| At age 5, Minho is taught that girls have cooties, and he should never go near them, because as Jonghyun says, “If you touch them, you’ll die. I saw Nichkhun touch Joohyun last week, and now he’s gone! I don’t want you to die, Minho-yah.” His friend is only looking after his well-being of course, so Minho watches from a far away bench as the girls play with their dolls during recess. Occasionally they send glances his way, but he pretends to look at something else, like the older kids playing soccer (which he was rudely laughed at for even thinking of joining them) or Jinki falling off the monkey bars and Jonghyun laughing in his face. Only when a girl who is new to his class accidentally brushes her hand against his does he realize Jonghyun is a complete idiot and cooties don’t even exist. Not that he goes near the girls anyway, but still.|
(And at age 5 ½, he learns Nichkhun actually moved back to Thailand with his family, because Joohyun gets a postcard that she shows off to the rest of the kindergarten class. Minho doesn’t talk to Jonghyun for a week.)
At age 10, Minho gets his first crush on a girl. Or, well, what he thinks is a crush, because his palms get sweaty and his heart skips a beat whenever he sees her. She shares his last name, and always makes jokes about how they’re fated to be, and one time, she takes a hold of his hand during an in-class movie, just because she can. He loses his first kiss to her behind the playground in the park, and then his second, third and fourth. His fifth kiss is a goodbye - she moves to America with her mother after a messy divorce. Minho misses her, visits the playground once and a while afterwards, but he doesn’t hurt as much as he thought he would.
Minho notices Jonghyun is way past the cootie scare at age 15, because he has a different girl on his arm every other week. Krystal, the star volleyball player, Luna, the soloist of show choir, Victoria, the upperclassman from China, Jessica, the American blonde. He can’t remember that much further back, but Jonghyun has become Seoul’s number one playboy.
“And at such a young age, Jonghyun-ah.” Jinki mumbles over his chicken sandwich, Minho’s chuckle lost in the loud cafeteria crowd.
“You’re just jealous that you’ve been tied down to one girl, hyung. You can’t catch me, I’m like the wind.” With a little hand motion, Jonghyun grins and leaves the table, his newest girlfriend, a cheerleader named Yoona, waving to him from the exit doors.
“I‘m going to kill him.” Minho casually comments under his breath, dipping a piece of celery into some peanut butter before taking a bite. Jinki glances up at him, mouth half full of chicken before he answers with a shrug.
“Not if his ex-girlfriends do first.”
Age 17 is when Jonghyun finally loses his playboy status, no matter how hard he tries to get it back. Minho thinks it’s funny that a girl took his spot as biggest flirt of the school in just her first week there. Kim Gwiboon is her name, and with her big eyes, pouty lips and perfectly styled hair every morning, she makes all the boys do a double take when she walks down the halls.
Jonghyun sulks and pouts about it of course, and it gets to the point where Minho puts the phone down when he starts to talk about her. Gwiboon this, Gwiboon that. Apparently, they have a bet to see who can hook up with the most people in a one month span. At least, that’s what Minho thinks he heard, but he can’t be bothered when he’s playing his FIFA video games.
In the middle of their “game”, Minho gets a girlfriend out of an old friend - Joohyun (who swears she’s over Nichkhun, really) confesses to him and he agrees to a couple dates. It surprises him because he didn’t think anyone could like him, the tall, quiet one.
After the game is over and Jonghyun swears he wins, Minho is starting to reconsider their friendship.
(“Really,” he tells Minho almost three times a night on the phone, “I definitely won. I beat her by like 3 people. The true bad boy of school still reigns supreme!”
“How many diseases do you have now, hyung? I wouldn’t touch you with a ten foot pole.”
“Good thing you’re not a girl then, Minho-yah! No girl can resist these charms.”
“What about Gwiboon?”
There’s silence. Minho doesn’t really care that Jonghyun hangs up, and he ignores the text Jonghyun sends a minute later.)
At age 18, Minho loses his virginity to his 5-month girlfriend Joohyun, and it isn’t a “fucking awesome experience” like Jonghyun puts it. It’s messy and fumbly, and she cries afterwards, she just cries. Minho holds her and tells her it will be okay, rocks her back and forth to try and calm her, tells her he’s so sorry and he shouldn’t have pushed (even if it was a mutual decision) but he never says he wishes he could take it back.
They don’t make it to six months.
A realization hits Minho at age 22. Love just isn’t for him. He’s tried, really tried to find someone he really feels something for and it just hasn’t happened. Minho can only look on with hidden jealousy as Jonghyun and Gwiboon cuddle close together (how the hell that happened, Minho would never really know), pressing slow kisses to each other’s lips while Jinki and he try not to gag from the sheer sight of it.
Jinki is his life line, really. Jinki is so clumsy and airy that he has a tough time finding a girl who can even deal with it. Minho thinks it’s quite charming, but apparently the girls he dates have a different idea of ideal, and instead want a “bad boy” image that Jinki just doesn’t have.
And it’s not like Minho hasn’t tried, he really has. Girls and boys, and he just can’t will himself to care for one person as much as they care about him. It’s not that he doesn’t enjoy the kisses, hand holding, the flirty touches (and the sex, but he won’t admit to that,) it’s just that when they say, “Minho, I love you,” he can’t return it.
(He feels bad that he leaves Donghae in tears after a painful “breakup”, if they can call it that, and he ignores the numerous text messages over time until they stop altogether.)
When will he feel like Jonghyun does? He starts to wonder as he watches them fight over something trivial across campus - probably her flirting or his flirting, it’s usually one of the two anyways - and then he sighs when they kiss and make-up. A girl in his business classes passes by with a little wave and a shy smile, and he gives a grin back and thinks, ‘Wow, she looks pretty today.‘ But no matter how hard he tries, he just can’t see being with her.
He’s doomed. He’s decided already.
Minho loses his life line at age 23, and though he knew this day would come, it doesn’t make it any less bittersweet. A mess of brown pigtails and soft giggles, Taeyeon instantly attracts Jinki’s attention. They’re really a perfect match for each other, Minho muses, watching them shyly take each other’s hands from his office, reclining back into his seat with a little puff of air.
He’s one of the CEO’s of Choi Enterprises now, his father made sure he would follow in his footsteps, and it’s not that he minds, but it doesn’t give him much chance to find anyone. All his co-workers are off-limits even if he wanted to, because he learned his lesson from his father’s misfortune.
(“Never have a relationship at work, son,” His father tells him the day before he becomes a CEO. Minho looks over with a little tilt of his head but no words come out. “It’ll come back to bite you in the ass. Trust me.”
Minho shrugs and adjusts his tie one more time. It’s not like he’ll try anyways.)
Minho constantly hears about how perfect Gwiboon is and how shy Taeyeon is, and how Jonghyun and Jinki are so in love. He even gets to see it when their boy’s night out turns into “Minho-is-a-5th-wheel” night - not that he minds, because he doesn’t pay attention to them in the first place, especially when soccer is on.
Though he can’t help but be jealous at how easy their love lives are, and he feels bad telling his mother “No, there’s no one in my life right now, mom.” every time she asks.
Minho is the best man in not only one, but two weddings, all within months of each other right after he turns 24. One week, Jonghyun sits Jinki and Minho down with the great news and his flashy gold engagement band, and the next, Jinki stumbles into Minho’s office with a smile so big, Minho thinks his face might be stuck like that for life.
Jonghyun and Gwiboon’s wedding is… well, beautiful to say the least. Every table cover, drape, flower arrangement - everything is perfectly decorated, so Minho knows for sure Jonghyun didn’t help pick out any of it.
Jonghyun cries more than Gwiboon, and she ends up having to cradle Jonghyun’s head between her arms as she cries too. Minho makes sure to take tons of pictures, because while he knew Jonghyun was a cry baby, he could probably cause a flood at this point.
(“I’m glad I don’t live around here, hyung. My apartment would be flooded by now.” Minho grins as he throws an arm around his shoulder, and Jonghyun just looks up at him. He’s not crying anymore, but his eyes are still puffy and red. Jinki laughs the loudest, and he wraps his arms around Jonghyun’s waist as Gwiboon takes a picture of the moment.
“I hate you.” Jonghyun hisses with his eyes slanted, but he’s still smiling and Minho knows he’s just a liar.)
The next wedding isn’t as grand or big, but it’s still just as charming and beautiful. Jinki and Taeyeon opt for a smaller wedding with just family and friends, and while Jinki doesn’t cry as much as Jonghyun, Minho still sees a little tear drip down his face. Taeyeon just smiles, and keeps smiling all throughout the night because he’s made her the “happiest woman ever.” And Minho stops to think--
(“I wonder when I’ll get married.”
“Hm?” Jonghyun asks, one hand holding onto Gwiboon’s hand, the other holding onto a glass of champagne. Minho curses under his breath for saying it outloud and he waves it off with a little smile.
“I’m just laughing at how different your two weddings are.” Gwiboon giggles at this and leans her head in to whisper, and Minho notices how red her cheeks are. Too much champagne, probably.
“I told her to have a huge wedding, but she outright refused. Said she’d rather spend the money on a grand hotel for a couple of days. What a slut, I didn’t think she would be like that! Jonghyun made it through the whole night just fine, but a couple days? He wouldn’t be walking right now, h--”
“Gwiboon!” Jonghyun hisses, and Minho chuckles even though he’s quite uncomfortable.)
25, the ripe age of 25, and Minho still has no one in his life, and Jinki and Taeyeon are adding to their lives. A little baby - girl or boy, they didn’t know – but Minho gets the news only when Taeyeon starts showing. Minho doesn’t want to seem mean and mention how she’s been gaining weight, so he confronts Jinki about it in his office alone one day, and Jinki finally breaks down with the biggest grin and says, “Yes, yes, she’s expecting!”
Apparently, everyone knows but Minho, and he kicks himself as he tries to find the heart to congratulate the happy couple but he can’t. He’s bitter, extremely bitter that he can’t even find one person to look his way, no, not even one. And he’s bitter that his life isn’t easy like that, that love didn’t just fall into his lap, that love didn’t catch him a million and one diseases, that love didn’t happen to be his secretary.
He says a small “congratulations” to the beaming Jinki and takes a leave of absence for the rest of the day. He drives, just drives anywhere he wants to with his windows down, the chilly April nighttime air hitting his senses hard. He ends up at some rundown motel in the country, and he pays his fees and sits in the bedroom for a little while, unable to sleep.
Where did he go wrong? He wonders with hands tucked behind his head as he stares at the ceiling. Where did his life go so askew that he is at some motel instead of going home to his lover? Really. Was someone out to get him?
When he falls asleep, he dreams of a giggle, a flash of black hair and a soft whisper of his name, and he wakes up the next morning in a cold sweat.
The baby is born later that year, almost near Minho’s 26th birthday, and she is the most beautiful thing Minho has ever seen, honestly. Ara, they name the baby Ara, and he wonders if Jinki will ever touch the baby. He hasn’t held her nor even touched her yet, and he stares from outside the nursery window with a sad look on his face.
“I can’t hold her… you know how I am with things, I’m always tripping or falling or knocking something over. I’m scared to hold her, I don’t want to mess up… because I can’t say “Oh god, sorry!” this time and get away with it.”
Jinki looks really upset, and Minho puts a hand on his shoulder for comfort.
“I think this time is different.” is all Minho has to say, and Jinki tears up on the spot.)
Minho goes back to his office and sits around for the rest of the day, unable to focus on anything but love, marriage, babies. He definitely needs a drink, so he packs up his things and goes to get Jonghyun and-
(“Oh, fuck hyung, lock the door.” He puts a hand over his eyes and tries to get the image of Jonghyun and Gwiboon naked on his desk out of his mind forever. It doesn’t really work out too well.
“We didn’t think you were here!” Gwiboon screeches, but by the lack of movement, Minho knows she doesn’t really care about covering up or even stopping.
“This is my company, why wouldn’t I be here-“
“Dude, could you get out for like an hour or something-“
“Could you stop having sex on my desks-“
“Could you both quit it?!”
Everyone goes silent for a moment and Minho doesn’t have to look to know Gwiboon is staring at him to get out right now. He mumbles something about going out for a drink and Jonghyun says he’ll text, but as soon as he closes the door, Gwiboon lets out a muffled noise and yeah. Minho knows he isn’t coming out tonight.)
He drinks alone at a bar, and ends up going home with a beautiful girl named Tiffany. Even in his drunken haze he finds her almost unbearably cute and clumsy really, and when they end up in bed together, he has to calm himself down. God, he missed that feeling, the feeling of being happy, on top of the world, being wanted and wanting something in return, and when he hits his climax, his mind goes blank, giving into the sensation.
He falls asleep next to her a little while later, and he dreams again, of flowing black hair and a giggle. The giggle feels like it’s right next to him in bed, right next to his ear as the voice whispers his name and an “I love you.” The voice tells him over and over about love, and he even smiles in his sleep. (His dream?)
When he wakes up, Tiffany is gone, but he doesn’t really care.
A little bit after he turns 26, Jonghyun announces that Gwiboon is pregnant now too, and he thanks Minho for getting out of the room as quickly as possible all those months ago “or else you would have seen the conception of our baby!” He laughs at his stupid joke, because Gwiboon is really only two weeks pregnant and Minho, once again, thinks about why he’s even friends with Jonghyun in the first place.
(“Cause you love me.” Jonghyun says when Minho asks, and he leans for a fake kiss. Jinki laughs as Minho throws him a way without any regrets.)
They end up having a girl all those months later, and after the baby is born, Taeyeon and Gwiboon coo together about how their daughters are going to be the best of friends and Jonghyun and Jinki groan together about how difficult their lives will be. When Jonghyun mentions something about how he hopes her future husband doesn’t pull the same shit he did in high school, Minho chuckles to himself. He wouldn’t wish that on anyone.
Minho silently wonders where time seems to be going, because he’s almost 27 years old and there’s nothing in his life minus work and a couple of weird, reoccurring dreams. He watches Jonghyun hold his newborn girl Minji, leaning down to let Gwiboon see, and the smile on her face could probably be seen from space. Then he turns his head, and there is Taeyeon and Jinki with their almost one year old daughter asleep in Taeyeon’s arms and Jinki is just staring at them both like he’s the luckiest man on Earth.
Minho sinks down into his seat with a rub of his forehead, eyes closing as he tries to think though he doesn’t know what about. There’s a hand on his shoulder and he doesn’t have to open his eyes to know it’s Jinki trying to comfort him. There are no words spoken, though Minho doesn’t really care.
When he gets home that night, he sits down on his bed and takes a look around his dark room. There’s no Victoria’s Secret perfume lingering in the air like at Jonghyun’s house, and there’s no excess of milk bottles and take-out cartons sitting around like at Jinki’s house, and there’s no voices or giggles or whispers in the night.
He doesn’t even realize he’s crying until a tear drop hits his hand and he reaches up to touch his wet cheek with a soft curse. His phone is vibrating in his pocket but he doesn’t answer – probably Jonghyun or Jinki for something stupid – and he stares at his hand until his vision goes blurry and he blinks away the rest of the tears lining his eyes.
He goes to sleep that night with a heavy heart and a heavy mind, covers thrown around his body as he tosses and turns in his slumber, heavy breathing as he dreams—
(“Catch me,” She tells him, giggle floating around and a swing of black hair and she’s off. They’re somehow on the beach, sun shining down on a perfect day, the waves calm and collected upon the shore, the smell of ocean filling his senses. Minho can only see her feet and the footprints she makes in the sand before the waves gently remove them. He takes off after her, huffing and puffing behind his large smile, arms wrapping around her waist as she squeals and struggles to get away though it’s only playful.
“You should know better, baby.” He speaks and he doesn’t even sound like himself. It’s a quiet murmur, filled with something that’s usually not there – love? She sighs and turns around, an arm wrapping around her waist, and he can’t see her face, only her black hair pulled back into a ponytail. But he can feel her as she presses into him, and his arm tightens around her waist almost possessively. And he can feel her feet stepping on top of his and it’s almost surreal how he can feel the sand on the bottoms of her feet pressing into his skin like she’s really there.
She should be speaking right now but he can’t hear her, can’t even see her lips moving, but he can feel when she presses them to his, and his heart almost bursts. This is so new, so surreal and different, and before he can even kiss her back--)
He jolts awake, breathing heavily as he pats his head to make sure he’s really awake, to make sure that was just a dream. It scares him how real the dream seemed, but he knows it’s just a dream when he takes a glance around the room and it’s the same as ever. Dark and lonely. He checks the time on his phone – 4:07 am – and then he checks the 5 text messages Jinki sent him, questioning if he’s alright.
No, I’m not fucking alright. He has half an urge to reply back. He’s going slowly crazy, raking a hand through his hair as he tries to calm his shaking hands. He for sure is going crazy. There’s no other explanation, no way.
Minho celebrates his 27th birthday at a restaurant with everyone and the babies. Ara is a little older than 1, and Minji is only a couple months old, and they’re both as beautiful as ever. Minho watches as Ara leans over to play with her dad’s tie and Taeyeon laughs under her breath lightly. He turns his head to the other side and looks down at Minji, in the baby seat next to him, her innocent and wide eyes just staring at him. He takes a finger and holds it out to her, a small smile on his face as she reaches out to take his finger, laughing as she moves her hands up and down.
Something floods Minho then but he doesn’t know what, and Gwiboon says something about how he would be an amazing father but he ignores it. The waitress comes over and she smiles, takes their orders, but the only thing Minho notices is her black hair tied back into a bun.
After dinner, Minho slips away and somehow ends up in a bathroom stall, kissing the life out of that waitress – Boa, he asked her name before this all even started – and she for sure isn’t fighting back. His breath is almost taken away as they kiss, their bodies pressed up together, and fuck she’s so short, she almost has to stand on his feet to even keep the kiss going.
And then he realizes - fuck, he’s equating this whole experience to his stupid dream and he pulls back, breathing heavier, staring at her flushed face and curious expression. Boa is beautiful, there’s no doubt about that, but she’s not his dream girl (literally.) He takes a shaky step back and realizes, there’s nothing there, he feels nothing, and he feels like an idiot for even grabbing her. Why would he? Her hair caught his attention and man, he’s really going insane at this point.
“You’re not her.” He mumbles into the space in between them, and Boa, to his surprise, doesn’t look hurt or bewildered at all. No, she’s grinning from ear to ear.
“Do I have to be?” She tells him before pulling him back in for a kiss, and no, Minho can’t resist and doesn’t even think about stopping until after she slumps against the bathroom stall door and he pulls out of her, panting and tired.
He cleans up and makes sure she looks presentable to go back to work, and she kisses him one more time as a sort of “thank you” and “goodbye” together. He leaves her a very big tip and ignores the knowing glances Gwiboon, Jonghyun and Jinki all send him. He’s a big boy, he can handle himself. That’s what he wants to tell them, but he just sips at his now cold coffee with a slight frown.
Later that year, it’s Ara’s 2nd birthday party, and as her Godfather, Minho is required to attend. Not that he is thinking of missing it, he knows better, He catches up with old co-workers and classmates, hearing all about how great (or horrible) they’re doing with life, and he wears a strained grin as he tells them about his bachelor life. He tries to ignore the sad glances and little pats on the shoulder that they send him, but after the 6th or 7th time, it becomes too much and he takes a break to the side.
Ara is a curious child, just like her mother and father, and when she wanders up to Minho with a piece of cake on a plate for him, he can’t help but smile at her innocence.
“Uncle Minho, you look sad.” She mumbles with her childish Korean, and he reaches out to ruffle her hair with a little head shake.
“I’m not sad, don’t worry. You look pretty today.” He tells her and she blushes, reaching down to tug at her dress and oh. There goes the cake onto the ground. Ara almost starts to cry, but Minho picks her up, hushing her and telling her it’ll be okay before he lets her ride around on his shoulders, pretending to be an airplane so she can get her mind off of it. She giggles and makes airplane noises from his shoulders, telling him to go left and right, and they almost bump into Jonghyun but Minho is pretty sure Ara did that on purpose.
That night when he goes home and lays in bed, he thinks about the day, thinks about how badly he wants children, how badly he wants love, how badly he wants someone to cheer him up whenever he’s sad like that. He slips off into his dreams easily after that.
(“Do you want kids, Minho-yah?” He can see her lips. Fuck, he can see her lips, and they’re a dull pink as they press to his naked shoulder, and that’s when he realizes she’s naked and on top of him, black hair falling over her shoulders as she presses down into him. He barely stifles a moan at that, his hands squeezing her waist and he chuckles, low, breathy.
“What kind of question is that?” He tells her, and suddenly a warmth envelops his length, and even though he can’t see it, he groans out at the feeling. She lets out a keening noise, her lips parting to let out a heavy breath, her hands on his shoulders. He can feel a coldness coming from a finger on her left hand, and that’s when he feels it on his hand too. Wedding rings.
“I want tons of them, little boys and little girls to run around the house and p-play soccer and help me cook, and… fuck-“ She whispers to him before she moans, and her voice isn’t the usual higher pitch, no. It’s low and breathy and needy, all for him. Minho can’t decide which he likes better, but that’s not really an issue in his mind at this point.
He moves his hips up, hands moving around her back as she arches towards him with a little whimper, her pace increasing and how is he supposed to even talk when he can’t breathe?
“You can’t cook.” He chuckles lowly, and she bites down on his neck as a sort of revenge, and he loses control. He can’t help it, and there’s no more words spoken between them as they slide together, the noises etched in his memory. And when she hits her climax, he feels her press up against him, her voice crying out for him and only him, and there’s nothing better.)
He wakes up when his alarm goes off, and he’s sickeningly hard, swallowing a lump in his throat as he tries to catch his breath. The dreams definitely aren’t over, and he thinks it’s some sort of sick joke his sub-conscious is playing on him, because the dreams only come out whenever he’s extremely sad.
He takes a cold shower and lets the water run down his body for a while, not caring that he’s two hours late for work that day. He’s the boss, after all.
The day before his 28th birthday, Minho decides to talk to Jinki and Jonghyun and try to get their advice about what the hell these dreams even mean, and only after he sits them down does he realize how crazy and messed up he even sounds.
(“I’ve been having these weird dreams lately.” He clears his throat afterwards, arms crossing over his chest like some sort of nervous habit. Jinki and Jonghyun look at each other for a second before Jinki glances back at Minho, his face etched with confusion.
“Like… Kingdom Hearts dreams?”
He really shouldn’t have mentioned anything, but it’s too late for regrets, rubbing his forehead slowly and Jonghyun laughs outloud.
“No dumbass, he means real dreams. Only you have Kingdom Hearts dreams.”
“I can’t help it if I’m like Sora.” Jinki mumbles and oh god, what kind of idiot friends does Minho even have?
“You’re more like Goofy to me.” Jonghyun sends Jinki a glance and Jinki raises an eyebrow.
“That’s perfect, because you’re just like Donald. Short with a hot temper!”
Jonghyun opens his mouth to respond but Minho cuts him off with an impatient grunt.
“Yes, Sora?” They both say in unison and Minho doesn’t have to look to know they have smug grins on their faces.
“I fucking hate you both.”)
After that bust, Minho doesn’t know where to turn. Both of his best friends are complete idiots, and he doesn’t really know how Taeyeon or Gwiboon put up with them both. Maybe they find it charming. Who even knows.
He lays down in bed, watching the clock strike 12 and he mentally wishes himself a happy birthday, before he decides to talk to Gwiboon tomorrow. She seems the most helpful anyways. He drifts off into slumber, praying to God he doesn’t have some sort of messed up video game dream, but it’s nothing like that at all.
(“Happy birthday, baby.” Her voice whispers to him, and now he can see her. All of her. Her brown eyes, her cute nose, the way she smiles behind the candlelight of his cake. She’s breathtakingly gorgeous, her black hair down and in waves around her face, her outfit a perfect fitting dress, and after he blows out the candles, she turns on the light.
It’s even better, and he can’t help but stare at her, admiring the way she puffs her cheek out as she cuts him a slice of cake, smiling brightly when it’s cut and handed to him.
“Thank you.” He mumbles, leaning in to press a kiss to her forehead and she turns her head up to sigh, her hot breath hitting his cheek. He opens his mouth again to say something but she’s fading fast, her smile disappearing and shit-)
He wakes up at 9 am, rubbing his tired eyes and touching his cheek with a shaky breath. It feels like she was actually there, actually sighing onto his cheek for real. Damn, he’s crazy. He’s so, so crazy.
He tells Gwiboon the next day and surprisingly she listens, doesn’t call him crazy, though she does tell him he looks like an escaped prisoner, thanks to his scruff and his shaggy hair. She says something about how he longs for love, and how maybe it’s his mind’s way of telling him he needs someone and Minho finally, finally thinks that she could be right.
He sets a resolve then, that before he turns 29, he'll go on dates again, to see what happens again, to not let his dreams fade away and be forgotten. He knows he’ll never find his dream girl, so he starts to look in other places, starts to branch out of his shell.
Hyoyeon is nice, and they date for a couple months before she had to move to Japan to pursue an dancing career. He tries really hard to please her and be happy with her, and he is, he really is, but something in the pit of his stomach tells him she’s not the one for him. It sounds cheesy and cliché, but it’s just the feeling he gets.
Sulli isn’t too bad, but she’s so young, barely 22 and she doesn’t know what she wants from life, doesn’t know a good thing when she sees it, and she cheats on him after about a month. Minho doesn’t really feel anything as she breaks up with him for some guy even older than him, and Jinki pats his back as he chugs a couple of beers down.
He is ready to give up again, but Jonghyun mentions how he got Minho a date with Yoona, his ex-cheerleader girlfriend and convinces him not to give up just this one last time. He agrees to go on a date with her, and books a restaurant in a smaller part of town. He gets there first and he waits.
And waits some more.
After 40 minutes of nothing, Minho knows he’s been stood up. He doesn’t feel anything but embarrassment as he goes to pay for his drink, and he doesn’t leave a tip because hell, he’s never going there again.
It’s a cold November night, but he doesn’t feel like swallowing his pride just yet, doesn’t feel like going home to an empty house again, so he just walks. He takes in a couple puffs of air, watching it come out as a white cloud, and he admires the lights around the city as he walks to nowhere.
His phone buzzes in his pocket and he has half a mind not to pick up once he sees it’s Jonghyun, but he does anyway.
“Dude, I’m so sorry. Apparently she’s already got a boyfriend and I just found out. Her boyfriend called me all pissed off. Like, dude, don’t take your anger out on me, right? She’s the one that lied. Anyways, I’m really sorry-“
But Minho isn’t listening. He’s frozen in place, staring into the window of a rundown diner across the street, his heart beating a mile a minute as he watches the waitress smile, and he knows that smile all too well.
“Fuck hyung, that’s her.”
“What? Who?” Jonghyun sounds confused and a little irritated at being cut off, but Minho couldn’t care less because he’s staring at her, watching her move from table to table with that bright smile, her black hair pulled back into a tight ponytail.
“It’s her, goddamnit Jonghyun, it’s her!”
And Minho hangs up the phone before Jonghyun can ask “Who?” one more time like an idiot.)
He tries not to run across the street but he can’t help himself, his coat swishing with the wind, his breath coming out in pants as he tries to collect himself.
The ringing of the bell above the door seems to catch her attention, and she picks up her head to smile at him and he wants to cry. Really wants to cry. He’s finally found her, he knows that smile from anywhere.
(“Welcome!” She tells him as she comes closer, and when she looks up him, it’s the same brown eyes and the same voice, and she freezes. They both just stare at each other, something seeming to click in between them, and Minho fights the urge to pick her up and kiss her right there.
“Thanks.” He says under his breath, and he watches the shiver run down her spine and he hopes he still isn’t crazy, but judging from the way she bites her lip and looks at him, he definitely isn’t alone.
It’s silent for a moment before she speaks up, voice barely a whisper.
“I’ve seen you before.” She tells him and Minho fights so hard to keep himself calm and collected, though his cheeks are flushed and he’s grinning like an idiot.
“I’ve seen you too.” In my dreams he wants to add, but he doesn’t want to seem like a fool in front of her, especially if she’s not having crazy dreams like he is. But he watches her take in a breath and almost choke on it, her lips quivering without words. She holds out her hand and he takes it, bringing it up to his lips to kiss it, and the way she blushes sets his heart aflame, and yes. Yes, she is the one.
“Y-yuri. I’m Yuri.” She tells him, her eyes brimming with tears as she starts to sputter, “God, I thought I was crazy, I thought you weren’t real and I was hallucinating, but here you are. Here you are, and I don’t even know who you are, I don’t know your name, but-“
She’s talking a mile a minute and Minho can barely keep up before she cuts off with her tears, and Minho’s heart lurches with a mix of joy and sadness. And then he pulls her close, pulling her into his arms, and he doesn’t care that everyone is staring at them in fascination. He inhales her scent – and it’s not Victoria’s Secret but whatever it is, it’s perfect – and his arms tighten around her, and he still can’t believe this is all real. Everything is real. No more dreams, no more waking up in a cold sweat alone. She is really there.
“I’m real.” Is all he needs to say, and she cries even harder, but he never lets her go.)
Kwon Yuri, age 25, a babysitter by day and a waitress by night. She wanted to be a teacher but she didn’t have enough money for college so she had to take up something else, and it still haunts her to this day. Minho listens to her over a couple cups of coffee and everything about her is perfect in his eyes. She’s perfect.
They instantly click and it isn’t long before they’re at her front porch and he’s kissing her silly. And it’s way better than those fake dream kisses, because this time he can feel her hand tighten in his shirt and can feel her trembling lips against his, and the way his heart and stomach do flips and turns is so amazing and scary at the same time. When he pulls back from the kiss, he lets their noses bump, her breath fanning across his face, his hands holding onto the sides of her neck as he tries to catch his breath. They probably look stupid, because it’s almost 6 in the morning and she’s still in her work uniform and he is a bit too overdressed, but he doesn’t care. He could care less really.
He doesn’t want to go, but she needs to sleep before she has to get up and babysit her sister’s children, and he doesn’t hesitate to give out his number and kiss her a couple more times before she disappears inside her building.
And he goes to work without changing, without cleaning himself up, without sleeping, because he can’t sleep at this point. He’s had too much coffee and he’s afraid that this is some elaborate hoax that his sleep deprived mind is playing on him.
But no, he realizes once Jonghyun and Gwiboon come up to him, worry and excitement both written on their faces, it's not a hoax. And Minho breathes, Yes, it was her. and the squeal Gwiboon lets out is a bit too loud, and Jonghyun looks as clueless as ever.
He can’t focus at work that day, but it doesn’t matter, it really doesn’t because when he checks his phone, there’s a million messages from Jonghyun and Jinki, but there’s one new one that makes his heart beat faster for the umpteenth time that night.
Minho, I couldn’t sleep without saying something, so…. Hello, and it’s completely crazy, but I miss you already… that’s all!! ^^
And he smiles so bright when he sends a reply, (Miss you too, I’ll call later.) and it doesn’t leave his face, even when he falls asleep at his desk.
When he gets home that night, he calls her and she lets out a happy breath, excited to hear his voice, excited to know he’s just as happy and crazy as her. They hang up when she goes to work and he goes to sleep, and he doesn’t dream about her, no. Because now, he knows she’s real and no dream could ever compare to that.
(It’s Minho’s 31st birthday, and Yuri’s serving him cake, just like in his dream all those years ago. Ara and Minji are there, begging to touch Yuri’s growing stomach, and Jinki holds their new baby boy with a grin on his face. Taeyeon and Gwiboon are talking about nothing important really, and Jonghyun has an arm around Minho’s waist since he can’t really reach his neck.
“She looks beautiful, huh?” He wears that stupid grin and Minho wants to punch him, but he holds it back to just a stomach nudge with his elbow.
“Like she came from a dream, really.” He grins and looks back at Yuri, and her knowing smile is all he ever needs.)