Author's Note: written based on this about a year ago, posting it now just for records. :)
Choi Minho is 22 and has never been drunk. Yet all that changes on the night of his graduation party. He doesn’t actually know that he’s drunk because his brain doesn’t seem to be functioning much but when he begins feeling too warm and starts having trouble with balance, coordination and attention, Minho is almost certain he shouldn’t have taken that 4th shot. It really isn’t entirely his fault though. Whoever said alcohol makes you braver and gives you courage should take part of the blame too.
You see, Minho doesn’t like parties. He doesn’t even like drinking or dancing. But he does like Kim Kibum. Actually, Minho is pretty much infatuated with Kibum who, mind you, he has only shared one class with in their last semester of university but has captivated him enough for Minho to imagine a future together. So when they’re both graduating and this party is the last chance he might see Kibum, Minho decides to drag his awkward self to the club and find the right opportunity to confess to his crush.
As crowded as the club may be, Minho easily spots Kibum. In fact, Kibum spots him too. Their eyes meet, they even share a smile and it’s then Minho’s nerves get the better of him. He turns around, heads straight to the bar and begins downing some of that liquid courage. After two consecutive shots of tequila, he takes the time to think about what he wants to say to Kibum. It seems like an eternity later when he finally feels prepared enough to walk away from the bar counter in search for Kibum. However, the moment his gaze falls onto the attractive boy, Minho turns on his heel, heads straight back to the counter and downs his 3rd and 4th shot.
Taking deep breaths, Minho composes himself and tries to give himself a pep talk. But all of a sudden, his brain doesn’t seem to be working all that well and everything feels different. He stands up, loses his balance and stumbles back into the seat. The next thing he knows, his forehead falls onto the cool countertop with a thud. It hurts but Minho is laughing out loud, shaking his head at himself, and then suddenly, along with the rhythm of the loud music.
It comes to a stop when Minho feels a hand on his shoulder. He sits straight up and turns towards the owner of the hand. A smile instantly spreads across his face when he registers Kibum standing before him.
“Kibum…” Minho chuckles, waving even though Kibum is already so close to him, “I was looking for you!”
“You were?” Kibum smiles nervously, looking away, as he fiddles with one of his rings, “Actually… me too.”
Minho remains silent and simply keeps smiling at Kibum, openly admiring his crush who is looking more gorgeous than usual.
“There’s something I’ve been meaning to tell you.” Kibum admits, looking at the collar of Minho’s shirt.
“Hmm?” Minho’s smile grows wider as his eyes focus on the lips that he has dreamt of kissing.
“Things could go very wrong… or hopefully very right, so for this possibility, I think it’s about time I let you know that I think you’re cute. And well, I like you very much.”
Minho squints, reading Kibum’s lips intently and trying his best to process the words that escape those irresistible lips. When he slowly puts the last five words together, Minho looks up into Kibum’s eyes. Kibum is clearly waiting for an answer but Minho finds himself incapable of speech.
He can’t believe it.
If his brain isn’t playing tricks on him, those are the words he has wanted to hear for a long time. It feels like he’s in a dream, a beautiful one that he never wants to wake up from, the most perfect one that will make him laugh in his sleep. And that’s exactly what he does.
Minho lets out a low chuckle first, and then gradually, his laugh gets louder and louder until he’s laughing his heart out, clutching his stomach and bending forward, forcing Kibum to step back so he doesn’t get hit by Minho.
While Minho laughs in disbelief, Kibum frowns, confused, “What’s so-”
“You!” Minho shoots back upright and interrupts Kibum rather rudely, “You like me?!”
Before Kibum can even answer, Minho lets out a hearty laugh and shakes his head.
A look of hurt flashes across Kibum’s face as his frown deepens. That’s enough; he doesn’t need to hang around Minho any longer because he’s got an answer already. As quickly as he arrives, Kibum walks away without a word and leaves a smiling Minho by himself. Minho who doesn’t know that he isn’t in a dream, Minho who Kibum doesn’t realise is actually drunk, Minho who won’t remember all that has happened after that lethal 4th shot, and the very same Minho who wakes up the morning after concluding that he never got his chance to speak to Kibum, much less confess to him.
Minho ends up believing that his first love, like many others, was simply not meant to be.
“So I met someone-”
Minho chokes on his drink and instinctively elbows Jonghyun who is sitting beside him as they have lunch together.
“Why’d you do that for?” Jonghyun jerks back and stares at his friend.
“Hyung.” Minho hisses and eyes Jonghyun’s boyfriend who is seated just across them with an amused smile on his face, “Did you forget that Jinki hyung is here?”
“Of course I know Jinki is here,” Jonghyun scoffs, “I didn’t even mean it that way… but hey, aren’t you a little too concerned over your ex-boyfriend?”
Minho rolls his eyes, unamused that Jonghyun likes to bring up the fact that he and Jinki used to date. Long story short, it has been about half a year since things ended amicably between them, both of them deciding they were better off as friends. They both moved on, staying in contact as Minho remained single while Jinki met Jonghyun a few weeks later. In reality, if it wasn’t for Jinki, Minho wouldn’t even have met Jonghyun and become their third wheel.
“Jjong, stop being so bitter that Minho and I used to go out…” Jinki kicks his boyfriend lightly under the table, “It’s cute but enough is enough. Now, you were saying?”
Jonghyun shrugs, letting it go since Jinki called him cute, and continues from where he left off.
“Right, I met someone who knows Minho-“
“Yeah, and we clicked because apparently, he doesn’t really like you either.”
“Says the person who hangs out with Minho when I don’t have time for him…” Jinki mutters.
“What do you mean he doesn’t like me?” Minho questions over Jinki’s voice, “Who is he anyway?”
“Kim Kibum. Said you went to the same university as him? Took a class together?” Jonghyun casually replies, “Well, he just didn’t have good things to say about you. What did you do to offend him?”
The moment Jonghyun reveals the name, both Minho and Jinki sit up like obedient students when their teacher disciplines them. It has been almost two years since Minho last seen and heard about his first love. Determined to get over him, Minho hasn’t been thinking much about Kibum after graduation, perhaps only bringing his name up when he shared about this unrequited love of his with Jinki while they were dating. Jinki is probably the only person who knows about this part of his life. That’s why they naturally share a look with each other once they hear Kibum’s name.
“Minho, isn’t that-” Jinki doesn’t even need to finish his question as Minho nods at him before looking back at Jonghyun almost anxiously.
“Hyung, what did he say about me? Wait, no- when did you meet him? How did you meet him? Do you have his number? Or any means to contact him?”
“Woah woah woah, what’s with all the questions?” Jonghyun is slightly taken aback at how Minho is pressing him for answers, “Am I missing out on something here?”
Helping a somewhat flustered Minho out, Jinki explains simply, “The Kibum you met should be the same Kibum Minho liked in university.”
“Ahh…” Jonghyun nods understandingly, “You must have broken his heart then.”
Minho shakes his head at the impossibility of Jonghyun’s conclusion.
“We didn’t even go out.”
“Then what on earth did you do for the guy to dislike you?”
“I… don’t know?” Minho answers stupidly and then sighs as a sad smile appears on his face, “Hyung, does it really seem like he hates me?”
“Jonghyun.” Jinki sends a look of disapproval at his boyfriend once he notices that glint of mischief in his eyes.
“I can’t decide if I love or hate it when you use that tone on me, hyung.” Jonghyun ponders out loud in a rather serious tone while Jinki can only shakes his head, hiding a smile as he looks down.
Minho clears his throat, “Guys, please.”
Jonghyun laughs before he shrugs and takes out his wallet to pull out a white name card he received just that morning.
“I can’t answer all of your questions but this should help.”
Minho takes the business card from Jonghyun and reads the information as he mutters, “I owe you one.”
“How about paying for lunch today?”
“Minho, you don’t have to pay.”
“It’s okay, Jinki hyung.” Minho smiles as he keeps the name card safely in his own wallet, “Jonghyun hyung paid for sushi the last time anyway.”
“You guys had a sushi date?” Jinki sighs, unable to understand why Jonghyun even feels jealous of the relationship Minho and he used to share, “Remind me again who’s dating who…”
Jonghyun glances towards his boyfriend, “Hyung?”
“Come here, you have something on your lips… let me clean it for you.”
While Jinki leans forward, Jonghyun stands up just enough to bend forward, his hand reaching out towards Jinki’s face but never actually reaching to clean that supposed dirt. Instead, Jonghyun swiftly moves his hand away and leans closer to steal a kiss from Jinki’s lips.
“Do you still need a reminder, hyung?” Jonghyun smirks at his boyfriend as he moves back into his seat in the blink of an eye.
As Jonghyun laughs out loud and Jinki grumbles under his breath, Minho smiles and wishes he could find a relationship like theirs.
Perhaps Kibum will be the key to this.
Minho is convinced that it truly is a small world we live in. Or maybe, Seoul is just tiny. Of all the people Jonghyun can meet at the recording studio he works at, he gets introduced to Kibum through Nicole, an artiste he and his team are currently producing an album for. From what Minho has heard from Jonghyun, Kibum is a close friend of Nicole and is helping her choose the stage outfits for her upcoming album. Especially since he is working as a fashion buyer, Nicole wants Kibum’s advice to help her prepare for her comeback and thus brought him along to the studio to hear her new song, discussing it in detail with Jonghyun so Kibum can get a better idea of the album concept.
Minho doesn’t know how much Jonghyun and Kibum have talked about him or what they even talked about but it’s the last thing on Minho’s mind right now. What’s more important is how he should go about contacting Kibum. It may have been some time after graduation but one thing’s for sure, Kibum still has an effect on Minho. Just hearing his name is making Minho nervous (in a good way) all over again. He can’t be certain if he still feels the same for Kibum as he did when they were in university. However, if Minho were to be honest with himself, he probably never really got over Kibum and is (for lack of a better word) curious to find out if anything can happen between them. Besides, there’s a voice inside his head that is urging him to create a chance for them to meet again. That’s the least he can do for himself.
Minho thinks he should just send Kibum a message online. Although Kibum’s name card provides his office phone number and email address, Minho doesn’t want to use those contact details and risk putting Jonghyun in a difficult spot as it feels like he’s overstepping professional boundaries. Instead, he does something he should have done ages ago. Minho goes onto Facebook and searches for Kibum’s profile. Even though his name is common, it’s easy to find him since they have mutual friends. After being stuck on Kibum’s profile page and hesitating a couple of times, he finally adds Kibum as a friend. Yet that isn’t even the most difficult part. What’s more intimidating is sending him that first message.
The minutes tick by as Minho repeats the cycle of typing and deleting, wondering how he should start a conversation with Kibum. So troubled is he over deciding what to say that MInho doesn’t even notice how much time has passed. Eventually (regretfully), he gives up and decides to wait for Kibum to accept his friend request first before he sends a message.
With his thoughts occupied by Kibum, sleep doesn’t come easy that night.
And the night after.
As well as the following two nights.
“Call me 10 minutes later and I won’t be answering your call.”
“Wait, so are you free to talk now?”
“Yes, but make it quick, Minho yah.”
“Right. I was just wondering if you’ve met Kibum recently?”
“Nope… but I’ve been talking to him.”
“What’s with that tone? You don’t sound too happy. Is something up?”
“It’s just… I, umm- Well, I… never mind, hyung. You should get back to what you were doing. I’ll talk to you soon.”
Minho hastily ends the call and throws his phone aside. His conversation with Jonghyun has only lasted a few minutes and yet Jonghyun can already tell he’s upset. Well, how do you expect him to control his emotions when he finds out that Kibum obviously has the time to talk to Jonghyun but can’t spare a few seconds to accept his friend request on Facebook?
It has been four days since he sent the request and Minho has officially lost his patience. He has been doing a lot of thinking over the past few days and has come to a conclusion that Kibum obviously means something to him. If he didn’t, Minho wouldn’t feel this annoyed over a silly friend request. What’s worse is that Jonghyun’s words have been bothering him too.
He doesn’t really like you either.
Minho can’t help but suspect that Kibum is deliberately ignoring his request. There may be a possibility that Kibum doesn’t check his Facebook but Minho knows that’s highly unlikely. The way he sees it, Kibum is choosing not to accept his request because he doesn’t like him all that much and perhaps, wants nothing to do with him. Minho can’t figure out why Kibum dislikes him but he’s determined to find out. He simply can’t let it go like this. Not when he clearly cares about what Kibum thinks of him.
It’s time for him to take control of the situation.
“Choi Minho. We went to-”
The calls ends before Minho can finish his sentence. He is left staring at his phone, trying to process the fact that Kibum has just hung up on him.
“There’s no ‘and’, hyung”
“What do you mean?” Jinki blinks at him, puzzled, “You didn’t try calling back?”
“What for? To humiliate myself?” Minho finishes the last of his beer before shaking his head, “I’m not that stupid.”
“So you’re going to leave things like that?”
“What are you planning to do?”
“Ask Jonghyun hyung when you get back home.” Minho smiles, “He’ll tell you.”
When Minho spots Kibum entering the café they (well, actually Jonghyun and Kibum) arranged to meet, a smile naturally forms on his lips. It feels as if he has gone back in time, back to the day Kibum had to join the table Minho was sitting at because their professor had assigned them to the same group. Minho can’t explain it but there’s something about Kibum that brightens up the world around him.
The same can’t be said for Kibum though. As soon as their eyes meet when Kibum scans the café in search of Jonghyun only to find Minho looking at him, he scowls and turns around, heading straight to the exit.
Like a natural instinct, Minho immediately stands up, hurriedly making his way out of the café, and chases after Kibum.
“Hey, Kibum, wait!”
Minho doesn’t even have to catch up with Kibum because halfway through his sentence, Kibum suddenly stops in his footsteps, turns around and charges straight to Minho.
“So you think you’re smart huh? Using Jonghyun to get me to meet you?” Kibum comes to stand just in front of Minho and narrows his eyes at him, “Childish.”
Kibum has neither raised his voice nor laid a finger on him but his tone alone makes Minho’s blood boil.
“Me? Childish?” Minho snaps, forcefully pulling Kibum aside so they’re not in the middle of the walkway when a heated argument is obviously about to ensue, “I’m not even going to talk about the friend request, but who’s the one who hung up on my call? Who’s the one who refuses to sit down and talk like the adults we are? Clearly, I’m not the one who needs to grow up.”
“You!” Kibum huffs, his whole body going stiff as he clenches his fists, keeping his arms by his side and doing everything he can to resist the urge to punch Minho, before he shouts, “This is exactly why there isn’t a need for us to get in touch with each other!”
“I don’t want to argue with you, Kibum…” Minho sighs, a frown etched on his face as he mutters, “Not when I like you so much.”
Kibum’s eyes widen at Minho’s sudden confession, his world becoming silent as everything but Minho and himself ceases to exist.
“You…” Kibum swallows hard, pausing for a moment, before he continues, “You like me?!”
Mirroring Kibum’s surprised expression, Minho is unable to react and can only blink while he tries to figure out why this situation seems so familiar. It’s like he’s having a déjà vu but he can’t remember when it had happened before.
“Why does this feel so familiar…” Minho mumbles out loud, “I’ve heard those words exactly like this before.”
Kibum rolls his eyes and scoffs, “Yeah, because you said them too.”
“Me?” Minho doesn’t have a clue what Kibum is talking about, “When?”
“Cut the act, Choi Minho.” Kibum shakes his head, unimpressed, “You and I both know how much of a jerk you are for mocking my feelings for you.”
Minho wants to believe that Kibum is playing a prank on him but he knows for a fact that there’s no reason why Kibum would do such a thing. Besides, the serious look on Kibum’s face couldn’t possibly be a pretence.
“You…” Minho clears his throat, his mouth suddenly feeling too dry, and starts again, “You have feelings for me? Me?!”
“Had. Past tense.” Kibum emphasizes and then stops for a second to observe Minho’s stunned expression, his own eyebrows furrowing in confusion, “Why are you acting as if you’re hearing this for the first time?”
“Because I am?!” In shock, Minho loses control of the volume of his voice.
“Are you trying to be funny right now?”
Minho shakes his head earnestly, “I swear, I-“
“Wait, do you even remember the night of our graduation party when I-”
As soon as Minho hears the words “graduation party”, everything starts making sense. In the next second, he anxiously stops Kibum from continuing because there’s something he urgently needs to clarify.
“Hold on, let me-”
“I was drunk, Kibum.”
“Drunk. Like completely faced. I can’t even remember how I got home that night.”
Both Minho and Kibum look at each other for a long moment, taking in each other’s reaction, their minds occupied with similar thoughts.
“Oh.” Comes Kibum’s delayed answer to end the silence between them.
Minho hides a chuckle behind the back of his hand.
“How does going back to the café and catching up over coffee sound now?”
“As long as there’s no alcohol involved…” Kibum ponders out loud, a smile tugging on a corner of his lips.
Minho laughs, “Nope, none of that, just caffeine.”
“Why do you always have to stop at the most important part?” Jinki groans as he stares at Minho who purposely chooses to quench his thirst at the wrong time, “So? Is there an ‘and’ this time round?”
Minho puts his glass of water down onto the table and smiles, “Yeah. We’re taking it slow though, getting to know each other again and going out on dates… it’s nothing official but I’ve a good feeling about this, hyung.”
“You better not screw things up this time then.” Jinki warns, “You’re not going to get this lucky again.”
Minho nods, his smile reaching his eyes, “I know, hyung, that’s why I’ve sworn off alcohol… for now.”
As they share a laugh with each other, Minho suddenly feels a kiss on his cheek. He instantly looks to his right and finds Kibum slipping into the seat next to his while Jonghyun joins Jinki on the other side of the table.
“Maybe you should consider not touching alcohol ever again.” Kibum suggests with a grin.
“What are you doing here?” Pleasantly surprised, Minho looks at Kibum first before looking at Jonghyun.
“Jonghyun invited me to join you guys for lunch.” Kibum explains before smiling at Jinki, “I hope you don’t mind me being here… Jonghyun hyung told me you’re Minho’s ex-boyfriend?”
Both Jinki and Minho’s voices sound at the same time.
“What?” Jonghyun shrugs innocently, “He’s bound to find out.”
But that’s just Jinki speaking.
Now that Minho is thinking about the surprise kiss Kibum had given him, Jonghyun is actually a genius. If it wasn’t for him, Minho would not have seen the possessive, dare he say, jealous side of Kibum this fast.
“You’re the idiot for dating Minho.”
As Jonghyun continues blabbering about Minho and Jinki’s history together while Jinki tries to shut him up, Minho stays silent, smiling to himself because Kibum’s hand has found its way to his thigh.
It’s then Minho decides he’ll not only pick up the tab today but also individually treat Jonghyun to another meal. After all, it’s the least he can do to thank Jonghyun for speeding things up between Kibum and him.