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W/B 1st January

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Today is Monday, January 1st.

Now, I'd just like to point out, before we get started, that it's not always going to be like this. I'm committing to a weekly journal to calm my mind. It'll be the whole week reflected each time. It's my resolution, I suppose. I'm a struggling writer with a thousand things running through my mind, and I need to unload it every so often. Plus my mom bought me this journal a few days ago and it would be a bit of a shame to let it go to waste when the year is printed on the front in gold.

There's another reason too, but I'll get to that in a while.

Anyway, I guess it's best to introduce myself first. Just in case I end up making this into a full novel or something. My life is hectic and I hate being a columnist, so if I was going to break into the world of novels, I think this would be my starting point. I'm sure there'll be enough drama over the year to turn it into a novel, if this year is anything like last year. I don't think I've had a quiet year since I was in middle school, so I'm hoping that this year will give me a decent story to look back on when we're greeting next year.

My name is Kim Mingyu and I'm twenty-three years old. I'm living in Seoul for work at the moment, but I'm originally from Anyang. I live with my pet cat, Min. She's a Russian Blue and she's a bit of an asshole, but we co-exist quite comfortably and sometimes I can spend time with her without being shredded by her claws. She used to be my sister's cat but the guy she's now renting from doesn't like cats, so Min is living with me instead. I don't know why I took her on when it's so obvious that she doesn't like me, but I suppose she's cute in an evil sort of way.

I studied journalism at university. It was tough but I still managed to bag an A0 by my final year, and I was offered an internship at a medium-sized news company in Seoul as a result. The pay is decent, but I suppose I've basically been the office mule. First of all, I was given the job of coffee rounds and setting up meeting rooms, until I accidentally told one of the big bosses that it felt like a waste of a degree. In my defence, though, I didn't know that he was a big boss. I'd never met the guy before in my life. He looked like he was there for an interview or something and I was just making a joke, but he had a fit at my managers for failing to give me the internship roles that were specified on my contract. From that point, I moved on to photocopying, emails, mail, printing, social media, and then after six months, I was allowed a tester column.

It's an advice column. The man with a hectic life has an advice column. It's stuck with me, though; apparently, my ideas were really weird but strangely worked, and so I've been allowed to keep it. I struggle sometimes, especially when our readers seem to think that I'm a miracle worker or something, but I've not had any complaints so far and that's probably a good sign. Of course, I would much prefer to be going out and writing about the things that I've seen when I'm on my travels around the city, but I suppose it's a starting point. We can't all be Choe Jeonghui.

So, back to the journal.

My other reason for starting this journal is the fact that I found the most beautiful boy last night at a New Year's party. It was a huge party that was being held for the staff of big companies in Seoul. Think the Capulet's ball in Romeo and Juliet. Somehow my company managed to worm their way into it - our bosses told us that it was a sign that we were growing and developing as a business - but I was hardly complaining. I got a free deluxe room at the Park Hyatt hotel in Gangnam somehow, so I wasn't exactly going to reject the invitation on the grounds that I couldn't believe that we were supposed to be there.

Of course, I wasn't really planning on falling for anyone. I was there for the free alcohol. Each company put a certain amount behind the bar and we were encouraged to have a few drinks to loosen up. It was supposed to get us in the mood to socialise with the staff of other companies, and I guess that that ended up happening for me. It started with a girl asking to dance with me to her favourite song. I was the closest person to her at the time and she noticed that I was alone, and so we ended up dancing together. Then when we were done, more people started to approach me. I suppose they probably started coming over because they saw me socialising with that girl and it was obvious that we didn't know each other before that, but it was actually rather fun.

After a while, though, it got too hot in the main hall where everyone was gathered. It wasn't helped by the alcohol and I had a sudden feeling that I was suffocating. I went out for a walk around the rest of the building, figuring that it would help me to ground myself too, and that was when I saw him.

He was sitting on a sofa with a book in his hands. Pride and Prejudice, to be specific. The spine of the book was worn out, as if it'd been read over and over again, and it looked as if it'd seen many hands over the years. He had a bookmark tucked between the front cover and first page, but the splayed pages in the top corners of the book were suggesting that they'd seen countless dog ears in their day.

He was sat there with his knees tucked to his chest but his shoes off the seat. I appreciated that a lot; I really hate it when people put their dirty shoes on the furniture like they have no consideration for other people's property. Occasionally he would reach over to take his drink from the table next to where he was sitting, and he would take a long sip without even moving his eyes from the pages of the book.

Now, I'm not really the sort of person who would disturb a person who is reading. He was obviously very engrossed in it, and he wanted to continue reading in peace. I don't know why else he would be sat outside the main hall reading when he could've been socialising. Although I do find it a bit weird that he was at a New Year's party with a book instead of being at home. Perhaps he was going to read until just before the countdown, or he was made to come by his boss or something.

I had to make my move in the only way I knew how to - flirting.

"One word from you will silence me forever." He dragged his eyes away from the book and stared at me in silence.
"Are you quoting this book?" His voice was deeper than I imagined. He sounded tired, like he didn't really want to be there. He probably didn't want to talk to me either.

I clutched my chest, acting as if he'd silenced me, and he didn't look impressed. "Can I help you with something?" he asked. As much as he tried to be calm as he said it, I knew that I was probably bothering him, but I couldn't help myself.
"You look lonely. Can I get you a drink?"
"I have a drink."

I don't think he meant to be stand-offish because his voice was soft as he said it to me. So I decided to continue with my advances.
"Do you mind if I sit near you and chat for a while?" I asked, and thankfully he shuffled over to one side so that I could sit near to him. As soon as I was seated, his bookmark was placed between the pages of the book, and he placed it on his lap.

And so we started to chat. His name is Jeon Wonwoo and he's working for an accountancy agency. It's not really what he wants to do with his life - he wants to be either a teacher or an author, but his parents pushed for him to do something that paid a decent, predictable wage. He doesn't hold it against them, obviously, but he's hoping that he'll end up being able to take a degree in education when he can afford to do so.

Wonwoo is twenty-four and he moved to Seoul from Changwon, similar to how I had. He lives alone and doesn't get to see his family much. He seemed rather relieved to know that I have a cat, since he's scared of dogs, and we ended up bonding over books. That was what we spent most of our time talking about; he suddenly blossomed as soon as we began to discuss the various novels that we enjoy reading, and the overlap only made it better. Suddenly Wonwoo was happy to joke around with me. I even got to see his genuine smile, which was probably the prettiest smile I've ever seen.

When he was smiling to be polite, it was obvious that he wasn't really feeling it, but his proper smile is something completely different. His eyes squeeze tightly closed in the outer corners but his irises are still visible. The apples of his cheeks grow and he scrunches his nose up ever so slightly. He gets four very deep creases around his mouth and nose, and the first time I saw it, I noted how much those creases pulled my attention towards his mouth in particular. He's the sort of guy who smiles with his teeth but doesn't make it look awkward. His teeth are perfect, in my opinion, so they were always going to make his smile look like perfection too. It was only made better by the fact that his lips framed his teeth perfectly. The lower one is a lot plumper than the top one, especially around the middle, and they're an attractive shade of red; naturally rather dark against the vanilla and latte tones of his skin.

I knew from that moment that I had to have him. I held the conversation as best as I could, trying my hardest to keep him smiling as much as I could so that I could indulge in his beauty for just a moment longer. I asked every quirky question that I could ask, in hopes that it would score me some bonus points with him and get him to return my enthusiastic approach to his company. He's a Cancer. He can't solve a Rubix Cube. He went bungee jumping once, but it put him off going again. He went into hospital during his final year at university with suspected appendicitis. His favourite milkshake flavour is strawberry. He has a scar somewhere on his pelvis from an accident when he was in high school. He loves Sudoku puzzles but can't stand traditional crosswords. He knows one really filthy pick-up line that would probably work on him, but he refused to tell me what it was for now. It's just in case I try to use it on someone in the future, apparently.

I think that's a sign that he likes me - he didn't want me to use that pick-up line on anyone else. Maybe I'm reading into it too much, but most guys wouldn't care all that much if a stranger uses a pick-up line on someone else, unless they're attracted to that person. I noted that at the time, too, although I've had more time to think about the significance of it since then.

It was sort of like the catalyst that got things rolling, though. I was certainly attracted to him, and if he was attracted to me in return, there was no harm in being his excuse to leave the party. It wasn't like he wanted to be there anyway.

I asked him if he wanted to come to my hotel room. He was wary and needed a bit of convincing, but when it became clear that I wasn't going to be trying it on with him, he finally gave in. It would be a lot more comfortable in my room, after all, and he wouldn't have to feel bad about not being around anyone else. I was going to be his company and he would be mine. So we ended up going there together, hands brushing occasionally as we made our way to the rooms. His book was clutched tightly to his chest, which showed me that he was still pretty nervous about it, so I made sure to let him know that he was welcome to continue reading in my room.

That was what he ended up doing when we got there. He was tucked up on the bed with his book in hand, and I mostly just watched him. There were a few texts here and there to ask where I was, but I ended up ignoring them in favour of focusing my full attention on him. Eventually, though, I had to turn the radio on so that it didn't seem as if I was being too weird by keeping my gaze on him the entire time. It gave us something to talk about when he hit the end of each chapter, and then it eventually became the thing that would encourage closeness between us both.

One of my favourite songs started to play. I mentioned it out loud and it captured his attention. Wonwoo had expected that all of my taste would be loud; that I would enjoy rap and pop and I wouldn't like anything with a slow pace. Yet, there we were, with a romantic song playing.

I could tell that he could barely focus on his book with me humming in the background. In the end, he suggested that perhaps we dance to it together. I was hesitant to do that, since I didn't really want to disturb him when he was trying to read, but he made sure to point out that I was already disturbing his reading so we might as well dance. He didn't say it in a malicious way, though - I just want to point that out in case I look back on this at a later date. Instead, he seemed more than happy to join me for a dance so that we would be able to greet the new year in a more intimate way. At that point, it was around quarter to twelve, after all, so it was only right for us to share those last few minutes together.

He put the book down on my bed and allowed me to pull him forward. I took his waist and he took my shoulder, and we began to dance with each other. It was slow and we didn't move all that much, but it was nice. Wonwoo clearly enjoyed that bit of contact between us; I could see his chest heaving with nervousness as I held him close to me, but his eyes didn't leave mine once. We were dancing so slowly together under the low light of the lamps, completely absorbed by each other. I don't know what he was thinking about at the time, as I didn't really think to ask about that sort of thing, but my immediate attraction to his aura was the only thing that I could think about.

By the time the new year came in, his head was on my shoulder. We were pressed close together, still swaying slightly with the music, until finally we heard the ten-second countdown. At that point, he lifted his head back up and looked me dead in the eyes. We counted together until eventually we reached one and grew silent.

And then I kissed him.

My entire body felt tingly when our lips met. It felt so natural to feel his lips against mine, and he was so gentle the entire time. I could feel his eyelashes tickling my cheeks; one of his hands slipping up to press against the back of my head to encourage me to hold the kiss. My mind was drowning in the scent of his cologne and the warmth of his mouth, and it stayed with me even when we parted from each other. It was the perfect start to the new year.

Wonwoo didn't stay for too long after that. I took him to his hotel room, as he'd complained that he was too tipsy to think straight. He didn't usually kiss strangers, apparently, and he was concerned that he would make a habit of it if he stayed any longer. I made a joke about him spending the night with me and starting off the new year with some passion, but it was just a joke, obviously. I didn't want to make him feel pressured into that sort of thing. So I ended up leaving him at his door with a scrap of paper that had my phone number on it, just in case he wanted to make something of the romance that we'd shared. It was completely up to him, though; I didn't want to make him feel pressured by getting his number in return, but I needed him to know that he'd left me with memories that I'd treasure forever.

If that's not a good reason to start keeping a journal this year, I don't know what is.

He ended up texting me a few hours after that, just to express that he'd been happy that we spent time together that night, but we haven't made any plans to meet again. I'm hopeful, though. The kiss we shared was something special, even if it was just for a moment, and I'm really looking forward to planning our first date, whenever that'll be.

- Mingyu