nowhere in sight. 
“Sleeping over there.” In quiet amazement her eyes widened at Milly's words, almost as if she hadn't believed her. Glancing over towards where Milly pointed, she was able to locate her boyfriend. “He's being peaceful? I guess he can come get this medicine when he wakes up.” 
“Oh shit, I’m sorry. I didn't notice you there. I’m Kai” the young woman sang excitedly, as she extended her hand to yours expectant of a handshake, to which you gladly returned. It was hard to believe that she was Jaemin's girlfriend. She seemed well put together, when compared to the girls he noted as his type years ago it was safe to say she didn't match their level of rowdiness. 
“She's my friend slash roommate slash voice of reason” Hana chimed in as she looked up from her phone to acknowledge Kai’s presence.
“Oh. That's lovely.”
“And Jeno’s ex,” Milly added as she shifted in her chair. You stretched your legs out in front of you and leaned back in your chair as you prepared for the questions you were sure that would have come your way. 
“Oh my God, I do know you.”
“You do?” You questioned, unsure if you went to school with her or not.
“Jaemin told me about how bad you cursed him out in high school after he broke your grandmother's necklace” she explained.
“He deserved more than just being cursed out” Jihye mumbled under her breath, which earned a quick side eye from Kai before she directed her attention back to you.
The events of that day, years ago, are what initially caused you and Jeno to break up in the first place. It was like every other high school breakup, short and insignificant to one, but painful to the other. Once Jeno decided you were overreacting he immediately took Jaemin's side in the situation. It wasn't until months later that he realized why you reacted the way you did. The small rose gold necklace was a treasured family heirloom that had been passed from your grandmother to your mother and then to you. Luckily you were able to save enough money from your afternoon job at an old, rickety snowball stand. Jeno tried reconciling, but you were too proud to accept his apologies. Looking back on the situation you realized you probably could have handled it better.
You sighed. “I'm over it, it's just water under the bridge now.” 
“Good, so we can be friends” she cheered, wedging her fold out chair in between you and Milly.
The sound of roaring engines caught everyone's attention. As the roaring got closer you could visibly see everyone was on the edge of their chairs as they anticipated the outcome. You watched as the cars trailed in one by one, as they all followed behind the matte black Corvette, the car you had recognized was Jeno’s. Pulling in close to him was a bright red Mazda RX-7, a car you remembered was Lucas’. 
The area around you was completely silent as you all waited for the grand marshal to wave the checkered flag and declare the race was over. As they inched closer to the finish line Jeno was able to pull a head in the final seconds; mixed sounds of cheers and displeased groans sounded from behind you as he had claimed victory. 
Sofia seemed to be the most excited as she ran towards the gate that separated the track from the spectators. As soon as the cars came to a halt and the racers had exited their vehicles she engulfed Jeno in an almost childlike hug that earned a strange look from Hana to which she mumbled a quick “that's pitiful.” You quietly scolded your friend for her rude comments, despite finding her reaction funny.
“That was quick” —Kai pondered— “why the actual fuck was that so quick?”
Jihye leaned back in her chair with a soft grunt and clasped her hands behind her head, making herself comfortable. “It's only one race tonight. They want to end early so they can start discussing next week’s race.”
“What's so special about next week” Hana chimed in, inching forward in her chair in confusion. Just as Jihye was about to respond Milly beat her to it, explaining how Lucas had to go back to Hong Kong the following week to renew his visa, leaving them with only three racers.
“They should put Sungchan back in just for the night” Jihye spoke. The atmosphere surrounding you became thick as everyone but you seemed to have recognized that was a bad idea. Hana cleared her throat while Milly tried her best to avoid the situation by picking at her fingers.
Kai glared at Jihye before she allowed herself to protest her friend's words. “He's on suspension for a reason! And after that stunt he pulled three weeks ago he's lucky he's still here. He could have killed Jaemin with his reckless driving.”
“Lower your voice, we've already had 3 sporadic outbursts tonight.” 
“Whatever.” Kai shot back. 
“You think I’m right don't you” she asked you with pleading eyes. You nodded at her question as you could not give a verbal response, your mouth was full of cheese balls you snatched from Milly earlier.
“I think you're right” Jaemin spoke from behind you. His voice started out quiet but grew louder as he approached your group.
“You better” she replied, arms crossed, moving so that she and the young man could share the seat.
“Na Jaemin, the man of the night. How the hell have you been sir” Milly spoke. Her words warranted a confused look from Jaemin. “Why do I feel like you’ve all been talking about me?”
“Because we were” Jihye spoke up.
Jaemin scoffed. You couldn't actually tell if he was offended or not. “I don't care, I wanna be in girl talk, so fill me in.”
“My period started yesterday and it's an unusually heavy flow” Jihye commented.
“I watched this really interesting video for health class about how to tell if a woman is properly dilated so she can give birth” Milly sang teasingly.
“I’m just horny” Hana let out, nonchalantly. Everyone looked at as they waited for your response, to which you just shrugged. “I guess I am too.”
Jaemin groaned in annoyance while Kai laughed at her boyfriend’s state of agony. “I feel like I'm useless in this conversation.”
“Then go get us drinks babe.”
“If you wanted me to leave, just say that” Jaemin whined, as he aimlessly threw his hands over his face in an attempt to look sad.
“It's that easy? If I knew that I would have made you disappear years ago” Jihye questioned mockingly and you grinned at the small exchange. 
Mindlessly looking over at the racers you were met with the sight of Sofia staring at you again with dead eyes. It seemed like every time you turned around she was watching you to see what you would do next. You didn't want to assume anything so you thought of letting it go, but you knew that would bother you for the rest of the night. You watched as her grip on Jeno’s arm tightened upon her realizing that you had caught her, only prompting her to nestle further into his side. She turned away to stare up at Jeno who was deeply engaged in a conversation with Donghyuck and Mark.
“She’s looking at me again. What did I do” you asked.
Jaemin chuckled at your question as he raised his hand to pat your head, to which you quickly dodged “You poor thing. Don't you know? You talked to Jeno.” 
“Is that a bad thing?” 
“It's a literal crime around here.” Milly chimed in. 
Hana was not too fond of the looks of disgust directed towards you and in return glared back at Sofia. “They aren't even together, so what the fuck is her problem? Jihye you need to knock her the fuck out again.” Hana spoke, eyes narrowed in aggravation.
Jihye sighed with discontent. “I would, but you know how much Mark hates it when I fight.”
“I would have told her something if her brother wasn't living with us” Kai spoke up. It was obvious that Sofia was not anyone’s favorite by the way everyone spoke of her. You began to wonder why Jeno tolerated her. You also couldn't help but wonder what previous altercations between her and Jihye looked like; Jihye did not seem like one to shy away from an argument.
“He can't keep fighting her battles for her. She's a grown ass woman who needs to learn how to read the goddamn room. No one fucking likes her. No one wants her here!”
The sudden outburst from Milly had everyone in shock. Silence overcame you all as everyone’s eyes widened while Jihye sat there nodding in agreement with her best friend. The calm and collected woman you had met earlier was seemingly done with the topic of the young woman who had been attached to Jeno's hip all night.
“Damn Milly, are you okay” Hana asked, as she cleared her throat and rested her arm on your shoulder, almost completely missing your shoulder and toppling over once more that night. 
“Yes, I'm just very passionate.”
The next few minutes were full of quiet conversation as you all waited for the racers to make their way towards you all. Jaemin and Jihye exchanged harsh words while Milly and Hana sat back and listened intensely. You, however, took the time to get to know Kai. She told you how she and Milly were both psychology majors, studying at a school about 30 minutes away from where you lived. She explained that Jihye and Milly shared an apartment with their boyfriends while she lived with Jaemin and Sofia’s brother Lucas. And from what she explained, you sensed that Lucas was just as unbearable as his sister as Kai had threatened to kick the young man out on several occasions. 
Your conversation was cut short by the sounds of an excited Jeno calling your name, to which you responded to with a smile. Jeno, Mark, and Donghyuck made their way over towards you and the others as Sofia trailed behind them quietly. Jeno made an attempt to stand next to you, only to have his advances blocked by Jaemin, who stuck his foot out stopping him in his tracks.
“Excuse you” Jaemin scoffed and pushed Jeno back with the tip of his boot, alarming the young man and the woman who stood attached to his side. “Don’t do that.”
“What? Did I do something wrong” Jeno questioned and quirked an eyebrow up in confusion.
“Yes. You. Did. Can’t you see that we're having girl-talk right now?” Jaemin let out, and prompted all the women around him to nod in agreement. Jeno attempted to respond, only to have had Jaemin speak up and prevent him from doing so. “Do you see how men just walk over here and think they can impose on our conversations Hyuck?”
“They're so disrespectful it's sickening. Jeno’s such a man sometimes” Donghyuck scoffed from behind Jeno, as he made his way towards Milly and took the unoccupied seat next to her, throwing one arm over her shoulder while he grabbed the other and left a chaste kiss on the backside. She rested her head on his shoulder and you and Hana let out quiet whispers of how cute the exchange was. You longed for a relationship like theirs, but because of your promise to yourself, you were unable to do so.
“I apologize, please don't cancel me.”
“We're willing to ignore this minor slip up for a small price” Jaemin spoke as he stood up from his chair and threw his arm over Jeno's shoulder, he turned towards his best friend and offered the man a wide grin in exchange.
Jeno threw his head back and groaned, as he expected Jaemin to request something stupid as he always does. “Oh no. What's my punishment?” 
Jaemin pretended to contemplate for a moment, tapping his chin as he pondered on a punishment before he finally responded. “You have to get all these lovely women drinks. Except for Jihye. We’re still deciding if he's a woman or not. I'm not so sure she is.” Jaemin spoke,whispering the last part, still loud enough for everyone to hear. His loud mouth earned himself a slap on the back of his head from Kai.
Jeno nodded in acceptance. “I can do that. let's roll out then.”
“We didn't even figure out who's riding with who and you're already trying to leave? Did you learn nothing?” Jaemin questioned and you chucked at Jeno’s shocked expression. Jeno noticed you enjoying yourself and smiled to himself. His change in mood did not go unnoticed by Sofia, who tugged his arm in an attempt to get his attention back to her.
“Men deserve absolutely nothing” Donghyuck let out, rolling his eyes at Jeno. “Also, I'm not driving, I'm too tired.”
“It's okay babe, you can ride with me and Jihye” Milly cooed, playing with a lock of hair.
“Carry me to the car Marky” Donghyuck whined. He turned to where an unbothered Mark stood as he scrolled through instagram and cleared his throat loudly. 
“I'm not doing that.” Mark pretended not to hear Donghyuck’s mocking tone and continued to pay attention to his device. Unsatisfied with his answer, Donghyuck threw a can of Pringles at the man’s head to which Mark grimaced in pain. 
Jihye leaned over and kissed the spot where the can hit as she persuaded her boyfriend to carry his friend with pleading eyes.
“Fine” Mark answered begrudgingly. Jihye and Milly laughed as Mark made his way over to the young man and struggled to lift the clingy Donghyuck onto his back. Jeno sighed at the spectacle in front of him, whispering something to Jaemin among the lines of “Don’t make me do that for you twice in one night okay?”
The four of them made their way towards Jihye’s car leaving all the seats as they were. All while Mark let out stained groans as he continued to carry the younger man. “Man up Mark, I'm not heavy.”
“I guess I’ll ride with Hana then since you brought me here, and Kai and Jaemin started walking to their car already” you questioned. Hana looked over your shoulder to see the two leaned up against Kai's car as Jaemin attempted to steal short kisses from her. 
“You hate the smell of my car; go ride with Jeno. It would be a good chance for the two of you to catch up, right big man?” Hana teased. 
Jeno nodded. “I wouldn't be opposed to that.”
“It's fine. I don't want to impose” you murmured. “You must not have much space.”
“Are you scared of me or something? I don't bite. Unless you want me to.” His comment took you by surprise. You gazed down at the ground in an attempt to calm you down from your flustered state. He was smooth with his words. Hana mentally patted herself on the back as you suddenly turned shy at Jeno’s attempted flirting. You didn't know if you could take any more of his comments and you two had only spoken twice that night. 
Sofia was not pleased with Jeno's advances. She looked at Jeno with pleasing eyes as if he was getting ready to leave her for the rest of the night. “No, there's no spa-”
“Oh wonderful, then Sofia can ride with me. I never got the chance to have a proper conversation with her” Hana spoke up. She rocked back and forth on her heels and quirked her head to the side as she awaited Sofia's response. 
Sofia didn't want to sound rude in front of Jeno, but she didn't know how ro properly decline the offer. “It's okay, I’ll just ride with Jeno so we don't complicate things.”
“But our introduction is long overdue Sofia, I insist” Hana paused, “unless you don't like me?” 
Sofia shook her head frantically in protest. “Oh no, that's definitely not the case.” 
“Oh my God, great. Let's go bestie” Hana grabbed Sofia's arm and led her towards the car park before calling out to Shotaro to bring her keys and purse, causing Jeno to chuckle. You watched as Hana opened the door for Sofia and gestured for her to get in, only for Sofia to mumble something about the excessive smell of weed and two-week old leftovers from one of your late night Taco Bell runs. Hana slammed the door in her face and groaned. She was about to get in, but she ultimately decided to turn to you and yell “Don't fuck this up” only strengthening your embarrassment. That girl truly was something else. 
-
The first 10 minutes or so of the car ride were filled with the sounds of various songs that ranged from Big Sean’s “Jump Out The Window” to Coldplay’s  “InMy Place.” It wasn't uncomfortable. It was more comfortable than you would have expected. To pass the time you stared out the window at the night sky. The one thing you could never grow tired of was the stars. They reminded you of your elementary school days when once a year teachers would put out the inflatable planetarium and project the different constellations onto the walls in an attempt to show their students where they could find them. You would have been lying if you said you knew how to find anything other than the big and little dipper.
You contemplated starting up a conversation, but you were afraid you would have said something stupid. It was a terrible habit of yours. And the situation at hand was not making it any easier on you. You avoided looking at him to prevent yourself from staring and coming off as creepy. Because you know, if given the chance, you would have stared at him the whole way to the bar. 
And then reality hit you as hard as it ever did before. You had absentmindedly let your gaze fall on him. His hand rested firmly on the steering wheel as he focused on the road in front of him. He was glowing. The natural light provided by the moon cascaded over his features perfectly, outlining every ridge of his face. 
“Did you enjoy the race” Jeno started. 
“Y-yeah, I had a lot more fun than I expected” you responded, voice shaky from the embarrassment of the fear of being caught. You had hoped he didn't notice you staring, but you were so blatantly obvious it would have been hard for him to not notice even while he looked forward as he drove.
“If I'm being completely honest, you were the last person I expected to ever see at one of the races”
“Is that a bad thing?”
“No, It's great actually. I just didn't think it was your thing you know?”
He was right. You were one who valued quietness and being alone. If you could have, you would have gone day to day without any human interaction. To be fair you didn't expect to see him there either. You hadn't planned on seeing him or anyone else from high school at an illegal car race.
“I could say the same for you Mr. Lee. I thought you wanted to be a teacher” you questioned.
“Life changes I guess” he let out and ran a hand through his tangled locks. “How's school going? I know you wanted to be a lawyer.”
You sighed and leaned back into your seat. “Stressful as hell” you paused. “I literally cannot catch a break. If it's not a class stressing me out, it's the landlord. And if it's not the landlord it's my mother. And if it's not her it's Renjun.”
“Is he your boyfriend?” 
It took everything in you to hold back the laugh that threatened to fall from your lips. Not only was the idea of you and Renjun dating preposterous, it was comical to say the least. You loved Renjun, but you two probably would have ended up killing each other by now. “Hell no I would never stoop that low. He's my other roommate.”
“He can't be that bad” Jeno questioned doubtedly, to which you nodded quickly in protest. “Oh yes he is. He walks around the apartment half naked, doesn't clean up after himself, and does stupid experiments with Hana’s and my stuff. At least Hana’s a good roommate.” Hana was not perfect, but she was more bearable to live with. Despite numerous times she barged into your room at three in the morning to cry about how some old Harry Styles fanfics she read in junior high were removed from Wattpad.
“She’s quite the assertive one isn't she” Jeno asked and you sighed. “You have no idea. I think our neighbor is scared of her.” The poor young girl next door cowered everytime you and Hana would cross her in the hallway. She confessed to you one day that she was scared of Hana because she once walked in on her and Renjun. Hana was not having the best day that day so upon sight of the two of them on the freshly cleaned sofa she spent five hours on, she grabbed the closest object, which happened to be a vase, and chucked it at Renjun’ head, barely missing. The young girl claimed to have never heard such colorful language in her life.
“I don't blame them, I think I am too” he paused. “I'm almost as scared of her as I was of your dad.” 
“Why were you scared of my dad?” Jeno’s mouth popped open in surprise as if you had just asked the stupidest question in the world. “Your dad hated my guts. I remember the first time I took you out on a date he threatened me with a golf club” he continued. “I can hear his voice right now ‘when my daughter leaves this goddamn house, she’s pure. And when she returns to my house she is to be in the same condition, do you understand me boy?’ Jeno spoke in a tone eerily similar to your father’s.
“He didn't say that, did he?” you questioned, head tilted to the side in confusion. Your father was a sweet man, he joked around a lot, so you almost couldn't believe what you were hearing. Sure, he was strict about boys, but your mother was more of the authoritative figure in the house, leaving room for your father to be the more relaxed parent.
“I swear on my life that's what happened. He did not like me.” His smile never faltered as he continued to reminisce on the past and remember how scared he was now.
“My dad didn't like any man around his youngest daughter. Besides, he didn't necessarily hate you. The only ex he hated was my last boyfriend, he thought you were nice. He just wouldn't say it to your face because that's how my grandfather was to him, but if it's any consolation, my mom liked you more than any of my older sister's exes” you explained. It wasn't shocking. Your sister had terrible taste in men. She often went after guys that she knew would not get the approval of your parents with the intention to change them for the better. Needless to say, it never worked. Your mother liked Jeno because he was respectful.
“I can only imagine, she dated the dude who drove the principal’s car into the lake behind the school” he responded and you let out an exaggerated exhale at the memory. 
As conversations about your time in school and attempts to catch up kept you two occupied, you two almost didn't notice that he passed up the bar three times. You were too immersed in his talks about how he and Jaemin got into racing to support themselves once their parents kicked them out of the house. He told you about how his half brother Jisung and his friend Chenle had often begged him for lessons, to which he always declined.
When you two finally arrived, Jeno gladly opened your car door and held the bar door open for you to enter first, something you weren't used to. The bar was packed with spectators from the race. It smelled strongly of cleaning products, Raid, and Axe 6-in-1. Other than that, It was a pretty standard bar. 
You were taking in your surroundings when a strong force against your hip, causing you to fall into Jeno’s side and wince in pain. Jeno quickly wrapped his arm around your waist to prevent you from falling further. You were about to speak up to who had just bumped into you when you realized it was just Hana who had bumped you with her hip. 
“I was starting to wonder where you two were. Did you take the long way” Hana asked, directing her question towards Jeno.
“Did I? I wasn't really paying attention” he chuckled. His grip on your waist never loosened, and by the looks of it, he had no intention of letting you go. Your heart pounded harder than it ever had that night. You were touch starved and the slightest contact had your mind running wild. Jeno sensed the effect he had on you. Your flustered state only boosted his ego.
“I was starting to think you kidnapped my best friend Lee” Hana slurred out. She looked like she was completely drunk, and if it wasn't for Shotaro's grip on her waist she would have been face down on the wooden floor.
“Oh my god, how much did she drink?” you questioned. Shotaro shrugged at your question, too focused on making sure his girlfriend remained upright. Hana held up her fingers in a failed attempt to show the number four. 
“She's not drunk, she just inhaled too many paint fumes. They're painting the other side of the room black to match this side” he spoke and gestured towards the large paper sign decorated with annoyingly vibrant red marker that read ‘WET PAINT, DON’T FUCKING TOUCH.’ 
“That sounds about right” Jeno sighed and threaded his unoccupied hand throughout his hair. You hated the smell of paint. The smell only made you more nauseous by the minute. Too distracted by the horrible smell of the paint fumes you almost didn't notice as Sofia wedged her way between you and Jeno and wrapped her arms around his waist. Her actions seemingly made Jeno release you from his hold.
“What took you so long? I was getting worried” she cooed. 
“I guess I just lost track of time.”
“Don’t do it again okay? Let's go sit, I ordered your usual.” she continued. 
“I'm coming, just hold on.” Her grip loosened on Jeno as he carefully removed her hands from around his waist. His actions earned an audible groan from Sofia. The feeling of rejection laid heavy in the atmosphere as the two had caught the attention of the older men at the bar who were too tipsy to care, but were sober enough to express their obvious distaste with the situation before them.
“What do you want to drink? I’ll get it for you.” Jeno asked, as he pointed towards the flashing monitors above the seating area. They were hung from the ceiling using various types of rope and duct tape, ready to fall at any moment.
“I think you should pick for me,” you replied quickly.
“You trust me with such an important task?” Jeno questioned, eyebrow cocked up giving him a confused expression.
“Yes, if you get me a good drink I actually might consider coming back next week. If not, I'll probably just stay home and swipe through Tinder,” you mused, to which Jeno responded to with a quick nod.
“I’ll make sure not to fuck this up then.” While Jeno left to retrieve your drink Hana looked over at you suggestively.
“I’m enjoying these exchanges very much,” she teased.
“Oh, are you?” You teased back. You two exchanged a quick laugh before you two were interrupted by a light tug on your arm from Sofia in order to grab your attention in that moment. “Yes?” You questioned.
“Come sit with me at the bar. I want to talk to you,” Sofia pleaded. Before you had a chance to respond, she quickly led you away from the bar and towards a table at the back, giving you no time to finish your conversation with your roommate. Her grip on your arm was harsher than you would have expected. You winced in pain as she tugged harshly on your arm. As the night went on you understood more and more why no one gave her the time of day. She was clingy and pushy, quite the terrible mixture for someone trying to attract someone.
Her long flowing locs fell over her shoulders while her heart-shaped lips gave off the illusion of innocence, which was deeply contrasted by her tight-fitting jeans and leopard print halter top. If she wasn't so annoying you would have asked her out yourself.
“So, how do you know Jeno?” She questioned. 
You pondered for a moment, deciding how you were going to answer her question before you responded truthfully. “We used to date in high school.” Your answer had the young woman rolling her eyes and letting out a quick chuckle. You furrowed your brows at her actions as you wondered what was so funny.
“Another ex? I assume Jihye wasn't too fond of you?” She questioned.
“Of course not, she was really pleasant.”
“Shocking,” she mumbled to herself, as he rolled her eyes in distaste. Raising her drink to her lips you couldn't help but notice small, purple the bruise that laid under her chin. You wanted to ask her about it, but ultimately decided against it as you didn't want to get involved. Jeno returned with your drink, a short rocks glass filled to the brim with a deep purple liquid that almost resembled the color and consistency of cough syrup. 
Sofia quickly grabbed the drink and handed it to you, as she nudged Jeno to sit in the chair on the opposite side of her and away from you. He didn't protest, only staying seated as she practically dragged him down towards the chair.
“So, Jeno I was talking to Lucas earlier about learning to drive, but he said he wouldn't teach me because I'm not responsible? Isn't that crazy?” Sofia started to make small talk in order to keep his attention off of you and onto her.
“Uh huh.” Jeno hummed. Sofia continued to blabber on and on, insisting Jeno being the one to teach her to drive until she noticed that Jeno was not paying attention to her, instead he was watching you absentmindedly play with the straw in your drink while you scrolled mindlessly through your class notes on your phone. You were so deeply focused on your notes about democratic elections that you didn't notice Sofia's elbow inching closer towards your beverage.
Within a matter of seconds the glass went tumbling down, spilling the contents all over you and staining your new white top in the process. You jumped out of your chair at the feeling of the cold liquid hitting your torso, as a quick chill made its way up your spine that caused you to let out a yelp.
“Oops. Let me help you clean that up,” she responded with a giggle. She turned too quickly causing her own drink to spill on the floor, almost missing your shoes as the orange liquid reached your sneakers, soaking your socks with them.
“Where's the women's restroom?” You questioned, the alcohol causing the material of your shirt to become sticky against your skin. The feeling was unbearable.
"Oh honey, that's bad," she simpered, lip pushed out in a fake pout as she raked bitchy eyes up and down the damage. "There's just one, it's that way.’
Sofia then pointed towards the opposite side of the bar. You took quick strides towards the bathroom in hopes that it wasn't occupied. Once you got there you were pleased to see that no one was inside, however the door did not lock properly, so anyone could have walked in at any moment.
“I should go check on her.” Jeno spoke, lifting his head slightly in an attempt to find you in the crowd of drunk older men. However, you were too quick and had already made it to the bathroom. Everything happened so quickly Jeno was unable to console you properly. He decided it would be best to go assist you.
“She's a big girl, she’ll be fine. Enjoy the rest of the night.” Sofia protested. She continued to try and get him to sit down with talks of how she planned on going about the rest of the night. Jeno was unamused and proceeded to ask her to move multiple times.
Watching the exchange a few feet before her Kai shouted for the young woman. “Sofia, come drink with us. It'll be fun!” 
Jihye groaned at her friend’s invitation towards the woman she despised oh so dearly. “Leave that bitch over there please,” she protested, which earned her a quick pinch on the arm from Milly.
“Go, have fun with your friends,” Jeno suggested, nudging her in the direction of the four other women who reluctantly tried to stop Sofia from worsening the situation.
Sofia only ignored his suggestion as she gave a dismissive wave of her hand letting Jeno know that there was no way in hell she would go and sit with those who do not deserve her time. “They're not my frien- where are you going?”
“Bathroom.”
“That girl’s still in there.” The young girl cried out, she folded her arms as Jeno took the opportunity to make his way around her.
“I’m just going to check on her,” he replied reassuringly as Sofia watched him disappear into the crowd of inhabitants..
-
“Ugh, why isn't this coming out” you whined. The violent scrubbing you had been doing on your shirt seemed to only worsen the stain. The stain only increased in size since you had begun to try and be rid of it.
“Fuck my life.” You threw your hands over your head and started pacing around the small restroom, letting out an exaggerated sigh in the process. You really wished you had stayed home for the third time that night.
“Why does this always happen to me? What did I do to deserve this? I don't cause trouble. I don't steal. I make good grades. I pay my bills on time,” you seethed. “I’m so stupid. He's obviously just playing with me. He's so damn cute but he's obviously not interested, or else he would have at least tried to make conversation out there. Agh and here I am in this small ass bathroom ranting to myself like a madwoman. What a night huh?”
You leaned against the sink and threw your head back in annoyance when the door opened. When you opened your eyes Jeno was standing there, leaving you to wonder how much of your rant did he actually heard.
“What's taking you so long? I started to miss you,” he questioned, closing the door and moving to lean against the wall opposite of you. He jammed his hands in his front pockets and watched as you furiously scrubbed at the fraying material of your shirt.
You gestured towards your shirt that was obviously saturated with the colorful drink he ordered you earlier. “Uh… this stain won't come out.”
“Is there any way I can help?” He questioned calmly, pushing himself off of the wall he reached for a piece of paper towel from the broken dispenser by your head and handed it to you, letting his hand graze against yours for a moment longer than it should have. 
You gazed around the room in an attempt to quell your flustered state, upon noticing just how close Jeno was to you. “U-unless you have a washing machine and bleach I don't think there's much you can do.”
“You know, you could always just take your shirt off,” he suggested. You scoffed, hitting his shoulder playfully at his suggestive comment. “I don't have another shirt with me.”
“That's even better.”
“You would like that wouldn't you?” There was something about the tone of his voice that had your body temperature rising, or was it just the lack of air that flowed between the two of you in the cramped confines of the dingy bathroom.
“You know me too well” he chuckled. “If you don't want to go back out there we could always stay here and talk like we used to in high school,” he spoke up, studying every part of your face.
“Sneaking off during gym to go make out behind the stadium bleachers didn't really count as talking Jeno” you explained and he pulled away, giving you a confused look.
“It didn’t?” He gasped, throwing a hand over his chest to show just how fakely offended he was. You couldn't help but chuckle at his performance.
It just so happened that the one time you had ever received detention was because of your make out sessions with Jeno. Your gym teacher began to catch on to your routine of “going to the bathroom” at exactly 11:30 every Friday. She noticed you were gone for a while so she sent another student to find you. Once the student returned she snitched on you so your teacher wrote the both of you up. Jeno thought it was funny while you were scarred from having to explain to your parents why you were late coming home that day.
“But, you have to admit. I am a pretty good kisser” he teased.
“I don’t know” you paused, “I don’t remember you being that good.”
“Should I remind you then?” he trailed off and diverted his gaze to your lips. You nodded quickly, replying with a quick “yes, please.” Jeno found himself entranced by the sight of you as you practically begged him to kiss you, only having fueled his ego once more that night. 
Wasting no time he closed the space between you two and captured your lips, devouring you like a starved man. You shut your eyes and melted into the kiss, letting your senses take charge. He snuck one of his arms around your waist, as he trailed it over the span of your body, finally reaching your backside as you moaned into the kiss. 
The sensation was indescribable. His lips were like nicotine, highly addictive. You knew it was wrong to do things like this in public, but as long as his plush lips were on yours you didn't care. Snaking your arms around his neck, you pulled him closer until his body was flush against yours. He took the opportunity and grabbed your chin with his other hand, deepening the kiss.
“We're in public you know?” You whispered breathlessly, however, Jeno didn't seem to care as he moved to nip at the sensitive skin on your neck. His lips burned against your skin, so you knew to expect the deep marks that adorned your neck the following morning.
“That's the fun part,” he whispered against your neck, sucking dark marks into the exposed skin. His actions made you whine out his name and push your chest further into his, leaving little to no space for light.
“Can I take these off?” He asked, hands lingering to secure their place on your thighs. You nodded eagerly, slightly lifting your hips, allowing him to quickly pull off your jeans. You hissed once your exposed skin hit the cold surface of the granite surface underneath you.  Jeno’s hands moved down to the, now soaked, thin black, lace fabric that covered your core, tugging them down giving him more access to your exposed core.
“Fuck, I barely touched you yet. Did I make you this wet already baby?” Jeno asked mockingly, trailing his finger around your folds in slow circular motions, to which you nodded fervently. 
“J-jeno” You cried out, throwing your head back against the side of the mirror behind you, and whining from Jeno teasing your clit.
“Yes baby?”
“Touch me please.”You cried out, needing him to
“What was that?” He whispered in your ear. “I can't hear you.”
“Fuck. Jeno please, I need more.” 
“Like this baby?” you nodded as he slid a finger inside you, pumping it slowly in and out of you, using his thumb to rub gentle circles at your swollen clit. The lewd sounds of your slick mixed with the ungodly whimpers Jeno had pulled from you filled the small area. You almost forgot that you were still in public.
Instantly his lips found their way back to your neck, as You let out a small yelp as he thrusted another finger into you, stretching you out deliciously. You hadn't been touched in so long, you felt like you were in heaven. Jeno had you seeing stars within minutes. Your hands took purchase on the back of Jeno’s shoulders, occasionally raising and tugging on the hair at the nape of his neck. Jeno knew you were close to cumming as he felt you spasming around his fingers.
“Are you close already baby?” 
“F-fuck. Yes I'm close.” you stammered out.
“Cum for me baby.” 
Clasping your hand over your mouth, you tried to prevent any more elicit moans from slipping out as you rode out your high. The air around you seemed to be heavier as you attempted to catch your breath. You were high off of orgasmic bliss, so much that you almost didn't notice Jeno caress you cheek in an attempt to help you calm down. You hoped that no one outside that door heard you.
“So… what does a guy have to do to get a date with a pretty woman like you?” Jeno asked, propping himself on his elbow .
“Jeno are you serious?” You questioned, as you leaped down from the counter to put your pants back on. Grabbing a hold of Jeno’s arm for balance, you stumbled slightly as your legs continued to shake from your previous activities. 
“Yes I am. Let me take you on a date.”
“Are you really being serious or are you just messing with me because if you’re messing with me I’ll leave right now.” You asked, as you folded your arms over your chest. You didn't mean to come off as a bitch, but you really liked Jeno and you didn't have time to mess around and let another man toy with your feelings.
Jeno sensed your change in demeanor. He reached out for your hand, caressing the underside of your hand with his thumb. “I've never been more serious.” He proclaimed. Jeno slipped you his unlocked phone, signaling for you to put in your number. Just as you were about to do so you were suddenly engulfed with a warm feeling. It might have been your flustered state, or the fact that he had just placed his jacket around your shoulders.
“In that case,” you type in your number, saving it under your name. “I will go out on a date with you.”
“Tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow?”
“Yes tomorrow. Is there a problem with tomorrow?” He questioned, to which you shook your head. You didn't expect him to want to see you again so soon. Well, in the position you were in, you had no right to judge his quickness.
“No. Tomorrow's perfect” you exclaimed.
“Great, let's go. They're probably looking for you.”
“Wait. What about you?” Your eyes fell to the prominent bulge in his pants. He only shrugged, leaning down to whisper in your ear. “You can make it up to me after our date.” Your face grew hotter at his comment, as if you two hadn't just committed sin a few minutes ago. Little did you know, you were surely in for a long ride. Literally.
-
© 2021 suh-insane, all rights reserved
A/N: I hope y'all like this and that I'm not just wasting my time on this series. :) If y’all like it pls lmk
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your-world-with-nct · 2 months ago
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— definitely not late for jungwoo’s birthday 🥰
💌 • 11:38am
“guess who?”
the sudden voice practically made you jump out of your skin, your pen falling onto your open notebook as you felt a pair of hands cover your eyes.
“kim jungwoo, one day, i swear, i’ll– you know what, just, sit down,” you sighed, patting the spot next to you as engineeringmajor!jungwoo tossed his bag off of his shoulder and sat down.
“aww, look at you pretending that you weren’t waiting for me,” he cooed, fishing a cereal bar out of his bag and taking a bite of it.
it had become a bit of a habit that you and jungwoo would sit and study in the outdoor area of the library after finding out a few months ago that you shared, not only the same free period, but also the same taste in music.
while he’d whip out his laptop and do… whatever it is that mechanical engineering majors did (jungwoo wasn’t the most productive person so you never really knew what he was supposed to be doing) and you’d work through your endless assignments, you’d share headphones and alternate who was playing the music every day, eventually leading to both of you discovering new artists and giving each other song recommendations.
after many study sessions spent together, you had gotten used to jungwoo’s presence and had formed an unlikely, yet unbreakable bond with the sweet boy, and, to be honest, doing work at your spot simply wasn’t the same when you were alone.
which is exactly why you created a playlist of the tracks he played all the time, with a sprinkle of your own favourites, to remind you of jungwoo and to motivate you when you were working at home or with your friends.
“i wasn’t waiting for you,” you huffed, but you both knew that was a lie, “i just happened to be looking around before you got here.”
jungwoo chuckled, combing his hand through his soft caramel locks, “yeah, yeah, okay, now pass me your headphones, it’s your day today.”
gladly handing over the singular earphone that was laying on the table, you resumed the playlist you were playing before without thinking, immediately going back to your work after the whirlwind of distractions jungwoo brought. not that you were complaining—you were enjoying taking in the beauty of the boy in front of you rather than scrutinising the dozens of tabs of resources open on your laptop.
a comfortable silence settled between the two of you as you fell into the natural rhythm of the music and your usual routine, the time flying by until your free period was coming to an end.
as you both subconsciously began packing your things away, jungwoo bopping his head to the beats in his right earphone, he tapped you on the shoulder, “hey, which one of your playlists is this? i swear you’ve never played this one before, can i see it so i can add some of the songs to mine?”
“sure, wait, lemme just unlock my phone, aaaand, there you go,” you mindlessly passed your phone to him, too busy double checking if all of your documents were saved before shutting down your laptop.
“uhhh, y/n?” the music halted in your ear and was replaced by jungwoo calling you instead,
you hummed in response, turning to face him and being met with his confused expression and something… unexpected on your screen.
‘pov: i can hear the songs that are stuck in my soulmate’s head except kim jungwoo’s my soulmate’—in your defence, you named that playlist after binge-reading several fanfics, and, well, you never intended to show jungwoo that any time soon, especially not right now.
“i… that’s just, i mean, uh, i— don’t read the playlist description!!” wow, that was the best thing your flustered brain could come up with. great.
jungwoo tilted his head, mirroring that of an adorable puppy, whispering the words under his breath as he did exactly what you advised him against, his eyes widening, “y/n, i—”
“i promise it’s not in a creepy way, i just— you know what? forget it,” slinging your bag over your shoulder, you went to snatch your phone from jungwoo’s hand, not expecting his hand to wrap around yours and whip you around to face him. “as if a playlist for you wasn’t cliche enough,” you whispered under your breath, with no intent of him hearing it.
“cliche? y/n, this is one of the sweetest things anyone’s ever done for me, even if it wasn’t, well, for me— anyways, seeing you appreciate the music i share with you just makes my heart, i don’t know, go... insane? you know what, i don’t know how else to say this, here,” jungwoo pressed a few buttons, and placed your phone back in your hand, displaying his account and a playlist you didn’t recognise.
‘if there is no answer, y/n is my answer’ was splashed on the top of the screen, followed by a list of songs you’d played for him in the past and some of jungwoo’s favourite love songs.
“you really think i wouldn’t do the same for you? i keep all of your song recs in one place,” he scratched his nape, avoiding your intense gaze, as your eyes flickered from your phone to his face, “how else am i supposed to work when you’re not with me?”
not knowing how to respond, you simply smiled at jungwoo’s cute mumbles, pressing a song on his playlist and pocketing your phone.
although the wordless melody was not what you were aiming for, you felt that the ambience of the instrumental conveying your feelings for one another better than either of you could currently articulate.
besides, the ultimate satisfaction and comfort you felt whilst dancing in the arms of the man you loved wasn’t something you could exactly explain out loud. at least music would always be able to connect you and jungwoo, even when words couldn’t do the job.
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dreamsafterhours · 3 months ago
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nct dream and knives
because they're cool
and i love enemies to lovers and you're probably lying if you say you don't
the one pinning you to the wall with a knife to your throat: renjun, chenle
the one you're pinning to the wall with a knife to his throat: mark, jeno, haechan, jaemin, jisung
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dreamsafterhours · 3 months ago
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01 liners drinking party
sungchan: /takes a sip of goryangju at chenle’s house/
sungchan, holding back visible tears: /winces/ not bad
chenle: weak /downs entire shot/
chenle, now also holding back visible tears: see? weak.
sungchan: i see tears
chenle, blinking profusely: incorrect
28 notes · View notes
bumblebeenct · 3 months ago
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Reminiscentia (m.tl)
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genre: angst, I’m sorry in advance
pairing: reader x moon taeil
word count: 10.7k
note: this is part of the amazing ‘almost’ collaboration hosted by @hyucksie and features so many amazing writers i’m honoured to even have my name placed beside. Special thanks to Mylin and Kai for reading this through for me, love you both lots! This story flicks between past and present, each section is marked with a timestamp please be aware of these for more clarity!
warnings: excessive pining, missed chances, mention of familial death, drinking, swearing (If i’ve missed any please don’t be afraid to let me know)
synopsis: you were a distant memory, something taeil had learnt to forget. running into you in the town you both grew up in, however, was something he should’ve expected. he can’t help but look back at everything you shared and wonder, what if?
taglist: @injuncore @flirtyhyuck @suh-insane @danishmiilk @jenonlyfans​ @ceruleanskies @ncteaxhoe​ @softsungchan​ @tae-ilshighnote​
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[1:56 pm] Late August, Present Day 
The coffee shop stood still in the middle of the town. A breath of fresh air to those walking by and a hint of familiarity to those who dwelled there. Moon’s was the most popular eatery on the strip. While only doing cakes and sandwiches they served what was arguably the best coffee around. Its owner, Moon Taeil, was very proud of his place and never let the negative reviews, if there ever were any, get him down he used them to improve. It had always been his dream to run a coffee shop, he had always loved the way in which his grandfather spoke about the shop he used to own. It was also fair to say that as much as customers loved the shop they loved Taeil even more. His loveable demeanour was something in which students found comfort, adults found a friend and the elderly liked to call ‘reliable’.
The shop itself was as “instagrammable” as they come, very trendy, and it attracted a lot of attention from outside of the small town in which it was located. Even so, Taeil refused to move to a more well-known location as by staying here he was closer to his family. His mother was ageing and he preferred to be somewhere he could take care of her. If you're lucky you could catch a glance of them working or eating at the cafe. At least, this is all you had heard about the place since you arrived back in town. People seemed to spare no detail when it came to Moon’s and Moon Taeil, it seemed like he followed you around everywhere you went.
Standing outside the shop now you find that it isn’t that far from the descriptions you’d been fed by your friends and family who still lived in town. The exterior walls a midnight blue decorated with stars, further the sign on the top ‘Moon’s’ written in a cursive font the first ‘O’ replaced by a picture of the moon. In the windows, you could see the design was similar on the inside. While significantly brighter than the exterior the inside of the building looked like it was meant to make you feel like you were walking in the stars, and knowing Moon Taeil, that’s exactly what he wanted you to feel. 
The idea behind coming here in the first place is to make it seem like an accident. Yet, of course, you’d just end up looking like an idiot. You can see it now, pretending you didn’t know it belonged to Taeil would be so stupid. Of course, it did. It’s called Moon’s for christ’s sake. Not to mention there are so many pictures of his face around town advertising the place. A smile that made you feel like you were young again. Not that you were old. It just reminded you of a better time. Taking a deep breath you place a hand on the door pushing it open and ringing the small bell placed to indicate a new guest. 
Taeil’s morning had started just as usual. Early. Running a cafe wasn’t all sweets and treats you know. Well, it was. But you get the point. The usual routine consisted of waking up before dawn and heading to the cafe where he’d meet the other bakers to get the fresh bakes ready for the customers they could expect for that day. After that, he would survey the shop itself to make sure everything was ready before opening for the early risers headed to work. His list of regulars spanned from those he’d only see through their commute to the students who would sit and study for hours in the confines of the cafe. All welcomed of course, as this was Moon’s cafe.
The sun rose under a gleaming pink sky and so the day began as it did every other that week. Quiet and bustling, just the way he liked it. He could remember when the cafe first opened how it was such a novelty to see anyone in the morning but as it became a staple in the life of the little town he lived he loved watching his consumer base grow. Often referring to those few regulars as close family, because everyone was welcome for a chat. Those who worked under him would often flush about how kind Moon Taeil was and mention him to friends and family in the area hoping to get more customers into the shop.
He had something else on his mind, however, on this almost perfectly regular day. His mother had graced him with the knowledge that you had found your way back to town. It was only a matter of time he supposed. He wasn’t exactly sure if you knew that the window did in fact go two ways. Watching you walk up to the shop itself was an experience he hadn’t expected, washed over with a wave of nostalgia he couldn’t help but stare at how you’d changed. Something he noticed staying stagnant though was the way you thought. Standing outside his little cafe he could see the gears in your mind working. What would make you so nervous about coming in. When you finally pushed open the door he couldn’t tell whether he was relieved or terrified, either way, he greeted you with the best Moon Taeil smile he could muster.
“Hello! And welcome to Moon’s!”
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[3:45 pm] Late August, A Very Long Time Ago 
The day you moved into town was one you’ll never forget. Despite it being almost terrible weather your parents had managed to keep you and your older brother in high spirits as the movers helped you take your stuff into the new house. It was more memorable, however, for it was the day you first spoke to the boy across the street. The one who would soon become your best friend. While you sat in the yard of your new home watching the move happen you noticed a small tuft of hair in the window of the house opposite.
It kept bobbing up and down as the boy it belonged to moved to get a better view of the new family moving in. His mother had mentioned that she could see the new family and it seemed like there was a young girl around his age. The way he was moving in and out of view however was making you giggle. Your mother noticed this as she came outside alongside your brother who was rolling his eyes, as he was 10 and “didn’t see why y/n didn’t have to help because 5-year-olds are smart too”. Turning towards the opposite house, she too noticed the young boy in the window, also noticing his mother standing behind him. Offering a small wave she laughed when the boy seemed to jump and finally duck behind the windowsill.
“Y/n honey, why don’t you go greet our neighbours? It seems like their young boy has taken an interest in us.” nodding at your mother you run across the street (after looking both ways of course) and knock as loud as you possibly can on the red door in front of you. To your surprise, the door is opened by an older boy who looks to be about your brother’s age, who looks in an equal amount of shock to see you as you are to see him. 
“Muuum! There’s a little girl at the door” he shouts towards what you can only assume to be the living room causing the older lady from the window earlier to come rushing towards the door. You don’t fail to notice the younger boy’s eyes follow her as she walks towards you and he peeks through the door frame.
“Hello darling,” she kneels down to your height, which is comforting seeing as you’d never met the woman before, “what are you doing over here?”
“I’m y/n and my mummy said to come and greet the neighbours because I am too small to help with the boxes.” the older woman laughs with a smile. 
“Well hello there y/n, I have a son around your age” she looks behind her and you follow her gaze to the younger boy from the window who, when notices you looking, rushes back into the living room with wide eyes. His mother just rolls her eyes with a smile as she turns back to you. “Why don’t you go introduce yourself to him and maybe stay here while we go and help your mother with the boxes” The older boy behind her groans but follows her when she eventually does leave the house and walk towards your own.
Deciding to find the other boy you walk around the corner into the room you had previously seen him disappear into. When you do turn the corner you find that he isn’t actually hiding at all, instead, he’s standing in the centre of the room looking bashful as if he can’t quite figure out what to do with himself. He may only be five years old but he can tell a pretty girl when he sees one.
“Hello,” you say quietly, giving him a cute smile, “I’m y/n and I’m this many years old” you show him five fingers on your hand as the smile on his own face grows and his eyes light up. 
“I’m that many years old too!” he cries “My name is Taeil! Moon Taeil! And it is very nice to meet you” his toothy grin, proud at remembering what his mother had always told him was a polite greeting.
It was clear from that moment on you’d both found the person you’d been waiting for. Your best friend.
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[11:47 am] Early September, A Very Long Time Ago
A few days after you’d moved in your mother decided it would be best to get to know the town a little bit more before you started school. You’d been awoken by your mother in the early hours of the morning to go on what seemed to be a little adventure and eventually you had come across a local park that was located not too far from your house. The way that your eyes lit up, your mother couldn’t say no when you asked to play. However, little did she know it wasn’t the playground you were interested in but the other kids playing in it. Sparking with recognition you see the only person you really want to play with.
“Mummy, Mummy look! It’s Taeil” your small hand grasps desperately at your mother’s skirt as you notice the dark-haired boy across the park. She gives you a lighthearted smile and a little nod as confirmation that you can head over. Letting go of her you run as fast as you can towards your best friend. “Taeil! Taeil! Moon Taeil! It’s Me!”
“Y/n!” he cries as you launch your little body onto his and his arms encase you in a large hug. Unfortunately, being as young as he is Taeil’s legs do not withstand the impact and you both go tumbling to the ground causing you both to burst into laughter. From where she previously stood your mother had found her way over to Taeil’s and they sat on a nearby park bench as the two of you mess around. 
“It’s quite endearing to see them getting along so well,” says Mrs Moon.
Your mother smiles, “maybe one day they’ll end up together”
Mrs Moon laughs, “I’ll be waiting for my wedding invitation.”
“That’ll be the day.”
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[2:03 pm] Late August, Present Day
You cannot contain the smile that creeps its way onto your face. God damn Moon Taeil, he’s always had a contagious smile since the both of you were young. Walking towards him, he laughs as you almost trip over your own feet. It isn’t an awkward air as you walk towards each other but it isn’t necessarily a comfortable one either. You find the silent emotions between yourselves longing and bearable. Nostalgic, almost. I suppose that’s what happens after you don’t talk to someone for a long time.
His face hasn’t changed from when you last saw him and his hair is just as floppy upon his head. Don’t be mistaken, it’s still neat to the untrained eye but you know him too well and can tell from the single strand of hair falling in front of his eye that he hates it. You chuckle at the thought and approach the counter he stands behind. He’s dressed in what can only be described as a typical uniform. The white collared shirt and black pants accompanied by a navy apron donning the cafe's logo on the front. It makes you proud how far he’s come.
“If it isn’t Mr. Moon Taeil, owner of his very own cafe.” he giggles fondly at your words.
“Y/n, nice to see you” you’re both almost lost in the moment before he continues. “What brings you back around these parts?”
You look down slightly, “I’m sure you’ve heard about my mother, I’m back to spend as much time with her as I can.”
Your mother had been ill for a long time, longer than you’d been moved away. It just so happened that her condition had worsened in the last year. It didn’t look hopeful for your family and so your brother had asked you to come home at least until it was time to say goodbye. She was losing herself slowly and he thought it would be nice for her to spend what time she could with her only children.
“I have,” Taeil nodded, “I’ve been managing to deliver what of her favourite cakes I can, the smile on her face is enough for me to keep it up.” Your mother had always liked Taeil’s baking and had kept encouraging him all throughout your childhoods. It was peaceful knowing that he still had the same amount of care for your family and was able to help while you were away. You were thankful that the deteriorating relationship between the two of you hadn’t affected your families too negatively. 
You don’t speak for a few seconds and so Taeil fills the silence, “since you’re here, what do you want to order? It’s on the house.”
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[9:10 am] First Day of Middle School (and then some…)
“Come on y/n! You’re going to make us late!” Your older brother shouts up the stairs as you struggle to make your hair look nice. You wanted to look good. The first day of middle school is a big occasion. There’s gonna be other kids there. Sure you knew a lot of them from elementary but this was a big step up. Also, Taeil and his brother were coming in the car with you, meaning you absolutely had to look your best. Taeil was having a similar crisis, except this was happening outside your house. His brother had rushed past him out the door to greet yours and managed to knock the younger boy over into the mud outside. None of his clothes were muddy, but his shoes were. The new shoes he’d been waiting to show you. His mum said that he couldn’t wear them until school because he’d “ruin them” or something.
Yet the moment you came outside and started getting into the car, all of that was forgotten. Sat at the very back of the car you were telling Taeil about the book you’d recently started reading. He listened on as you raved about the creatures and people and mystical worlds you’d fallen into with a quiet smile. The way your features lit up made him happy inside, it was nice to see his best friend get so excited about something. Taeil had found his joy fairly early on in baking with his mother, it took you a little longer to find your ‘thing’ with the first book you picked up being the Chronicles of Narnia you knew you couldn’t stop there. 
In the middle of the car, your older brothers were rolling their eyes at the way you both spoke to each other. Such children think the 16-year-olds of the 11-year-olds as they continue to play chopsticks much to the detriment of your mother who is almost grateful when you pull up to the high school as she knows she’s getting rid of the two loudest members of your entourage. Moments later you’re outside the middle school and you and Taeil exit the car and walk towards the building bidding your mother a quick goodbye. She smiles as the two of you walk side by side.
Everything is in motion, friends saying their hellos and making their way to their designated classrooms. You both follow a sign for your grade indicating where to go for the introductory assembly and sit beside each other after finding that, thankfully, you’d been allocated to the same class. It’s not hard to tell that you’re close and you’re glad that the teacher has made it so you can spend more time together. These are your formative school years, it is imperative you spend them with your best friend. You know that with Taeil you’ll stay, for as long as humanly possible. 
Your first few weeks at school fly by and the time that you spend together increases from just weekend hangouts to in school, after school and often the occasional sleepover at either your own or Taeil’s house. It’s not like you didn’t spend almost every day together beforehand it's just that with the added time of school and spending every class of the day together there was just a whole lot more reason to hang out together. I mean, who else was going to do your homework with you?
By the time October rolls around the town is advertising their annual Halloween fair next week. Your mother already agreed to let you go as long as your brother was around to supervise, so there you were at Taeil’s door with your brother trying to persuade Mrs Moon to let her own children go. She smiled at your cheesy grins when she opened the door and it didn’t take much puppy dog eyes from either of you for her to relent. You couldn’t wait.
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[6:17 pm] Halloween A Very Long Time Ago
The coloured lights are enough to get Taeil excited. I mean he was already buzzing to get to go to the fair with you, but as you pulled up alongside the fair his heartbeat got faster and he couldn’t wait to run into the bright lights of the fair. The moment Mrs Moon lets you all out of the car you race into the fairground. With the pocket money you’d accumulated, your brothers handed you your fair share of tickets and told you that you’d need to meet back where you’d entered at 8 so you could meet up with your mum without arousing suspicion that your siblings had left you and Taeil to fend for yourselves in the busy fair.     
The surrounding area was a sight to see, the Halloween decorations matched with the bright lights on all the attractions made it hard to know where to look. In true best friend fashion, you’d both come dressed up. Taeil was Batman and you were Robin. You’d wanted to be Batman too but you’d settled the argument with a coin toss and Taeil had won “fair and square”. Or so he said, you shouldn’t trust anyone who wins a coin toss that they tossed. 
You walked around and spent your tokens on all sorts of games. Basketball was the first where you had beat Taeil by five. To cheer him up you’d moved onto the fishing game where you could win some of the biggest stuffed toys you’d ever seen. You weren’t very good at all and Taeil… was slightly better. He didn’t manage to win the huge puppy dog hanging above the pool but had managed to win a small dolphin plush, which he then ever so graciously gave to you. Heat rose to your cheeks but you ignored it as you moved towards the ghost train.
Ghost trains are scary enough but you’re sure they shouldn’t have let two eleven-year-olds on it without supervision because they’d clearly made it scarier for the season. The entire time you and Taeil held onto each other with a death grip that would have hurt if the both of you weren’t so focussed on when the ride would end. Unfortunately for you, it was at least a five-minute ride and so you’d be stuck screaming your heads off. As you reached the exit the speed at which you bounced apart from each other was a record. It’s never awkward between you but you were both a little embarrassed about how scared you actually were.
It was 7:30 soon enough and you had about 5 tickets left each, which was coincidentally the amount needed for the ferris wheel that you’d spotted moments after hopping off the ghost train. It was high enough and though it took some convincing Taeil agreed. He couldn’t resist both his desire to see the town from way up high but the puppy dog eyes you gave him. He could never resist you. Once you were both sitting on the ride and it had started moving he began to pale once again at the implication of being up so high. Noticing this, you grab his hand softly and give him a brief smile, which works wonders as he suddenly feels the weight of the ride escape him.
The wait to the top was silent and slow as the ride would stop to periodically let people on and let the people at the top enjoy the view. But as you reached the top you discovered that it was worth it. From where they’d put the wheel you had a perfect view of both the fairground and the town before you. Your eyes glistened as you took in the surrounding areas. Taeil however had found something else to look at, while his fear of heights wouldn’t let him take in the view he found solace in watching you. The way your eyes lit up as the fairground below had and the way the breeze brushed past your face.
Turning to Taeil with a smile, you notice him staring.
“Taeil? Haven’t you looked around? I know it’s scary but the view is beautiful” You’re suddenly very aware that he’s still holding your hand. Tight. 
“I would, but I think you’re a whole lot more beautiful.” He says honestly.
You’re silent for a moment before you break out into a fit of giggles with a smile, “you absolute cheeseball Moon Taeil!” smacking him lightly on the shoulder he starts to giggle too.
He takes some time to think before his face is serious. “Y/n, if I asked to kiss you right now would you be mad at me?”. You’re slightly taken aback, more at this comment than the previous. You knew what a kiss was, your parents did it all the time and your brother spared no detail when you asked about his date with Katie. Yet you never thought it was something you’d do with your best friend.
“Forget it y/n it’s fine it was just a silly idea” he rambles when you don’t respond.
“No, no! It’s okay it’s okay!” you can feel the heat rising to your cheeks for what feels like the millionth time that day. “I could never be mad at you Moon,”.
“So, can I kiss you?” you barely hear the question over the noise of the fairground as he says it so quietly but you give him a nod of affirmation before he starts to move closer. It’s underwhelming the feeling of his lips on yours, but you suppose it's not supposed to feel amazing, you are eleven and this is your best friend. Yet what irks you most is the slight jump you feel in your stomach when it ends. It’s almost sad like you want to do it again. Nevermind. You’re both silent for the rest of the time and when you meet your mother at the meeting point with your brothers you don’t talk to each other still, but your hands stay intertwined.
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[12:57 am] Mid November, A Very Long Time Ago
It’s movie night at Taeil’s the next time you’re even thinking about the kiss. Nothing out of the ordinary is happening. The weekly sleepover, movie night is something you’d started doing as kids and just didn’t stop. It made it so you could see each other easily even if you hadn’t been able to in the week. You’re cuddled into Taeil as you usually were and as you begin to lose focus on the movie, finding yourself sleepy, your mind begins to wander. You hadn’t spoken about it since but you can’t help but think what if-
“Oh look at the lovebirds~” Taeil’s older brother’s sing-song voice enters the room, causing you both to jump away from each other. To make matters worse your brother enters the room too.
“Movie night? Again? Why not call it a date night and be over with it” he wiggles his eyebrows.
“Be quiet or you’ll wake mum up!” you whisper scream at the boys who don’t seem to get the message to leave. They continue to poke fun at the two of you until Taeil decides he’s had enough.
“It-it” he glances your way slightly, which goes unnoticed by everyone else in the room “It’s not like that!” he says.
The room stops before your brothers burst into laughter and leave the two of you to deal with that fallout. Locking eyes, you notice something resemblant of regret within them, but still, you give him a short nod and smile. “Come on Moon, let’s get back to the movie,”.
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[2:10 pm] Late August, Present Day
“I’ll have a…” you glance over at the menu behind him and see something that makes your eyes light up, “a caramel cappuccino! I remember when we used to make those in your kitchen! Are the ones here as heavenly as I remember them to be?”.
Smiling at your enthusiasm Taeil nods, “believe it or not I fashioned quite a few drinks after the things we used to create, but this is the only one that tastes remotely the same,”
You laugh “Of course it is, the rest were borderline disgusting but I’m lucky to have been behind some of Moon’s drinks.”
“You’re behind a lot of this you know,” his eyes glisten with the memories “you always told me I could do it.”
“Because even an idiot could see you running your own place Moon. They'd be crazy to suggest otherwise.” 
He looks bashful but is thankful for your kind words, “let me just ring this up and then you’re gonna come round the back here, I want to know what you’ve been up to on your many adventures away from this old town.”
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[8:00 am] The Start of High School
The sound of your alarm blaring through your room causes you to wake with a groan. Reaching out to your bedside table you haphazardly shut off the alarm and throw your phone to the other side of the room. Five more minutes you think as you start to drift back off to sleep. Unfortunately ‘five more minutes’ doesn’t come as your brother bursts into your room. 
“GET UP! YOU’RE GOING TO BE LATE!” you groan again and throw one of your pillows at him, to which he responds by throwing it right back at you, “You can’t be late on your first day of high school y/n! Get up!”.
Rolling your eyes you prop yourself up to look at the 19-year-old in your doorway with a smug look on his face. “Why are you even awake? You’re wasting your life away so why are you awake?”
He scoffs “excuse me, I’m not wasting it away. I'm on a gap year, and I have a job that I have to be early for so get up or you’re walking to school.”
“I thought you said I couldn’t be late?”
“Just GET UP!”
Laughing at his retreating figure you pull yourself out of bed and start preparing for your first day. It’s a mix of nervousness and fear as you figure out what you need for the day. You’re more on edge this time around as you’d been given your timetables ahead of time and it so turned out that you and Taeil barely shared any classes. Luckily you’d be able to see each other at lunch.
Moving downstairs you grab a breakfast bar and head out to the car where your brother and the other passenger are already waiting. “Moon! Good Morning my man!”
Taeil laughs, not expecting you to be so energetic in the morning, “y/n, always a pleasure my lady.” 
Your brother rolls his eyes before hurriedly telling you to get in the car as he begins to drive off. Jumping in the backseat, as Taeil was already sat in the passenger seat you both begin to make conversation as usual. You’re both excited for the day and you spend the journey wondering what your new ‘high school’ classes are going to be like. Dropping you off and wishing you luck your brother leaves to his own job and then you stand in front of the school almost taking it all in. It’s daunting watching the older students going into school but with your timetable and knowledge that there’s a whole year of students just like you it’s more exciting than anything.
“Ready?” Taeil turns to look at you.
“With you by my side, Moon? I can do anything.”
Walking into the main building you and Taeil find a map of the school designed to help freshmen find their homerooms. Now's the time to split up. “Catch you at lunch?” With a quick nod you’re both off to find where you’re supposed to be. With Taeil walking to the left you find yourself unenthusiastically walking in the opposite direction. You’d be less nervous but it just so happened the high school your parents had chosen was not the one which kids from your middle school usually transitioned to and so you were effectively on your own, with no one you knew to support you.
Room D13 was easy enough to find and by the time you got there there were already several people scattered around the place. Unfortunately for you, the majority of people seemed to already know each other. Finding a seat close to the windows you start getting the books you’d need out of your bag when another girl comes up to your side and sits in the chair next to you, grabbing your attention.
“Hi! You look lonely! I’m Seulgi, what’s your name?” she beams as you softly smile back.
“I’m y/n, and I can tell we’re going to be great friends!”
On the other side of the school Taeil was having a similar stroke of luck. Immediately upon entering B02 he was ambushed by three boys who had decided he was theirs to take under their wing. Despite being slightly too old for your school year Taeil knew these younger boys would be the support he needed when you weren’t around. 
When the lunch bell rang hours later you both rushed to meet each other at the cafeteria entrance as you’d promised. When you and Seulgi arrived alongside some other girls from your class, Taeil was already there waiting. Your friend noticed him too and told you where she’d be finding a seat, luckily however it seemed you and Taeil were about to say the same thing to each other. 
“Moon! How’ve you been? Feels like too long.”
He chuckles along “much too long.” scratching the back of his head he continues, “look I don’t mean to be rude but I’ve made a couple of friends today and they invited me to…”
You look over his shoulder where there are three boys laughing amongst themselves, occasionally sparing a glance at you and your best friend. 
“No I completely get it,” now it’s your turn to feel awkward “I’m actually glad you found some good friends because I’ve been invited by Seulgi to sit with her friends…”
“Oh, that’s the girl you were with?” You nod, and the unspoken understanding between you, that you’ve developed as best friends, lets you know that you won’t in fact be sat together at lunch.
“See you after school?” He offers.
“See you then.” you say smiling as you head off to meet Seulgi and Taeil walks once again in the other direction feeling not so happy at the way things have turned out.
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[2:13 pm] Late August, Present Day
“So… When did you start setting this into motion then?” You’re perched on a barstool in front of where the workspace was placed.
“Well it wasn’t long after you left for college that dad fell ill and so I thought it would be best to stay. College wasn’t something that would’ve helped anyway. Johnny’s dad helped me get started, you know, with his connections in the coffee cafe industry.”
“Johnny, from high school?” you smile at the memory of the tall, floppy haired boy.
“Yeah! We stayed friends for a while after, did you know he’s back in Chicago now working with the nursery school his sister set up?” 
The small talk goes on for a while. Taeil goes on to tell you the highs and lows of opening his own cafe. It was hard at first for him to get started, the stint of his father falling sick shifted his focus from the dream of owning to taking care of his parents. It wasn’t until after his father died that he started to work on it fully, putting his grief into his work rather than letting it sit and dwell. Johnny and Taeil’s own brother were never going to let him wallow away, especially when he had so much potential and so the cafe became a safe space for him to work towards the dream he’d had since childhood.
It was hard to hear about Taeil’s father, as while you grew up together you both gained a second set of parents. In fact, you’re pretty sure that was the last time you saw Taeil, at the funeral. It wasn’t that long but it was a fleeting moment. He was happy you’d had the grace to show up and you were mostly glad to be there for him, holding back your own grief for the man to comfort his youngest son. Promptly after you’d moved back to college and continued on with your life as normal.
From what you could tell, Johnny and Doyoung, his closest friends, had been instrumental in helping everything go to plan. Johnny stayed in town momentarily to help Taeil move through with things before transferring back to Chicago to live with his sister. Doyoung still lived in town though as he went to the local university and works at a local accounting firm.
“or so he says,” Taeil adds with a laugh.
While he speaks you watch his hands, always the attention to detail has your Moon. He makes the drink you order just as you both used to make it. The way you like it best. 
“Oh wow, I didn’t realise it was so similar to the things we used to create.”
He nods, “somewhat, I just thought for yours I’d do it the ‘classic way’ because we did add more ingredients somewhere along and I think maybe a taste of nostalgia is what you’re looking for. I mean you are in here with me after all”
You can’t help but think that the way he speaks feels like a double edged sword yet you nod along all the same trying not to break down in your best friend’s (could you still call him that?) cafe in front of about ten other people. He seems so serious all of a sudden.
“Anyway,” Taeil resumes after the pregnant pause between you “enough about my life, where have you been off to anyway?”
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[3:00 pm] June 14th, The Summer Before Senior Year
“Dude please let me see my cake!”
“Just look in the mirror, bro.”
You roll your eyes at the interaction between Taeil and Johnny, the three of you are sat in Taeil’s room alongside Doyoung, his other close friend gearing up to the party he’s hosting later. You and Doyoung are sat next to each other on Taeil’s bed watching Johnny and Taeil argue over whether or not Taeil is allowed to see his cake before the actual reveal of it in a few hours time. Of course the answer is no but it’s entertaining for you to watch him struggle. You’re pretty sure this was the first time Taeil hadn’t insisted on making the cake himself and really it was only because of a bet. Turns out he’s not as good at Uno as he thinks and so you, Johnny and Doyoung were in charge of baking this year.
You’re not usually hanging out with Taeil and his friends but they’d successfully managed to crash a few of your movie nights which eventually lead to the cake conflict. Taeil was finally 18 and that meant he was once again teased relentlessly for being an old man, considering a lot of your birthdays were months away. Currently you’re glad to be at Taeil’s, it’s not like when you were kids where you spent every spare moment at his house but it’s still enough for you to be considered best friends. Although you were sure no amount of distance or time apart could thwart your friendship.
This weekend you were glad to be hiding from Seulgi and the girls. Due to his closeness with Taeil you’d managed to become good friends with Johnny and this grew as you both realised that you shared some classes. The girls, however, had fashioned this as some sort of blooming romance and you were not ready to listen to them rattle on about the nonexistent romantic relationship between the two of you. You were just friends and it would stay that way.
“What do you think y/n?” You’re pulled out of your daze by Taeil directing his questioning at you.
“Huh?”
“Do you think I should be able to see my cake?” You know what he’s doing the moment he finishes the sentence. 
“Moon Taeil, I will not be falling for the puppy dog eyes today. That’s the whole point of you not making your cake that it will be a surprise so stop asking!”
Taeil listens immediately and instead starts making stupid faces at Johnny for a laugh. You’ll never understand how the two of them work.
“I can’t believe he’s been badgering Johnny about that for almost ten minutes now and all it took for him to stop was you telling him straight.” Doyoung knows that is the case but can’t help but voice his opinion once he sees how quickly the topic of cake is dropped.
Laughing you respond in the only way you know how, “We’ve known each other ages Doie, I guess it’s just like that between us.”
Suddenly you and Doyoung are both ambushed by the combined weight of Johnny and Taeil jumping on top of the bed, and as a result, onto the two of you. What ensues is Doyoung wrestling with the taller boy as he tries to remove his weight and you trying to tickle Taeil off of you. Eventually though, while the other two continue fighting, you settle into Taeil’s arms as you both laugh at the idiocy of Johnny and Doyoung.
Hours later and the party is in full swing. Taeil finally got to see his cake and nearly cried when he saw that the three of you had actually managed to pull together a decent effort. In fact if you remember correctly, his exact words were “I couldn’t have done it better myself” which he is definitely never living down after this night. Seulgi and some of your other friends had shown up and whisked you away from where the boys were starting to play beer pong, your place on Taeil’s team being taken by some random girl from one of his classes they unwittingly pulled from the crowd since they needed a new player and fast. 
You were close enough to see the game but far enough away so that the others wouldn’t hear the girls' conspiracies. By conspiracies I’m talking about their efficient retelling of rumour mill. They can’t stop peddling this shit about you and Johnny when all you want to do is be close to your best friend. Looking back at the game, ignoring your friends, you notice that the boy they’re going on about isn’t actually playing. In fact Doyoung is standing next to another boy in your year Taeyong and Johnny is nowhere to be seen at all. Soon enough you feel a tap on your shoulder and notice the aforementioned boy standing above you. You don’t fail to notice how your friends fall into a giggling silence.
“Hey, can we talk?” you nod slowly and follow him out into Taeil’s back garden where there’s various other teenagers strewn about in their own little conversations. You pass through to the deck chairs near what seems to be the quieter end of the pool and sit next to Johnny overlooking the drunken mess that the outdoor space has become.
“So…” 
“So…” He repeats.
“What’d you bring me out here for, Johnny?”
He pauses for a moment before taking in a deep breath. “So I know you’re like Taeil’s best friend and all and we aren’t really that close but I have genuinely enjoyed getting to know you over the past few years and I was-” You’re almost not listening to him speak, it sounds like… this sounds like a confession. You feel the blood drain from your face. Oh god. “-and I just wanted to know if you felt the same way, and you don’t have to give an answer now, I just felt like it was the right time and I didn’t know when else to do it or what else to say and I’m a little bit tipsy and I just, I like you okay?”
There’s a long silence between the two of you and the awkward tension begins to grow. You’re not entirely sure how to respond and Johnny can see how you’re struggling to come to terms with what he’s said.
“Y/n, it’s fine.” he rambles, waving a hand. “Forget I said anything at all.”
He moves to get up, “no, no! It’s fine.” you think quickly. “You’re lovely Johnny and you’re such a good friend, I just don’t feel that way about you.” Unknowingly you glance back at the house and all of a sudden it clicks for Johnny. He knows why you’ve turned him down and he feels so goddamn stupid for not seeing it before. Taeil. It’s always been Taeil.
Walking back into the house together, the silence between you is surprisingly not awkward at all. Despite not voicing his findings Johnny’s demeanour despite the rejection is enough to put you at ease as you focus on finding your best friend amongst the crowd. He’s still playing beer pong, in fact, he and the girl he’s playing with are winning. Taeyong and Doyoung miss again and the entire room seems to hold it’s breath as the birthday boy goes in for the win. The cheer that erupts from the room is immeasurable. Yet you barely hear it.
You’re too focused on the way your best friend has decided to celebrate his win. By locking lips with the girl you were sure he barely even knew. Taeil, formerly engrossed in kissing this other girl looks up to find you standing there next to Johnny, an almost unreadable expression on your face, but it’s enough to bring him down from whatever high he’d previously been on.
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[8:33 am] First Day of Senior Year
“Moon!” you shout, bashing on his bedroom door “Open the fucking door! We need to leave.”
Just as you reach to pound again, the door flies open and a disheveled Moon Taeil is revealed on the other side. His hair is all over the place and you can’t help but laugh.
“Did you just wake up?”
“No!” he rushes, “I just- I just had a late night so I might’ve slept in a little this morning by accident.
“Well you’re ready now I assume, come on I’ve been waiting in the car for ages.” Walking out of his house, with Taeil following close behind you both rush into the car. Taeil begins to tell you both about how he’d spent all evening trying to perfect a new muffin recipe that he could bring for you and his other friends to try but he didn’t manage to get them finished until about midnight, and even then they did not taste very good at all, hence why you weren’t currently eating said muffins. 
You’ve always loved the drive to school, particularly as you both settled into different friend groups as it was the only time of the day where you could guarantee a genuine conversation with your best friend. Whether you were being driven by your brothers, mothers, fathers or as it was today, yourself,  it was the singular time you knew nobody else could interrupt. 
When arriving at the school it’s time to go your separate ways. Parting with a final question. “Movie night Friday?”.
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[11:47 pm] First Movie Night, Senior Year
‘Kiki’s Delivery Service’ is playing from the screen as you and Taeil resume your weekendly hangout for the school year. Taeil’s choice, of course, he loves how she manages to make a living in a bakery and he talks about it throughout the film.
“One day I want to own a little shop like that.”
“What, a bakery?”
“No, no, I mean I’d sell baked goods but I’d like my own cafe one day.”
Giggling at his sudden enthusiasm you respond, “I know you do, you’ve been talking about it for years, you can even call it Moon’s.”
His eyes light up as he turns his head towards you, “That’s perfect!”.
Turning your face to meet his eyes you suddenly realise how close the two of you are and the heat begins to rise to your cheeks. The film now forgotten, both you and Taeil seem to notice the shift in atmosphere. Not that you usually speak much on movie night but tonight the silence just seems so loud and the awareness that the two of you are alone in the room is overwhelming. It can’t just be the lighting that makes it seem he’s moving closer and closer and you can feel his breath on your own lips. Scared to breathe you move towards him at the same place when-
When his phone rings.
The two of you jump away from each other startled as his phone rings out into the silence. The boy jumps off his bed to reach for his phone hastily picking up as you’re left on the bed still remaining heavily. Luckily due to the quietness of the room you’re able to make out the conversation. It’s Johnny.
“Hey John, is everything alright?” Taeil is just as breathless as you and you can tell by the way his chest moves up and down. Johnny’s voice comes faintly through the phone and it’s in such a way you can’t be mad.
“Hey Taeil look I know it’s movie night and I wouldn’t interrupt you guys usually but we’re at Yuta’s and Doyoung has got so pissed and I don’t trust him in a taxi by himself but I’ve had some to drink and I can’t drive him and you and y/n can drive and you were the first people I thought of and I’m sorry.” His rambling ends and Taeil let’s out a sigh.
“We’ll be there, either make him drink some water while you wait or just let him get it all out his system. Yuta lives near school right?” With Johnny’s affirmation he continues “We’ll be there in ten.”
“Come on, let’s go get him.” You and Taeil head out where you find the party is in full swing but sat out on the front lawn are Johnny and Taeyong holding what seems to be a blacked out Doyoung between them. Taeil gets out from the car and assists the other two getting him into the car before they both clamber into the back with the intention of looking after Doyoung when they get to his house.
“Hey y/n, sorry again about this.”
“It’s alright John, I’m more concerned that Doie gets home safe. I didn’t think it was this bad.”
Johnny looks a little guilty. “I might’ve said he definitely couldn’t outdrink me, and you know how seriously he takes a challenge.” You roll your eyes as you recall Doyoungs genuine inability to back down from a challenge no matter how ridiculous and when Taeil climbs back in the car you’re on your way.
Someway along the journey however Doyoung is awoken as you drive over a speed bump. He himself doesn’t live so far from Yuta’s home yet Johnny had decided it would probably be best for all of them to stay at his and not face Doyoung’s parents wrath when they saw their son in such a state.Doyoung then begins to ramble on and on, phrases which you’re never able to fully catch but it’s enough to make you all laugh at his expense. However when he eventually comes to his senses about who’s in the car things get a little more awkward.
“Hey! It’s mr moon and y/nie what are they…” his eyebrows raised “isn’t it date night…” the entire car seems to pause at that. I mean, the car itself keeps moving but everyone inside freezes. It isn’t hard to see the obvious tension between you, it exists anyways but the other boys could see something had shifted before you got there. 
Taeyong comes to your metaphorical rescue when he decides to correct him. “You mean movie night?”
“Movie night… date night…” Doyoung slurs “no matter what you call it it’s them two avoiding the obvious.” he points a finger towards the front of the car before slumping over onto Taeyong’s shoulder again causing the car to fall into the same awkward silence that had occurred between you and Taeil on the way over. The problem with everything Doyoung has said is that none of it is wrong. He has you and Taeil pegged to a T, the problem is you’re not sure if you’re completely ready to admit that just yet.
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[12:38 pm] One Week to Winter Dance
After not being able to find the boys anywhere you end up sitting with Seulgi as you usually would at lunch. You’d needed to return one of Johnny’s books but you couldn’t find him, Doyoung or Taeil and when you’d asked Taeyong you’d only really received a vague response. Seulgi herself was dragging you outside where she claimed you’d find most of your friends sitting, which was odd since they’d never done that at all. It was almost as if you were being coerced into something. Wait.
Everything is made clear as you find not only the other girls sat outside but another boy from your senior class, Jaehyun. Walking towards them your brain registers the flowers and a small piece of card in his hand. Approaching the table causes said boy to stand up, offering you a cheesy dimpled grin.
“Hey Jaehyun, I didn’t expect to see you here.”
He scratches at the back of neck as he speaks. “Well I asked your friends and they said the easiest time to catch you semi-alone was at lunch.” By now you’ve realised what is going on. You’re being asked to the dance. Holy shit. What would you say? “I just want to know, will you go with me to the winter dance? I can pick you up and everything.” 
You aren’t sure what to say, especially since this was the last person you’d expect to ask you and you were hoping someone you knew a little better would ask. Looking over at the girls you see them nodding at you giving the thumbs up with shit-eating grins on their faces. Obviously they were behind this. Before you can think any further you feel your mouth speak for you. 
“Yes, I will”. Jaehyun encompasses you in a hug before handing you the flowers and leaving you alone with the girls, who you finally abandon to go back into the building to find Johnny and the boys who had been M.I.A for longer than usual. It is easier to find them than you thought as you find them congregated by your locker. 
When lunch had started the three boys had set off to the shops down the road both to buy lunch and a bouquet of flowers. Taeil had keyed them in on his plan to ask you to the dance. Finally one of you was going to make a move, and so they were all standing around your locker waiting to take you to the art room where his “prom?” the display was waiting. Unfortunately Taeil had spotted you at the end of the corridor with a bunch of flowers and immediately was sent into a panic.
“Is that a bunch of flowers? Is she carrying a bunch of flowers? Has she been asked?”
Doyoung was trying to calm him down before you got to them and Taeil was rendered silent as Johnny took charge of the conversation with you.
“Nice flowers y/n where’d you get them?”
“Jaehyun just asked me to the dance.”
All three boys pale uncomfortably at the way the heat rises to your cheeks. Taeil is the one who speaks first, “What did you say?”
“Well I said yes…” 
Before anyone else can react both Johnny and Doyoung dart down the corridor to dismantle the ‘promposal’ they’d all set up. Taeil excuses them before following straight behind and you’re left alone with a bouquet of flowers, Johnny’s exercise book and a heavy feeling in your heart.
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[9:58 pm] The Winter Dance 
The night had not turned out as you had previously hoped. Jaehyun had found interest in a girl the grade below and you found yourself sitting on the curb outside the main entrance. You had passed both friend groups you were associated with and their dates, ignoring them as you tried to remove the image of your date swapping spit with another girl. The cool winter air passed you by as tears ran freely down your face. What was wrong with you? You didn’t even like Jaehyun. It was more about the principle, I mean he was your date and so it was heartbreaking, almost, to see him throw that under the bus. 
Soon enough there’s someone beside you and you find that your best friend has followed you out. He’s always had your back, from the moment you first stepped into his house all those years ago and you’re sure he will till the day you both die. Why couldn’t he have asked you to the dance? Why did you have to come with some other stupid boy?
“You alright?” His voice is a calming presence in the wind, “I saw you rush out and then I saw Jaehyun and that girl,” the way you choke on your sob hurts Taeil in a way he didn’t think possible, he never wants to see you this way, “don’t even worry about him, I’m pretty sure I saw the others going to deal with him before I left the hall,”.
You unwillingly let out a burst of laughter at this suddenly imagining Johnny, Taeyong and Doyoung trying to rough up a boy who was pretty prevalent on the sports teams at school. “I’m fine I just… I just wish I could’ve come with someone I actually like.”
Your subtle message doesn’t go unnoticed. “You know I was going to ask you” Taeil lets out a chuckle, “dickwad beat me to it though”.
It’s almost painful how well you fit together, you’re both complete idiots in love with each other but never fully admitting the extent of which for no real reason. Whether you were worried about ruining the friendship or it not working out or something it just never seemed to work out. But in this moment, with the stars shining above and the only light illuminating the two of you being the dim street lights above something changes. Taeil’s last admission is somewhat of a confession. Oh god. Moon Taeil was going to ask you, his bestest friend in the entire world, to the dance. 
It’s almost… romantic. Funny. The thought never really occurred to you, but the way he shone in the fading moonlight was enough to set your heart racing. Deja vu is the only way to describe the feeling. It’s reminiscent of the movie night all those weeks ago and you feel yourself moving closer and closer until you can almost feel his lips on yours.
“Hey guys! Let’s leave this joint!” You hear Taeyong before you see him but his announcement is followed by some loud shushing. One thing you knew before the dance started was that Johnny was definitely spiking the punch and you guess that you were seeing the results first hand. Sighing you stand up, offering a hand to Taeil which he continues to hold as you walk towards your friends. 
“Sorry about your date y/n.”
“It’s fine Moon, the night’s barely started and it feels like we're about to have more fun with the three stooges than we ever would inside that hall.”
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[2:17 pm] Late August, Present Day
“-and then I ended up saying fuck that and just walking out.” You and Taeil were laughing at your memories. You can’t help but feel slightly insensitive sharing the stories you’d made while he had been stuck here in this tiny town. He had asked but it feels like you’re cheating him. You can vividly remember him begging you not to go and it feels so fucking selfish to bring up the adventures you had been on.
“Well it seems like you have had quite the time without us.” without us. He means without him. There it is. He’s keeping up the niceties. He’s a kind enough man to let you in but seems not the type to forgive and forget. “I don’t think I’ll ever leave, I love the place and the people way too much to do that.”
“What happened to that sense of recklessness I remember Moon?” you laugh.
“We grew up y/n,” you’re both quiet for a moment. “We grew up.”
He isn’t wrong. He was never wrong. You just never thought it would hurt this much. Of course things wouldn’t be the same. You were never able to enter the cafe with good results, no matter what good intentions you had they would have never been received well. Your friends and family were optimistic. 
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[3:42 pm] Somewhere Before the End of Senior Year (and the Start of Summer)
As usual you, Taeil and the other boys are sitting around in your garden wasting the afternoon away discussing your plans for the summer. It was the last summer before you’d all be going to college. They boys were all pretty set with their acceptance into the local university but you were waiting on an acceptance from pretty far away. Nobody was really happy at your decision to apply but it had never been more thrilling to you than to go and find adventure somewhere you’d never been. From the table you hear your phone buzz and you gesture for Taeyong to throw it over to where you and Taeil are on the grass. Catching it (barely) you open the phone to find an email from your dream uni.
Immediately you jump up. “Oh my god.” You can’t believe it, “Oh my god!”
The boys are immediately concerned that something has gone wrong but the moment you scream, “I did it! I got in!” the celebration ensues. You’re immediately engulfed by most of the others as you jump around celebrating your win.
“So that’s it.” Your smile stalls as you find Taeil, now stood, away from your group. “You’re leaving?”. The silence that befalls the group is a silence becoming all uncomfortably too common these days. Doyoung, Taeyong and Johnny take this as their cue to leave the best friends alone and move quickly towards the house allowing you to fully take in Taeil’s befallen expression.
“We’ve talked about this Moon, it’s only college. I’ll be back before you know it.”
He sighs, “I am well aware of what we’ve said but you know how things are, and you’re never opposed to new adventures.” Unbelievably transparent is Taeil with his anxiety of losing you. Always scared to admit his love, never scared to admit his fear of losing you forever. 
“Don’t you trust me to come back Moon?” 
“I trust you with my life it’s just-”
“Just what?” You almost can’t believe your ears, your best friend isn’t supporting your life decisions? “I thought we were close enough that no distance would matter?”
“I just don’t think I can handle you being that far away! I can barely handle when you’re over at your own house I don’t think I could mentally deal with you being so fucking far away!”
“That’s so immature, I thought you’d be able to understand, I don’t want  to stay here. There’s nothing here for me at all.”
“Not even me?”
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[6:00 pm] Last Day of Summer
Your flight is in four hours. The rain falls around the airport as your parents gather your bags from the boot. In total you’re surrounded by your own family, Taeil’s family, Johnny, Doyoung, Taeyong and Seulgi all coming to wish you well on your travels. Luckily you’d managed to get your emotions out with your parents the night before saving excessive tears at the airport. Yet the forlorn look upon the face of your best friend is a sight to behold.
Hugging the rest of your friends you head over to Taeil with the smallest of grins on your face. “So you’ll miss me when I’m gone right?”
“Unbelievably so.”
It was foolish of you to think that you’d left all the emotions in yesterday when saying goodbye to your parents as your best friend pulls you into his arms for what feels like the last time. Nothing matters anymore, just the embrace of the boy you’ve known for years. Summer seemed like an eternity but now you couldn’t actually believe it was happening and you couldn’t believe that you were going. More heartbreakingly Taeil still hadn’t gotten over the fact you were leaving him.
“I’ll miss you more than anything Moon, I love you.”
“I’ll never stop missing you y/n, I love you too. I’ve always loved you.”
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[2:20 pm] Late August Present Day
Taking your drink from Taeil you bring it close to you as if it will warm the cool tension that has settled between you.
“Thank you for this, It’s been so nice to see you.” You mean it. Going years without your rock was hard enough at college but as you grew further apart you always felt like you were missing something.
Taeil smiles, genuinely this time, “I agree. Will you be back?”
“I hope so, but I will be busy with my mother for the next few weeks, she isn’t doing so well as you know. I’m sorry it took so long for me to build up the courage to visit.”
“I’m sorry too.”
With that you take your queue and leave. Looking back at the cafe before leaving the door you take in the building that just emanates your best friend. Then finally, giving him a wave, you leave for good.
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masterlist
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moonlightjeno · 3 months ago
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it seems to be, no the world has gone dark. absolutely completely pitch black, the moment ashes and guns are fired. the world’s been dark since 6 am this morning when the sun was too tired to come out and gift the dammed world you lived in. and now almost three am and the only light you think you’ll ever see again are the burst of fire and guns that go off around you and stars bright above. 
the shadows at your fingertips are no longer lashing out, they have stopped concealing the children behind you all so tired, eye dropping but too scared to sleep or do anything but stare. you’re in plain sight, out in the apocalyptic world that has become your home city because some people harbored one different gene. 
the darkness surrounded you in a day you had lost your light. heart breaking in pieces you’d thought you had manage to piece back together, but the world continued to rain in ash and glass. until the time seemed to stop, and your heart was racing legs burning eyes forcing to stay open. but it would be worth it. worth it, when you saw a mess of black hair, coming out of the subway tunnels. worth it when in the time between putting the kids away and something else you were in his arms, wrapped around you strong and alive. 
you looked up at the boy before who held the light of galaxies in his eyes, a small smile creeping up onto his features turning them into crescent moons. 
breathtaking. 
shallow cute and bruises littered his face and arms, but when he spoke the world seem to fall into place if only for a minute, for a second because your light had come back. 
“didn’t think i’d leave you here all alone did you?” his voice was slightly rough, but loving all the same and you couldn’t help but laugh ever so slightly. 
“and leave me alone to deal with the dreamies? never jeno. never. you can’t get rid of a shadow that easy”
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a/n :: idk what this is, but i really want to get back to writing and i’m currenlty watching way to much x-men so this was vaguely inspired by that. this might become a bigger piece but idk for now. enjoy this mess lmao. <3
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your-world-with-nct · 3 months ago
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— happy valentines petals <3 (inspired by this tweet)
💌 • 9:17pm
every year, you always strived to go all out for husband!jaehyun’s birthday and valentines’ day, whether it was that one date at an expensive restaurant, the healing picnic and cute photoshoot you did at the park, or the surprise trip to paris where you proposed to him. however, due to the current situation and the safety restrictions, your options for his special day were very limited, which is why you resorted to a simple celebration and a homemade dinner at your place – just you, the love of your life, and some delicious food and drinks.
after finishing the delectable meal and a few glasses of your favourite wine, jaehyun picked out one of his favourite vinyls, placing it on the record player and letting the familiar melody of chet baker’s ‘i fall in love too easily’ float throughout the house.
approaching your figure on the couch and dragging you to stand up, his arms easily snaked around your waist as his hypnotising smile had you up in seconds. you didn’t know if it was the drinks, the music, the special occasion, or simply if it was jung jaehyun himself that had you melting into his arms in the middle of the living room, swaying from side to side with each piano chord.
jaehyun would be lying if he said that right now wasn’t one of his happiest moments, as the trumpet solo echoed through the room, he felt your head lean against his chest, right next to his erratic heartbeat.
even after years of being together, you still made his heart race like it did when he first saw you at the record store. he felt the corners of your mouth turn up as you noticed his heartbeat quicken at your touch, bringing his hand to caress your face, a face he’d become accustomed to seeing every day yet one he’d never get tired of.
“hey, jae?” you hummed, voice muffled as your face was pressed up against jaehyun’s shirt.
“yes, darling?” he replied, enamoured by the simplest things like your velvety voice and your drunken smile.
you leaned closer, cupping your hands around your mouth and whispering into your husband’s ear, “can i tell you a pick up line?”
a deep baritone laugh escaped from jaehyun, as he nodded to let you proceed, too intrigued by your question to stop you.
“so, do i know you? i feel like i’ve seen you around before?” you began, furrowing your eyebrows to feign confusion.
if there was a way to tell your heart to calm down, jaehyun would very much have liked to know the method at that moment, overwhelmed by your natural cuteness, “i’d hope so, we’re married, love.”
“no, no, no, shush, let me finish,” you smushed your hand against his soft lips, eyes widening when he planted a light peck on your fingers as you retracted your arm in shock.
the same deep chuckle returned, but jaehyun quickly cleared his throat and prompted you to continue once he saw your bottom lip jutting out, “okay, okay, go ahead, y/n.”
“hey, do i know you?”
“you already said that bit–”
“oh, no, wait, no,” you paused to gather your thoughts before gasping when you finally remembered, “you look really familiar... oh my god, you look like the man of my dreams!”
“aww, y/n, you cutie,” jaehyun cupped your face in his hand, squishing your cheeks and kissing your pouty lips, “i am that guy, darling, the one in your dreams.”
“woah, really?” the intoxication had you reacting to anything and everything with a child-like wonder that your lover couldn’t help but admire, grinning at your surprised expression.
“yes i am, and you’re everything i’ve ever dreamed of, you know that, right?” he subtly intertwined his fingers with yours, pressing a kiss to your knuckles, and flashing those irresistible dimples at you as he continued to move to the rhythm of the song.
“i didn’t know that, but i’m glad that i am, jae,” you poked at jaehyun’s dimples and gave him a cheeky smile, “no wonder the universe brought you here on valentines’ day, there had to be a reason why you’re the most lovable person i’ve ever met.”
as the music faded away in the background and the only sounds in the room were the beating of your entwined hearts and your peaceful breaths, the simplicity of the moment was what made it—and you—so beautiful in jaehyun’s eyes.
yes, he may be one to fall in love too easily, but he knew that he was never going to be fooled by you.
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glossyjaems · 3 months ago
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{10:17am} a lil smth cute
You flaunted the colored sticky notes you recently purchased at you laptop’s camera. Where on the other side of the screen was Jaemin happily sipping his coffee. 
As you just had met online, the best option was to online have dates and do everything through face time. Especially when you had to get work done Jaemin came in handy,  supporting you more than himself. 
“Go on, get to work y/n!” he scolded you a little. He felt a little down as he could not be there for you physically, though this way it was easier to also do his own work. 
“I don’t see you doing anything either!” you commented on his work-avoiding behaviour. “And I’m not the one who has an exam tomorrow.” Pointing him at the fact he was doomed, not having studied for his exam on biomolecules .
“But it’s so boring,” leaning backwards he whined.
“Hello, you’re supposed to be supporting me through my exams,” you chuckled though you were a little afraid he was going to dip out on you. 
His chair popped back up and he put his fists on his desk, “alright, while you make the first chapter for your report I’ll make a to-do list for myself. And you got to show me what you made while I make this list!” 
Putting your had to your forehead as he sounded like an authority, you saluted him with a strong voice you went, “yes sir!”
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your-world-with-nct · 3 months ago
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— @doyoungcore ty for the inspiration for this post joyce 🥺 consider this a very belated bday present hehe (also apologies for the late post, i hope this longer blurb makes up for it 🙈)
💌 • 4:56pm
browsing the clothing racks for items that caught your eye, you sighed as you checked the price tag of the pair of jeans you’d been considering getting for a while, groaning at the fact that it hadn’t gone on sale yet.
you dragged your feet to the next aisle, looking down at your worn-out sneakers and heading for the shoe section instead, immediately spotting some reasonably-priced stylish boots along with your favourite shoe brand’s name splashed above the display.
“hey, excuse me, hi, do you have a minute?” you would be lying if you said that the man standing in front of you panting and swiping at his forehead wasn’t the most beautiful person you’d ever laid eyes on, your throat drying up at his unbelievable looks.
“oh, me? yeah, i have a minute, are you okay?” you questioned why this man who could pass off as a model was acting as desperate as those people in the town centre who passed out flyers that nobody ever paid attention too, pausing to take in his breathtaking physique.
“i’m so sorry to bother you, but my name is doyoung, and my ex is here with her new boyfriend. i was wondering if you could just pose as my partner for a bit, y’know, until she’s gone,” stranger!doyoung nervously smiled at you, his eyes flitting all over as, you assumed, he was searching for his ex, “if i’m interrupting your shopping, i-i’ll go but, i, i just don’t wanna look pathetic in front of her.”
the request shocked you, but there was a small voice in your head that wanted to go along with it. not only because you felt sorry for doyoung and you didn’t want him to embarrass himself in front of his ex, but also the fact this gorgeous boy thought that you were believable enough to be, well, in his league and dating him, inflated your ego and you had to repay him for doing wonders with your confidence.
“no, no, that’s fine, doyoung! i’m y/n, by the way, and don’t worry, you’re not really interrupting anything,” you grinned at him, trying not to scream when an adorable gummy smile appeared on his face, “just do what you need to do, i’ll go with it.”
contrary to your statement, you couldn’t hide the shock on your face when doyoung went straight for your hand and interlocked your fingers, leading you to those shoes you’d been eyeing, while gazing at you with his twilight orbs, “how about those, babe? i remember you saying you needed more shoes to go with those pants you bought last week.”
considering how jittery doyoung was when he approached you, you were beyond amazed by how easily he transformed into an endearing ‘boyfriend’, helping you reach shoes on higher shelves and asking employees for your size, all whilst making light-hearted conversation with you and calling you the cutest nicknames.
within a few minutes, you were immersed in your role, completely embracing doyoung’s kindness, and even forgetting that it was all an act at times, especially when he tidied away the shoes you didn’t want and wordlessly handed your sneakers back to you, as if it was his silent way of showing affection.
except… it wasn’t; he was just trying to save himself from embarrassment and it meant absolutely nothing to him, whilst, you, on the other hand, basked in the undeserved attention he gave you. the feeling of being cared for was so unfamiliar to you that the slightest acts of service from a handsome stranger had you melting.
it had been almost ten minutes since you were parading around as doyoung’s lover, yet you still hadn’t seen his dreaded ex nor her new boyfriend. seeing as he was currently too focused on picking out his own shoes, you examined the adjacent aisles, looking in all directions just to find that there was quite literally no other couple in sight. either his ex had already left the store, or doyoung was the smoothest man you had ever met.
the new discovery had your brain running at a hundred miles per hour, eventually deciding to keep playing along with doyoung’s little game, you know, have a little fun before you went back to being single and lonely.
“hey, doie, not to alarm you, but i see a couple on their way over here,” you whispered in his ear, coming up behind him as he was returning a shoe box to its rightful place on the shelf, “is that your ex over there?”
doyoung didn’t know if it was your statement or the close proximity that had his heart racing, clearing his throat in an attempt to soothe his erratic pulse, “oh, is it? i-i don’t wanna risk checking though, let’s just–”
taking a page out of the romcom protagonist book, you smirked as you stepped closer to the blushing boy, forcing him to take a step backward against a wall of branded trainers, cocking your eyebrow when you noticed the coral shade spreading across his face, “let’s just stay like this for a bit, i’m sure she’ll hate seeing her ex like this with someone else, huh?”
the confidence oozing out of you had doyoung in mental shambles - when he tried the elaborate pick-up ploy on an unsuspecting you, he didn’t think it would go this well, and now he felt obliged to tell you the truth, although that would mean he was risking rejection and, judging from what he learned about your personality in the past fifteen minutes, possibly an emotional response.
however, it occurred to him that, if he played his cards right, he could walk away today with your number, and a date at the cafè his best friend owned, all he had to do was not to react, which was proving a difficult task right now as he felt your hand on his waist and your breath ghosting on his collarbone.
“okay, okay, fine, there is no ex!” doyoung blurted out, not being able to last any longer with your intense gaze on him, “i-i made it up as an excuse to try and talk to you because, well…”
“because what?” you sat down on one of the small sofas to give doyoung some space, scattered with abandoned shoes that had no pair.
your nonchalant reaction had him furrowing his eyebrows in confusion, brushing off his bewilderment to answer your question, “i just, i thought you were really pretty and i wanted to talk to you. how was i supposed to know you would go along with, all that, so quickly and easily?”
doyoung couldn’t explain the relief he felt when you began giggling, as he let out a breath he didn’t know he was holding.
“it was easy enough to pretend, when you’re probably the most likeable person i’ve ever met,” you chuckled, the shyness from before evaporating the longer you stared at doyoung’s beauty, “since you basically tricked me into hanging out with you, how about we actually go do something? y’know, where you don’t have lie to me about what we’re doing?”
“wait, really?” doyoung’s eyes widened, surprised that you still wanted anything to do with him.
“yes, now, let me pay for these and we can head to your friend’s cafè down the road. unless that was a lie too?” you both broke out into wide grins, as you took his hand and led him to the counter, whilst he balanced your purchases in his arms.
you couldn’t explain where that courage cane from, nor why a mere twenty minutes with a stranger made you feel more content than ever; but meeting doyoung was like listening to a song for the first time and immediately knowing it would be your favourite.
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theleemark · 3 months ago
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"pick whatever you want," boyfriend!johnny said nonchalantally. "i'll pay."
"it's fine i can pa-" your eyes widen up at him, in shock that he was so cool about this.
he gently cupped your jaw as your eyes met. "let me pay, please."
johnny took you to the little bookstore you were rambling about all week, and you were so excited to pick out some books you've been meaning to buy. plus, the little bookstore created such a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere, you couldn't help but be enticed by the beauty.
"really? are you sure?" your eyebrows furrowed in response.
"y/n," johnny started, bending down to whisper in your ear. "i am paying and that's final."
you heart fluttered at the heat of his body so close to yours. you didn't think johnny noticed the peak on your heart rate, but when you looked up to find him smirking, you knew he could tell.
"so i'm gonna go get coffee," he gave you a gentle kiss on the top of your head before eyeing the bookshelves. "have fun book shopping, my love. i'll be back in 10."
the sudden urge to hug johnny overflowed your body, and, without thinking, you flung your body into his and buried your head into his chest. warmth enveloped you as you felt johnny chuckle and his arms wrap around you. "thank you, babe."
"no need to thank me, my love," he whispered. "anything for you."
nothing was more soothing than being in johnny arms whilst his scent mixing with that of old books and freshly ground coffee.
"i'm in love with you," the words slip out before you could even process them.
johnny pulled away, looking down at you with his mouth agape. "really?"
it took you a few seconds to reply, head hazy with thoughts of him. "really."
"buy as many hardcover books as you want," johnny laughed, knowing how much you loved the antique hardcovers most of the books came with.
"is this your way of showing me you love me?" you smiled teasingly, wrapping your arms around his middle and lovingly looking up at him.
"maybe," he smirked, kissing the tip of your nose. "but you already know i love you. a lot."
"i do."
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bumblebeenct · 3 months ago
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Reminiscentia (m.tl preview)
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Release Date: February 16th 2021
Genre: Angst, excessively
Pairing: Reader x Moon Taeil
Word Count: n/a
Note: This is part of the amazing ‘Almost’ collaboration hosted by @hyucksie​​ and features so many amazing writers I’m honoured to even have my name placed beside.
Synopsis: You were a distant memory, something Taeil had learnt to forget. Running into you in the town you both grew up in, however, was something he should’ve expected. He can’t help but look back at everything you shared and wonder, what if?
Taglist: @injuncore @flirtyhyuck  @suh-insane @danishmiilk @jenonlyfans
“Mum, Mum look! It’s Taeil” your small hand grasps desperately at your mother’s skirt as you notice the dark haired boy across the park. She gives you a lighthearted smile and a little nod as confirmation that you can head over. Letting go of her you run as fast as you can towards your best friend. “Taeil! Taeil! Moon Taeil! It’s Me!”
“Y/n!” he cries as you launch your little body onto his and his arms encase you in a large hug. Unfortunately, being as young as he is Taeil’s legs do not withstand the impact and you both go tumbling to the ground causing you both to burst into laughter.
From where she was previously stood your mother had found her way over to Taeil’s and they sat on a nearby park bench as the two of you mess around. 
“It’s quite endearing to see them getting along so well” says Mrs Moon.
Your mother smiles, “maybe one day they’ll end up together”
Mrs Moon laughs, “I’ll be waiting for my wedding invitation.”
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