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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

Chapter Text

It's Sunday, 14th January.

My week (and a half) has been relatively uneventful. I went back to work on January 3rd and had to just get on with my work. I already had my columns written between December 29th and January 2nd, so I had a good amount of time to relax, but getting back into the flow of it all was difficult. I didn't know what to do with myself. My fingers had forgotten how to type, and I couldn't think of any good advice.

Heck, I don't think I'd even be able to give advice to half of the things I was sent. "I walked into the bathroom to find my dad pegging my girlfriend two days after Christmas whilst she was staying at my parents' house with me. Now there's a lot of tension between us all, I broke up with her, and my parents are on the verge of a divorce. How can I even start to pick my life back up again?" Well, Broken Man, aged nineteen from Jung-gu, I don't know. I don't know what you should do because it sounds like everything is crashing and burning around you. How am I supposed to answer that message? If I were in his situation, I would change my name and move to Jeju, where no one would know that I saw my girlfriend getting my dad's plum in her pudding hole. Anyway, I'm back into the flow of it all now, though, so I think we're going to have a pretty good year from that sort of standpoint. Hopefully I'll be able to keep up with it now without having to worry about motivating myself.

Actually, on top of this, my mother did call to tell me some of the family drama. It's something that I'm going to want to remember for a long time, so I'll write it here. I need to remember the levels of petty and just how funny it all was.

So my aunt called her up in hysterics a few days ago, saying that she needed to come over for a chat because she found out the most terrible news. My mom asked if their parents were okay and they were. She asked if her brother-in-law was okay, and he was. She asked if her nephew was okay, and my aunt went silent. Now, my mom is really protective of her nephew - I'm not sure if this is going to be the same by the end of the year or any other time in the future, since he's growing up fast, but she's protective for now - so she was worried and immediately invited my aunt over.

Now, my aunt was a mess. She didn't know what to do with herself. Not even green tea and my mom's homemade biscuits were enough to calm her down. She could barely stop crying for long enough to get the words out. She was a complete and utter mess, and the only thing that made sense from anything she said was that her son told her he's gay. Apparently he'd taken "new year, new me" to the extreme and told her that he was breaking up with his girlfriend in order to date some guy on his university course.

Of course, my mom couldn't help but laugh. I came out to her eight years ago and my aunt was telling her how ridiculous it was to worry about my well-being, since more people were gradually starting to accept homosexuality in our society. But when her son comes out, the world is over. She's a mess; she thinks that everything is done. It's as if she's just arrived home to find that someone's set the place on fire and there's a pile of ash where the house used to be. How could he be gay? He's had X-amount of girlfriends, even up until the day that he came out; he's never showed interest in boys before, and he's so typically straight that it hurts. "He even loves sports," she sobbed onto my mom's shoulder, "Gays don't like sports."
"But Mingyu likes sports. He's not one of those guys who like fashion design, make-up, shopping, and parading around like a fairy princess," my mom told her.
"It's because Mingyu is a bad gay," my aunt replied.

I'd just like to point out that I'm not a bad gay. I might not be all that stereotypical, but I'm pretty sure that to be gay, I'd usually prefer dick over vagina, not runways over footballs. Generally. But because I'm not stereotypical with my interests, I'm a "bad gay". I find it funny, if I'm being completely honest, and so did my mom when she was laughing in my aunt's face. It just made her cry even harder, apparently, until my mom said she'd ask if I could go and talk to them about it. Perhaps I could help my aunt to become more comfortable, or help my cousin to vent how it felt when he was treated like Satan or something. Naturally, I agreed, but I don't know how this "bad gay" is going to face his aunt without breaking down in hysterics too. (Plus I don't really like him all that much, but I suppose I'm going to have to like him now. I'm so excited, as you can probably tell.)

Also, I got my fridge fixed after six months of hoping for the best - see, I meant it when I said that it was a slow week. My landlord has been "arranging for a new one to be installed" for four months, and finally, it turned up. He said that it was a late holiday gift, but I knew that he'd just not even bothered with it until I threatened to take him to court. It's his job to sort it out for me, as one of his tenants in a flat where I can't even swap out the furniture, and I'm glad that it's done now. As much as I could threaten it, I: a) don't like the whole process of going to court and b) probably couldn't afford it, even if I wanted to, so it's washed away a lot of stress in one go. I'm just glad that I'm able to have my leftovers a few days later without it going bad now, and I can have milk for the first time in months.

Finally, before I sign this journal entry off, we have an update on the situation with Wonwoo.

I was really worried that maybe he wasn't as into me as I thought, since I got absolutely no messages for four days, but luckily, he had reason to put off messaging me. He's been busy at work since January 2nd and has barely had a minute to breathe, so it's understandable really. He's stressed about his job, since it's right back to business as if they haven't had a winter break, and he's got more on his plate than I did. Apparently on his first day back, he was greeted with over two-hundred emails, ten parcels on his desk, and a new member of staff who he had to train. He was pissed, as I could imagine, and he was so close to taking his boss out with his fist. But he's not the sort of person to hit someone, not even when he's angry, so he just stewed in his irritation all day.

Wonwoo doesn't like to rant to me about that sort of thing. He doesn't think that it's appropriate to talk to a new romantic interest like that, as it suggests that he's unable to handle his own emotions properly and it leads to early arguments. I personally think that he should be able to tell me about his feelings, even though we are still in the early stages. I want to be there for him and get to know what upsets and annoys him, as well as getting to see the things that make his heart smile. That's sort of the point of relationships, I think, but I suppose everyone has a different idea of what is and isn't acceptable at the start of a relationship. I'm not going to argue with him over it, but I really hope that it's something that he'll warm up to soon enough.

Aside from that, we have the topic of our date. He needs a little while to get everything sorted before we go out together. He doesn't want to bring his stress along with him, and I absolutely agree with that. I'm not funny enough to make a guy laugh when he's stressed, and I'm too fragile to go on a second date with him if he doesn't laugh. Of course, I'm worried about him too, but I don't think he'd like me if I'm just handsome and not funny. And he's too handsome for me to be okay with letting him go this soon. We might have only known each other for a few days, but I've been single for so long that I can't really afford to mess up such a great opportunity.

I'm sure it'll work out in the end. Wonwoo said that he'd be ready to go on a date with me next Friday when he's finished work and I'm completely okay with that. I've even picked out a restaurant and booked a table for us, since he asked me to arrange it all.

It's a pretty niche place. Lowkey and nothing too fancy. I've never been there before, but I think he'd much prefer to go somewhere small and relatively casual. From what I can tell, he's an introvert and gets nervous when other people look at him too much, so I hope that this decision will make it more comfortable for him. Especially since we have to get past the whole "two guys on a romantic date" thing and all. Then I'm thinking I might take him to a coffee shop. It gives us the chance to chat a bit and relax a bit in a calmer environment. It's generally a pretty nice way to finish a date, I think, and then we can always take a to-go cup on a walk through a nearby park until we're ready to part. I'm guessing that he'd probably like a long date after such a tough time at work.

With any luck, it'll feel much more like a date rather than a job interview, and then on the second date, I'll make sure to do something cool instead. Something really quirky that he's never going to have from another guy again. I'm toying with a number of ideas at the moment. We could make a bonfire and cuddle up together, if he has his own place for us to make one, we could make ice cream from scratch together, or we could feed each other nice foods and see whether we can guess what each thing is. I'm feeling that the blind feeding would be actually pretty sexy. He looks like the sort of person who would look hot with chocolate mousse on his lips or honey dribbling down his front but hey, I'm going to have to try and practice self-constraint because otherwise, I'll probably end up tasting his lips.

Just to add to that, I hope that at whatever point in life that I'm facing when I read this journal again, I still have my appreciation for Jeon Wonwoo's lips. They're the most beautiful bee-stung lips I've seen in my life. I found some photos that were taken at the New Year's party and he's stunning. I can't help but keep bringing the photos up to stare at his lips. I sincerely hope that I love them just as much as time goes on because wow, this is a novelty that I'd rather not lose. I still can't believe that I kissed his lips at midnight. Way to go, Kim Mingyu.

Anyway, I suppose that's it for this time. Hopefully I'll be able to come back next week with the details of a perfect date.

- Mingyu

Chapter Text

Today is Saturday, 20th January.

The anticipation to discuss my date with Wonwoo is almost killing me, but there have been so many entertaining things this week that I can't just get straight to it. As with last week, I'll add it in last so that I can really go into detail on it.

Firstly, we have the work corner, and this one is quite possibly my favourite event that I'll ever get to discuss in this journal, ever.

On Tuesday, I was the first non-managerial member of staff in the office. It turns out that we had the regional manager of our newspaper's parent company in to see how everyone was working, and she'd turned up rather early. She was, of course, impressed to see that I was straight into work nice and early, eating rice at my desk as I checked through my emails and made notes on how I was going to answer the stupid questions that I was receiving. (As a side note, the worst question of the week was a question that was from a guy who fell in love with his American colleague and didn't know whether she was interested, so he was wondering whether it was appropriate to send her photos of his dick, since he "heard that American girls love that sort of thing". I can absolutely guarantee you that no girl has ever been turned on by unsolicited dick pics ever, Chiwoo from Seocho-gu, and you're more likely to end up getting a sexual harassment lawsuit on your hands.)

So anyway, we ended up chatting for a while and she insisted on getting to know me better. She was even interested on my more personal outside-of-work life, like what my degree was in and whether I was in a relationship. I didn't feel like it was appropriate to bring Wonwoo up properly, seeing as we're not officially a couple still, but I did mention that I had a date at the end of the week and she wished me good luck on it. I also told her a bit more about my column and she ended reading a few of my pieces, and then she commented on the fact that my advice wasn't really what she was expecting but she really liked it nonetheless and thought that it was incredibly creative and nice to read. She thought that it was unique and my column was set apart from the other advice columns in local newspapers, and it honestly gave me the biggest confidence boost ever.

Then everything was relatively calm for a while as she said that she needed to go and check on the other members of staff who were in already - mostly delivery drivers, IT team and the managers - and I was able to get on with my work before any of my colleagues started to arrive. But then I ended up overhearing something around a half hour after she left my desk and naturally, I was forced to listen in so that I could share this gossip later on down the line. I'm not going to waste the opportunity, after all.

"-- and then he said to me that he had enough paper deliveries to do today and I'd have to give him double pay if I wanted him to take up the ones that Jungbin isn't able to do. What are we supposed to do, miss out on business because he doesn't care about the fact that his contract specifies that covering for sick colleagues is essential? He's been here for what, three weeks? And he thinks it's okay to talk to anyone like that? Whether or not he thinks that he was joking, it's incredibly disrespectful and I'm not standing for it. I'd like you to send someone to meet him wherever he is in the city and take over his deliveries for the day. He's coming back here, we're having a chat, and then he's going to be permanently dismissed. I hope that'll teach him to disrespect another person because he thinks he's better than them."

I swear, I've replayed this rant in my head over one hundred times since I first heard it. It was probably the gossip of the week, if I'm being honest, and I really loved hearing it. Of course, as soon as they got the driver to the office, I could hear him getting yelled at by the manager. I could hear every word. He'd put shame on our company and if his new job asked for references from his most recent job, sure as hell he wasn't going to be receiving a good reference. In fact, they would actively be encouraging his next workplace to refrain from hiring him if he was going to think that that sort of behaviour was acceptable. Honestly, I've never found something so funny in my entire life. I can't believe someone would speak to another person like that, let alone someone so high up in our parent company, and then think that he could get away with it. His head was hanging in shame when he left the office again, and it was clear that he knew he'd fucked up. I'm just so glad that I was able to witness that sort of high-quality entertainment because a six-thirty start was probably the last thing I wanted on that particular day, but I guess witnessing that was enough to get me through my eleven-hour shift just fine.

Now onto the family corner - my sister is incredibly weird.

I think she's still drunk from the New Year or something because all she's done is ask me stupid questions all week. It's always stuff like, "Do you think you could hoover your nipples off if you tried hard enough?" and "What would the debt collectors do if they came to your house to take some of your belongings away and it turned out that every piece of furniture was actually just a person who was acting like furniture for your sexual gratification?" I'm going to be honest, I don't get her at the best of times but she's somehow being even weirder lately. I think I'm going to have to make a list of all of the weird things she calls me about when I think about it because they're the sort of thing that I'm going to have to use for her birthday cards in the future. There's nothing like harassing your siblings with the dumb stuff that comes out of their mouth.

Finally, before we get onto the topic of my date with Wonwoo, we have one last important issue that has to be addressed - my cooking.

I'm never going to cook for him, ever. I can't do it. I just can't cook. On Thursday night, I decided that I was going to be good and actually make some food for myself at home. You know how it is - you get into the habit of buying fast food and then before you know it, you can't break the cycle because you're just inhaling fast food every day. "It's a treat for making it through the week," you tell yourself, but you know that you haven't done anything particularly good and it's becoming a daily thing, so you can't really call it a treat. You don't have it and you're craving it so bad that you essentially have to end up getting some for yourself anyway to curb the cravings. So I figured that I'd make a prompt start on my "New Year, New Me" thing before it becomes apparent that I'm going to completely abandon it. I made rice and fish for dinner, thinking that I'd look incredibly healthy with such a nutritional meal. I even calculated it perfectly so that it was going to have the perfect number of calories in to keep me happy and healthy (well, sort of).

So the rice is in the steamer, doing its thing, and the fish is in a pan. It was only a thin piece so I guessed that frying it would be a lot easier than putting it in the oven. And then, when they were both well on their way to cooking perfectly, I decided to go to the fridge and get out a can of grape soda to drink. It was my reward for being great and actually doing adult things without having a meltdown or ruining everything. I cracked the can open, took a long sip, enjoyed the perfection that was a skinned grape going into my mouth. Then I turned back towards my oven so that I could continue with frying the fish.

Except it was on fire. My oven was on fire, the fish was on fire, the frying pan was on fire. I couldn't believe it - I'd turned away for about ten seconds and it was steaming so badly that I had to open all of the doors and windows. The fire alarm was cheering me on, as you can probably imagine, and then I realised that the problem was the fact that I hadn't put any oil in the pan whatsoever. It was completely stuck to the pan; glued so badly that I couldn't even scrape it off when I managed to put the fire out. I was trying so desperately to get this piece of fish off the pan that I ended up trying to scoop a knife underneath it, which ultimately sent the fish flying when it finally came loose. It hit the wall then landed on the oven top, and from what I could see, the bottom of it was absolutely charred.

Of course, that made me feel like rubbish so I ended up getting three boxes of fried chicken to make myself feel better. When the delivery person turned up at the door with so much food, I felt so embarrassed by the fact that I had so much that I ended up calling into my empty house to tell my non-existent friends that dinner was there, and the delivery guy just offered up an awkward smile as he asked me if my girlfriend had set the kitchen on fire or something. I played along with it, obviously, and asked if he could still smell the smoke or something because I'd tried so hard to get rid of the smell of burning, but "she" ended up getting the entire oven on fire and I had to put it out using a fire blanket for her and get some food for us and the kids to make up for it. He wished me a goodnight and left, and I felt like the biggest fraud in the entire world. I'm hoping to never see him again, just in case I make it obvious that I'm not with a girl, nor am I a father. Maybe I'll have to stop ordering from that chicken restaurant for good now, just so that I'm never in that situation in the future. I don't think I'll make it if I have to try to explain that one to a stranger who is disappointed in the fact that I lied to him about something so stupid.

Anyway, I think it's time to get onto the actual date now that all of that's out there.

First of all, I'd like to say that seeing Jeon Wonwoo in person again was something else entirely. I loved the way that I was able to just make eye contact with him and see him break into a smile, and he even allowed me to hold his hand as we walked together. He's taller than I remember, even though I'd only seen him about two weeks ago, and he was a lot more masculine too. He wore a soft knitted jumper and slim-fit jeans - I'm not sure if that was what was causing him to look so much more masculine than I imagined, but it just reconfirmed in my mind that I'm very much into guys like him. I think my type is incredibly attractive nerdy boys. The intelligent ones like him leave my knees weak, even when I'm not drinking alcohol like it's water.

We chatted a bit on the way over to the restaurant, and I was so so thankful for the fact that he didn't get all stand-offish with me again now that he wasn't tipsy and I'd spent a little while trying not to disturb him by flirting. I didn't really want to get in the way when he was clearly so stressed by work but I was conscious that perhaps I'd drop right back down from the boyfriend zone to the friendship zone. I wouldn't really mind being his friend, obviously, but I do really want to be Wonwoo's boyfriend; that's the ultimate aim really so it would be a bit of a shame to lose out on that, especially since I'd worked so hard to attract him and get to kiss him on New Year's Day. No, instead he was very affectionate with me, making jokes here and there, playing with my fingertips, and generally telling me about life in the way that a romantic partner might do. I really think that he wants something to come of this, and that thought makes me so happy I can't even begin to explain it.

The conversation in the restaurant continued flowing pretty well. He ended up telling me a lot more about himself - including the more intimate details that I'd not wanted to ask the first time we met - and in general, our topics of discussion were rather well-rounded and gave plenty of opportunity for both of us to have our say. The one thing I did end up noting, though, was the fact that he's even more intelligent than he seemed to start with, and that's saying something when he already appeared to be very intellectual. God, I was really attracted to that. He had my heart captured as he was discussing why he didn't think certain policies were good for our government to have when it wasn't really helping anyone who really needed protecting out, but rather gave the illusion of helping. Honestly, I don't even remember what policy he was discussing because I was just so impressed by his inductive and deductive reasoning skills that I was primarily focusing on that instead. I'm not really the sort of guy to be into political talk as a form of foreplay but damn, Wonwoo has the power to turn me.

Then there was his eating. I need to keep my eyes to myself when he's eating because I found myself feeling captivated as a result of that, too. Again, my heart was snatched straight up by his beautiful teeth and the way that he was so delicate when he was eating. It was never so much that it would make his cheeks bulge, but I did get to see how he has a habit of chewing solely on one side of his mouth or the other when he's eating - never switching sides, both at the same time or in the centre. And it was the cutest little quirk I've seen in a long time. By this point, I'm just certain that Jeon Wonwoo is a God or something and we're just working our way up to being the most attractive power couple in Seoul or something. I know I'm attractive (ha) but I never really expected that I would end up finding a guy who was this close to my level. I'm sort of glad though. If we can merge our genetics together in the future, we'll create one really cool, super attractive, intelligent and hilarious lovechild, which will end up being the ultimate playboy of the universe.

Anyway, it was the end of the restaurant bit that I was really looking forward to. As much as you can try to make sure that a dinner date doesn't feel like a job interview, it ultimately seems like it. Think of all of those old Hollywood films where people get invited to dinner by their boss to see if they're good enough to get a promotion or something. It's something that you wouldn't really want when it comes to a date, but that schema leaves you feeling uptight and anxious, as much as you can try to pretend that it doesn't, and that just ruins the mood of it all. Luckily, for the most part, it didn't really feel too much like a job interview, but it was always going to be a lot better when we finally decided to get outside and just be with each other.

That was the best part of the entire thing. We went to the coffee shop, as I'd said, but we got the drinks to go so that we could just walk around Seoul with them. It was quite busy for a Friday evening and he didn't really want to be too affectionate and flirty in such a crowded place, which I figured was fair enough. Wonwoo kept his clutched close to his chest as we started to wander around together, and I ended up drinking mine way too quickly, but it gave us more of an excuse to hold hands and walk together in an environment where we didn't have to worry about anything, really. The atmosphere was incredibly relaxing, there was no one else around, and we just had the orange glow of streetlamps keeping us company.

By the time we eventually got back to Wonwoo's place, I could see that his cheeks and nose were tickled by the cold. They were red; I could see it even under the low light. The flush made him look so sweet and innocent, and I could hardly believe that I was stood there so close to him like that. I wanted to be able to kiss him, but I knew that it wasn't exactly the right time to do something like that; I guessed that even though we'd kissed in my hotel room, this was a completely different situation and so I needed to take it back a step in order to approach the situation appropriately. "I had a great time with you," Wonwoo said, his voice almost a whisper, "I know it's not usually something that you ask on a first date, but could we arrange to meet again as soon as possible? You have a strange way of bringing me back down to earth when I've had a rough time."

Of course, I wasn't prepared to reject him. I suggested the following Friday or Saturday, since it meant that he wouldn't have to be concerned about his work schedule again, and he gave a nod before suggesting that perhaps I could go to his place for the evening instead of going out. Whilst he enjoyed the date, he was the sort of person who did like to stay in, so it was the ideal date for him to be cuddled up with me. I informed him that I'd been planning something like that anyway, although obviously I'd not planned to invite myself over to his house or anything, and he ended up just smiling warmly at me before opening up his body language in a warmer, softer way. I could tell that he was wanting to be hugged but made sure to confirm it with him anyway, and so I ended up moving forward to embrace him as he pressed his cold nose into the side of my neck. I didn't even mind; it sent a little spark through my body that left me feeling more awake to his touch, and I honestly loved that. We stood there for just a moment, not moving, until finally I peeled myself away from him. It was hard to do so, especially when he began to gaze at me so lovingly, but I wished him a good night and waited until he was inside the house before leaving. My entire body felt horrible and tingly, telling me that I should've made a move, but I took a moment to convince myself that the first date wasn't really the place for kissing him like that.

I'd barely made it halfway down the street when I got a text to say that he regretted not kissing me, though, and I immediately felt terrible. I told him that I wanted to kiss him too, and he suggested that perhaps on the second date we would be able to kiss each other. It would be easy enough to do that in his house, so we didn't have to worry about the idea of having to do something so personal in a public space. I was actually quite satisfied with that answer; as much as I would've readily ran back to his house so that I could make out heavily with him just inside his house, I was actually more than happy to just wait it out for a while longer and embrace the fact that it would be a private affair.

As a result, I'm absolutely buzzing this morning. I'm so excited to be able to have our second date, and you can bet that I'll be bragging about it to my friends whenever I have the opportunity to do that.

- Mingyu

Chapter Text

It's Saturday, 27th January.

I honestly don't know how I managed to wait this long before updating this journal. I don't even know how to put into words how I've felt over the past few days, and I was sort of considering not even bothering to discuss my date with Wonwoo because I was so stressed out by everything that happened, but I figured that since I'm here to discuss the progress in our relationship, it's something that I had to include.

My sister continued being weird with me on Saturday evening through to Wednesday afternoon and that's when I realised something was up. She's not that much younger than me - she's recently turned twenty-one - so we've always been relatively close. She finds every excuse to come over to my place after work, although sometimes I think she's more there for Min instead of me, and we go out for coffee or dinner together at least once a month. So naturally, I know when something is up with her. I can see straight through the bullshit where she tries to act as if there's nothing up with her. It was just proved even more when she said she didn't want to watch the same three zombie movies with me and yell the lyrics to all of the songs together. That was a sure sign and it showed me right away that I needed to check on her properly.

And as much as I tried to push it, knowing full well that there was something wrong, she continued to deny it. She was just feeling a little bit ill, or she was tired. I don't know how that can be the case for days in a row, but I suppose it's what she thinks is an acceptable excuse. I wasn't going to argue with her to start with, but then it gradually became obvious that it was more than just that. You can't just act like that and have absolutely nothing wrong whatsoever. It's just not something that happens. You wouldn't even begin to understand how much I ended up having to pressure her to find out what I wanted to know. I shouldn't have to pressure her like that, especially not when we're that close, but then eventually she ended up having a meltdown right there in front of me.

On New Year's Eve, she ended up sleeping with this random guy from a New Year's party she went to in the middle of Seoul. She'd never met him before in her entire life, but he asked her if she wanted to go to bed with him, so they ended up going back to his place (she confessed that it was stupid, but I can't really judge her life decisions, honestly. I can just disapprove intensely). They did it without protection, about four or five times, and she was expecting something to come out of it. Then he decided that the appropriate thing to do was to kick her straight out of his house at eight in the morning, still covered in his body fluids, sweaty, and with her clothes just thrown on as she was being escorted towards the door. He didn't even ask her if she knew her way back to her own place from his house, or if she remembered where they were. He wanted her out of his house before his wife got back from her own New Year's party. Of course, my sister was really bothered by it, but she was too embarrassed to go to the pharmacy to get a morning-after pill. There was, therefore, a chance that she was pregnant, but she hadn't missed her period yet so she couldn't really tell whether she was or not.

I swear, if I knew who this guy was, I'd find out where he lived so that I could kill him. Who does that when they're already married? She also saw a load of photo frames on the way out of the door and ended up having a meltdown about that, too. Either they have kids together or he's really close to a family member's kids because there were a number of photos of him, her and a litter of children. And then the thing that absolutely ruined it for her more than anything was seeing how pretty this guy's wife was. Obviously, she wouldn't have slept with him at all if she knew that he was married, but she couldn't help but feel awful for the woman who was married to that Actual Scrotum™. She looked like a model, apparently, and had the most beautiful smile that my sister had ever seen. I don't know how a man could cheat on his wife at all, nevermind someone who was clearly too good for him.

The main issue at hand, though, is the fact that if she is pregnant, she doesn't want to get an abortion. Sure, she'll be raising the child of a complete and utter asshole, and she'll be a single parent if that's the case, but then again, she's really against abortion. She's not the sort of person who'll judge someone else if they have one, but she doesn't feel like it's her right to play God if she's already got a baby developing inside her. I think it's a bit of a bad decision, since she's only working part-time at the moment and she still hasn't finished her degree, but I guess that if it's her choice, I can't really do much about it. In fact, all I can do is support her through it and make sure that she can manage. I suppose that I'd better start putting some money to one side just in case I have to help her to buy things for a new arrival, so I'm going to start with it as soon as I get my next paycheck. I just don't want to leave her with nothing when she's already having a tough time as it is.

So that's been the majority of my week. It's been the thing that's been on my mind for the whole time, to the point where I haven't even been able to focus on my work. In fact, I was a bit concerned about actually going ahead with the date with Wonwoo because of it, since I thought that I'd end up being distracted by the whole thing. I didn't want to be the sort of guy to force that onto him when he'd already said that he was a bit uncomfortable with getting too personal this soon into a relationship. I nearly did end up cancelling until I realised that he was probably more stressed than I was and needed someone to be there for him, so I ended up just scrubbing up as best as I could, pushing it as far to the back of my mind as possible, and then finally dragged myself out of the house so that I could go to see him.

Of course, he knew that something was up from the moment I stepped into his house. I couldn't really bring myself to tell him, though, since it's my sister's personal business and she hadn't even found the strength to tell our parents just yet. I just told him that I was having a few family issues but it was nothing that I couldn't handle, and although he did suggest that perhaps I could talk to him about it, I insisted that it was fine and we should get on with our date instead. He accepted it straight away and invited me into his living room, where he told me that he'd set up what I'd asked him to.

It turns out that he decided he liked the idea of us doing some blind tasting. He had a number of different pots on the table with different foods in each one - just so that I wouldn't be able to guess what was in each one from the packets that were available - along with some spoons, tissues and wet wipes. It looked perfectly set up and it was clear that he spent quite a while trying to set it up for us to have a good evening. There were even blindfolds on the sofa ready for us, although they looked suspiciously similar to bondage satin blindfolds.

I couldn't help myself. I had to ask him whether they were bondage blindfolds, and I watched how Wonwoo's face turned pink as he stared at me in horror for a moment. He struggled to get the words out for a moment before shamefully admitting that he received a bondage set from his older brother as a gift for his last birthday. Apparently he seemed like he'd be way too vanilla in the bedroom, so his brother wanted to make sure that he was able to spice it up a bit without having to put a lot of money to the side of it. Wonwoo made sure to let me know that he'd never used it in the bedroom, but he wasn't vanilla in the slightest. His brother was just concerned by the fact that he much preferred books, rather than having sex with people. It's not that I really minded, though; I don't really care whether my partners are vanilla or kinky. In fact, I don't even care whether they enjoy sex or whether they'd rather not. (Otherwise I probably wouldn't have chosen Wonwoo. Let's face it - as much as I could pretend that he doesn't look like the sort of guy who would be vanilla, I have to agree with his brother on the fact that he does look like he would be a missionary-loving pillow princess.)

Anyway, he sat me on the sofa and wrapped the blindfold around my head so that it covered by eyes completely, then checked to make sure that I couldn't see what he was doing. The wait for him to pick something had me tingling with anticipation, and then he quietly asked me if I could open my mouth for him. I did so, and in an instant he had the spoon pressing into my mouth. For a moment, I couldn't figure out what it was as my mouth got used to the fact that I wasn't able to see what I was eating, but then I recognised the scent and the consistency of it. "Honey?" I asked him, and Wonwoo promptly took the blindfold off for me. He gave a little nod and pointed out that it was a pretty easy one. It's got a very obvious smell and taste, he said, so it was just a warm-up to get me used to the game. I couldn't just leave it at that, though - it's a date after all - so I had to ask him whether I was going to get a reward or not. Wonwoo thought about it for a moment, then moved to wrap it around his own head.

"For every five you get right, I'll give you a reward. But I won't tell you what it is until it happens."

That was all I needed. I had to get five right to find out what he was going to give me. I was hoping that it would be his sweet lips, rather than something weird or just a huge anticlimax, so I put in as much effort as I could to make sure that I did perfectly well whenever it was my turn. I always made sure to give him nice treats in case it made a difference, too. He'd written what each one was on the side of the pots so that I wouldn't be able to tell on first glance but wouldn't be left guessing it without any signs of bottles or packets around, which helped a lot. He had squashed skinless grapes, icing sugar, melted chocolate, and then whipped cream. Of course, it was a bit optimistic to expect him to give me nice things the whole time, but I didn't really mind. Not even when his fifth one was all-purpose flour.

Admittedly, I did almost vomit when I had a mouthful of flour. It was probably the most disgusting thing I've had in my mouth, and I've had a lot of things in my mouth. Everything from an old coin that I accidentally dropped into my mouth when I was holding it above my face, through to actual human semen, which is pretty damn disgusting in my opinion. I was gagging. I don't know why I trusted him to refrain from putting it in my mouth when it was so tempting do so, but I guessed that at least it was out of the way by that point. As soon as I got it right though, I felt a sudden weight on my lap and I swore my heart rate rose by about fifty beats per minute. When he said that he was going to give me a treat, I didn't really expect to have Jeon Wonwoo's ass planted firmly on my lap, but I wasn't really complaining. Whilst I would usually think that it might be moving too fast, I couldn't really say much when I was wearing a bondage blindfold.

I got to feel his kiss again. It wasn't like our first kiss, though. Nothing like it. This was a much sexier kiss, in which he bit my lip and gently sucked on it, as if he was trying to prove to me that he was far from vanilla. He plucked it away from my teeth and then dipped in to kiss me hard, and naturally I couldn't help but grab his waist in my hands and kiss him back with just as much force. It probably took around ten seconds for him to push his tongue forward and I captured it straight away, and it was quite possibly the best feeling ever.

A good portion of the rest of the date was spent making out with Wonwoo. He told me that he didn't usually like going further than a little peck on the second date, but it was a bit different for us because we'd already kissed before. I made sure to let him know that I wasn't judging him on that sort of thing, and whilst he still tried to tell me that he was still a very reserved guy, it did end up leading to a bit of heavy petting. He let me kiss his neck and sneak a quick (five minute) feel of his ass, and I pretended not to notice when he "accidentally" brushed his hand across the front of my trousers. It ended up with us laid on the sofa together, his legs wrapped around my waist as I started to grind him down into the cushions, until eventually he breathed that we should slow it down.

I sort of agreed, even though it was nice to be touching him like that. We were moving pretty fast for the second date and we'd barely made it to our tenth round of feeding. I was just captivated by every bit of him so I struggled to refrain from absolutely destroying him straight away.

On that topic, I don't know how I'll be in the future, but I'm proud to say that I've never slept with a person before the third date before, and that was only with one guy who had insisted on getting drunk together before stumbling back to his place for a sneaky romp in the garden. I don't think I'm going to repeat that with Wonwoo, especially with his reservations about that sort of thing. We might even have to wait for a few months before we actually get to that, and I'm strangely okay with that.

Anyway, I almost ended up staying for the night but Wonwoo didn't want me to sleep on the sofa, he doesn't have a guest room, and he has a bad back so he has to take the bed. He told me that he'd be more than happy to let me stay over in the future if we got to the point where we could comfortably share a bed but for the moment, it was something that we were going to have to refrain from doing. I supposed that that was fair enough, especially since we still finished the evening by making out against the wall near to his front door. He told me that he wanted to be able to see me very soon, although this time we didn't plan another date. He's expecting to be rather busy at work next week but he said that if we were able to get coffee together during his lunch break, he would be more than happy to meet up with me during the week.

So I ended up venturing home in the dark, picking up some food on the way back. My diet is really, really going down the drain but I think I deserve it after this week. It's been a pretty rough one, other than the date yesterday. In fact, by this point I'm considering just dropping it completely because I'm absolutely done with the thought of eating healthy when I'm so stressed, but that's a thought for another time when I'm feeling a little bit less stressed.

I guess that's most of it now, so I'll sign off.

- Mingyu

Chapter Text

Today is Sunday, February 4th.

I swear, this has been the loneliest week of my entire life so far. Not only has my sister been too busy this week, but she's also been incredibly awkward around me. I don't know what it is about her, but she's acting like she wants nothing more than to be as far away from me as physically possible. On top of that, Wonwoo suddenly had some urgent work to do for clients so we weren't able to meet at all this week. In fact, he's only sent me a few messages as well. For the most part, it's just "good morning" and "good night" texts, and whilst I don't mind it too much, I'd like a bit more sometimes. It's cute, though, and I guess it's better than nothing at least.

Hell, I barely have any decent stories to tell either. It's just been a pretty dry week. The extent of my social interactions has been pretending to be unable to find tofu in the supermarket so that I had an excuse to chat with a member of staff. They weren't all that chatty, which made it pretty awkward, but at least I managed to say two words to another living, breathing human. That's pretty much good enough for me at the moment; at least I'm not just some awkward recluse in my room. Admittedly, I might as well be at this rate, since I basically have no friends outside of my family and Wonwoo, but I'm a social animal and need a little bit of love from time to time. So I'm prepared to bite the bullet occasionally and try to talk to new people when I can.

As a matter of fact, actually, I did decide to call one of my old friends again. Take a guess which one it was before you read the next sentence...

My diet is completely and utterly out of the window already - I didn't even make it to February before I gave up on that resolution - so naturally, I had to make a special little call to our friends at the chicken place. Everything was fine until I made the call and realised that I'd ordered half of the menu again, and I just sat there considering whether it was worse to get that same guy from before and have to pretend to have a girlfriend and kids again, or to have another member of staff deliver my order and have to come up with fake friends in my main room. In the end, I decided that the second option was probably the less favourable one, since then I'd have to keep track of the lies that I was telling a second person and there was no saying that they wouldn't accidentally rat me out to my last delivery guy about the fact that I barely even have a relationship, let alone children. I ended up putting on an animated movie in the background so that I could adapt to either situation. Kids could be watching it with my 'girlfriend', but my 'friends' might also be watching it. It's a win-win situation right there.

Thankfully, it was my usual delivery guy again. No need to make up additional stories this time, and he was even nice enough to chat with me for a little while. Our conversation was cut short by him telling me to go in and enjoy the food with my family before it got cold, but we did get a good five minutes of conversation in. It felt great to be able to talk to a person like that for so long and I can't even begin to describe how happy it made me to just have that bit of time to interact with the guy I saw so often but never really had the chance to talk to. Obviously now that I've lied to him, I won't ever be able to become good friends with him, but it's nice knowing that he could probably be an option for me if I wasn't such a disgraceful human who has kept up a dumb lie instead of admitting that I'm just a huge pig.

So that's pretty much the majority of my human interaction for the week, aside from work. The more minor things actually included the cat this time, which wasn't all that great.

Over the past week, she's been a real pain. First of all, I was woken up three days in a row to the sound of yowling outside of my bedroom window. I didn't know what it was to start with and couldn't find anything to say what it was exactly, but then on the third day I ended up finding out that it was her and some tomcat having a romp outside. As in, they were mating so roughly that she was screaming. I don't think I've been so embarrassed in my entire life. Some of my neighbours have been bothered by it too and they've posted notes through everyone's doors to ask them to do something about it if they know that it's their cat.

What can I do, though? Tell Min to stop screwing this cat (please imagine me outside doing this - "Min, quit having sex with that cat and come inside right now!" Only if I want to receive concerned glances from my neighbours for the rest of my life)? Drag her inside? Keep her in all night? She's been fixed so it's hardly like I'm going to have kittens running around the place, and I can't exactly stop her from being a cat. I've already taken her to the vets to get her checked over, as she's not really supposed to be exhibiting mating behaviours if she has no ovarian tissue and I've been informed that she probably has a bit of stray ovarian tissue in her abdomen that's leaving her wanting to be mated, but we're probably never going to know exactly where it is and she's out of my flat most of the time so it's not like her yowling really bothers me that much. I'm not going to take her back there and have another stupid operation when she's generally pretty good during her heat.

The big issue is the fact that I've had to take her to the vets this week regardless of her behaviour. Turns out she got into a fight with another queen in the neighbourhood and they ended up shredding each other to pieces with their claws. Of course, it's exactly what I needed. As much as I should be happy about the fact that it led to more social interactions, I didn't really want to have such high vet bills as a result of her getting a skin infection from this other cat scratching her nose. It's particularly great because it would've been fine if she'd come home that night and I had the chance to see the wound and clean it, but she didn't come back inside for several days so now she's on a course of antibiotics and I have to keep her inside to keep it clean.

The thing that annoyed me the most, though, was the fact that my neighbour saw them scrapping and didn't even bother to tell me. She knows that Min lives with me and heard her let out a pained noise, but only told me this when she saw me carrying her to the vet. "Oh, I didn't think it would be a big deal but that infection looks pretty bad," she said to me. No kidding, it looks dreadful and it was filthy when I took her to get it looked at. I swear, it took every bit of strength to stop myself from taking her out. If it happens again, I don't think I'll be able to hold back. Especially not after what she added to the end - "Well, I suppose this is a sign that you should take better care of her by keeping her inside from now on."

I'm not going to keep her inside once she's recovered. I'm not going to stop her from exploring the world around her and just confine her to my tiny, cramped flat. It's not fair to her. Whilst I'm not happy that she's been fighting other cats, that sort of thing happens occasionally. If my sister hospitalised me by cracking me on the head with a stool when we were three and five respectively, I can't really expect another animal to be perfect and not fight with other animals and never end up going to the vet over a few scratches.

Future me will probably know by that point whether I've taken the snobby bovine down, but I suppose it'll be a little surprise until I read back on this. Anyway, I guess that this is it for today. It's pretty much everything that I can say about things. I'm hoping that I can have a bit more social interaction next week, especially with Seollal coming up in a few weeks, and then maybe I'll actually have something to talk about in the future.

- Mingyu

Chapter Text

Today is Friday, 9th February.

I've had a bit of a stressful week. Not only do we have Seollal starting next week, but we also have Valentine's Day. I didn't really think that Wonwoo would be into something so Western but it turns out that he's a bit of a hopeless romantic and wants to spend February 14th together. Or rather, he hinted it without specifically saying that he wanted to spend time together. I ended up having to rush around and find him something that he'd really like to show my appreciation, even though we're not officially in a relationship just yet. Maybe he's thinking of asking me to be his boyfriend at some point, but I'll leave that up to him to decide.

Of course, the first thing I got him was a Pride and Prejudice themed card. I wanted to show him that I'm sentimental and want to remember the moment we met. I still don't know whether he actually enjoys the book or if he reads it because it's a classic, but I suppose at least I'm quoting something with significance to us as a potential couple. It's stained heavy-duty textured card, with, "You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you," on the front. I mean, I can't really say I love him as such just yet, since we've barely known each other a month, but I'm guessing that the calligraphy and the quote will win points with him. After all, he seems like the sort of guy who would be more fussy about misquoting, rather than semantics. The cutest part about the card, though, is that when he opens it, he'll be drowned in little paper hearts. They're all aged and stamped to look like it's cut from pages of the book, despite being made separately, which I think is a huge bonus.

The gift, on the other hand, took me a lot longer to find. My sister - who is talking to me again, funnily enough - suggested maybe getting him a bouquet of roses made from book pages, but I distinctly remember him huffing to me about a book that he borrowed from someone at work with dog ears, highlighted words and ripped pages one night. If he's getting that bugged about an intact book, I don't think gifting him something made from destroyed books will work. I don't really want to upset him with that sort of thing, especially when he loves books so much, so I ended up opting against it. Instead, I got him some paperback fragrance and the first book from the "In Death" series. It was on the list that he uses as a bookmark, and I jotted it down just in case I ever needed it. I suppose this is the perfect time to use it, seeing as I want to make it a good day for him.

There were a few other things that I was tempted to get for him because he mentioned a few little inconveniences in his life - like his favourite mug breaking, his lack of long woollen socks, and his love for a very particular jumper that he found online - but I guessed that it would be taking it too far to get him too much for our first Valentine's together. Besides, it gave me something that I could get him for Seollal; it's not the traditional money, fruits or toiletries, but I guessed that he would appreciate it a lot more if it was something that meant a lot to him, over the things that his extended family would get him when they realised that they didn't know him at all.

On the topic of Seollal, though, I've found gifting really difficult. The rest of my family started their shopping at the start of January, but I naturally had to start this week. Not only am I buying for my mom, dad and sister, but also my mom's family and dad's family too. It sucks a bit because we're going to my paternal grandparents' house on the first day of celebrations, my maternal grandparents' house for the second day, and then coming home and spending the final day as just the four of us and Min. Basically my aunts and uncles are a bit stingy with sebaedon now that I'm an adult, and the kicker is that my little cousins rub my nose in it by coming over with the sweetest, most angelic smiles that they can muster before telling me, "Please receive many blessings in the new year." They think I'm old and they're expecting that I'm going to give them money. Of course, it would be rude not to give them money, but it just makes me feel like I'm older than I actually am when they do that.

The bonus is that I'll get to be around the aunt who thinks that I'm a "bad gay". Part of me wants to pretend that I never would've guessed that my cousin is into guys too, another part wants to pretend that I guessed as soon as he hit puberty. A third is convinced that the right thing to do is discuss my boyfriend the whole time so that she knows that I know how she spoke about me.

I've not really told anyone about this directly, but I never really discuss my relationships with family members. First of all, they're relatively short-term; my longest relationship lasted ten months in total, but the rest have been anywhere between two weeks and four months. Secondly, my name is used as a curse word amongst my relatives. Whenever one of my male cousins talks about their friends too enthusiastically, they're teasingly asked if they're "pulling a Mingyu". I've had family members telling me that my relationships haven't worked out because two men aren't supposed to kiss each other "as a man and woman do". I've overheard snippets of conversation where they make disgusting comments but they "can't be homophobic" because I exist and they haven't exiled me yet.

The best example I have to describe this is when it comes to my friend Hansol. His father is from Korea and his mother is from America. Now, his parents love each other a lot and they've been married for a long time now, and there are absolutely no harsh remarks between them about the other person's culture or racial background. But if they were - say, if his mother was collectively referring to Asian men as "kinks" or "yellowmen", or his father called Americans "hamburgers" or "yank" - producing children together wouldn't be enough to say that it's not racist. The excuse of, "We can't be racist; our children are half Korean, half American," wouldn't sit right because the places your junk has been doesn't mean that you're exempt from making unacceptable, derogatory remarks. (I'm so glad that they're not like that, if I'm honest, because they're quite possibly the cutest couple I've met, but I do know a few interracial couples where this is an issue and it really bothers me a lot.)

Likewise, my family can't say that they're not homophobic because they have me around. Just because they're generally nice to me and don't treat me like complete trash doesn't mean that they're perfect; I know what they say about me behind my back. The first time I overheard that sort of conversation, back when I was around fifteen, I cried over it. My mom found out about it and flipped but I wouldn't let her talk to them about it in case it caused more issues. Instead, I've just resorted to keeping my business to myself; if they really don't want to know about my feelings towards other men that badly, I won't make them listen to it. The only ones who actually care about that sort of thing are my parents, sister, and my mom's parents, so they're the only ones I usually talk to about that sort of thing. I don't know whether it would be stirring the pot if I did whip out the fact that I've been seeing an incredibly handsome man or not, but I'm tempted to give it a shot nonetheless.

Anyway, back to the topic of gifts.

So my grandparents always ask for the same thing every year so they're easy enough to shop for. One grandpa always asks for ginseng and the other asks for a fruit basket. One grandma likes skincare products, since she doesn't like the thought of her skin getting wrinkly (her words, not mine), whilst the other one says that she doesn't mind what she gets, although she always stares longingly at the imported chocolates as we pass them, so I always buy her some. My sister is sometimes okay but sometimes fussy - it completely depends on the year but sometimes she likes money and other times, I end up having to get a full skincare box for her (filled with not only cleansers and toners, but also exfoliants, moisturisers, essence, serum, eye cream, face masks, charcoal strips, buffers... I don't understand why she needs so much for her already baby-like skin, but I guess if she likes it, it's worth getting it). It's just my parents that I worry about.

I understand that there are the usual gifts that I could get - preserved foods, fresh foods, toiletries, et cetera - but I'd prefer to stray from that when it comes to them. They've raised me well and never once put me down for how I've turned out. They didn't even shout at me or hit me when I failed a big exam in middle school; they just told me that they were disappointed that I messed up but they would find a way to get my grade up. They somehow convinced my school to let me retake the exam and helped me to get my grades up to scratch. It was the year that I came out to them - the stress had been too much so I neglected my studies - and they took it surprisingly well. My mom told me that she loved me and helped to make me feel more comfortable about it by taking me out into the city and pointing out cute boys with me as we ate ice cream, and my dad took me for a long weekend to a theme park.

Thinking back on it, that year was probably hard for all of us. They had to deal with the fact that I was essentially committing to a life of being a social reject when I came out to them. My mom told me about how she was worried that the stress or hurt would kill me in the end, and she checked on me four or five times every night for the first few months after I came out to her. My dad had a plan for my future and I ended up shattering all of it, but he still wanted to trust that I knew myself well enough to make the right decisions for my own future. They tried their best to make me feel comfortable as well as adjusting to the situation themselves. It's something that I think about a lot at this time of year - I came out to them a long time ago, but they've always been there to support me, even when I've been stupid or made bad decisions along the way.

As a result, I'm always reluctant to give them the general gifts. I don't want to give them impersonal gifts when they mean so much to me. It was made a little bit easier this year because my mom told me about some high-quality meat that she found in a market in Seoul a few weeks ago, so I ended up having a look at it and buying her about 300,000W worth of meat. It's quite typical of Seollal gifts but I guess if she wants that, I'm not going to ignore her desires based on cliche. My dad, on the other hand, was a pain and wouldn't tell me what to get him. I've struggled for days trying to think of something nice to get him and ended up getting him a basket of cheeses and breads from a French-style bakery and grocery store that I found. Again, it's pretty typical to get food, but he really likes French cheeses and breads so I think he should really enjoy it. It'll give him the chance to indulge a bit over the holiday period. Next year, though, I'm definitely going to get them something good. If I get a promotion or pay rise or something, I might start to put as much money to the side as possible and take them both to Jeju for a long weekend so that they can really feel my appreciation for everything they do for me.

Then we have the topic of Wonwoo again. Now, we're definitely not planning to see each other over Seollal this time. We'll be meeting for Valentine's Day just beforehand, but we're not quite at that point in our relationship where we can spend important family holidays together just yet. Heck, I haven't even officially told my family that I'm seeing him (other than my sister, obviously), so I don't think it would go down well at all if I just brought a random guy home or disappeared during family time to see him. They just think that Wonwoo is a friend and that there's nothing romantic going on between us, primarily because I haven't found the right time to tell them about him just yet. Instead of meeting over that period, though, we're hoping to go on a date on the Tuesday after Seollal so that we can exchange gifts and enjoy each other's company. I'm hoping that it'll be as fun as I'm expecting because I'm sure it'll be great fun if that's the case. I really enjoy being around him and it'll make it that little bit more special to be spending time with him around both Gregorian and Lunar New Years.

I guess that's pretty much all of it this time - I've spent most of this entry ranting about homophobia and how victimised I feel, so hopefully next week's entry can be a bit more positive.

- Mingyu

Chapter Text

Today is Sunday, 18th February.

What a week.

I have to admit, Valentine's was probably the easiest part. Due to the fact that I was supposed to be going to my parents' house in the early evening of February 14th, we decided to have our date the day before. That way, there was no stressing about getting things ready when we were together, and no rush to part either. We both booked the 13th and 14th off work so that we could enjoy ourselves, and then planned to spend the day over in my house. Wonwoo turned up to my place in a shirt, oversized jumper and jeans. He even added glasses to the mix, which somehow made him even more attractive than he already was, and I think I died a bit inside when I saw how cute he was. On top of that, he was incredibly nervous as he passed me my gifts, and it completely captured my heart. As if he could snatch up any more of it.

I took him through to the main room and we sat down so that we could open each other's gifts. I quickly realised that perhaps I'm not as good at finding gifts for him as I originally thought. Despite the fact that I work as a columnist at the moment, he confessed that he couldn't imagine me reading a book still, so he ended up straying from the first time we met instead of honing in on that. Instead, he got me a good quality pen to use for when I'm at work - It's a Cross limited edition gold-plated zodiac pen, and it's absolutely beautiful. It's a fine-tipped fountain pen and it writes beautifully. He confiscated my phone so that I couldn't check up on the price, but I've since calculated it and the pen must've come to about 500,000W. On top of that, he brought some of my favourite snacks over.

To start with, I did feel really bad about not getting him gifts that were anywhere close to that price range. I knew that it would've cost him a lot to both buy and import, and it was specially wrapped up for me as well. But then several things happened that changed my thoughts on it.

Firstly, when he opened my gifts, I saw his face break into the sweetest smile. There was no hint of disappointment whatsoever. He looked back up to me with happiness sparkling in his eyes as he asked if he would be able to change into the jumper and socks straight away, even though it wasn't Seollal yet, and so I got him some shorts from my room to wear, just so that he was able to see the socks pulled up to his knees. On top of that, when he'd changed and come back down to the main room, I could smell the fragrance on him. He pulled me into a firm kiss and told me that he loved all of it, and I could feel the burning of his cheek against my neck as he held me tightly. It made my heart feel tight in my chest, and I absolutely loved seeing his reaction like that.

Secondly, he wanted to get on to reading the book right away. He told me that I was welcome to stop him after a chapter so that we could continue spending time together properly, but when I insisted that I wanted to give him time to read, he simply insisted that I put a movie or something on instead. We got a huge beanbag that I keep in my bedroom and so I sat on it with Wonwoo in my lap. His back was pressed against my chest, and I rested my head on his shoulder so that I could easily move between watching him reading and watching the movie that I'd put on.

It was absolutely perfect. I could barely focus on the film because I was too distracted by how beautiful he is. And I don’t think it’s possible to describe how hard I fell for him that day. Somehow he took something that barely cost me 100,000W in total and made it seem like I’d given him the world or something, and I honestly appreciate it more than anything in the entire universe. In fact, it was only made better when we ended up ordering dinner and he came over to the door in just his jumper, shorts and socks to help me take them into the main room. It made me look a lot less like a loner now that I was seen in my house with another person. I am a little concerned that the delivery person will end up telling my usual guy that I have a boyfriend, rather than a girlfriend and kids, but I suppose that’s for another day.

Oh, and just to add – Min absolutely loves him. More than she loves my sister, too. He froze when she came into the room and for a moment she seemed to be wary about coming in when there was a stranger about, but he offered her a piece of his chicken and she fell for him instantly. I think it’s safe to say that we’re both on the same page when it comes to Wonwoo because she spent the rest of the evening in his lap and even let him stroke her fur. Without trying to bite or scratch him.

And so it only felt natural to ask him to stay for the night. I told him that I had a spare room and he could stay there if he wanted, but we ultimately ended up sharing a bed together. No sex, though, but we cuddled up in just bed trousers – or rather, shorts for him – and he let me spoon him. It was a dream to be able to wake him by gently kissing up his neck, and then going to make breakfast for him before he had to go. The best part was when he realised that he was too cold to come down in just shorts, so he ended up taking one of my shirts from the floor and putting it on. I’ve seen girls do that in the past, but I never expected that it would look just as sexy for a guy to do it too.

I swear, I’ve never been so sad as I was when he left my place that morning. The exchange near the door was filled with dragging kisses and promises to meet sometime after Seollal, and it ended up taking twenty minutes for him to finally drag himself away. It was horrible, but he had to get ready for the holiday period and I had to pack a few things for my journey before making my way over to my parents’ house.

That was when the week got pretty rubbish. I mean, I gave my family their gifts and they were happy with what they got. I ended up getting some cool gifts from them as well. My mom and dad bought us separate gifts too. Dad got me a really nice watch because he knows that my timekeeping is incredibly poor, and my mom made me a basket of homemade goods. It was amazing; not only did she make me three different types of bread, but also a number of different cakes and some ice cream. Of course, I ended up getting through the full litre of ice cream before dinner. It was my favourite matcha and red bean flavour with tapioca pearls mixed in. It sounds weird but it’s something I’ve loved since I was a kid.

My sister, on the other hand, went all out. She made me go out of the room with her to get the gift and so we ended up sitting in my childhood bedroom as she handed it over to me. Then I unwrapped it and it was a huge ass vibrator. Like, a ten-inch realistic dick-shaped vibrator that had a two-inch diameter. I’ve never been so embarrassed and impressed in my entire life. You can bet that it’s going straight up my ass so that I can destress when this holiday is over. In fact, I ended up trying it out before I went to sleep that night too. It took a while for my parents to go to sleep but then I was safe or try it.

Let me tell you, it took a while to get it in, but then eventually I managed to cram it inside. Then I turned it on and I almost died. It was pressing in the exact right spot to feel amazing, and I ended up lasting about five minutes in total when I was using it. Shout out to my sister for the actual best gift in the entire world. She’s made masturbation hundreds of times easier.

I needed it the next day, if I’m honest. As soon as we got to my grandparents’ house, I was taken down by my cousins. They wanted their money right away, and also to show me the video games that our grandma got them. I ended up spending most of the day with them and was constantly made to complete the hard levels for them because they were throwing tantrums about it otherwise. I would’ve rather not had to do that, but I guess at least it kept them out of the adults’ way for a while. I did manage to get around a half hour to myself over dinner, actually, which was pretty good until I ended up getting questions from my relatives.

It started with the usual questions about work, my friends, and what I was doing with my life in general, but then eventually got to the topic of romantic partners. I decided to bite the bullet and tell them about Wonwoo, and my mom was just as surprised when she found out as the rest of my family were. "You didn't tell me that you were seeing someone," she pointed out, and so I ended up having to scour through the photos from New Years again so that I could show her what he looks like. I would've preferred to leave that conversation for later, but she was so excited to see him that I couldn't even help myself.

"He's really attractive," she told me with a smile. I promised that I would get her another photo of him, perhaps in the jumper that I got him, and so I ended up sending him a message to ask if he would send a photo of himself looking adorable for my family to see.

When it finally came through, I swear my heart stopped. He looked perfect, with his hair brushed and the glasses from Valentine's again. He apologised for the fact that he was wearing the jumper again, since he figured that wearing the same jumper twice in the space of a week probably looked gross, but frankly, he looked amazing. I showed my mom and she immediately started to brag to my family about how cute Wonwoo is and how I make her so proud by picking out such handsome, intelligent-looking men. The photo was passed around the group and they spent some time gushing about him before I was dragged off by the children again.

So that was pretty much the first day. Relatively nice relatives in general, very supportive of the fact that I'm dating Wonwoo, but generally exhausting.

I wasn't so lucky when we continued our journey the following day. Thankfully we were the first there, so we got to spend some time with my grandparents without being bothered by any of our other relatives. My mom insisted that I show my granny the photo of Wonwoo, and she immediately told me how much she wanted to meet him. She asked whether he liked jjigae because she recently learned a new recipe and wanted to show it off to a boy who would appreciate her cooking. I promised her that he would at least try, as he told me that he always gives things a try before rejecting them, and that pleased her a lot.

Then the rest of the family turned up. Oh my god, I wish they hadn't. It started off with the "bad gay" aunt and her family coming in. I saw my cousin, we made eye contact, and suddenly his mom whisked him away to the main room. I think she thought that being gay means no standards or morals, and then the next thing she knows, she'd just turn around to find me pegging my cousin in the middle of the kitchen or something. For starters, he's not my type so even if we weren't related, I wouldn't go for him. He's probably the greasiest child in the universe, and besides, I'm into slightly older guys.

My mom took it as an excuse to tell her about Wonwoo, and whilst it was already starting to get annoying by that point, I'm sort of glad that she did it because it was just sort of showing my aunt that she knew what was happening.

Time went on. We played games, ate food, more family arrived, gifts were exchanged, just the usual. Then the soju came out and everything changed. Huge note to self: don't let mom drink soju because she absolutely loses it. She caught my aunt giving me a dirty look after I started discussing boys with my cousin, and she immediately flipped out. It started out as her doing impressions of my aunt and telling her that she's a nobody, and that she should keep her eyes to herself before the removed them for her. My aunt was stunned and didn't know what to say, so my mom proceeded to tell her exactly what she thought about her and the fact that she showed minimal support for her son.

We ended up having to take the younger kids out of the room, and then later take them on a walk around the local area because my mom was getting so upset over everything. Usually she's a relatively calm, cool and composed individual, but I guess by this point she's had enough. I don't blame her, really. It's one thing for a person to be rude to their nephew about who he's attracted to but it's a completely different story when she's doing it to her own son. And I agree that it's not right at all. My cousin doesn't deserve to be treated like that by his own mom. I mean, she's not the person who is going to be kissing his boyfriend. She's not going to be having sex with him or getting married to him or raising a family with him. So it shouldn't really make a difference to her. After all, surely her son's happiness should be a lot more important than something that ridiculous.

Even after a few hours, they still weren't talking. They had to be separated for the most part and my granny scolded them both for being so immature when it was supposed to be a family event in which everyone enjoyed being together. The trend continued when we finally all parted, and my mom made sure to let my cousin know that he was welcome to stay at her house if he felt like he needed a safe place to stay.

By the next morning, she was incredibly embarrassed about it. She ended up calling her sister up to apologise for taking it too far, but naturally refused to apologise for the points that she'd made. It wasn't right for her to treat her son in that manner and my mom certainly wasn't going to take that back. It wasn't appropriate nowadays, especially not when it would simply show her son that she didn't love and care for him. It was a fair point really, and I'm really glad that my mom stood up for what she believed in without feeling like she had to take it all back.

We ended up going to my place for the final day of the holidays so that Min could feel included. She'd been outside most of the time, since I didn't really want to leave her in the house on her own whilst I was away for a few days. She might've made her way back in through the cat flap a few times, but she certainly wasn't there when we got back. In fact, she stayed out for a good few hours, although when she finally did come in, she was all over my sister. Typical, really.

As was the trend of this holiday period, my mom started to ask about Wonwoo again. When was she going to meet him? Would I bring him over soon like more and more young people were doing nowadays, or were we going to be taking the traditional route by waiting until we were thinking about marrying? She had good hopes for him, especially since his personality is relatively calm and contrasts my excitable personality. She even asked my sister and dad what they thought about it all, although I'm pretty sure that they're both sick of hearing about how happy she is that I'm finally in a relationship as an adult.

All in all, it was exhausting. The rest of the day was spent relaxing and eating good food, but we were all starting to doze by around six o'clock. In the end, everyone left my place early so that they could get to bed. I offered to let them stay with me, obviously, but they complained that they needed a full day to recover before work on Monday. I was sort of glad that they ended up leaving in the end, if I'm being honest, but I wasn't really going to say that to them. Even up until they were in their car, I insisted that they were welcome to stay, and so it was even more rewarding when I was left on my own finally.

Today has been a lot better and I've managed to do a lot without having to worry about anything stressful. I've played a lot of video games and eaten one of the cakes already, and this evening I'm planning on going for a walk around Seoul. Perhaps I'll even go to the aquarium and spend some time destressing by looking at the fish and sharks. I'm sure that they'll be able to make me feel distanced from everything that's happening around me.

I'll write again soon.

-Mingyu

Chapter Text

Today is Thursday, February 22nd.

Okay, so it's been a pretty bad week. The focus of that was work, but then Seollal came back to bite me on the ass too.

First of all, Wonwoo is really busy with work at the moment. The holidays always leave him under a load of stress, plus there are the few days that he had off work to have an early Valentine's with me. As a result, he's isolated himself for a few days until he can get it sorted, just so that he doesn't have to worry about taking his stress out on anyone else. I don't blame him, honestly; whilst I would still adore him even if he was angry and stressed out, I would hide away for a while if I were in that position. I suppose it works out best for him so I couldn't really complain anyway.

So it's been a relatively slow week as a result. Just the usual things at work. I had some more weird questions coming in - including a lady who thought it was best to speak to a columnist about her dog's health over an actual vet - but one in particular stood out to me.

No, this one wasn't weird. It didn't compare to the guy who confessed that he's shoved a toy up into his rectum and it had been lodged in there for three days but he was too embarrassed to go to the doctor. It didn't come close to the lady who told me that she'd caught her sister sleeping with her husband so she faked her death and then pretended to be a ghost to terrify them both (crazy, I know). It was a relatively normal one that I didn't think much of to start with, but then I read it again and realised what I was reading. It went like this (I sneakily took a photo of it so that I could add it to this journal entry):

"Dear Mingyu,
I've been reluctant to tell anyone this, but I'm currently desperate to find some sort of solution to my problem. I've fallen in love with a man at my workplace and I didn't think that I was capable of loving a man. He's incredibly handsome, his skin is the colour of butterscotch, and his smile melts my heart every time I see him. Firstly, I don't know how I could possibly tell my parents that I'm in love. They wanted me to focus on my career before I started thinking about relationships, and I don't know what they would think of my love interest. Secondly, I don't know how I would ask him on a date. I don't know whether he likes me back, or whether he even likes other men. I don't think I would have the courage to ask him when there's a chance that he's straight.
- Fragile Man, Seoul"

So my big gay mind completely forgot that heterosexuals existed for a while and I was confused as to why this guy might not take it well because he's a man. In fact, it took me a surprisingly long time to realise that it was because it's still generally not accepted around here. Sometimes it really confuses me because all of the friends who I rarely ever see (solely because I'm lazy and it's a lot of effort to leave the house) are gay. I'm always thrown off when I hear straight people talking about how more than one gay person in a film or book is "unrealistic" because of statistics and averages and all because I've literally had a period in my life in which I spent three weeks without seeing a single straight person. It's weird; sometimes I think I'm in my own little world where these prejudices don't exist. Obviously we have the people who we're attracted to and those we don't find as attractive, and I couldn't say for sure that this guy is going to be into Fragile Man, but I don't feel like it's something to be offended over. Why should he be offended? Do straight guys not realise that it's a big thing to impress another man? Guys are harder to please than girls because we generally know how other guys are and can tell an asshole from miles away, and that faked pleasantness doesn't work with us. It's a pretty big thing for guys to be genuinely into other guys for more than their looks and I really think it should be seen as a compliment, rather than an insult.

I realised that I'd completely misinterpreted the question whilst I was making coffee, by the way. I literally dunked my tie straight into my drink when I realised. Not intentionally, of course, but I leant forward and in it went. It was a hand-painted one that I bought in a niche little stall outside of town so it's not like I can even clean it off. I'm going to check out the tags inside at some point and see if the owner of the shop has a website that I can order from. If not, the entire galaxy tie is going to be dunked straight into another pot of coffee so that at least it'll look relatively intentional. I'd rather have a complete coffee tie over one that makes me look like an early morning train commuter or something. That's a completely different story, though. I'm going to try to remember to write it down here if I do manage to get myself a new one as well, just so that I can find the tie again in the future when it ends up getting lost in my house, never to be seen again.

Anyway, back to the question. I ended up spending a long time working on my answer to that one. My boss warned me that I had to be aware of the social issues surrounding making suggestions about gay advancements, which I didn't really appreciate because there's a completely different to heterosexual couples. So I ended up spending most of my time trying to figure out what was appropriate to include and what would end up being sent back to me by the editor before the article was posted. The next biggest part was trying to figure out how to put it without giving the guy false hope. I suppose that sometimes when you've been with a number of guys, you're able to tell whether you have chemistry with someone, and then you can subsequently figure out whether the person is into guys as well. But this guy doesn't seem all too experienced and I'm concerned that without knowing either of them, I can't really give him an accurate answer about whether the colleague is going to be attracted to him or not. Instead, I ended up essentially giving a disclaimer and telling him to only disclose that information if he felt safe to do so because he doesn't want to risk losing his job over that sort of thing or making things awkward with his colleague.

By the time it was done, the answer felt like some sort of PhD research paper or something. It was my life achievement in one letter and I swear, I've never been more proud of something in my entire life. Not even getting as far as I did in martial arts when all I wanted was to show off how cute I looked in my uniform to the other boys in my class. It only felt that bit better when I finally handed it to the editor and she told me that it was perfectly fine how it was and she was actually impressed by the fact that I'd handled it so well. It was a touchy issue, she said, but hopefully it would help out a lot of people. Not just the person who sent the question, but other gay people who were struggling to make their way forward about that sort of thing. So naturally, my head swelled around ten times larger and I was the smuggest guy in the entire building for the rest of the day. It was the best feeling ever and I even got myself a treat of fried chicken on the way home so that I could celebrate how well I'd done.

The next day wasn't all that good, though. And it was a direct result of my answer to the question.

I got to my desk to find a letter. To start with, I was a bit concerned. It wasn't there with the usual post that came in; that post wasn't due to arrive for at least another half hour. This letter didn't even have an address, and the only word on the envelope was "Mingyu", written perfectly with a fountain pen.

So, of course, I snatched it straight up and ripped it open, only to be greeted with a note. It was absolutely drowned in cologne, as if the sender was trying to hint at me who sent it without specifically slapping his name right on the front. It wasn't really the most obvious scent, though. I'm pretty sure half of the men in the office use that scent, and so it didn't give me any hints as to who the sender was. I opened it up to find that there was no name at the bottom and then moved back up to the top to read it.

It was strange. The sender immediately started to discuss how much he loved me without any build up, but how he'd always expected that I was straight so he didn't have the guts to come to me. He'd said that he'd been questioning whether to send me that letter or not, just in case I took it badly, but then he overheard the conversation between myself and one of the members of the editing team, in which I was told to try to keep a cap on what I was saying. At that point, he realised that I must be attracted to men too, and so he was hoping to invite me out on a date. He requested that I leave my answer in the break room behind the coffee tins before three o'clock so that he could prepare himself accordingly for anything that might follow - be it, returning to work after he'd been rejected and acting as if it was nothing, or preparing a date for us both. There was so much love in that letter that it hurt me to read it, and I swear I could feel my heart breaking with every word.

I felt awful. I still feel awful. I've never really told anyone from work that I'm sort of seeing Wonwoo at the moment. It doesn't feel like something that's appropriate for the workplace, and whilst I think a lot of members of staff have more modern views on non-traditional relationships, I guess it's hard to tell until you actually put them in that position and get to see their true colours. I'll always remember that when I was in high school, there was a guy who I was really good friends with. We sat together in maths and we got scolded for chatting too much when we were given more independent tasks to work on. He was probably one of my best friends. But then I confessed that I'm into guys after we had a conversation in which he told me that he's completely fine with gay men, and he immediately flipped out over it. He assumed that I'd only been friendly to him in order to get into his trousers and despite my attempts at telling him that it wasn't like that at all - rather, I was attracted to someone else at the time and was considering asking the guy to be my boyfriend - he wasn't accepting any of it. He spat in my face, called me disgusting, and we never spoke again. I don't want that sort of situation at work, especially not when I've worked so hard for my position.

On top of that, I'm concerned that it'll all get back to Wonwoo. If someone finds out that we're in a relationship, there's a chance that he'll end up having issues at work too. That's what I'm worried about most of all. I don't want our relationship to be something negative for him. He even confessed to me that he didn't really like relationships and wouldn't usually pick a male partner anyway, so I'd feel bad if I gave him such a negative experience by being too open about that sort of thing. As a result, I've tried to keep all of my happiness over our relationship on the down-low and simply hoped that no one would end up bringing it up in conversation.

So I had to reject him. I figured that it wouldn't hurt to tell him that I'm sort of seeing someone at the moment, since at least that way he doesn't have to think that a) I'm straight and not interested in him because of that or b) I figured out who sent the letter and I'm not attracted to him in the slightest. It would have been nice to know that there was another gay or bisexual guy in the office a lot earlier, as we could have at least become good friends or something and maybe a relationship might've blossomed, but I suppose that these things sometimes work out in these ways for a reason. If we're meant to be together in the future, we'll find a way to be together. I made sure to tell him that last bit too, as well as a wish for good luck in his future relationships.

It did bring something up for me, though. It made me realise rather quickly that although I do tell people that I'm seeing Wonwoo, it's not something that we've really discussed. I mean, we both act like we're in a relationship; we kiss, occasionally we share a bed, and Wonwoo knows me as a boyfriend would do. It's just not been specified how we should refer to each other. And I don't know whether that's good or bad, really. I don't want to know anyone else in that sort of way, so I think I'm rather committed and monogamous when it comes to our relationship with each other. I'm not quite sure about how Wonwoo sees us, on the contrary. Perhaps he's faithful because he likes me back just as much as I like him, or maybe it's just convenient because he doesn't have time to see anyone else. Maybe we don't need words to agree that there's something between us, but maybe not having words will mean that we're just "Mingyu and Wonwoo", rather than "us".

I really think it's something that we need to discuss very soon. I'm a (relatively) patient person and can completely understand if maybe he doesn't think that we're ready to go for a proper exclusive relationship just yet, but I'd rather know that that's the case early on so that I don't end up falling hard for him, only to find out that my feelings aren't mutual. It would quite frankly suck to find out that we have different feelings for whatever we are. Besides, my whole family think that he's my boyfriend so it would be a bit embarrassing if we were just friends and then we were seen together and they asked him if we were still in a relationship. They're the sort of people to completely drop me in it like that, so I hope we don't have any awkwardness like that.

Anyway, I went to work the following day to find a sweet note on my desk, wishing me the very best in the relationship that I'm sort of in with Wonwoo. It's probably the best thing I've ever read because it means that the guy respects me enough to not push that sort of thing, which is great for if he ever decides to get a boyfriend in the future. The bonus was that we ended up getting a lot of letters flooding in about sexuality and gender issues, and whilst I wouldn't say that I'm an expert on the topics as such, I feel like it's something that I can help people with. We ended up spending around an hour or so sorting the letters into piles so that I could answer very similar answers all in one and help everyone to see that their questions are normal and that there are people like them in the world. It was a nice idea that one of the other writers suggested to me, so we went through with it and ended up getting more positive feedback from the editors.

Perhaps this week wasn't as boring and bland as I suggested right at the start. I guess at least I helped a few people to accept themselves and have the courage to show love for another person. It's an achievement in itself and I suppose that it gave time for me to think.

- Mingyu

Chapter Text

Today is Friday, 2nd March.

I was considering telling Wonwoo about the date offer when he came to visit me this week but in the end, I figured that it would just make things awkward. I didn't want to make it seem as if I was trying to push for us to have a serious relationship or anything; I still don't know how he feels about us as a couple and I don't want to be That Guy who basically acts as if a bit of kindness and casual romance means that Wonwoo owes me or something. Over the past week, I've really been thinking about it a lot and whilst it seems like we could have some sort of romantic relationship going on at the moment, I don't know whether that would be ideal for us. I mean, it's all great having that sort of relationship, but there are so many other things to have to consider too. For example, we have our work lives to deal with, I know that Wonwoo is under a lot of stress, and we don't even know each other so much as friends, nevermind partners.

Saying that, though, I do think I'm starting to develop feelings for him. And it's rubbish because I hate that I'm falling for him so hard. He's so considerate of all of my feelings and beliefs. It goes further than the way that he bought me such wonderful gifts for Valentine's and Seollal. He came over this week and cooked a meal for me because I was trying to set his laptop up for him after we had to reset it to factory settings. He didn't really understand what to do, so he simply left me to help him to fix it, and then by the time I was done, I looked up to see that he was holding a perfectly-made bibimbap. I swear, I hadn't even noticed the wonderful smells of the food until I looked up to see him there, and I've never been so happy in my life. He said it was his way of thanking me for all of my help, and that he'd even made some tofu chocolate mousse that was setting in the fridge. On top of that, he ended up spending some time chatting to me about everything that came to mind, despite the fact that he was supposed to be going home early so that he could get a few of his chores sorted before work in the morning.

It's just little things like that. It's been on my mind all week, ever since I started thinking about the date offer. You know, even if it turned out that he didn't want to have a romantic relationship with me, I don't think I would be able to date anyone else for a while anyway. I'm concerned that I'm getting such strong feelings that anyone who isn't him wouldn't do for the moment; that whilst I could try to fall for someone else, they would just be a rebound for my feelings. And I don't want to put anyone in that position at all. No one deserves to be a second best. If someone were to put me in that position, I know I would be really hurt, even if we'd been together for years before I found out that starting a relationship with me was their way of getting over someone else. I'm strangely fine with the idea that I wouldn't be able to date anyone else for a while, though. It's not clear why, but I don't feel like it's a big deal if I have Wonwoo with me.

I'm going to move on from my time with him now because I'm concerned that all I've been doing lately is dwelling on the little details of our relationship. It's starting to get tiring to think about what we are, without being able to actually talk to him about that sort of thing, but I suppose it's my own fault really.

So, onto other matters. Min is back to being her little bitch self. She's stopped being so affectionate and loving with me again - I'm not sure if I mentioned this a few weeks but basically she's been rubbing herself against me and being really needy - and is instead acting like an asshole. It all started when my sister came over and put her in person clothes so that they could match, including little socks, and naturally the cat was pissed. She kept looking at me as if to ask why I was letting my sister torture her like that, and as soon as she took it off her, Min dropped her hips straight down and peed on the carpet. Whilst I could scold her, I knew that she was just angry that she'd been put in clothes but she loves my sister enough to not snap at her or anything. To be honest, I couldn't scold my sister either. Min is like her baby and it's not really my place to tell her not to dress the cat up. Since then, she's been ignoring me as much as possible, though, and she refuses to come into the room if I'm sat there. Hopefully she'll start to warm up again soon (and I think the fact that she hasn't peed on the floor again since it a good sign) because I really don't like the tension in the room whenever we see each other. It's like having an awkward relationship with your roommate or something.

Then we have work again. Actually, there's something rather important to do with work but I've been putting off mentioning it to anyone up until now. I guess it doesn't really matter to me as much as it should because I'm living comfortably and all, but to put a long conversation into a few words, I'm getting a pay rise at the end of the month.

I don't even know how it happened, if I'm honest. I was just working as always, not really doing anything special, and then my boss asked to speak with me for a moment. I went into his office and he said that there had been a lot of positive feedback about my column from not only members of the public and staff in our office, but also the senior staff for the company overall. Apparently, it's quite popular with the company's directors and is proof that I've "earned my place" in the company. I thanked him and accepted the pay rise, although I don't really need it all that much. I mean, I'd like to move to a better apartment and all, but I'm currently living comfortably and able to save a bit of money after my bills are all paid. But I honestly think there are other people in the company who deserve it a little bit more.

After all, I just deal with the weird questions that I receive from strangers. Some of my colleagues actually have to go out into the field and be the first people to see an event taking place. They have to be quick to get the details that other newspapers won't be getting, and they have to be really good at reporting it. They honestly do a good job. I've seen some of them stressing about wording some event they saw properly, and they frequently come over to my desk to ask my opinion on what they've written. Their work is great, but they're hardly appreciated by senior staff. The worst part, though, is that these people have something in their life that would need that extra bit of money. Be it a mortgage or loans, debts or children, a wedding to save for, a funeral to prepare for; they all have something that would be easier to deal with if they had an extra few thousand won. But I feel a bit awkward about rejecting that sort of thing. I don't want to make it seem as if I don't appreciate all that they're giving me because I really do appreciate it. I just think I'd appreciate it a bit more if it was given to those who are in need.

So I've decided that maybe I'll leave those colleagues who need it a little gift. I might slip a little bit of money into their coat jackets or something, just so that they think it was theirs in the first place but they just forgot about it, and I think that should be acceptable. I don't want them to think that I pity them or expect to get something in return and I know a lot of people are still rather uncomfortable about discussing money, so I don't want to put anyone in an awkward position. Perhaps that little bit of extra money would get them a snack on the way home from work, or it would provide something for dinner for them and their family, or maybe they'll add it to their saving funds. I'm actually quite excited to think about how that money could be used by other people and I think that it'll be nice to just give back for once.

Actually, going back to Wonwoo for a moment - I told him about that and he actually agreed that it sounded like a nice idea. He's quite protective of money in general but likes the idea of being charitable as well. If someone does something good, he likes to know that they're being rewarded for their efforts in some way or another. I'm glad that we share those sorts of morals because I don't know how I'd handle it if I found out that he's one of those people who doesn't like showing appreciation for other people's hard work.

Well actually, I think I might know how it would go. If he were the sort of person who expected that waiting staff would cater to his every need or clicked his fingers at them, for example, I would have to break off our relationship right there and then. I can't stand those sorts of people. All members of staff in every single workplace deserve respect and to be treated like people. In fact, I had a boyfriend who used to click his fingers at waiting staff before and I found it so rude that I ended up cutting off our relationship, despite the fact that he treated me really well other than that, so it's not even an empty threat. Wonwoo might be the most handsome man I've ever meant, but that doesn't mean that I wouldn't leave his ass if I found out that he's inconsiderate towards other people.

I think that's pretty much all of my week, by the way. It's been dry again but I swear it's going to pick up again at some point. I don't know when, but you know it's a bit of an issue when the most important things you can think of include the fact that you found your face cream was on sale at half its usual price, or that you ended up finding a good shop that sells good-quality meat for a low price. It's a sign that I'm really starting to become a boring adult, but I suppose it was inevitably going to happen at some point in the near future anyway. I mean, I don't even leave the house most of the time, so I guess I was always going to become one of those socially awkward, uncomfortable, bed-by-nine-o'clock sort of guys.

Perhaps I should arrange to see some friends at some point over the next week or something, then. I might even see if I can introduce them to Wonwoo, since I've mentioned him a few times and they've mentioned wanting to meet him in person. I think it would be a nice bonding experience too. You don't really know a person all that well until you've seen how they treat the people who mean the most to them, after all, so maybe it'll be an eye-opener for us both.

- Mingyu

Chapter Text

Today is Sunday, March 11th.

This is a bit of a flying entry, since I'm really busy getting everything ready for work tomorrow and generally sorting my life out, but Wonwoo and I decided that we would meet each other's close friends this week, which was pretty great really. So I guessed that I would have to write an entry and not just let my habit slip without mentioning what happened when we gathered everyone together. It would be unfair to leave that little bit of information out, just in case this becomes a novel in the future, or maybe a full-length film about the year that I met my life partner when I become rich and famous.

I'm kidding.

So anyway, we decided to have a little get-together at my place. Wonwoo invited his friends and I invited mine, and there were a total of thirteen of us by the time everyone was there. It was rather strange to see everyone there together, especially as it meant not only inviting each other to our friends but also introducing our friends to each other. Then again, I suppose it meant that everyone had someone to chat to, which worked out for the best in the end. The last thing I wanted was for him to only invite one person or something and for that one individual to have no one to talk to for most of the night.

I started out by introducing my boys. Seungcheol, Hansol, Minghao, Junhui and Seokmin all put on their best faces from the moment they came in, and they all greeted Wonwoo right away. As a group, we looked like really attractive friends, and that's what I liked. Until, of course, Wonwoo's friends arrived.

First was a young man called Jisoo. He's average in height and has copper hair, and apparently he's from America or something. As soon as Hansol heard that, his attention was captured; he started to speak fast English with the guy right there, and we were all just stood there watching them for a while. The guy seemed a bit nervous about talking with him in English, as if he'd come over from America and not spoken the language since. Mind you, he was very much fluent and had no issues with understanding him; he just looked a bit awkward about it. Maybe he'd just been caught off-guard or something. I wasn't really going to ask him and make it even more awkward.

Then his next friend turned up. Now, this friend is absolutely stunning and we all knew it from the moment he stepped through the door. His name is Jeonghan and he's got pretty eyes that make him look a bit like a deer. His smile is sweet and lopsided, and he has a soft little voice. I glanced around at my friends to see that all of them looked captivated when Jeonghan started to introduce himself, but then as he went around the group asking for everyone's names, he just made everything worse by directing his angelic smiles at whoever was talking. Seungcheol forgot his own name for a moment, and I ended up having to save him from the awkwardness by jumping in to introduce him.

So Jeonghan tried to make friendly conversation with us whilst we waited for everyone else to arrive, and it didn't really go all that well. Wonwoo couldn't understand why everyone was acting so funny around his friend, but there was a mutual, silent decision around the group that even the ones who aren't gay are sort of a little bit gay for Jeonghan. He's that pretty. It's really weird how a guy could look like that but still be masculine, and we all knew right away that he must've been sent to ruin our lives or something. He couldn't be pretty and sweet; there is probably a huge catch somewhere. Maybe he's like Satan when he got to know other people. Maybe his secret is that he's an absolute beast in the bedroom and he likes to romp like animals to the point where every neighbour can hear what he's doing. That pretty little face is hiding something and I'm sure I'll end up finding out at some point in the future.

Anyway, the next three turned up together. Their names are Chan, Soonyoung and Jihoon. Chan is a lot younger than the other two, but Jihoon is definitely the shortest out of all of us. He moved forward to greet me, realised that I'm probably a good twenty or so centimetres taller than him, and then quickly changed his mind. Whilst I would usually feel insulted if someone was to greet all of my friends directly but then leave me out, I couldn't help but feel sorry for the poor guy. He's probably barely even five foot and four inches tall. That's really small for a guy. I'm sure he's heard it just as many times as I've heard weather and basketball jokes. I decided not to mention it, instead just telling him that it was great to get to meet him. He gave a hum of agreement, although I'm not sure whether he was genuinely happy to meet me or whether he would've preferred for me to just be a hypothetical romantic interest for his friend.

Then the final guy arrived. Now, from the moment he arrived, I realised that this guy is an absolute flaming homosexual. He's probably the gayest, campest guy I've seen in my entire life. There was a moment of knowing when we made eye contact; he knew that I'd be the guy who's sort of seeing Wonwoo without even having to ask, and I knew that he'd at least be attracted to guys at the same time. It's this cool little thing where the gaydar only exists when two homosexuals make eye contact, but that eye contact needs to be established before you can decide whether or not someone is like you in that sort of way.

Heterosexuals seem to think that they "just know" when a person is gay, but it doesn't really work like that. You can meet a guy who looks stereotypically straight and know right away if you're into guys too. You can meet a guy who is really camp but know right away that he's just a straight guy who is really comfortable with himself. I've never met a straight person who can accurately determine whether someone is gay or not, unless they're really camp.

Anyway, some of my boys seemed to be into him, too. Hansol and Seokmin, in particular, erupted into smiles as they greeted him. Hansol even made a point of telling him that he was born in America as he reached out to grab his hand to shake it, and he apologised for bringing a Western custom out like that, but the guy - Seungkwan - told him that it was fine. They shook hands for too long, and Jisoo immediately said something that sounded observant to Hansol when they finally parted. Hansol's cheeks went pink and he nodded as his eyes dropped to the floor. None of us dared to ask what had been said, mostly because we were sure that we wouldn't really want to know. Other than Seungkwan, who seemed to want to know but didn't end up getting any answers to his questions about the nature of the conversation.

Then we did the usual sorts of things that Wonwoo and I usually do. I mean, other than the old man-style relationship things where you just sit there in silence with your partner as they read and you play video games with your bodies touching in some sort of way. That sort of thing is a bit more private, in my opinion.

Rather, we ordered food from my usual delivery place and this time I could happily tell them that I had visitors over without having to worry about it sounding like an empty house. When everyone was chatting so loudly, there was no doubt that I had people over. It was the old delivery guy again this time and he cheerfully asked if my girlfriend and kids were allowing me to have a men's night, and so I nodded and told him that it was a one-off treat. Thankfully no one came over from the main room, otherwise it would've been incredibly awkward as they might've told him about the actual situation. I managed to close the door without that happening, feeling really good about myself as a result of my skilful conversation abilities. The food was taken into the main room, along with various plates, and everyone immediately tucked in.

Now, I'm not really the sort of person who "pairs" real people. I find it really weird when people harass celebrities online because they don't date the person that their fandom thinks they should. But I do think that sometimes you can tell when people hit it off right away. In a more friendly way, I knew that Seokmin immediately clicked with Chan, Soonyoung and Jihoon. They started to chat with each other right away and were getting along really well. There were laughs shared between them and obvious chemistry as they all got their feelings and opinions out into the open. It was quite frankly commendable.

Then there were the more romantic ones. I knew from the moment that Seungkwan walked in that Hansol was into him. He's usually a bit more of a ladies' man and flirts a lot with whatever girls we meet, but I've always known that he's a flaming bisexual. When he's actually attracted to someone, he goes incredibly quiet and shy, and he's done that with both girls and guys in the past. Seungkwan fits with that trend perfectly; Hansol didn't know what to do with himself as soon as they made eye contact and it was incredibly clear that they're going to at least end up sharing a drunk kiss in the future. Just in preparation for when it happens - I called it and accept full praise from everyone as a result.

Also, I'm not quite sure what the deal is with Jeonghan and Seungcheol. Jisoo was sat with them for the most part, but he generally stayed quiet as they chatted. I'm not sure exactly what's happening with Jeonghan and Seungcheol themselves, though. The amount of eye contact that they're making isn't really typical of two heterosexual guys who aren't into each other. I swear they're smiling a lot more too. It's sort of endearing to be able to see our friends - people who we just introduced to each other - hitting it off that well. As a little side note, too; I think I saw Seungcheol slip Jeonghan his phone number at the end of the night, so it might be the case that there is something between them. When I asked him about it, he said that they'd just like to stay in touch and that there's nothing going on between them, but I'm still a bit unsure about that. Not enough to push it further, but enough to keep an eye on how things develop.

So anyway, other than all of that couple stuff, we ended up playing some games together. There's one particular game that sort of added more fuel to my guess that Jeonghan is secretly a demon, but it also showed that Jihoon is probably the scariest, freakiest one of us all. The game involved questionable jokes and honestly shows off the sick minds of your adult friends. Jeonghan picked a card that had something to do with scrotal infections, whilst Jihoon went all the way with cards about Oedipus complex and incest. It was sort of weird to hear those sorts of things and I'm pretty sure the light went out in Chan's eyes during the first round, but it was fun to bond like that.

As another note, Wonwoo is just as bad as everyone else with that game. I expected that he would be sweet and innocent, but was promptly smacked in the face with a card about bleached assholes. And he found all of the gross cards hilarious. That's pretty much the sign that I need to marry him in the future.

Then we ended up finishing it off by really getting to know each other a lot more. It turns out that most of us are really opinionated but open to hearing what other people think too. A lot of us also have similar opinions in general. Especially when it comes to the rights of different genders, sexualities and races. I was actually a bit worried about that last one, since it would've been easy enough for someone to say something insensitive and hurt Hansol - as Wonwoo's friends wouldn't have necessarily known about Hansol's dual heritage - but it turns out that everyone was actually really good about it. I'm honestly relieved; whilst I'd like to make friends with new people and get to know Wonwoo's friends more, I don't think I would've been able to do it if any of them were horrible to my boys.

We also found out everyone's jobs and I'm a bit surprised by the list we have (even with some of my friends as we've not really had the time to catch up lately), so here's what everyone's doing:
Seungcheol is in his final year of a medical degree, then he'll be working towards a pediatric course. As you can tell, he's the smart, ambitious one of us all.
Hansol actually got the contract with the rap agency that he applied for last November, but we all knew that was going to happen.
Seokmin is a television presenter now - apparently they loved his smile and wanted him to go from behind the scenes to being the main host.
Minghao is, strangely enough, a security guard in Gangnam district. I don't know how he even managed to get that job, since he's small and quite child-like in appearance, but I suppose his no-shit attitude got him somewhere.
And then Junhui... Now this one is the one that confused me the most because I never thought that Jun would have the drive for anything. He's the CEO of a big company in China but is based in Korea so that he can help them to expand their business here.

Then there's Wonwoo's friends:
Jeonghan works at one of those nurseries that rich people and celebrities send their children to whilst they go to business meetings and photoshoots and the sorts. It's no wonder that he and Seungcheol clicked immediately, knowing that.
Jisoo is a bartender. I didn't really expect that one, since Wonwoo told me that he's very religious and all, but I guess my stereotypes got in the way of that one.
Jihoon and Soonyoung actually work together (interestingly) as choreographers. It caught Hansol's attention completely when they mentioned it, and he was obviously making a note to talk about it with them at some point.
Chan is in his second year of university. I knew he looked sort of young but didn't really expect that he would be that young. He's still a child, compared to everyone else. Jeonghan followed it up by saying that Chan is his baby, and Chan wasn't impressed.
Then Seungkwan finished up by confessing that he's unemployed, doing market research and questionnaires as often as possible whilst he searches for a job. He used to sing the jingles for companies on radio advertisements, but the demand for his voice was reduced when companies started with celebrity endorsements instead. Of course, Hansol was on him as quickly as Seungcheol was on Jeonghan with that one. Similiar interests draw people together.

There were other things that came up too, but it wasn't all that important and I really do need to continue with my work, instead of just sitting here for another forty minutes trying to remember what we all discussed. The final note I'll leave this on is that Min came in when she heard Wonwoo's voice and there were instant coos from Jeonghan, Seungkwan and Chan when they saw her. She was the happiest cat alive when she was strolling around the room, getting love from everyone in the room. As always, she was all over Seokmin for around five minutes, but then noticed Wonwoo and immediately went over to see if he had food for her. The rest of the night was spent on his lap. He didn't even go home until she moved.

Oh, and everyone really loves Wonwoo. I think that's a good sign. They think we'll make a good couple, if we make it official.

- Mingyu

Chapter Text

I was going to start this with something happy about work but it's not happening. I was so excited to talk about it all week but now my mood is well and truly fucked and I'm not in the mood to talk about anything else.

Remember my sister's experience with New Year and how upset she was with everything that went down? It turns out that my sister intentionally dates married men, actually. I know she said that she was upset about finding out that that guy was married or whatever, but I found out today that she purposely dates the ones with wives. They "pay her" to be with them, apparently. They pay her bills and get her pretty dresses and have her nails done once every four to six weeks. She's basically a sugar baby, but she likes to take it a step further by getting extra tips for every time she sleeps with them too. It's not like a relationship; it's more of a business. The catch is that they have to be quite a lot older than her - in fact, some are even older than our dad - and no young men will do. That's probably why she was upset with that guy who had a wife and kids. He wasn't old enough for her.

And I found this out when I introduced her to Wonwoo. We'd actually been planning for him to meet her for the first time, just like he'd met my friends. You know how she means a lot to me and all, just like my friends do. It was going to be the first step to him meeting my family, and then for me to ask him what we are. So we were waiting for her to arrive and then eventually, an hour later than planned, she ends up rolling up. She came over looking so anxious and said that she needed to talk and I suggested that maybe I could introduce her to him and then we could go somewhere private but no, she had to say it in front of him. I could see how uncomfortable he looked and I had to apologise afterwards because she didn't even properly introduce herself before she started involving him in her personal life.

So I wasn't happy at all because of that, but then it gets worse because she gave me a pregnancy test. Just whipped it out of her purse and handed it over to me. I didn't really know how to read it but I don't think she would've given me a negative one. "I've been sleeping with married men but, oh! Here's a negative test to show that everything is fine and I'm just making a big deal in front of your sort-of boyfriend to be a bitch!" No, she wouldn't cause a scene like that. She might be a brat who does some cruel and thoughtless things, but she's not attention-seeking and she's not the sort of person to scare me like that. I asked her if there was any chance that it's wrong and she informed me that tests could only be done a month after conception, and a week after a missed period. It was pretty damn accurate, even if it wasn't sensitive, apparently. On top of that, she'd already seen a doctor and she confirmed it, too.

The worst part? She doesn't know which guy, out of eight guys, is the father. Some of them went at her without using protection whatsoever, and she's had cases with ripped condoms. Apparently, she only recently found out that oil lubes and condoms don't mix. I'm pretty sure that it's the basics of sex education and the person at the counter would've told her not to mix them together, not to mention the information on both products, but she used it anyway and ended up ripping all of them. Then she didn't bother with the morning after pill because she's against using them. She's had to go around to all of the guys and tell them that she's pregnant and that it's their baby, just to cover her back. Two of them cut off ties with her, three offered money for an abortion. She's keeping it, though. As if she can afford it when she's having to get extra cash like this in order to pay her rent.

"I'm pro-life," she reminded me, as if I didn't know already, "Or at least for my own baby. I wouldn't stop anyone else from having an abortion but I don't want one myself." Whilst that's fair enough, what's she going to do? How the hell is she going to be able to look after a baby on her own? There's no way that she's going to be able to get these married men involved, and it's just going to get really messy if she has them all convinced that they're the father. That means three potential fathers want her to keep it, and there are six who are still with her whilst she's pregnant. I mean, those guys might help her out with parts of it, but then they're not going to be able to do much, are they? They can't really be there for her during pregnancy and the child's early life to help out with the changes, night feeds and developmental milestones when the kid is a product of their affair, rather than a proper relationship. I doubt any of them would even want to go with her for the check-ups at the hospital, nor would they want to help her through the labour. They're not really obliged to do so anyway, and I wouldn't expect it of them.

I really don't think she's thought this through in the slightest, though. She doesn't know how she'll be able to afford baby clothes, how she'll get the nappies and wipes and toys and furniture, how she's going to do the feeds and whether she's going to need bottles and formula or milk expressors, she doesn't know how she'll be able to go around with the baby, and her workplace certainly isn't going to keep her on if she's going to want to bring a baby in every day. She can't just rely solely on the money of rich sugar daddies to help her raise a child. What if they finish with her and she can't afford to raise the kid anymore? What would happen then? Our parents certainly aren't going to look after it; not only do they not have the time or money for that sort of thing, but they're also really pissed off with her. They had an argument over it the other day, and they haven't spoken since.

Actually, that annoys me a lot too. I found out four days after everyone else that I'm going to be an uncle. And I'm not just talking about her telling our parents and maybe telling both sets of grandparents. The whole family knows, on both sides, along with all of her friends and colleagues. Not only do I think that it's way too early to be telling that many people when there's such a high risk of miscarriage in our family (and I mean, almost every woman in our family has lost their first baby to a miscarriage in the first ten weeks of pregnancy), but I'm also really insulted that I was the last to know.

I understand that we haven't seen each other in a few days and all, but I thought she was my best friend. She told me that I'm the only one who understands her, yet she doesn't even tell me that I'm going to be an uncle until she thinks that everyone else is against her and she wants someone to back her corner. And I'm not going to do it. Not this time. In any other situation, I would be right there on her side, trying to make everyone else understand the situation from her point of view. Maybe she really wanted a baby, maybe she's thought it through and believed that it was her one chance of having a family, maybe she's actually smart to have kids young, etc. But I can't bring myself to even be in the same room as her at the moment. I'm angry at her and I hope she really understands that. I'm not going to be all cute and friendly and try to act like best friends with her when she's going to act as if I'm an afterthought. After everything that we've been through together, I would've liked to be able to help her with all of the decisions that she had to make.

Heck, I wouldn't have even minded if she asked me to go to the doctor's office with her. I wouldn't mind if I had to hold her hand as they did a proper pregnancy test and help her with all of her options when she was given them. I'm a bit squeamish about that sort of thing, but I wouldn't have minded it because it would be helpful for her to have someone she loves and trusts there with her. But instead, she picked the first friend who offered and then went to get it sorted. I swear, I was so upset that I was fighting the urge to cry in front of her. I rarely ever cry and I don't think she's seen me crying since our family dog died five years ago. On top of that, I didn't really want Wonwoo to see me crying over something like that, so I just forced them back and I only let them out around twenty minutes ago.

I don't even know what else to add to this now. My anger is out and I'm feeling numb instead. I don't even want to finish this entry because it feels so stupid and petty and it probably doesn't even make sense in the slightest. It's that sort of thing that would be added as a side note if this did ever end up becoming a movie or a novel anyway. "My sister said she's pregnant and I'm a bit sad because I wasn't her priority," or something to that effect. It's probably me making a bigger deal over it than is necessary. Even in the moment, I just pretended to be okay with everything whilst she finished off with her rant about what she was going to do, and then I let her go when she was ready for it without even trying to understand her side to it. Usually, she would've been over for a lot longer than she was, but this was different. I think she could tell that I was upset with her because I was acting hostile, and so she soon made an excuse to leave. I guess that's probably me being petty about it but I don't even know anymore.

Then things were awkward with Wonwoo and I. He didn't really know what to say, which I don't really blame him for, but then he ended up just holding me and stroking my hair as I calmed down. Actually, I did have a little bit of a cry when he was holding me like that too, but I don't think he noticed. Or maybe he did but didn't want to make me uncomfortable by bringing it up. He's probably good enough at noticing that sort of thing to realise that I was crying. I'm glad that it didn't come up though. I really appreciate that more than anything in the world because he knows when to keep quiet and when to talk to me.

Of course, he ended up going home earlier than I'd hoped too. He knew that I needed some space to deal with what I'd been told so he told me he'd get some food sent to my place and would ask them to knock the door and leave it on the step so I didn't have to make contact with the delivery driver. He kissed me on the mouth and told me that it would be better, then he left. He lived up to his word, though, and I ended up with an extra large pizza to myself. Well, to myself and Min. I think she heard me crying because she came over and sat on my lap and didn't even ask for any pizza, but I gave her a plate as thanks for being good when I was upset. She's still with me right now. I'd attach a photo but I think it's in bad taste to waste space on something that I think is cute for the moment, especially when I'm still very much angry and upset. A photo of me and her cat isn't really going to make it any easier to deal with.

I think I'm done now.

Chapter Text

Today is Wednesday, 21st March.

Okay, maybe I flipped too quickly last week. It's been brought to my attention (by my entire family and also three of my female colleagues) that maybe I overreacted to the news a bit. Well, mostly because I made my sister cry by telling her that I didn't want to be a part of her life is she didn't care enough to talk to me like an adult. I guess that maybe it was a little bit of an exaggeration and maybe I was a bit unfair on her, but it still stands that I'm upset with the way she not only pulled it up in front of Wonwoo, but was also so inconsiderate of our sibling bond.

I didn't really want to bring it up at work, by the way. I went in on Monday and the girl who sits on the other side of my desk (I think her name is Seulgi but I don't actually know - we've worked together for months and I don't think we've really chatted) asked me why I was typing so angrily. I was hitting the keys with such force that she could hear every single letter and it was distracting her. I did apologise for that, actually, even though I was annoyed. We ended up spending lunch together so that we could discuss what happened properly, and so I went into the details of exactly what went down. Of course, she completely understood why I would be upset over that sort of thing. Wonwoo didn't need to hear it. I didn't need to feel so distant from her when we're supposed to be best friends. There were much better places and times to pull something like that, and it would've probably gone down a lot better than it had done in the end. There was so much that she didn't consider and it made a huge difference on how the situation ended up going.

Then I mentioned that I called her afterwards and we ended up yelling at each other. I confessed that I'd said I didn't love her and wished our parents had aborted her so she wouldn't be landing them with another child to deal with before hanging up the phone. Suddenly, my colleague's eyebrows shot up and I noticed two other girls' necks snapping in my direction. I tried to explain that I was upset in the heat of the moment and I didn't really mean for it to come out like that, but then they were all at my throat. It wasn't something to say to any girl, they said, especially not a pregnant girl. The last thing she would've needed at the time was for her brother to make her feel like dirt when she probably knew that she was in a bad enough situation as it was.

So I ended up sending her a message to ask to chat later, alongside an apology for flipping out at her. The girls literally watched over my shoulder as I messaged her and made sure that I didn't just pretend to type it without sending. They even asked to see a few of our messages to make sure that I wasn't just avoiding it by sending the message to another random contact. So we ended up talking it out on Monday evening over pizza. I think both of us were a bit reluctant to do that but it was for the best really. She almost cried when we made eye contact and I could see that she'd had a rough day from the way that she immediately hugged me, even though I'd been an ass to her.

I think the discussion went pretty well, though. We ended up going through absolutely everything. She told me that she decided to be a sugar baby because she couldn't afford to pay her rent with her current wage. She guessed that at least that way, she'd be able to save up a little bit of money for some luxuries, like actual food that wasn't garbage. I mean, I guess that that's fair enough really. I'm just a bit bothered that she wasn't on an alternative form of contraceptive, knowing that she was sleeping with so many different guys. Whilst I'm not here to dictate what she does with her body, I know that if I was in that position and I was a girl, I would be on a contraceptive pill, would be using condoms and would have a morning-after pill at the ready, just in case. It might be a bit expensive, but it's less expensive than an actual child.

Then she asked me if I would go with her for the scans. Her first one is on May 1st, then she's supposed to have another one around mid to late June. She said that she's a bit scared and doesn't want anyone else to come along. So if I said no, she'd just go on her own instead of asking our mom or anything. I feel like it's something that I have to do so that she feels comfortable, so I said that I'd go with her. I booked the first date off work yesterday so that I would definitely be able to be there with her. I think it's worked out pretty well, in that sense, because it automatically got us to bond a bit more. Maybe it's something that I'll end up getting over when I actually get to see my niece or nephew on screen. I really hope so.

Speaking of yesterday, though, I had a date with Wonwoo.

We went to an aquarium in Seoul this time. Neither of us really wanted the typical dinner date so it allowed us to get some street food and enjoy being around each other in a more relaxed environment. We ended up getting quite a lot of food, which I didn't really expect. On all of our previous dates, Wonwoo hasn't really eaten all that much, but this time we both went all out. We ended up getting some tteokbokki, gimbap, pajeon, mandu and myeon. It's quite a lot for two guys to eat, I think. But we managed to get through all of it just fine and even got some ice cream from a nearby shop. They had Melona, which I thought was a bit outdated even if it is classic, and so we ended up getting some. As a bit of a nostalgic blast back to our childhood and certainly not because we're both essentially children.

I swear, the aquarium was probably the coolest place I've ever visited. I've never actually visited one before so it was nice to be able to go there with Wonwoo. As we went in, I felt his fingers gently brush against the back of my hand, as if he wanted to hold it, so I ended up wrapping my fingers around his as if it was completely natural and my heart wasn't thudding hard and fast in my chest. I know we've held hands before but this time felt a lot different in comparison. He was doing that cute little thing where he rubs my hand with his thumb as we walk, and he didn't let go once whilst we were in there. I think maybe it made me fall for him that little bit harder because it was adorable, but I wouldn't say that to him directly. He'd probably grumble something about how he isn't cute and that our height difference isn't an excuse for me to start treating him like a child. I find that cute about him too, actually.

There were so many fish in the place, though. I didn't know that there were so many different types of fish, or at least not that amount of variation. In fact, they even had turtles. There was one called an "Alligator Snapping Turtle" and it was really weird. It was probably about half a metre long, maybe even a bit more, and it looked prehistoric. One of the members of staff pointed out most people found that the bumps made it look old, which I can agree with. It seemed rather grumpy too; not really wanting to move or interact with anyone or anything. Not that I mind too much, though. It was really scary and I think its bite would hurt a lot, and I'm honestly so so glad that I've never seen one in the wild because that would be awful.

Also, they have some really cool shark and jellyfish tanks. As a fun fact, jellyfish tanks have to be rounded because they're mostly water and they can get trapped or damaged when there are sharp edges. Their babies look like dirt on the glass to start with, which is a bit unusual but also pretty cool, and shining lights in the tank will make them look colourful because it passes through them. I think the sharks were my favourite part, though. They had a few different types and they were all really calm and cool. Wonwoo seemed to like them a lot as well, and every time we got to a shark tank we would end up spending a lot of time watching them. I sort of expected that they would hurry to get around or would be really stealthy but for the most part, they glided around the place as if they had all of the time in the world and didn't really care for anything that was happening. I made a joke about wanting to have a pet shark, which resulted in some playful eye rolls from Wonwoo, but he agreed that it would be cool to have a shark tank. Obviously we wouldn't be able to look after them all that well, but it was a good thought at the time.

The bonus of the date was that it was relatively quiet and we hardly came in contact with other people. That meant that we were actually able to share our first public kiss since we started seeing each other. We were in the undersea tunnel at the time and noticed that we were alone, and it just felt right to go ahead with it. To start with, Wonwoo's eyes were just on the fish and he looked happy to see them swimming overhead. I was happy to see that too, although he had a part of my attention. At one point, I glanced over at him and he met my eye. That was when we both realised and a quick look around to check that we were alone confirmed that it was the perfect place to be. His free hand moved to grab my free hand as soon as we were facing each other, and then he simply leaned up to press his lips against mine.

That kiss was what I was living for at the time. Nothing else mattered for a little while. It was probably the most gentle, pure kisses I've ever experienced in my life. It wasn't portraying any of the standard rough masculinity that you'd expect when kissing a man. The way his lips touched mine was tender and loving and his eyelashes tickled against the skin of my cheeks, and the mixed smell of his cologne and washing powder drowned me when I inhaled. We held it for just a moment before parting; his eyes opened slowly, as if he didn't want to rush it, and then a smile touched his lips. It was a shy smile that I'd never really seen on him, but I loved it right from the first moment that I saw it. That smile was Jeon Wonwoo's vulnerabilities and weaknesses being shown to a guy who likes him a lot, and that meant the world.

His grip on my hand grew tighter from that point, and he suddenly grew quiet. It was a thoughtful silence, rather than an uncomfortable one. We barely said another word to each other until we got back to his place, both knowing exactly what that kiss meant for our relationship overall. It picked back up as soon as we were inside the house, this time a lot more deliberate and loving. There was heat between us; nothing too extensive but still hot nonetheless. The passion we shared was slow but had completely lost its purity. Our hands were clasped again, although this time they were pressed against the wall in his hallway, and our lips were parted. Our bodies remained a safe distance apart to start with as we focused entirely on what our lips were doing instead. It was for the best, really; we hadn't discussed passion beforehand and I always guessed that Wonwoo would want to have that chat before we made any big decisions.

Then his tongue slipped into my mouth and I knew right away that it was going to be a conversation for another time. My entire body was burning with an unfamiliar desire for him - one that was past what I was used to feeling whenever we were together. I let our bodies come close so that we were chest to chest, and his body lifted from the wall so that it could melt against my figure. I made sure to press him back down, though, so that he had the coolness of the wall against his back and the warmth of my skin radiating against his front. He's the sort of person to get really into sensory details, and thankfully it worked perfectly when it came to making him want me.

So I moved to kiss his ear. I know that his ears are sensitive because he gets a bit weird about whispering, and I guessed that maybe it would get him going. He let out a hard breath as he felt my lips brushing against the shell of his ear, and then sucked air in hard as I darted my tongue out to lick at his lobe. My lips moved to the soft skin between his jaw and neck, gave a few gentle touches, and then slowly moved down towards his neck. Wonwoo quickly unwound underneath me at that point. I could feel his breathing starting to get heavier as he gave me full access to his neck, even moving his head to the side so that it wasn't in the way. I made sure to litter his neck in kisses whilst making sure not to leave any marks, and then eventually began to press deeper, longer, firmer kisses against the skin.

I could feel his body shivering under my touches each time my tongue met his throat. I knew he wanted more than that from the moment I felt his anticipatory twitches, and so we soon moved to his bedroom. Never would I have believed that a simple trip to the aquarium would have me laying Wonwoo down against his bedsheets as I pulled his jumper over his head. His fingers rested on my shirt for a moment before he decided that he was going to go ahead with it, and so he quickly plucked each button from their assigned holes before pushing it off my shoulders.

There was something novel about seeing Wonwoo shirtless. He looked like any other man, but there was something particularly special about him. Against the white bedsheets and selection of decorative pillows that he kept at the top of the bed, he looked perfect. I wanted nothing more than to lean down and kiss him hard on the lips as I told him how much he meant to me. So I leant down to touch our lips together again. It wasn't quite as hard as I'd considered kissing him, but he wrapped his arms around my shoulders and pulled me against him again as soon as we made contact. Then I dared to spread his thighs. They were hesitant to start with, as if he was unsure of whether he wanted to continue or not, but then gradually started to move apart for me to move between them after just a moment. They wrapped around my waist, pulling me closer to him so that we were pressed together again.

Since everything had gone well up to that point, I decided to start grinding against him a little. It was only gentle - a bit of a tester as it was the natural way to progress things - but then he suddenly let out a soft grumble of a moan before drawing from the kiss. He'd changed his mind about going straight into that sort of thing just yet and he hoped that I wasn't too bothered by it. He offered to help me get off if I was too worked up over everything that had happened between us, but I quickly rejected the idea. Of course, I'd been a bit worked up over it. Kissing someone like that was arguably sexier than kissing them with the direct intention of getting them into bed. It just happened in our case, and I was strangely fine with it. I wasn't going to push it to the point where he felt uncomfortable and I already sort of guessed that we would end up stopping before we had the chance to go all the way, so it wasn't a huge issue for me. Frankly, the idea of intimacy is a terrifying one and I completely understand if he wants to go slowly with it.

I ended up staying for the night and making Wonwoo breakfast this morning so that he would definitely know that I'm not going to rush him with intimacy. He seemed relieved that I wasn't making an excuse to leave as soon as we woke up, although obviously I did still need to go to work. He ended up letting me wear one of his shirts and some of his boxers, and then I simply put on my trousers from the date again. He even drove me to work then dared to snatch up one little kiss as we parted.

I think it's pretty much confirmed now - I'm falling for him hard and hope that we can make this last. I'm going to talk to him about what we are soon because I couldn't possibly stand the thought of another man getting to see this side of him. Not after I've seen it like this.

- Mingyu

Chapter Text

Today is Thursday, 30th March.

So, I know I'm not really the best when it comes to subtlety and hints, but I thought that maybe I would try hinting to Wonwoo that I wanted more this week. I tried to be as subtle as possible, knowing full well that in reality I'm about as subtle as a bull in a china shop. I guessed that perhaps that would make it subtle enough that I wouldn't feel bad, but clear enough for him to get it.

Apparently he's really bad at getting hints, though. Like, really bad. I've never wanted to scream so much in my entire life because I was really struggling to get it out there and confess that I have genuine strong romantic feelings for him by this point. It's not something that I want to say directly to him at the moment - not after we were close enough to dry-humping each other last week - but I honestly don't know how I'm supposed to bring the conversation up with him otherwise. Heck, I don't even know whether he thinks that it's an unspoken given between us that we're in a relationship now or whether it's just something that he's never brought up because he assumed that everything between us was as friends. Guys can kiss their guy friends in today's society and shouldn't feel bad about it and that's something that I do want to support as much as possible but at the same time, I'm sort of confused about where it would put me with him if that were the case. Are we kissing buddies who are considering becoming friends-with-benefits? I think I'd be disappointed if that were the case; whenever we kiss, I intend it to be homosexual. I don't think I would be sucking his dick as a friendly get-me-off sort of thing either.

But I guess that some guys would interpret it like that. I recently read a book in which a guy was getting sucked by a guy he had a crush on but was claiming that it wasn't gay if he wasn't giving anything back. And the crush was doing it because he completely misinterpreted the situation and thought that it was the best way to show his devoted love for the guy. And then they didn't end up dating or anything because they were both concerned that the other person was into girls and they didn't want to be the one to turn a "no homo" situation into a "no bro-mo" sort of situation. I'd really rather not be in that situation with Wonwoo because it was bad enough to read that sort of thing and see the two characters freaking out because they were concerned that they would be upsetting the other person with their homosexual feelings, and whilst I think I've made it clear to Wonwoo that I am absolutely, definitely, one-hundred percent into guys, I suppose that there's still the chance that he's going to feel bad and think that maybe I'm not interested in him in that sort of way and that it would be unfair to assume that a completely homosexual guy would be into him, just because we spend a lot of time together and kiss sometimes.

I don't even know really.

Actually, now that I think about it, I don't think Wonwoo and I have ever discussed his sexuality. I just sort of assumed when he came back to my hotel room and we shared that kiss at midnight that we were both on the same page, batting for the same team, however you want to put it. I didn't really think that there was a possibility of him not being into guys and I don't think there's ever been a situation in which he's suggested that he's not. If anything, he's shown me a lack of interest in every other person we've met. Maybe he's not attracted to them, maybe he's asexual or aromantic or somewhere on those spectrums. Maybe he's concerned that by talking about other men in front of me, I'd get jealous and upset. He definitely seems like the sort of person who would be conscious about that sort of thing, even though I'm a relatively easy person and don't really worry about that sort of thing. I've never lost a boyfriend to another person before and I doubt with my fantastic relationship skills that I'll ever be in that sort of position in the future either. (That last bit is a lie, by the way. I'm terrified.)

Anyway, I figured that the best option was to talk to the girls at work about it. You know, the ones who scolded me for being an ass to my sister and making her cry. They seemed like they would be the best at interpreting those sorts of situations. I accidentally came out to them a while back without even thinking about it (which was incredibly embarrassing and awkward, actually. Imagine this - a grown ass man in the office, listening to them talking about how cute some guy is, and then he decides to add that his face is cuter than his ass frankly and all of them could find someone sexier who would be a lot less hassle to deal with over his "me me me" attitude. Awkward.) so it wasn't that much of an issue to actually talk to them about it. I started out with trying to be subtle, which they caught onto immediately and proved to me that it was actually something that I really am bad at doing, and then we all ended up going out for lunch together in order to discuss the situation.

I think it's the first time that I've ever been out with anyone from work like this, by the way. I didn't even really know the girls' names until we went out together and I heard them talking to each other. The one who sits nearest to me is Soomi, and then the other two are Yoomi and Dohee. They all seemed to be genuinely nice people so I wasn't all too bothered about going out anywhere with them, and I genuinely had a good time.

I quickly learned that Dohee is the minx of the group. We started out by placing our orders and then began to discuss my relationship with Wonwoo, and she was impressively quick to ask if I'd slept with him yet. Soomi hissed that she shouldn't be so forward with the questions but I answered anyway since she'd obviously been asking for a reason. I told her that we'd almost made it to that point but had stopped short because Wonwoo wasn't ready to continue at that point in time. She gave a hum as she thought about it but then concluded that some guys might actually consider that sort of thing with a friend anyway but since I'd not had the chance to go all the way with him still, it wasn't even possible to tell whether he was just uncomfortable with continuing in general or whether he was uncomfortable with doing that with me specifically. There were a lot of variables to consider - after all, he could be homosexual but not interested in a romantic way, he could be heterosexual but have me as an exception, he could be toying with the idea of bisexuality, or could be unquestionably bisexual and not sure whether he actually liked me or not. That would mean that he'd probably have a variety of options for partners too, she pointed out, so I'd have to stand out from the crowd if he liked guys and girls. Whilst obviously it wasn't any indication of whether he was ready to commit and whether he would be inclined to cheat on me (which I doubted he would anyway), it would be me against all of the other guys and girls he found attractive.

I wasn't sure whether I could live up to that standard, frankly. I think that if Wonwoo did like girls, he would be into the really pretty ones with long, black hair and doe eyes and perfect almond-shaped nails and big lips and maybe even freckles. I think he'd be into girls with little figures who are a bit shorter than him, and I think he would want one who is fashionable. I'm not so sure what his taste in guys would be, other than an absolute mess if he's picking me. He doesn't look like the sort who would feel threatened by height in another guy, but I think he'd be a little less tolerant of certain behaviours with guys. After all, whilst a lot of girls aren't as sensitive as guys tend to think, it's easier for men to relate to men and women to relate to women. I know what I can get away with when it comes to Wonwoo and he knows what he can get away with when he's with me. He knows not to touch my front when we're in public together because it makes me feel on edge, and I know that touching his ass is a no-go zone unless we're toying with intimacy. It's something that I could tell right away from the fact that he twitched when my hands were around his waist in the early days of our relationship (friendship? fling?) and the way that he doesn't like people walking close to him from behind. Whereas, if either of us were a girl, I think it would be harder to tell the boundaries that you can just tell with other guys.

Either way, I think that would be the worst-case scenario. I don't have a problem with bisexual partners - I'm not one of those guys who freaks out over the thought of Wonwoo having ever touched a vagina in his life, nor do I feel like it suggests that he'll cheat on me with someone else because he "can't make up his mind" or any of that rubbish - but I'm more concerned that I wouldn't be good enough for him. You know, he could quite easily have any person he wanted in the world, but he'd choose a gangly guy who lives in a trashy apartment, usually has a can of spaghetti hoops for dinner because he's still struggling to support himself financially at the moment, and who rarely dresses well. I'm a slob and half the time, I don't even bother to shave. It makes me look like one of those guys who goes on a wilderness trip with some celebrity survivalist and then comes back to his family to reveal that he's decided to grow a beard, except the hairs on his face are only about a quarter of an inch long and his daughters complain that they scratch the soft skin of their cheeks when he kisses them goodnight. It's bad enough to think that he might be solely into guys and I'd have to fight my way to the top of the pyramid against other men, but then fighting against girls too would be near enough impossible.

I'm getting distracted again, sorry.

So, back to the lunch thing. They ended up hearing me out all the way through to the end and then Yoomi pointed out that it sounds a lot like we're already in a relationship. After all, she wouldn't do that sort of thing with someone she wasn't in a relationship with, and the other girls gave hums of agreement when she told me that. It just wasn't something that adults tend to do, they told me; maybe teenagers and those who are immature, but not someone like Wonwoo. I guess that that was a good sign and made me feel better. I felt for a moment that perhaps my concerns about him finding someone better were ill-advised, since we'd essentially established a relationship together but then again, it's just eaten away at me since then.

We then started to discuss the possible ways forward from there. The girls told me what they usually do when they want to attract men and whilst I'd obviously have to change some aspects of it, it was a great insight. Naturally, Dohee was quick to tell me that she usually wore sexy lingerie when she wanted to get a guy's attention, although I was surprised to find that it wasn't actually to get him in bed - rather, it made her feel a lot more confident in herself. The other girls agreed that matching underwear definitely made them feel a lot happier in themselves and affected everything, from mood to the way that they walked. Obviously, I wasn't going to be able to wear matching panties and bras (and actually, I'd probably feel more uncomfortable than anything in that sort of attire), they still suggested getting some special boxers for having a chat with Wonwoo. Something soft, like satin, was what they recommended. Whilst Wonwoo probably wouldn't see it unless we ended up sleeping together, it would probably be a guilty little pleasure that helped me with confidence in that sort of way. As they were telling me about it, Yoomi searched for suitable underwear online and ended up showing me some that she thought would make me feel comfortable but also confident. I was actually quite interested; it wasn't satin or anything, but it was good quality cotton that had a snug fit, and there was a well-crafted, supportive dick pocket to make sure that there was no discomfort or movement. The waistband was thick and was supposed to feel incredibly comfortable, according to the reviews, and apparently they would be perfect for helping me to become confident if silks and satins weren't my kind of thing.

Next, Yoomi went on to her suggestion. She admitted that she was more of a fragrance sort of girl; she always took a long bath before a date so that her skin was incredibly soft and the smell of the bath products would cling to her skin more. She would also wash her clothes with a high fragrance powder - one that would last for a long time and would also be her memorable scent that would stick in a guy's mind - and then she would finish it off with a complimentary perfume. It was something that could easily go wrong if I didn't mix the scents properly - for example, putting a delicate flowery scent alongside a harsh musky scent - but it would work amazingly well in my favour if I balanced it well. The bonus was that a lot of men seem to like the smell of other guys' cologne more than girls like it, so I had a bit of an advantage there too. I think that he already likes my current fragrance, which is even better as it means that I can make it into the scent that he associates with me; something that brings him comfort and makes him think about being in my arms. I think I can try to use that one to my advantage when I talk to him about what we are.

Finally, Soomi confessed that whilst she didn't really have a specific tip, she noticed on the work calendar that my birthday is coming up next week. She said that if anything, it would be best to try and see what happens there, if all else fails. The sort of gift that he gets me - if he gets one at all - would be good to interpret and analyse. If he gets me something generic, we're probably friends or a bit more. A bit more thought and we might be close friends or romantic interests. If he really seems to have thought about it, he would probably end up getting me something that's really thought out well. At that point, I admitted that he'd already bought me some really great things for Valentine's Day and Seollal, and so I started to tell them about the pen and snacks and all. I watched as their eyes immediately melted and they all seemed so amazed that he would do something so sweet for me, and I confessed that I'd not really expected it either. That was a good sign that we'd be more than friends, though, they pointed out. Not many guys would get their friends Valentine's gifts to start with, nevermind buy something so thoughtful. I hadn't actually considered it like that before, having expected that it was just something that Wonwoo enjoyed doing with people who he'd had romantic engagements with in the past or something, but I guess that they're probably right with that sort of thing.

Aside from everything, I think we all grew closer when we were out together. They really seemed to like spending time with me and we bonded well. They seemed to be open and genuine about everything without even seeming as if they were patronising me for being so poor when it comes to relationships. I liked that about them a lot; it made me feel a lot more confident and happy with everything that I'm going through at the moment.

I followed it up shortly after by inviting Wonwoo over so that I could try some of it out. Whilst I wasn't really planning on taking it too far before my birthday, at which point it would be pretty clear whether he's interested in me or not, I thought that it would be best to gradually start to get to that point. The last thing I wanted to do was suddenly spring it onto him like, "Surprise! I think we're in a relationship but I don't know whether you agree and I'd like you to tell me so that I can either mope or brag about you to every single person I've ever communicated with in my life!"

No, it's not happening.

Strangely, I was actually fairly nervous about going ahead with it. I made sure to take it a step at a time but make it as obvious as possible without being too obvious, just so that he would be able to understand what I was trying to tell him without words. I held our hugs for longer than necessary. I kissed him a few times more than I usually would. We held hands as we watched a film together. He made us some ramen noodles - a recipe that he'd learnt from one of his work colleagues - and I ended up sharing some of mine with him. We also got a cake when we were at the supermarket together, and I fed him some of my slice. He fed me some back and by the time we'd made our way through the cake, we were both covered in crumbs and frosting.

There was something cute about the way that he ate when he had cake. He would stuff it into his cheeks and it would make him look like a little hamster. His long chews were replaced by quick, tiny chews, and he tried to cover his mouth as much as possible without making it too obvious that he felt self-conscious about being watched. I tried my hardest to refrain from staring at him for too long but it was really cute to see him eating like that. It's something that I want to remember forever, and I really hope that he never breaks the habit because it's probably the sweetest thing I've ever seen in my entire life.

Anyway, by the time we got to the end of our date night, I'd not really made all too much progress but I still felt like I'd taken a few more steps forward. He'd spent the entire time tucked up close to me, and he'd insisted that he was going to visit me on my birthday, even if he was busy at work on that day. He was even going to leave the office early so that he would be able to prepare well in advance and maximise our time together. I felt quite flattered by his words, although I tried my hardest to hide how much it genuinely meant to me. After all, it wasn't a special birthday or anything and my parents weren't planning on spending time with me. My sister was busy sorting something out - although she wouldn't tell me exactly what she was arranging - so she was planning on coming over later in the week. To start with, I thought that maybe she was planning some sort of surprise for me, but then she reminded me that she's incredibly poor and needs to save up for nursery furniture so she's not planning anything like that. I can't even lie and say that I'm not disappointed by that, but I sucked it up anyway. It's not something that I'm going to try to guilt her over. At least I'll have Wonwoo.

We made our way over to the door together so that I could see him out properly, but when his shoes were on, I couldn't help but stop him. He completely froze and looked up at me in confusion, so I just grabbed his chin and kissed him roughly - intently - on the mouth so that he knew how I was feeling at that moment in time. It was something that I intended to be a sign of passion and romance; a notion that I wanted him and him only. It wasn't the way I'd kiss anyone else, and I hoped that he would understand that right away. We eventually drew from the kiss as slowly as possible, neither of us really wanting to break it off.

Then the word vomit came out, right at the end when I thought that everything had gone well.

"I love you," I told him, not realising what I'd said until it was out in the open. When it set in, I knew that I looked like a rabbit caught in headlights; my entire body tensed up and I snapped away from him; showing right away that it had been a slip of the tongue and I hadn't intended on being so forward. He stared at me in silence for a moment, not really knowing what to do or say to begin with, but then quietly followed it up with a polite smile as he thanked me. He kissed me again, just to show that he didn't mind that I'd messed up and his thanks weren't a sign that he's angry or uncomfortable, but rather that he's probably not ready to say that back just yet. Or maybe he was concerned that I didn't actually think it through before I said it and it would make me feel more awkward if he said it back. Either way, though, I didn't get to hear those words from Wonwoo's lips. But I was satisfied with the extra kiss for now, so I think we still managed to get through it just fine.

As much as it'd been an accident, I do hope that I'll hear it back in the future. It's something that I want to hear more than anything, and I don't know what I'd do if I felt like he wasn't actually attracted to me whatsoever whilst I'm really, honestly, truly and genuinely attracted to him. It would sting a lot, I think. I'm not going to confess my feelings properly until I know for sure whether we're on the page though, just to be safe.

Until next time,

-- Mingyu

Chapter Text

It's April 6th today - I'm just finishing off my birthday.

This week has generally been pretty boring. I've hardly had any social interaction outside of work, even when I tried to call and message people, and work has been the same old thing. You know, weird messages from readers. The ones that made me laugh were particularly weird, though. One person asked what he should do if he got an egg stuck inside his asshole because he got drunk and thought that it would be funny to pretend to be a chicken and he was "too embarrassed to go to a doctor". Too embarrassed for a doctor, but not enough to mail a local newspaper. Another one involved a girl who caught her man trying to grab her sister's chest, and then pretended not to be doing anything when her sister called him out on it, so she's been mixing some carb-based supplement in with his food to make him put on weight quickly, although the guy is apparently having meltdowns over it like some hormonal teenager. I'm pretty sure that half of these questions are more confessions than anything, and they're coming to me to confess their sins.

That's pretty much all I had to deal with, so on to the more important topic - my birthday.

Now, I hadn't expected that my birthday would be anywhere near as good as it actually was. I'll just put that out there right now. My parents weren't lying when they said that they couldn't come over and my sister didn't even call me. I'd sort of expected it really, especially since it wasn't really a 'special birthday' or anything, but I guess that at least my parents surprised me by sending my birthday cake to my workplace along with their gift. It made my morning a bit brighter, but I hadn't really expected much to come out of the rest of the day as a result. As much as Wonwoo could come over to my place and try to make things better, there was only so much that he could really do. I don't think I expected there to be much space for him to help bring my mood up, frankly, but obviously I was very wrong.

Actually, before I start, there's something that I think is worth mentioning. I found out what my sister needed to arrange when my parents called me because they assumed that she would've told me about it (and obviously she didn't mention it to me whatsoever, but I'm trying my hardest not to get upset about it). Basically, she was meeting up with one of the guys who was a potential father for her baby. He said that he knew about all of her other sugar daddies and he admitted that he was a little bit upset to hear about them, but at the same time he completely understood that she needed financial security, especially with a baby on the way. He was willing to leave his wife if she would make their relationship exclusive, and then he would provide her with permanent financial security. Even if they ended up breaking up in the future. He wanted the baby to be his because he loved it, even if it wasn't biologically his. Of course, she jumped at the chance right away. I don't think I blame her for that sort of decision, if I'm honest. I would've done the same if I was in her situation.

Back to the birthday thing, though. So, I went home and I expected that I would have a good amount of time before Wonwoo turned up at my place. I know I haven't really mentioned sexuality so far in this journal, other than that one passionate moment with Wonwoo, but I'm about to break that rule right now because it's sort of important for the story I'm telling. I ended up going to the main room, turning my laptop on and then jerking it for a while so that at least one thing in my day wouldn't be all that disappointing. I found some interesting video that one of my friends sent me back in the final year of high school where this guy essentially finished in his boxers without even touching himself in any way (impressive, I know) since it suddenly came back to mind earlier whilst I was at work. It was something to do and I knew that the video would get me done in record time, so Boxers Guy and I were going to make our twenty minutes together great.

Naturally, I didn't even manage to finish. It was always going to be the case that someone came to my door when I was in the middle of letting Mini Mingyu have his way. I heard a knock on my door when I was about halfway through - which was painfully disappointing because I couldn't really stuff it back into my trousers and walk to the door as if nothing was wrong - and so I ended up having to awkwardly tuck it under my belt so that it wouldn't be that obvious if the person at the door wasn't looking at my trousers. I made my way over and opened the door whilst trying to position myself in a way that they wouldn't see, only to find that it was Wonwoo.

He took one look at me and knew what was up. I could tell from the way he looked at me, and it was only confirmed when I invited him into the house. "You've been touching yourself," he pointed out with a hint of surprise in his tone. There was no explanation for why he knew right away, but I guessed that that was just so like Wonwoo to know that I didn't really need to question it. I nodded - there was no use in trying to hide it when he got it right away, and when the video of Boxers Guy was still on my laptop in the main room. It would've just been awkward to launch myself into the main room and try to shut it off before he saw, and it would have just made the situation more awkward. "Did you get to finish?" he continued, although his voice wasn't showing the disappointment that I expected. I can't really pinpoint how it sounded exactly, though; maybe more compassionate and gentle, but nothing too much. I shook my head. "Would you like me to give you oral?"

I thought I was dreaming. Never would I have expected that Wonwoo would say something like that, especially since he'd just come out with it. It wasn't shy or nervous as I'd imagined it would be when we finally started to discuss making our relationship more intimate. He was unusually confident and knew exactly what he wanted, and I think that it made it even sexier to see him acting as if it wasn't much of a big deal for him. "Do you think that it would be okay?" I asked in surprise, earning a nod from him in response.
"I think that we're at that point where we can comfortably try that sort of thing. After all, it's hardly like we're going to be having intercourse."

I loved that. The way that he said 'intercourse' specifically. It just sounded so posh and weird, as if he was being raised in one of those families who completely avoid regional dialect. Whilst I'm sure that on any other person it would sound painfully snobby and would make me shiver with disgust, Wonwoo made it sound like the word was supposed to be in the sentence, even if it was unusual to hear the word itself. It rolled off his tongue without hesitation and the smile he punctuated it with didn't show any awkwardness whatsoever. If I was starting to go down at that point, him using the word 'intercourse' so casually was certainly enough to get the flagpole rising again. Intercourse.

So he took me through to the main room again and shifted my laptop to one side, not even raising an eyebrow at my dearest Boxers Guy as he did so, then shifted himself so that he was between my thighs. The look that he gave me said that he wanted me to pull myself free from my trousers, and so I did as he wanted right away. He wasted no time in running his tongue over it, but he didn't take it into his mouth properly for quite some time. Before that, he'd made sure to kiss around my thighs and take the boys into his mouth instead, then teased the underside a lot more too. He clearly knew that what he was doing was enough to make me twitch and squirm but he didn't really care. He knew that in any case, he was going to get what he wanted from me, and that was something that he was definitely going to get.

I mean noise, by the way. I guess that last bit might sound stupid without context because it's not like he's getting anything specific from me, but I know he wanted me to make noise. It was clear from the way that he dragged his teeth over my glans and then took me into his mouth for a few seconds so that he could swallow me to the base and draw out a groan, before promptly moving right back up to the tip again. He was the king of teasing and wanted me to know that right from the start. Thankfully, though, he eventually got into it and began to bob his head between my thighs until I had to grab his hair to ground myself. It'd been such a long time since I've had a guy's mouth around me that I hardly lasted at all, but I think it was for the best really since I'm certain that I would've exploded if he continued to work his pretty mouth around me for much longer.

He spits, by the way. We forgot to use any sort of protection, as neither of us had really planned to do that sort of thing, so he ended up letting it dribble down my length again before he pulled away. Funnily, it looked like cake frosting dribbling down the sides of my junk, and I thought it was pretty amusing to watch it running down towards the base until Wonwoo handed me a tissue to clean it up. I made sure to wipe it up before disposing of the tissue quickly and sorting myself out, and then he moved up to sit next to me before asking if kissing was okay, considering that he'd just had a mouthful of my body fluid and all. It's not that I really care about that, though, so I ended up kissing him hard without giving a proper answer.

I don't know if I would ever say this again in my life, but the fun actually started after he'd sucked me off. It was a bit of a strange situation; I'd not really thought about gifts or anything until he pulled out an envelope from his pocket and gave it to me. In fact, I'd not even expected a card or anything from him; after all, it's not like my birthday was all that important this year and he'd already treated me well enough over Valentine's. "Sorry it's not much," he said to me quietly, "But I think it's something that fits your personality well."

So I was guessing a card or something; maybe with a funny picture on it and a reference to our relationship. It definitely looked like it was going to be that sort of thing, from what I could tell. I quickly opened it and turned it so that I could see the front of the card, and I was surprised to see that the front of it was covered in snippets of my advice columns. It took me a moment to realise that that was what it was covered in, but then I recognised a few of the remarks that I'd made and realised that he'd made a collage out of the ones that I'd expressed to him. In fact, they were all of the ones that I'd mentioned either finding hilarious, or ones that I was really proud of. It was incredibly thoughtful, and I absolutely loved it.

Then I opened it up. "You've been working so hard lately. Have a break on me." The letters were bold on the page, but my attention was instead drawn to the two plane tickets that were attached. They were for a trip to Toyko for four nights, starting tomorrow. I didn't know what to say, so I ended up blurting out something stupid about work. He insisted that it was covered and he'd called my workplace to ask for time off. I ended up tearing up as I hugged him - I'm not really the sort of person to start crying over those sorts of things, but he'd picked up on the little things that I've mentioned over our time together - from the mentions of Japanese street foods to the confession that I wanted to explore another big city. I'd never really expected that he would organise a trip for me like that, but I'm so grateful that he's so generous.

Currently, I'm in my room, packing for our trip. He told me that I could invite anyone and it didn't have to be him, but I pointed out that he'd spent a lot of money on me and besides, he means a lot to me. I did also point out that he didn't have to get me such expensive gifts in the future, as much as I loved and appreciated every gift he'd given me so far, but he insisted that it was something that he wanted to do. Then he looked into my eyes and told me that he was more than happy to get someone he loves whatever would make them happy, be it free, 1000W or 10,000,000W. My stomach flipped when he said it; although he wasn't quite as direct as I'd been when I slipped up, he basically said that he loved me.

It was just a bit of a shame that I couldn't really ask him what we were right at that point, since it could have easily just made things awkward during our trip. It's something that I'm planning on saving until we get back, and then maybe we can have fun with it and mark our relationship out properly if we're feeling that it's right to do so.

Anyway, we finished the night with sushi - which we ordered to be delivered to my house so that we could get into the mood for Japan tomorrow - and ended up watching some American slasher film. Wonwoo joked that it would be good for making sure that we were awake to go to the airport in the morning, and honestly I think after seeing a guy get butchered so graphically, I might struggle to sleep. I don't actually think I like slasher or gory films, in comparison to psychological and supernatural horror, but it's something for us to bond over and I guess if we're going to be going away together in the morning, I might even be able to convince Wonwoo to hold me tonight so that I can at least get a little bit of sleep.

He's planning on taking me back to his place tonight, as he didn't really want to make our trip obvious by bringing his suitcase over, so it'll be great to be able to wake up with him and then go on our travels together.

I should probably stop getting distracted so that we can finish this off, though, so until next week.

-- Mingyu

Chapter Text

It's Saturday 14th April.

Well, the past week has been absolutely amazing and I barely know how to start.

The trip was probably the best break I've had in my life. Not only did we end up in a hotel that had a king-sized bed for us to share, but we made full use of it by snuggling in the middle. The bonus was that it was warm enough for Wonwoo to sleep in my arms in just his boxers, so I got to feel the warmth of his skin against my chest the entire time. I think there's something innately comforting about making skin contact with someone you love like that; it felt a lot cosier than I imagined it would if we were wearing shirts, for example, and then the radiating heat between us meant that getting up in the mornings was difficult. I don't think there was one day where one of us didn't want to stay in bed for a while longer, pressed close to the other person, and so we ended up spending longer than we usually would in bed.

He literally bought me anything that I could possibly want as gifts, though. Anything at all without any question whatsoever. That was what shocked me more than anything. It was great to feel appreciated (and he even pretended to be some rich sugar daddy taking his baby out for dates here and there, even though he's only a little bit older than me) but I had some mixed feelings about it overall. I could feel the guilt building when he saw me eyeing up street food and got it for me without question, and then I woke up one morning to the image of him sat on the edge of the bed with a watch in hand. He thought I'd like it, he said, and he'd seen it when we were out together. Don't get me wrong, I really appreciated it more than anything in the world and I did enjoy the treats, but then my worries started to get to me a bit. It wasn't enough to get me to talk to him about it at the beginning and it wasn't as if I didn't like the gifts, so I wasn't all that bothered by it, but then by the end of our time there I was feeling a little bit down because of it.

In particular, it hit hard when we went out for a meal together. I informed him of my intentions to split the bill halfway with him, since I was hungry and wanted a little bit more than I would usually get if I thought that he was going to insist on paying. He didn't seem all too happy about it but accepted nonetheless. Then at the end of it, I realised that I'd left my wallet in the hotel room. I felt absolutely dreadful and almost cried over it from the sheer frustration that it brought along. He told me that it was completely fine and that he had been planning on paying for it all anyway, but had intended to do it in a way that made me think that I was contributing to the bill. He knew that I was struggling to live on my wage and wanted to give me a happy, stress-free holiday where we could just enjoy ourselves without having to worry about how much money we had left. Once it was all paid for, he still held my hand and stroked his thumb over my knuckles as he told me that he wanted to take a walk back to the hotel instead of taking a taxi.

To start with, we were pretty quiet. I had too much on my mind to really chat about much, and I didn't really want to make him have to do all of the talking. Then eventually my thoughts got to be too much. "I feel bad that you've paid so much out for me," I suddenly blurted out as we hit the park that connected our hotel to the rest of the city. It wasn't something that I'd intended on telling him so directly but when it slipped out, I realised that it is a pretty big deal for me, actually. It's something that made me feel a little bit nervous for some reason. Maybe it's the expectation that he'd want something in return - something that I couldn't possibly give - or the thought that he'd see me as some sort of gold digger. I'm not that sort of person. I might not have a lot of money left over once I've paid my bills but I wouldn't even want someone to help me pay them off. It's an issue of pride and principle.

"Mingyu," he started, slowing his steps until we were static once again. We'd barely made it into the park at all but I didn't really care for now. Wonwoo's eyes developed a new depth as soon as he was underneath the warmth of the streetlight's glow. It cast shadows over his face, showing off how chiselled and handsome his cheeks and jaw are. I couldn't help but stare at him in silence - in expectation - as I took in the pure beauty in front of my eyes. For a second, I considered taking it all back and telling him that I must sound like some unappreciative child because no one else's romantic interest would do that sort of thing. I wanted him to know that I wasn't pulling this sort of stunt because I wanted to be mean-spirited or make it all about me. But then he continued. "I'm not doing this because I think I'm obliged to. I'm doing this because I love you. I... I love you, Mingyu."

I swear, my world has never slowed like that before. It took way too long for it to register in my mind what he'd said and by the time it clicked, he was already leaning in to kiss me. I suppose that he needed to confirm it in his own mind as much as he needed to tell me how he felt, and I guess I'm relieved that he wanted to make it so clear like that. It's a phrase that's laced with a touch of delicacy, and it's not something that I would expect a Project Manager at an accountancy agency to say so confidently like that. He seems too masculine to be talking about love in that way. I wanted to be kissed by him, but having everything hit me all at once proved to be a huge issue as I didn't have the time to prepare myself for it. For a moment, I considered moving - either forwards to close the gap quicker or back to give myself more time to prepare - but then I guessed that either way would end up being ill-received by one of us so I simply stood there instead.

His lips touched mine with an unfamiliar gentleness. Whilst Wonwoo was hardly rough when it came to kisses, this was far from the sort of kiss that I would have ever expected him to give. I could feel his breath tickling my upper lip as he let his lips brush over mine, and then he gradually started to lean in closer as he became more comfortable with showing his feelings to me. His fingertips found my hands, brushing past them on his way to wrap his arms around my waist. It probably looked awkward and weird from the outside, seeing as I'm a few inches taller than him but he was treating me as if I was significantly shorter than him, and the thought of it left me smiling against his lips.

The glow of new love stayed with us for the final night of the break.

It was clear that Wonwoo was toying with the idea of bringing up sex from the way that he'd asked to cuddle as he read. He needed to be touching me to feel comfortable, and he'd gone out of his way to position his book near to our thighs. He usually couldn't concentrate if the book wasn't directly in front of his face so I could tell that something was different, but the last thing I wanted to do was bring it up and embarrass him. Instead, I simply held him tighter so that he knew if he wanted to take any further steps, I wasn't going to complain. It didn't end up going further in the end, but having the option lingering on the surface was something I rather liked.

So all in all, the holiday was amazing. We'd managed to see a lot of things - from temples and shrines to markets and museums - and it was nice to be able to spend it together without anyone else there to disturb us. It was the first time I've been on holiday with someone who isn't family, so it was a great new experience to have, and I'm so glad that I had the chance to share that experience with Wonwoo. I'm thinking that in the future, I'll actually try to save so that I can take him away instead, but that's a different story completely.

The girls at work could tell that I was glowing when I got in on Wednesday. They asked how everything had gone and whether he'd asked if I wanted to be his boyfriend yet, and honestly I didn't really know where to start. Then one of them noticed my watch and started to freak out as she jumped to conclusions and asked if it was Wonwoo's attempt at proposing because there was no way that I would be able to afford a watch like that on 40,000,000W a year, if I was already struggling with my bills and savings as it was. I told them that it was a gift from him - not a proposal, though - and so they immediately jumped on me. I had to ask him to be my boyfriend "right now, immediately" because no one would buy that sort of thing for a friend. I could feel my chest swelling with pride as I told them that he said he loved me, and suddenly they were really pushing for it.

I had to invite him over that night at around nine so that we had plenty of time to prepare.

Now, I don't know if this is going to be a weird reference if this ever becomes a novel or a film or something, but it was strangely like that one scene from that American romantic comedy, Clueless (don't judge - I watched it with Wonwoo once and besides, the girls from work actually suggested it). I ended up taking them all home with me after work, where they picked out something for me to wear in between giving Min cuddles and tidying up my house for me. We settled on a dark green thick knit jumper with soft denim jeans. Although I don't really like relaxing in trousers, they insisted that it was for the best because it would give off a good impression and would make sure that his eyes were drawn to all of me.

Then they actually did my hair and makeup. My hair was ruffled up a bit, as if I'd just had a nap, and then they lightly sprayed it in place. With the makeup, they simply used the concealer and contour from Yoomi's bag to brighten up my skin and make my features pop, and then finally Dohee whipped out an eye pencil to use. Apparently she doesn't usually share it in case of infections, but she applied it to the tip of her finger and rubbed it into the outside of my eye to add some depth and make it look like I have more of an eyelid there. It's all about complimenting my features to suggest that I have more of everything - more cheeks, more jaw, more eyelids - so that he's blown away.

They also made some food and put it in the oven around twenty minutes before he was due to arrive so that we'd have something to eat too. That was when they left me to it, and so I simply sat in the main room and waited for him in silence until he finally turned up.

I think their hard work paid off immediately. Wonwoo immediately let out a deep breath as he told me that I looked amazing, before he'd even taken a step into the house. He held me in a kiss for a moment as soon as he was inside before airing how impressed he was that I'd actually got something cooking for dinner. Seeing as I was usually too lazy to make things for us to eat, especially so late at night, he was it as a huge deal.

We chatted for a while until dinner was ready and then ate it together, with him complimenting me over and over again. I'd never expected that a pasta bake would be decent, especially seeing as I've had the pasta in the cupboard for around four months and only just finished it, but he really loved it.

The rest of the night was spent just being with each other. I'd bought him a book as a gift so I gave it to him as thanks for the birthday treats, and he was clearly very excited to have it. We then got onto our usual sort of thing when he had a new book to read. I sat on the floor so that I could watch a film and he sat in my lap so that he could read. It's that little bit of coexisting that seems like it's going to be boring, but it's actually really relaxing. I really like just being with him, even if we're not talking or doing something that's specifically meant for us to interact fully. It's something that really helps us to build bonds and lose the stresses of daily life.

Of course, though, I'd not invited him so that we could just coexist. There was the issue of talking to him about relationships too. I ended up using the film to distract me to start with, but then eventually it got to the point where we really needed to just get it out there in the open. I took a deep breath as I wrapped my arms around him tighter, and then nuzzled my face against his shoulder. "Hey, Wonwoo, I don't want to disturb your reading but there's something really important that I need to discuss with you." He suddenly seemed interested, as the book dropped straight into his lap and he turned to look at me. He let out a hum of acknowledgement - his sign that he wanted me to go ahead - and so I braced myself to tell him how I was feeling.

The words barely made it past my lips to start with. I don't know how I even managed to get through the sentence because every syllable clumped together in a way that made it sound as if I was unable to speak Korean at all. "I'm just wondering what we are really," I told him, trying my hardest not to be swayed by the awkwardness of my voice. My eyes darted around the room in search of something to drink before I continued but when there was no glass or bottle in sight, I simply had to get back on with what I was saying. "Uh... I mean, I've mentioned to my family that we're sort of seeing each other and my mom immediately thought that we're dating - you know, boyfriends-dating - and I didn't really know whether I should correct her or not because even though we're not officially boyfriends or anything, I think that maybe we're getting close to that point and I really do have feelings for you and all, and then the other day you said you love me and--"

Long story short, it was a lot of rambling from that point. It went from one extreme to another. There was no space for him to tell me how he felt for a solid five minutes because I couldn't calm myself down enough to let him speak. As much as it was probably annoying, though, he's not really the sort of person to interrupt someone who is speaking, so he simply waited it out, listening to my worried rambles as he did so, and then finally spoke when I eventually gave a gap. From the way that he spoke, it seemed as if he was concerned about my starting again, though; he quickly tossed his first word in there so that I knew it was his turn to speak, and then gradually allowed himself to slow down when he was sure that I was finally being patient for him.

"I didn't really think that it needed words. Our relationship has gradually developed to the point where it feels like a romantic relationship, although I suppose that it's always best to define relationships beforehand so that no one gets confused by the directions in which it's going." His explanation did nothing for slowing my heart down, as I'd hoped it would, but thankfully it seemed as if my pounding pulse was a reaction to the prospect of actually dating Wonwoo officially this time. It was a relief; I didn't want to find out that he wasn't actually looking for something permanent between us, so I can't even begin to describe my relief at the fact that he seemed to be equally interested in me. "After all, I wouldn't just give anyone a top quality pen and a weekend break to Japan. So, what would you like me to refer to you as now? Would you like me to introduce you to people as my boyfriend, or would that be going too far? Perhaps just mention it if someone asks?"

We ended up agreeing on that. It was something that didn't necessarily need to be advertised too much, seeing as there's still that little bit of stigma over gay relationships where we live, but I'm glad that he would be open to actually saying to his family, "This is the man I have feelings for." I think that would be the greatest honour - to be someone who Wonwoo is proud to advertise his relationship with.

Then he got back to his book. Honestly, I don't think there's anything more beautiful than him coming away from his book for a moment, chatting with me, and then continuing as if he was completely undisturbed by the interruption. It always means that he leand closer to me, synchronises out breaths, and occasionally brushes his hands or face against me once he's started to read again. I love it more than I could possibly describe.

I think this is the start of something great between us. I'm not quite sure about where it's going, but I think I like it regardless.

(I'm sort of becoming a soppy hopeless romantic, I think. Really hoping I don't look back on this in five years and cringe at how disgustingly soft I am.)

- Mingyu

Chapter Text

It's Tuesday 17th April!

You're probably wondering why I'm writing another entry so early in the week. And you would be thinking rather logically because surely not much could have happened in the three days between my last entry and today, right?

Wrong. A lot has happened.

Well, sort of.

Okay, I'll just say it straight out because I'm guessing everyone who might or might not be reading this entry is already getting frustrated with me.

Ready?

Here we go.

I slept with Wonwoo for the first time.

I know, it seems really weird that we would do this on a Monday night, especially so soon after he told me that he wasn't ready. But I swear, he's still in my bed right now. I'd attach a photo of him if it wasn't creepy (and I wasn't worried that he would break my hands if he found out). He looks absolutely amazing but that's a story for later. Instead, we'll start from the beginning because otherwise this is going to be really short and next week is going to be painfully long and we all know that if I read back on this, I won't be able to stay focused on something that's too long.

So, we'll begin with Sunday. I'll admit it; I was a bit of a soppy loser on Sunday. The morning started out with a call to my mom to tell her that Wonwoo and I are officially a couple now, and she was just as excited as I was. She even told me that she wanted to meet him as soon as possible because she wanted to make sure that he knew that she'd be his mom if he needed another one too. She was just so happy; I think she's always just wanted me to settle down young and have a relationship with someone who really takes care of me - and someone who I can take care of in return without it seeming weird. I think that's what things are like between Wonwoo and I. He really goes make sure that I'm happy and well-looked after, even if I try to tell him that I'm fine. He knows when I'm not fine, though, and that's the best part. I don't think I'm going to be able to find a better man. He's basically just everything I could want at the moment. Not to make him sound like some fake over-idealistic man who I'm gazing at with rose-tinted glasses, but I honestly haven't had a boyfriend like him before so it's sort of a big deal.

She ended up telling everyone, though. My aunt - you know, the 'bad gay' one - was over at their house, since her and my mom are trying to sort everything out between them. Plus my mom is trying to teach her about why my cousin's homosexuality isn't a bad thing. Of course, as soon as I told her, I heard her move the phone from her ear and call out to tell my aunt about it. I didn't really hear the response but my mom didn't seem to be angry at whatever she said, so I'm assuming that it wasn't anything nasty. If it was, I'm sure there would've been arguments going on or something. I suppose that it's a step in the right direction at least; whilst I'm still not happy with my aunt, at least she's not being harsh to me now that my mom's told her that we're not just "seeing each other" anymore. Perhaps it'll mean that she's a bit more tolerant with her son in the future, since her prejudice seems to have reduced ever so slightly to something that is, at the very least, underneath the surface.

Anyway, I didn't really do much for the rest of the day. There wasn't really much to do, to be honest. Wonwoo wasn't messaging me back as quickly as I hoped and my sister was busy her boyfriend/sugar daddy. Even Min wasn't around (although I shouldn't be surprised, actually), so I ended up just playing video games and listening to a white noise video on YouTube to kill the painful silence of my house. I think it's good that I had the time to do that, but it was still a bit boring.

On Monday, though, I woke up to find a text from Wonwoo. "Can I come over to see you this evening?" Of course, I agreed right away. No matter how long we spend together, I always love it when we get to see each other again. Being around him really brightens my day and the last thing I really needed was for my Monday to be as boring and lonely as my Sunday. I agreed right away and asked if he wanted me to get some dinner for us both, but he said that he would sort it before telling me that I should let him know what I wanted to eat. It took a while for us to decide in the end, but we ended up agreeing on buldak.

As always when we make plans to meet after work, the day dragged. I found myself watching the clock more than anything, desperately hoping that we would get to our date night that little bit quicker. By the time we hit the end of my shift, I was absolutely drained but somehow managed to drag myself out of my chair so that I could get home as quickly as possible. I swear I've never moved so fast in my life; whilst it wouldn't make Wonwoo finish work any quicker, it felt a lot better to be out of the office. My house was messy, for starters, and I needed to get Min something to eat so that she didn't end up hating me. On top of that, I sort of wanted to relax for a short while before he arrived. You know, so that I didn't seem grumpy and irritable when he finally arrived.

So when he did get here, it started out as usual. We started with the buldak that he'd brought with him as we discussed how our days had been, and then we moved to the sofa for a while so that we could start enjoying the evening together. It wasn't anything different to what we usually did when we were together until eventually, Wonwoo started to shift uncomfortably next to me. "Are you okay?" I asked him, in hopes that he would tell me right away what was bothering him, but he simply gave an awkward nod as his hands started to fist at the hem of his jumper. Had I not known better than to push it, I would've been inclined to ask him why he was getting to be so agitated, but I think we all know why that would be a bad idea.

Jeon Wonwoo is a huge stress-head and he would probably end up snapping at me.

So I left it, right up until the point where he suddenly launched himself off the sofa and informed me that he was going to the bathroom. Again, I was worried about him when he told me that but figured that he probably just got a stomach ache from the buldak or something. He can usually eat spicy food and not be affected, but I guessed that it might've hit him harder than usual this time. I wasn't going to follow him to the bathroom to make him feel even more uncomfortable, so I waited until he got back. His arms were tucked up into his sleeves and he still seemed to be on edge, but he moved back into the room as if he was going to join me on the sofa again before stopping around five feet back from where I was sat.

And then he tossed a condom into my lap.

I looked up at him in surprise. He was embarrassed, although he tried his hardest to hide it, and I could tell right away that the confidence that he was trying to show through passing it to me so openly was completely faked. He was terrified; his hands were shaking slightly and didn't even stop when he clasped them together in an attempt to mask it. His eyes rested on mine, showing me that despite how anxious he was getting over it, he wasn't feeling pressured into it or anything. In fact, he had probably been planning it for a little while anyway and so he was just concerned about the fact that his plan was in the process of being executed. "Wonwoo," I said as gently as I could manage. It was more an attempt to show him that I didn't want him to feel as if we had to do that, but frankly he just seemed to be more anxious when I said his name. "Are you sure you're ready to do this?" I continued quickly so that his fragile heart didn't have to suffer for any longer than necessary.

He nodded his head in response, not even giving me the satisfaction of words. I think he was worried that his voice would betray him; after all, he was stood there like a child who had just passed their parent a note to explain that they broke something expensive. I tried to warm him up by offering a smile then tapping my lap for him to move closer and sit, and so he shuffled closer until our knees were almost touching. "Do you want to do this in my bedroom or the sofa?"
"The bedroom, I think." So I stood and lifted him straight up with ease, encouraging him to wrap his arms around me. One arm wrapped under his ass to support him as we walked together, and the other was used to hold the condom and open up the route. He clung on to me with a desperation that I'd never expected from him. Perhaps he was scared about what we were going to do, or maybe even concerned about me dropping him or something, but I chose not to mention anything that would make him feel any more embarrassed as I took him straight through to my bedroom and then gently placed him down onto the bed.

There was still a hint of fear in his eyes. I knew that he trusted me to not hurt him or anything, but he was still conscious of everything that was going on between us. He pulled me down to kiss him to hide it as much as possible, then shifted his hands down to unbutton the shirt that I'd not changed out of after work. I copied him, taking note of how his skin was already starting to flush with embarrassment. We drew apart for just a moment, taking in the sight of shirtlessness - something that we were familiar with by that point but still drawn to - and then he peeled my shirt back to show that he was ready to continue. I pulled it free from my trousers before tossing it to one side, but then his hands were straight onto my belt before I had the chance to continue undressing him. It took him two seconds to remove it and then get the button and fly loose, and he wasted no time in pulling my trousers straight to my knees at the earliest possible opportunity.

For a moment, he froze. I think it was the realisation that we were doing what he'd asked. His eyes flickered between my face and the front of my boxers (thankfully I'd chosen underwear that looked semi-mature and not the Power Rangers ones this time), and then he slowly reached out to press his cupped hand against my bulge.

That was when I found out that he'd never really touched another guy before. By no means was he a virgin, but he'd lacked intimate interest in the guy who claimed his first time. As a result, he just let it happen whilst maintaining a passive stance and didn't really touch the guy in return. This was something new for him, as a result, and that was why he was so scared about it. He'd never really been interested in physical intimacy, but apparently sucking me a few weeks back made him think about it a bit more. He decided that yes, actually he would like to take it further, and so there we were.

I made sure to guide him with it from that point. It took a while to get us both undressed, only drawn out further by the grinding that came around halfway through the affair, but I swear I've never seen a man who looked so perfect in my entire life. And I've been with quite a few men to date, so it's a pretty big thing. Now, I know I've seen him in shorts before but I never once expected that his thighs would be perfectly hairless. His calves have a bit of hair, but it's not massively noticeable. But frankly, other parts of him aren't so hairless, if you get what I mean. I'm not complaining in the slightest, though, because it looked really attractive on him but the contrast really caught me off-guard. Wonwoo looked pretty embarrassed when he noticed that I was staring at him, but I made sure to tell him how great he looked as soon as I caught his cringing. It wasn't like I was lying or anything; he genuinely looked perfect. It made him cringe more, though, and he gently thwacked me on the top of my head as he told me to stop being so vulgar.

So the only natural thing to do was make it worse. I worshipped every inch of him, just to show him exactly how much I wanted him and how great I thought he was, and he just hid his face in his hands as I did so. I kissed from his instep all the way up his thighs, all over his chest and stomach, and then more intimate areas. I'm not going to go into the details of everything, but he was so sensitive to every little touch. Especially on his ribs. He has a little sweet spot around three finger widths under his left nipple and every time I kissed it, he would just whine so softly. It's a noise I never thought I'd hear from him, but I can't even begin to describe how glad I was to hear it.

And then, obviously, there was the main event. Wow. I have no other words, really. I'm trying so hard not to go into the details of exactly what happened but let me tell you it was exactly what I wanted. I'm probably biased because I'm sure that it wasn't quite as good for him as I'm making it out to be and it wasn't anything like how they do it in the "for women" pornographic films. You know how it's all sensual and they're holding hands and the kisses are so gentle and there are those little gasps and everyone is just satisfied with being gentle? I'm sure I looked more like one of those comedy films where they're supposed to be having sex but it's obviously fake and overexaggerated instead, and whilst the guy is really into it, his partner always looks like she'd rather be anywhere else. But I'm just going to pretend that it was something perfect and romantic because I'd prefer to remember it like that, rather than some gross tangle like some sort of snake orgy or something.

He ended up staying over for the night. As soon as the condom was off, he asked if I could help him to clean up because he didn't want to sleep in his own sweat. We ended up taking a quick shower and then I wrapped him in a big towel before taking him through to the bedroom again, and so we ended up chatting for a while until we were dry and he was tired.

So now, as I mentioned at the start, he's still cuddled up to me. We both have work in about an hour or two - it's only around six in the morning here, after all - but we want to spend every minute together like this. He glanced at me here and there whilst I was writing this, with a mix of saliva and sweat resting on the surface of the skin next to his mouth as he stared at me in mixed confusion and pleasant surprise. I think he's happy that he stayed over for the night because he's being a lot more loving to me now. Every breath that he takes makes his full chest rise and fall, and each time I distance myself slightly, he's wriggling around to seek out my warmth again. I think that it's probably the cutest thing I've ever had the pleasure of seeing.

I think we need to get ready for work soon, so I'm going to spend a few more minutes just staring at him and hoping that he'll tell me that he's not going into work today. If he said that, I don't think that I would be going in either. I would want to spend the entire day with him in my arms, as if it was our first day together full-stop, rather than just our first time sleeping together. But for now, I'm just going to get up and ready, and just hope that he gives in halfway through and allows us to have a happy, snuggly morning of just being ourselves.

A man can wish.

Until next time.

-- Mingyu

Chapter Text

It's Sunday, 29th April.

Basically, Wonwoo and I are still in the honeymoon stage of our relationship, and I absolutely love it.

I'm not even exaggerating when I say that we've spent most of the last twelve days without clothes. I mean, obviously we've had work and such, but we've spent every evening at each other's houses. I think we've been at it in every single room of both houses, we've managed to get through a bundle pack of condoms already, and we're really familiar with each other's bodies by this point. I'd never really expected that Wonwoo would be so open to the thought of getting that intimate, but I guess I must've misinterpreted his reluctance to rush into it as a reluctance to do it altogether. He's shown a completely new side to himself that I could've never imagined when I first saw him at the New Year's party. He's shown me his kinks, opened up a lot more, and has been more than happy to take the lead when he's in the mood to do so.

Most of all, he's the grabby sort of lover. I'm not sure whether I was surprised about this part or not - I expected that he would like to go rough when we're getting intimate, but I don't know whether I expected that specifically. His nails are almost digging into my flesh in some way, and he has to hold me close whenever we're together. I'm not really complaining, though; it's really cute because I also get to hear his sweet little moans in my ear each time. They're more like whines when he's sat in my lap too, which came as a huge surprise. I guess I expected that by having a voice as deep as the ocean and a generally quite composed nature, the last thing I would hear from his mouth was a long, high-pitched command for me to be rough with him. It's something that I definitely intend on hearing some more in the future, though, so watch this space for any development news surrounding that area.

The only issue that I've had so far is that I think I'm completely dry by this point, actually. As much as I love doing that sort of thing with Wonwoo, there's only so much that a guy can take, and a round every time we accidentally touch each other isn't necessarily the best plan. I mean, neither of us are that bothered by the fact that we're constantly in bed together, but I think that my junk has different feelings towards that sort of thing. It's definitely not appreciative of the fact that we've been going at it non-stop. I know that Wonwoo is getting a bit of back pain too, which might be our sign to slow it down a bit from this point onwards. I guess if we're only seeing each other once or twice a week, it might make sense to get into bed together when we can, seeing as it's the exploratory stage in our relationship and that's the perfect time to figure out as much about each other as we can. But whilst we're meeting each other every night, I guess it's best just to work it so that we're doing it to release stress and tension, or when we're both really in the mood to get busy like that.

Anyway, it's been a huge struggle to refrain from telling the girls at work about that sort of thing. They've set me up looking all handsome for our dates and genuinely seemed interested to find out when Wonwoo and I would be taking the next steps in our relationship, but it's still a bit of a grey area to work with. I'm not sure how comfortable I am with discussing something like that with them so openly, especially when we've only really been friends for a few weeks so far. Also, they've all been at my workplace for longer than I've worked there, so I think our friendship would probably feel even shorter to them. Oh, and I think it's a bit soon to discuss that sort of thing when the ratio of time that we've spoken versus the time we've known each other but just given passing glances is too disproportional. On top of everything, I've not really told Wonwoo about the girls from work just yet. I don't think he'd appreciate complete strangers finding out about our sex life and how I love to hear his whines, especially since I would end up having to spring that news on him at some point. I can already anticipate that he'd be absolutely pissed with me.

Work in general, though, hasn't been too bad. I've had a bit of a shortage of emails and letters over the past week. I don't know what it is, but I guess at least I can rummage through my pile of unanswered letters so that I can still write some replies. The big issue at the moment is the fact that my managers are asking me to reply to maybe two or three in my column, but then answer a few more online so that we have a total of ten per day. There was a time where my column was so popular that I was getting loads every day and there simply wasn't the space to put all of them in, which was obviously quite rude since I wasn't even publishing a quarter of the letters that I was receiving every day. Seoul is a big place; it's not like it's a small city in a small country where not many people are going to read the local newspapers. But then, the lack of letters has left me in a bit of a bad situation because I can't simply make up a load of stories. Whilst it seems like it would be a good idea, you can really tell when a story is fake. There are some that are really out there but you can conceive it. Others seem either really superficial and basic, or really over-the-top exaggerated, and I'm pretty sure that the readers can tell just as much as I can when one of those stories ends up being published. It's an embarrassment and I would rather not have to resort to that sort of thing.

Hopefully this doesn't mean that the growth of the newspaper is slowing down because I honestly need this job more than anything. It might be a small job for the moment, and I might be planning to move on to bigger and better things in the future, but I really don't want to have to consider that at the moment. I've not been here for too long, and whilst I know that my column is popular, it's probably going to be the first thing that gets cut if we have to reduce our budget. You know, sports are necessary, national and world news are incredibly important, and everyone loves those little puzzles that are dotted throughout the newspaper. Advice columns, on the other hand, can be found in pretty much any newspaper or magazine so it's not like I'm going anything unique or vital. I know that I'd be the first to go because of my lack of necessity and my short time with the company. That's just the reality of the job, really, and whilst I'm hoping that it's not going to get to that point, I still know that the lack of job security is something that I have to keep in mind until we grow into a big enough company.

Finally for this week, I'd just like to take the time to go back to my relationship briefly, but not in a sexual sense this time. Long story short, I accidentally invited my parents over on an evening when Wonwoo was coming to visit, which meant that they ended up getting to meet him for the first time. It wasn't as awkward as I'd expected, but we were in the middle of kissing each other on the sofa when I heard a knock on the door and it suddenly clicked that my family had come over. I'd honestly forgotten about it, and so I had to frantically apologise to Wonwoo as I made my way over to the door and opened it. They invited themselves straight in before I had the chance to explain and then it became too awkward to tell them that my boyfriend was sat in the main room, so I simply stood there awkardly as they made their way in and found that out for themselves.

My mom just stared at him in silence for a moment, seemingly trying to figure out who the familiar person on the sofa was. She'd only seen photos that made him feel confident beforehand so she wasn't really used to seeing all of him like that. But then it hit her and she broke into a huge smile as she asked if he was my boyfriend, and then immediately moved forward to hug him. To start with, I was concerned that he would be uncomfortable with the physical contact from a stranger - I'd not had the chance to explain that she was a very affectionate person and liked to hug everyone - but thankfully, he hopped straight up and embraced her back as if they'd known each other for years.

She immediately began chatting to him; making sure that he was okay and happy, that he was eating well and that he didn't need anything. It was her immediate motherly instinct coming out to play right from the start, and she was so warm and loving towards him that I couldn't even complain. After all, she could've been a lot worse. She could've quite easily just made him feel alienated and out of place, so I guess being overly friendly was a lot better in comparison. Before she got too deep into the conversation, though, I quickly introduced Wonwoo to my dad. Wonwoo politely bowed to him and informed him that it was a pleasure to meet him before saying the same thing to my mom.

Considering that it had come as a complete surprise, I'm really impressed by how well he'd come to handle it. He was incredibly polite, as if he was well-accustomed in meeting his romantic partners' parents. It was rather strange because it's still a bit of a difficult area over here. Usually, romantic partners are only introduced to parents when a couple is considering taking the next steps in their relationship - engagements, marriage, children, and getting a place together. Since we're not really at that point yet and we probably won't be for quite some time, I guess it's a bit strange for Wonwoo to be meeting my parents like that. I'm sure that in the near future I'll end up meeting his parents too - it's only fair that we try to make that sort of thing as equal as possible - but I guess at least in that case I'm not as likely to be meeting them as a complete surprise. Wonwoo doesn't seem like he would ever be so scatter-brained as to invite both me and his parents over to his house at the same time without notifying either one of us.

It is safe to say, though, Wonwoo quickly became my mom's favourite boyfriend that I've ever had. Okay, whilst I just said that it isn't really a thing to introduce partners to parents until you're in a serious relationship, it's a bit hard when you're dating in high school and have to bring your partner home so that you can spend time together. You can hardly hang out at shops and on the street when you're a teenager with little money and studies to worry about, so most of my past relationships involved sitting at either person's house and studying together. And my parents were always uncomfortable with me taking boys to my bedroom in case I ended up having sex with them or something, so they obviously had to meet my boyfriends in the past. But they didn't really get too involved with them, if that makes sense. The extent of their interactions involved my mom asking them if they wanted dinner before they went home. With Wonwoo, on the other hand, she seems genuinely happy to get to know him. She was actually really excited to find out about his work, his family, his interests and hobbies and favourite food and top five holiday destinations. It wasn't even a strained interest. She really wanted to know absolutely everything and was focused on him the entire time.

My dad and I could hardly get a word in edgeways. Thankfully, it didn't seem like we really needed to. She asked all of the questions that my dad wanted to know and Wonwoo was more than happy to answer each one with as much detail as he could. The best part was that it didn't even seem forced; she genuinely seemed happy to find out as much about him as possible.

No wait, actually - scrap that. The best part must've been the fact that she didn't bring up the embarrassing things that she always promised to bring up when she finally met the person who she thought would be my life partner. She's already mentioned that she thinks I'm going to be with Wonwoo for a long, long time so I think she's either sparing me or she's forgotten and I'm happy with either. There were no awkward photos of me as a baby in the weird Pokemon babygrow that my grandma made for me, and none of the weird videos of my three-year-old self parading around the living room completely ass naked with only a pair of my dad's socks and my mom's slippers on. Those are the sorts of things that I live in constant fear of, although I have no doubts at all that Wonwoo's parents probably have equally embarrassing photos and videos of him stashed away somewhere.

So it generally went really well and I'm sort of glad that we got it out of the way early on in our relationship. By the time they left my house, I was concerned that Wonwoo was going to be completely drained and miserable, but he was actually okay. He told me that he enjoyed chatting with my mom and felt as if they'd bonded well. It had been a pleasant surprise for him and he wasn't at all upset about the fact that I'd forgotten to tell him about it. That was a huge relief; although he seemed as if he was fine with it, there was still a little niggling feeling in my gut that maybe he'd taken an immediate disliking to my family or something, so I'm glad that they didn't upset him or anything. The more welcome he feels in our family, the easier everything is going to be, I think.

I can already tell that it's going to lead to my mom bragging about how sweet Wonwoo is to her friends and the rest of the family, so I guess he has to feel welcome soon enough before they all start to swarm him.

Until next time.

-- Mingyu

Chapter Text

It's Thursday 3rd May and I am ready to fight.

I mean it; I'm genuinely ready to take someone out. I don't really know the guy but he's been harassing Wonwoo and that's where the issue is. I'm not happy in the slightest. I don't think anyone would be happy in this sort of situation but I'm especially not happy. I'm quite honestly livid. I'm ready to go to this guy's house and beat the everloving shit out of him for being such a creep.

It all started coming out this week. I found out somehow that Wonwoo has been bragging about our relationship at work. I don't even know how I found that bit of information out, and I'm certainly not upset about it, just to make that very clear from the start. No, it actually made me feel quite empowered. My boyfriend is happy to discuss the fact that we're in a happy, loving relationship, and that just makes it feel as if everything that I've done up until this point is genuinely appreciated. In fact, what I heard was that he was not only telling them about our dates and our trips together, but that he was also making sure to loudly tell his colleagues about all of the sex that we've been having. We ended up discussing it when I found out because I thought it was a pretty funny story, and he just gave me this embarrassed smile as he confessed that he has a habit of going into excruciating details. Half of his colleagues now the dimensions of my junk now, and apparently he's even drawn it out to scale in order to demonstrate that.

As much as I probably could be upset about that, though, I actually found it endearing to start with. It seemed like it was showing that he was proud of our relationship and that his workplace was open enough to be able to discuss that sort of thing openly. It's the sort of thing that I wouldn't think to discuss loudly where other people could hear it - after all, there are still a lot of people in today's society who are really, really against homosexual couples - but I guess if he's able to do that sort of thing in his workplace and now feel fearful about other people's responses to that sort of information, then it's something that I can get on board with. I do think that it's a good thing to be open with other people, and so I'm hardly against him expressing love and sexuality in a way that gradually normalises it in a certain community over time.

On the other hand, I'm guessing if you're reading this journal all the way through and not skimming through the odd page here and there, you might've realised that there's a little bit of an issue with everything that I've mentioned above.

And that problem is that it's really unlike Wonwoo to pull that sort of stunt. It took me a day or so to really figure that out because I just guessed that he would be able to talk to his colleagues openly about relationships if that was what he was doing, and he would actually tell me if there was an issue that he wanted to talk about. But then the more I thought about it, the more problematic it seemed. The fact that he made it seem as if he told everyone is the first big problem. He just wouldn't do that. He's a secretive person and even if he did start to discuss our sex lives with his colleagues, he wouldn't really want to talk about it with those who he didn't really know all that well. And obviously there's going to be a few situations here and there where he's going to be in a room with people he doesn't know. It's a big company; you can't know absolutely everyone to the point where you could discuss such personal matters with them.

So I ended up bringing it up with him. "You can tell me anything," I promised, hoping that it would hide my inevitable feeling of dread as soon as I caught the discomfort in his expression. "I love you regardless of your reasons for telling everyone." It successfully helped him to calm a bit, although I could still feel the tension in his body as he tucked himself close to my side. I'm almost certain that I could feel the racing thuds of his heart against my ribs too, but don't hold me on that one. It might've simply been my imagination because I was anticipating his response to be like that. For a moment, he kept his mouth shut. He didn't really know how to put his feelings into words and I could tell that. But then it hit him that the best way forward was to just let it spill

So he began to give me his issue.

It started a few months ago. Just before the Gregorian New Year, actually. There was a colleague at his workplace who suddenly became infatuated with him and was always trying to time his breaks in order to see Wonwoo. He would just happen to be in the staff kitchen every time that Wonwoo was in there, and they would have a short, sharp conversation every time they met. Wonwoo wasn't going to be rude to him by completely ignoring him, but he wasn't all that fond of holding a long, deep conversation with him either. Then it started to get a bit more creepy. The guy would plan his day out perfectly so that he would finish work at the exact same time as Wonwoo and they would end up in the lift together on the way home. Then he would somehow be able to get to work at the exact same time too. Then he would occasionally end up walking to the toilets at the exact same time. As you can probably imagine, Wonwoo really wasn't happy with it.

It quickly got to the point where it honestly and truly started to irritate him. That was the evening before the New Year's party, just to add. "People are starting to talk," he informed the guy, which seemingly backfired completely as he was promptly asked on a date so that they would 'have something else to talk about'. Wonwoo rejected him. He pointed out that Wonwoo didn't have a date for the New Year's party and that it was hard enough for gay guys to get a date as it was, so he was hardly in a place to reject him. Wonwoo made sure to tell him that he did have a date, actually, but it was someone from a different company.

Of course, he hadn't really expected to see me at the party but was sort of glad because it meant that the guy would stay away from him. It gave his story some substance, if nothing else. If he saw us chatting, he was less likely to try to make a move. It was a bit of a tactic for him but it just happened that we clicked really well and made something of it. That wasn't an act, he assured me; there was no way that he would come up to my room if he wasn't into me whatsoever, even if he was trying to get away from a creepy guy who thought that he deserved him because he's a 'nice guy'. News flash: if a guy says that he's nice, there's a one-hundred percent chance that he's secretly an entitled asshole. That's exactly how we can describe our friend here too, funnily enough.

Anyway, he got back to the office after the party, swamped by all of his work for the new year - emails, files, documents, billing, and a number of things to send off to his department's secretaries to deal with - and this guy just made things even harder for him to deal with. He began the year by asking about Wonwoo's date, which was fair enough, but then promptly pointed out that he saw him talking to me and wondered if we'd had sex when we went up to my room together. And as any desperate guy would do, Wonwoo promptly told him that we were going on a date soon enough and we'd ended up seeing the new year in by screwing each other rough and hard against the huge windows of the hotel room. It was particularly kinky because neither of us really cared that we were pressing our naked bodies against the glass so that everyone outside could see that we were getting intimate, and we didn't even care that the staff would see the huge smudged streaks the next morning and know exactly what we were doing.

I'm impressed by his response, by the way. Even if we had only stayed as being friends or something, I think I would have still been on board with all of that. Getting rid of creepy guys with exaggerated stories is sometimes necessary, and I think that he made the right call by going all out on that sort of thing, even if we didn't actually share an experience that was anywhere close to what he'd been describing.

So he thought it would stop once he'd mentioned all of that to the guy. He'd apparently thought very wrong. A lot of men have this habit of respecting similarly dominant men, even in place of the people who they're harassing. For the most part, it's girls who tend to experience that. If she rejects a guy, there's a chance that he'll shout at her or worse. If her boyfriend rejects the guy on her behalf, he'll step away immediately. Likewise, if a gay guy who seems more fragile or submissive rejects a guy, he's probably in for a bad time. If a tougher looking guy (or a blatant dom) rejects the guy on his behalf, he's probably going to be listened to. It's not okay, but it's the reality of the situation. As a result, the guy only started to get worse. He would find an excuse to get something out of the cupboard directly above Wonwoo's head so that he would be able to press his groin against my boyfriend's ass. And then eventually it progressed and progressed, with him claiming that he wasn't doing anything each time.

Wonwoo thought that the last straw was when the guy intentionally began to grind his crotch into Wonwoo's ass as he was cleaning his mug a couple of weeks ago. He immediately turned to tell him directly that he was going to rip it off if he felt it pressing against him again, and the guy got defensive. 'It was an accident', apparently, and besides, he should 'take it as a compliment'. He still reported the creep, though, which is good. Straight to his boss as soon as he got out of the kitchen so that he could tell him that he'd had a guy press his crotch into his ass. He made sure to point out that he wasn't overreacting to a guy brushing against him and it wasn't an intolerance to gay members of staff, as his boss seemed to initially think, and after a lengthy discussion about exactly how he was touched and why he didn't think that it was appropriate for anyone to rub their crotch against him, his boss promised that he would look into it.

 

It actually turns out that the real final straw was when the guy decided to start feeling him up the other day. And it wasn't just a little bit. He straight up grabbed Wonwoo's ass and squeezed, and then there was a little incident in the bathroom where he tried to grab Wonwoo's junk. Wonwoo immediately moved further away and told him to keep his hands to himself, but the guy claimed that he'd been coming onto him and was trying to encourage him to touch him. Apparently, that was what he told his boss too. That Wonwoo had been coming on to him and then suddenly decided that their relationship was moving too fast, so he'd tried to slow it down by taking it to the manager. It's supposed to be his kink or something, according to the guy; trying to get other people involved in their sexual fantasies.

Wonwoo was absolutely distraught when he found out that the guy was acting as if he'd wanted to be touched like that at work and made sure that his boss knew right away that they didn't have a relationship. He was actually considering taking it to court, since he didn't really want to be in that position any longer and he knew that it would be the step to take if no one from work believed him about it otherwise. The last thing he wanted to do was change job when he was already very good at what he was doing and he was starting to climb the ladder towards a promotion, so simply leaving the job wasn't going to be ideal for him. He just didn't deserve to be sexually harassed every time he went into work.

So his boss is seeing what he can do. They're due to speak to those at the top of the company to see if there's anything that can be put into place without having to seek legal advice, and they're hoping that they can arrange something to make Wonwoo feel comfortable. They're also hoping to find out why this guy is acting how he is, and they think that they'll be able to get to the bottom of it that way. They're thinking that perhaps they might have to recommend medical interventions or something because there's clearly something very wrong with his mentality over the whole situation. It's like he seems to be convinced that they're in a relationship, even though Wonwoo is actively flaunting that we're together and we have an intimate relationship in hopes of warning him away from making any contact.

He's currently having to make sure that there's always someone in the social spaces with him. He's even having to take another member of staff to the bathroom with him if he needs to go. It's a bit of a pain, but I'm hoping that it'll help to stop this guy from acting how he is for much longer.

I think it's ultimately stressed both of us out. Obviously, it's stressing Wonwoo out the most, but honestly I'd rather see anything else before I saw him getting hurt. I hate thinking about the fact that he's been suffering through it for so long and has never had the confidence to talk to me about it. It feels like he's the sort to internalise his problems and not talk about it until it really starts to affect him, but I still feel bad for not managing to catch onto it beforehand. I'm sure he would've liked to have that bit of support.

I guess now that I'm at the end of this entry and I've vented out everything that he's told me about it, I actually feel more sad than angry. It's a weird sort of situation. The guy still needs to be slam-dunked into the nearest trash can, but the focus is now on what Wonwoo is probably feeling. As much as he tries to be all cool and grounded when we're together and he wouldn't dare confess such a thing, I image he's feeling scared and uncomfortable at the moment. It's a horrible situation and I don't like to think that he's experiencing negative emotions.

It might be best to call him before bed and make sure that he's okay. Maybe he can come over for the night so that we both feel a bit better about it.

-- Mingyu

Chapter Text

It's Thursday 10th May.

I'm keeping this one really short because I don't have much time. I'm sure it'll be messy and hardly legible when I try to read it back later, but I guess it's something that I can always rewrite if I have time or something.

My mom is currently in hospital.

She fell down a flight of freshly-mopped stairs at work and ended up really badly hurt. The first aiders on site had to support her head and neck as they called for an ambulance because she'd passed out right away and the last thing they needed was for her to move around and cause damage further up her spine. They called me when she got to hospital. Dad's on a business trip in Hong Kong at the moment but he's on his way home right now. His flight should get back into Seoul in a few hours. My sister is trying to get out of work too but they're short of staff and she won't be out until eleven tonight. They said they'd try to let her out early if business died down, but it wasn't guaranteed.

I was supposed to have a date tonight but obviously this takes priority. I forgot to tell him about it until around twenty minutes ago when they started taking her through for x-rays and MRI scans. He was already at my house by that point and was a bit irritated with the fact that I'd gone out and not told him, but then I said about how I'd had to go to hospital to make sure that my mom is okay and obviously he understood at that point. He's currently getting some food for us all - since my mom will be an in-patient tonight but will have already missed dinner by a long mile by the time they take her through to a room - and he's also bringing her some flowers to brighten up her room and a few toiletries to freshen up with. It's really thoughtful and I honestly appreciate everything that he's doing even though he doesn't really know her all that well.

I can't remember what they said had happened exactly, but I know that the first aiders identified a fractured jaw from where she hit it on the railings, and her shin has apparently broken and pushed through the skin. And then obviously they think she has other head injuries and potentially damaged a few of the disks in the lumbar and lower thoracic sections of her spine. It's good news because they don't think there's specific damage to the upper thoracic and cervical vertebrae but ideally, there would be no damage whatsoever.

We still aren't sure how long she'll be here at this rate. They said that it might be a couple of days if it turns out that her leg is the worst of it, since they can cast it up, make sure that she's okay with moving, and then they can teach her how to effectively use crutches in order to get around. If it turns out that she has more severe damage, though - especially severe head injuries, spinal damage, or complex fractures - they'll be keeping her in for anywhere up to twelve weeks after any surgeries that she might have so that she doesn't have to worry about dragging herself around with something that is close enough to being a full-body cast. I really hope that it won't end up turning out like that, though. She would really hate it if she was stuck in hospital for all that time, especially since she wouldn't be able to move her hands much so she wouldn't be able to colour or do cross-stitch, and we wouldn't be able to keep her company all of the time during that period either.

We'll find out soon enough how it's gone and I'll add everything I know into next week's entry. For now, I think I need to go because she'll be going into her room in a few minutes and Wonwoo should also be arriving shortly with his gifts.

Until next week.

--Mingyu

Chapter Text

It's Sunday 20th May.

My mom just came out of the hospital today. She's actually feeling a lot better about everything now, and I'm absolutely relieved. I was so worried that she would have to stay there for several weeks, but the doctor told us that it wasn't quite as complex as we'd originally anticipated. Instead, most of her injuries were relatively superficial and it was only her head injury and broken leg that we really had to worry about. But she's been treated for it and she has a cast on her leg and a device to stabilise her jaw as it heals, and there's no serious spinal damage so she was completely fine to just come home with us.

Just to add, though, Wonwoo has been an absolute blessing this week. He called into work and told them that he needed to take time off so that he could look after me and my mom, and then whenever I wasn't there and my family couldn't be there to keep her company, he stayed by my mom's side. They've really been getting on well over the past week. My mom told me about some of the conversations they'd had, plus the fact that Wonwoo snuck some pudding cups into her hospital room and fed them to her, even after the nurse told her that she couldn't eat them for a few days. I scolded him for it, since it could have been the case that the medication she was on would make her sick in her sleep or something if she had dairy, which would ultimately choke her if she wasn't able to move her head much as a result of the device that's stabilising her jaw. He apologised, but I could really tell that he wasn't all that sorry because it was something that he'd genuinely wanted to make her happy with, and he'd absolutely succeeded in doing so.

There were occasions in which he asked me whether I wanted him to leave so that I could have time alone with her, but I actually quite appreciated the fact that he was there with me. It made things a lot less scary, I think. Whilst the fact that she was in the hospital was something that I was gradually getting used to with every passing day and all, it was still worrying to know that she was in there, and there was still a chance that something bad would happen. Perhaps she would try to get up to use the toilet on her own and would end up falling and not being found for several hours. Perhaps she would get blood clots in her legs because she couldn't move too much. There were so many possibilities, and I was honestly so so worried about her wellbeing whilst she was there. At least if she was home, we would be able to monitor her condition and help her if she needed it. As a result, I pretty much always got him to stay by my side when he could so that I felt a bit less worried - other than, of course, going to get us some food or a coffee from the vending machine. I would have done it myself but then again, I only really had limited time in the hospital with her so I wanted to embrace it as much as possible.

Which brings me to add that although Wonwoo managed to get time off work to be with my mom whilst she was in the hospital, I wasn't able to do the same. It was painfully disappointing. I told my bosses about the fact that she was there, hoping that they would be able to give me some sort of compassionate leave or something, but they had a sort of "at least she's not dead" attitude, which I found to be not only really upsetting but also rude. I don't work there to be treated like that by my higher-ups. In fact, I even ended up asking them if I could have the time off to look after her for a couple of days until she was able to take care of herself again, but they flatly informed me that I was past the week's holiday notice and they'd already been lax about it on too many occasions lately. They couldn't simply disregard the rules for me, even if my mom was in the hospital. The only way that they would change their minds was if the doctors told me that she wasn't going to make it to the end of the week, at which point I would be able to apply for compassionate leave.

So I only ended up getting Friday off in the end. Hugely disappointing. Although I guess at least now I've managed to spend three days with her without having to worry about anything else, like leaving early enough to be able to have a good dinner, do some laundry and get into bed at a decent time for work in the morning. It's just a relief that now, I can visit her at any time (within reason) at her own home and she can even call me if she needs anything. I'd be more than happy to do anything to provide support for her and actually, Wonwoo is more than happy to do the same thing.

Back to the topic of Wonwoo. I'm about to hype him up again, and you'd better all be prepared for it because my gratitude can't even be touched upon with just a few simple words. I don't know how I managed to get someone so amazing to be my boyfriend when I'm a bit like an unfinished sock puppet and he's like a fully-functioning adult with a good sense of moral judgement. I'm impressed, to say the least. I've never been so relieved to have another person in my life like this. The past week seriously would've been awful without him. He's even managed to get me to and from the hospital when I needed to see my mom and he didn't even complain once. In fact, he hasn't even complained about the fact that she's been the focus of my attention for all of this time either. No concerns about when we would next see each other individually without having my mom or other family members around, no comments about how he missed when we would spend time alone together. I'd just like to point out that I've had partners like that before and it was the worst experience ever, so I'm absolutely relieved that he's actually being so good about it.

Oh, actually, that's another thing.

He met the "bad gay" aunt too this week. She went to visit my mom in the hospital and she was really confused when she walked into the room to see that the bed was empty and a complete stranger was sat in the chair. She promptly apologised and went to leave, but Wonwoo quickly stopped her and asked her whether she was my mom's sister, since they look a lot alike. At that point, my mom called out for Wonwoo, and so he helped her to move back from the bathroom to her bed, since she was a bit nervous about going all the way over on her own without the support that the bathroom offered through handles and support bars.

Apparently she actually seemed to like Wonwoo a lot, though. She really appreciated the fact that he stayed with my mom, even though he had no real obligation to do so, and then they ended up talking. She didn't even get weird with him when she found out that he was my boyfriend. In fact, my mom said that she actually seemed to be a lot better about our relationship when she had the chance to talk to him. Suddenly he wasn't just an image of a boy on a mobile phone screen, holding her nephew in his arms. He was a real person with a unique personality and a good sense of morals, and there was nothing that she could really fault him on.

I was smug about it when I found out. Of course Wonwoo is great like that. I told her that he was an amazing guy, but she initially couldn't look past the fact that he's into other guys. Now, though, he's a guy who seems to be compassionate and loving, as far as she's concerned, and that gives him enough points to be considered more than just a gay guy who happens to be with her nephew. I'm really proud, honestly. It's a huge step, and hopefully it means that when her son eventually gets a boyfriend, she'll take the time to actually see him as a person right from the start, instead of immediately seeing his sexual orientation first and making her judgements based on that.

So anyway, back on topic again. We brought her back from the hospital today.

Now, this isn't really important information as such but it sort of eases my mind to include it because I was feeling really bad about everything that had happened and I think it's best to give these stories a happier ending.

We got sushi on the way home and then sat together to eat. It was a bit of a "congratulations for not permanently damaging your spine and ending up in crippling pain for months until you're fully recovered again" sort of meal. Then we played a card game that my sister bought. It was based on an American game but has been translated and adapted for Koreans. Obviously, there are a lot of things that wouldn't really be funny if you simply changed the language. I found that out the hard way when I visited Hansol and his family, and the game ended up coming up. The cards included things like "cuckolding" and "smegma", which I thought seemed pretty disgusting, but his family found it really humorous. On top of that, the prompt cards were related to American celebrities and such, so it didn't really make sense for me.

On the other hand, the Korean adaptation brings out the worst in us. One of the player cards is "screwing your girl in a norebang" and another is simply "blepharoplasty". The prompt cards include, "The only thing that foreigners love about Korea is _________," and, "Did you hear? SM Entertainment's newest thirty-member boy group is introducing a _____ concept." As you can imagine, we got some pretty interesting results and it truly brought out the bitter, mean-spirited and generally sick side to all of us.

Strangely, my mom was the best at it. She ended up winning by five points, which is a pretty big deal when the game is out of twenty. She was snickering so much that we knew she had really good cards. It was the sort of thing that you wouldn't want to show your boyfriend for the first time usually, but I guess their bonding meant that he was more comfortable with hearing what weird, disgusting things she came up with during the game.

We stayed for maybe two or three hours before coming back home. He's staying for the night, as usual, and we're about to go to bed a lot happier now that she's discharged. He's back at work tomorrow, but I have two more days off because I didn't really know how long my mom was going to be in hospital for. The last thing I needed was to book just one day off and then have her be in hospital for longer. I might just take the time to relax, though, and then maybe go to see her one one of the days whilst everyone else is working.

Until next week.

-- Mingyu

Chapter Text

It's Thursday 24th May.

Okay, I admit that maybe I've been going a little bit over the top with how great Wonwoo is. We had a bit of a spat this week and it turned pretty ugly. I found out the hard way that when he's mad, he doesn't hold back on the insults and he's really quite cruel.

To cut a long story short, his parents are going through a divorce. It's caused a lot of problems, honestly. To start with, Wonwoo didn't even know that they were having problems in their marriage; whenever he saw them, they always seemed happy to be together. He doesn't remember them ever having argued when he was a child, and he'd never heard about them having any arguments since he moved out either. Of course, he isn't really around enough to be able to see what happens between them on a daily basis, but he thought that it was really strange because everything seemed so normal during Seollal. None of the family had mentioned anything to him, and they didn't mention it either. Yet, it's apparently been going on for around four months already. They started to have issues in around August of 2017, but then decided to separate at the start of the year. When it actually seemed better for them when they were apart, they finalised the divorce and then called for the papers this week.

I do think it's pretty bad that they didn't mention it to him beforehand. Whilst obviously it's their business and there's only so many details that parents would give their children about those sorts of relationship issues, it's still a huge bother that they didn't even briefly mention it. A simple, "Sorry, Wonwoo, we're experiencing a few issues in our relationship and might end up breaking up. Please don't take it personally," would have probably been sufficient for him, but they didn't even say that. Instead, they just straight up called him and said that they were getting a divorce and would be moving into different houses the following week.

If my parents did that, I would be upset too. Especially if my sister knew about it and I didn't. That was another huge issue; they told his younger brother about it but he didn't know anything about the divorce until this week. In fact, his brother has known for months. It caused a few arguments between the two of them as Wonwoo told his brother that he didn't think it was fair that he didn't even mention it to him, but his brother tried to insist that it wasn't his place to say anything. And okay, it is sort of his parents' job to tell him that sort of thing, but if they were planning on putting it off that long, even after they told his brother about it, surely it would just be general politeness to let him know about it in advance. That way, he would be a lot less upset and would probably have less of a need to adjust to the new situation when his parents finally confirmed the truth of it. I think that's what upset him the most, really. Just like how my sister acted when she first found out that she's pregnant, his brother was hiding things in a way that siblings really shouldn't do. At the moment, they're not really speaking because Wonwoo is really upset about everything that's happened but his brother insists that he was justified in not saying anything.

Unfortunately, though, it means that he's taken it out on me a bit.

I'm a big man. I can take care of myself and I don't have to worry about anything that a boy says to me. I'd usually not get upset at all in that sort of situation. I grew up with a sister who had very violent menstruation periods. If I upset her during that week, like eating the ice cream that she'd mentally claimed or teasing her to any degree, her response would be anything from crying to kicking me in the stomach. One time, she ended up getting me in hospital so that I could check that she hadn't broken my ribs. She'd hit me so hard with a chair for double-dipping my pinky finger into the jar of peanut butter that we were genuinely concerned that she might've caused some internal damaged. At that point, she was put on medication to help her to calm down because obviously that sort of reaction wasn't really the best to have to other people doing something so basic. But the result is that I'm actually pretty good at taking hits when I deserve them, and sometimes when I don't think I deserve them too.

Wonwoo, on the other hand, goes for the psychological stuff and the deep emotions. I've never had anyone say some of the things he's said to me this week. It was rather frightening that he could come up with such things. He's an incredibly intelligent man who is very well-read, so I should have expected him to cut deep into my chest, but this was really hitting home more than anything I've ever experienced.

My first mistake was asking him how he was. It was very obvious that he wasn't okay in the slightest. Heck, he'd just received the call in front of me and had to leave the room to calm himself down. It was probably the stupidest question that I could have possibly asked him. I knew that I really shouldn't have mentioned it at all, but I couldn't help myself at the time. It just seemed natural to ask. "Are you dumb? I've just had to take a break, Mingyu. I'm not okay in the slightest." Okay, that was fair enough. I gave an embarrassed laugh on reflex and apologised to him, since I really understood where he was going with that one.

It made me shut up for a while, though. I decided not to say anything in case I upset him further, and instead kept my thoughts to myself. But then my mind started to wonder because I'm not really all that great at being still and quiet at the same time, so I started to search around the room for something to do. I didn't really want to turn on the television, in case the sound annoyed him or it made it seem as if I didn't really care about his issues, but then I struggled to find something else to do with myself so I decided to check out a video game that I have on my phone, just to keep my mind busy. It's about a student who doesn't have enough money and has to try to earn more whilst also trying to keep their grades up and avoid dying. It's a pretty interesting game but I hardly have the time to play it so I figured that I would use that time to continue.

Then he asked me if I was serious. The tone of voice he used with me suggested that he was expecting me to do something else, and that he was shocked by the fact that I was using my phone. I quickly locked it and shoved it back into my pocket before apologising again, and he simply huffed before turning away. "I can't believe that after all of the support I gave you whilst your mom was in hospital, you're treating me like this now that I'm going through a rough time," he told me. I swallowed, unable to find the words to respond. It was actually a fair enough point and I hadn't really considered it like that. Although I knew he loved spending time with my mom, it was still unfair to have expected him to help me in that situation and then not return it when the divorce was something that obviously really upset him a lot.

"I'm sorry, I didn't think--"
"Exactly. But the problem is that you never think, Mingyu. You're so superficial - so black and white with everything - that I'm starting to consider whether you have anything between your ears at all." It wasn't even meant in a joking way. His tone was cold and angry, as if he'd been considering it for the longest time but never had reason to let it out.
"What do you mean by that?" I asked, making sure that my tone didn't sound confrontational. It was only a question, not a challenge.

His eyes instantly snapped back towards me. "Do I need to explain how many times I've had to deal with your childish bullshit, as if I'm dating a child or something?" Wonwoo asked as an eyebrow raised. His lips were starting to curl in anger, and I was quickly coming to see the raw, emotional side of him that I'd never needed. "How you can't even do the basics? How half of the time when I come over, I have to empty Min's litterbox because you 'don't like cleaning it'? How you can't even cook dry pasta without it either setting on fire or melting into a puddle of what looks and tastes like wallpaper paste? How you can't even tell the difference between cuddly and aroused?"

He didn't really need to go on, but he did. It was the sort of thing that he tried to look past and ignore when we were together - all of the little problems that I caused but he was always too polite to call me out over. Wonwoo told me that he was sick of it, and now he was angry at both his parents and me. I didn't really know how to respond to it, so I tried to just blink away the tears that were starting to form in my eyes. He gave a loud sigh in response.

"And now the waterworks, hm? You're going to start crying so I feel bad for you again and have to comfort you?" I'm not really the sort of person to cry all that much, but it really got me down. I tried to take a long breath to calm down but as I apologised to him again, my voice cracked and I ended up letting out a loud sob. That started it all off. I could no longer hold it back and ended up having to leave the room so that he didn't feel obliged to comfort me. By the time I got back into the main room, once I'd let it all out, he was gone.

We didn't speak for two days, until yesterday evening actually. Neither of us really wanted to message the other first, and I guess that was sort of understandable. I imagined that Wonwoo had probably realised how cruel he'd been pretty early on and so was ashamed of himself. He wasn't really the sort of person to think that he was right when he obviously wasn't, so I doubted that he was just being stubborn. And of course, I didn't really want to be the first one to message him and make it seem as if I'd easily take him back into my life as if nothing had happened.

Then I got a text from him. "I hope you're home because I'm on my way over to apologise and it would be a bit awkward if I was to have to sit outside your place for several hours until you return."

I was nervous, to say the least. Of course, I didn't suddenly associate him with cruel words. I'm stronger than to think badly of him over and over just because he said some cruel things to me once. It didn't excuse it, but I think it made it easier to deal with the fact that he was coming over. So I told him just to let himself in. He arrived around twenty minutes later and immediately dropped down into a crouched bow in front of me to make his apology, before quietly shifting himself to kneel in front of me. I stared at him in silence, not really knowing what to do with myself.

"I can't even begin to describe how sorry I am for talking to you like that," Wonwoo said, maintaining direct eye contact as he did so in order to prove to me that he was being genuine. "I love and appreciate you, and those sorts of words shouldn't ever be said to someone you love. It was wrong of me, and it's a guilt that I'll have to live with. I understand if you'd rather cut off our relationship after that, but I'd like you to know that I'll never say those words to you again."

I believe him. Although I think he's probably the sort of person to make nasty remarks when he's angry, I really doubt that he's ever going to take a dig at me like that again. I think he's got enough control usually to be able to bite his tongue, and I really appreciate that. I made sure to tell him that I'm not planning on breaking up with him or anything over it, primarily because his apology wasn't looking for sympathy and was genuine. At that point, I told him that I love him and apologised for not taking better care of him when he was going through such a rough time.

Wonwoo told me that he had come to terms with it after having a night of drinking. He'd been scared about it, he said. Scared that it was a sign that love didn't last. If his parents' relationship didn't last and they'd seemed as if they were completely in love for thirty-six years in total - since they were fourteen - he didn't really know how to feel about love. Perhaps our relationship would be something different, especially since we met when he was ten years older than his parents had been, but there was no saying for sure. He didn't want us to decide to have children in the future and then put them in this position.

Of course, he'd come to realise that we didn't have to hide it from our own children if we had any. He knew how horrible it felt for him, and so he didn't really want to make them feel the same thing. And it was something that was absolutely preventable, now that he'd taken the time to think about it and agreed that it wasn't as big of a deal as he'd made it out to be. It took a lot of courage to confess that he'd overreacted and seen it as a personal threat when it wasn't like that at all. I respect that a lot.

But still, I'm a bit wary about everything. Not to the point where it's going to affect our relationship, but it's really made me think. Maybe I need to change some of my ways. Although I didn't think that it would bother Wonwoo that much, obviously it's been grating on him for a while. I was so blinded by hyping him up that I didn't even notice that I was irritating him quite a lot. It wasn't at all intentional, but that doesn't matter. It was the fact that sometimes when he comes to visit, he's essentially my parent because I'm so incompetent as an adult. It's something that I really need to change, so I'm feeling that it's time to take off the rose-tinted glasses and get on with it.

Actually, just to add - he also told me that he was heavily against getting gifts for apologies, just so that I was aware. He wouldn't be getting me a gift to apologise for anything, unless the argument was related to a gift, and he didn't expect gifts either. In his opinion, it takes away from the argument and increases likeability, even if what the person did was shitty. It really skews how a couple handles arguments in their relationship. He doesn't think it's right to essentially try to bribe your partner into forgiving you., and I really do have to agree with that one. In that sense, I am really happy that he didn't bring any presents with him to make up for what he did. We dealt with it like adults, talked it through, and then decided on what we should do to prevent spats like that from breaking out in the future. He promised me that if he did get unreasonably angry, he would take himself away from the situation, and frankly that was good enough for me.

We did end up getting food ordered to the house though, once we'd finished our discussion. Wonwoo decided that we should really be spending time on our relationship, and the frustration of cooking wasn't really going to help. He knows that I like to help but am usually really bad at doing anything related to cooking, and so we decided that it was best to skip that completely. I'm pretty sure I'm starting to put on weight from the amount of fast food we eat nowadays, but I wasn't really going to reject a large stuffed crust pizza with soft cookies when they were being offered so nicely to me.

I'm glad we got over this one so quickly, if I'm being completely honest. I don't like conflict in relationships and actively try to avoid it wherever possible, but I don't think there was any way that we could've avoided that one. He was always going to be angry and upset over his parents getting a divorce, and I'm a bit too relaxed to realise when he's crying out for help a lot of the time. It means that we're an imperfect couple but that's fine. As long as we work on it and try not to let anything like that happen again, I think we'll be fine.

It hasn't changed my love for him, I swear. I'm completely over it by this point, and if anyone ends up reading this, please don't misunderstand and think that he's a bad partner because he let his hurt show once. As long as if never happens again, I'm more than happy to brush this under the rug and pretend that it never happened. I don't want him to be painted as a villain if this ever becomes a novel or a movie, okay? Humans make mistakes, and sometimes those mistakes hurt the people we appreciate the most.

Remember that in the future. I'm considering tearing out this page in case someone takes it the wrong way, so that should be a big enough sign that it should be pushed to the back of your mind.

-- Mingyu

Chapter Text

It's June 2nd today!

I think Wonwoo feels as if he has to make things up to me still, despite the fact that he mentioned not getting me gifts to apologise. He still seems to feel pretty bad about absolutely everything, and although obviously I forgive him, I don't really blame him for feeling bad. Dohee told me that based on psychological research, those who treat their romantic partners like that once are more likely to do it again, so he's probably scared that he's going to end up making a habit out of making me feel bad like that. As much as I trust that he won't, I'm not the one he really has to convince in this sort of situation.

On Monday, I arrived in the office and started work, and within an hour I had a bouquet of flowers on my desk. He sent me orange lilies, since he figured that they were more masculine than roses or amaryllis. He said that he recently found a quicker route to work and it meant passing a beautiful flower shop. He'd been considering going there for the past few days to get me something but then he figured that they'd be too difficult to carry home and they'd die if I left them in the office for the weekend, so he sent them this morning. Now, I'm no genius or anything and I don't know if I'm just making poor inferences from limited information, but it sort of feels as if perhaps he might be trying to mask feelings of guilt. Of course, it could be the case that that's genuinely what happened and it just happens to be close to when we had our first argument, but I do think that perhaps he might be feeling bad about everything still. I didn't tell him that, though, and instead just thanked him for his gift.

He ended up coming over for the night, once we'd finished work. He was even cuddlier than usual, choosing not to even bother reading his book so that we could simply hold each other instead. His face buried into my chest and he was close enough to feel the rise and fall of his body against my side every time he took a breath. His body was warm and it soon made me tired, so we ended up shifting to lay on the sofa with him on top of me and my arms around his waist, holding him close. It was strangely romantic; even though we've sort of been seeing each other romantically for around five months now, we'd never really slept like that before. It had always been in a bed, and whilst that's relatively nice and comfortable, it's nothing compared to having him in my arms when I wake up in the morning. I woke up to a tiny damp patch on my shirt from his dribble, and his morning hair was perfect when he woke up. He seemed to be rather disorientated, since we'd only really laid down for an hour-long nap and ended up waking up when my alarm sounded at six in the morning.

His eyes flashed with embarrassment as he clambered off me, allowing me to get showered and dressed. His commute is somehow shorter from my place so he had time to shower afterwards, and so we essentially did a baton pass once I was ready. Yet, when I went downstairs I was faced with the most perfect sight. He'd put two boxes on the kitchen side for me - a mackerel and eggy rice breakfast, and a chicken katsu lunch - along with a note that I should have a good day. He'd lock up the house for me if I needed to leave soon, and he was hoping that he'd be back well before I arrived home. I've recently started staying later on Tuesdays because there's always so much to do at the start of the week and honestly, I'd just rather not drag Mondays out any longer than necessary. I'm glad that he appreciates it, rather than making me feel as if I'm dumb for staying later than I need to, and I was indescribably happy that he said he'd have dinner ready shortly after he arrived home.

He planned on making barbeque chicken and he absolutely delivered, as you can probably imagine. Wow, I've not eaten so well in a long time. Okay, I've had a lot of takeout food recently and it's usually really good because it's pre-made and all, but nothing beats a home-cooked meal. Nothing. Especially when it's made by your loving boyfriend who almost certainly made it because he thinks you deserve a good, wholesome meal for when you return home from a long day in the office. I'm blessed to have someone who makes me nourishing food that keeps me alive when he could easily just let me starve or something. Blessed.

The best part, though? I jokingly asked him if I was going to come home to him cooking naked when I was on my lunch break. He told me that he was planning to make dinner a lot earlier than that and leave it warming in a pot for me, but he promised that he might be able to make it happen. By the time I finished my shift, I'd completely forgotten about what I'd requested but sure enough, when I got home and made my way into the kitchen, he was just wearing my apron.

I froze. I didn't know what to say. Wonwoo just turned to flash a glance at me, as if he hadn't noticed that his clothes weren't on his body, before redirecting his gaze back to the food that was on the hob in front of him. "How was your day?" he asked as he began to move the vegetables around the pan.
"I want to bury my tongue inside your asshole," I replied.

It just came out. It was neither intentional, nor was it what I wanted to say. I wanted to hold a conversation with him; wanted to desexualise the natural state of nudity that blessed my eyes. We've been naked around each other enough for him to not be that bothered when I walk around without clothes. His eyes flicker from my chest to the point directly between my thighs for a fraction of a second, proving that he's still very much attracted to me (even though he's seen me do disgusting things, like picking rice out of my navel and eating it), but he doesn't make any comments about it. I, on the other hand, can't even see my boyfriend's ass without making some uncalled-for, raunchy comment about how I want him to use my face as a seat.

Usually, Wonwoo would give me a gentle, playful smack for making such a comment about him. "I'm not a sexual object for you to take whenever you want to get laid," he regularly tells me, "Perhaps you should woo me before you think about trying to get me into bed with you." But today, his response was completely different. He simply gazed at me with this look in his eyes - somewhere between desperation and lust - and then promptly asked me if perhaps I'd like to wash my hands and start digging in. It was as if he didn't notice the comment at all. I was relieved, if I was completely honest, and so I promptly did as I was told before grabbing a plate. I started to serve myself some food - taking a scoop of rice, some chicken, some vegetables - but before I could start on my way to the main room, Wonwoo was on the floor in front of me. His legs were tucked underneath him, and he managed to pull my belt loose in one fluid motion before dropping my trousers and boxers straight to the floor.

Then he was sucking me. He got straight to work, and I just watched him doing so, not really knowing what to do with myself until he pointed out that my food would go cold if I didn't start eating it. So I began to eat, savouring the sensation of his cool tongue against my skin. It sent chills prickling up my spine. By the time I'd finished eating, Wonwoo had reached his goal and promptly moved back up to stand so that he could get his own food. "Make sure you get more," he instructed, "We don't want any food to go to waste."

As you can probably imagine, I got a little bit extra that night. Not all the way, but I got what I'd asked for. To take it that bit further, I had to wait for last night.

Wonwoo asked if we could have a date night. Something romantic and sweet, where we got to hold each other and all. No one else around - no phones, no social media, and no television. We were going right back to the start of our relationship. Remember when we had that blind tasting date? It was a bit like that, in a way. He wanted to make desserts that represented the other person. We had twenty minutes to make something up, and then we had to take a photo of it before taking it through to the main room and feeding it to the other (blindfolded) person. The game involved guessing what sort of foods were in the dessert, and why it represented us as individuals. It was a strangely romantic idea, and I genuinely loved the thought of it all. We'd ended up getting a load of different ingredients to play with and laid them out in the kitchen, ready for our time together.

I went first. I decided to make something sweet with a bitter edge. Not that Wonwoo is bitter as such, but he seems to be a bit stoic on the outside when you first meet him. His gaze is arguably intimidating, and the way that he raises his eyebrow slowly whilst you're talking makes you reconsider exactly every event in your life leading up to that point. That is, until he makes an intelligent, well-thought comment and proves that he had a resting bitch face when he's thinking. If I were to describe him in flavour and texture, I'd say that he's a bit like a dark chocolate mousse with salted caramel and meringue; rich, creamy, thick and masculine, with a little bit of a loving edge. So I demonstrated this in my dish as best as possible.

The mousse was made from silken tofu and melted dark chocolate, with the caramel and crushed meringue chunks swirled in, and then it was put into the freezer for five minutes so that it would stiffen a bit, but not to the point of ice cream or anything. It was garnished with squirty cream, grated dark chocolate, and a little bit of mint. It wasn't really the most impressive dish in the world and I'm sure that he'd do a lot better, but it was everything I thought of when I saw him. It's everything that our relationship has been through, and one hundred explanations of my feelings for him. It's the side that not many people see, but the side that I've genuinely fallen in love with.

He liked it, thankfully. He got all of the flavours perfectly correct, as if he was some sort of master chef or something. Now, I'm guessing that it's probably because he's really familiar with the kitchen - plus he came with me to get the ingredients - but at the time I was incredibly surprised that he'd managed to label them so easily. In fact, it might even be because the ingredients are relatively simple too, but we've all seen those videos where professional chefs do those taste test challenges and they get something simple like egg or ham wrong.

Then came his one. I didn't really know what to expect from Wonwoo's dessert at all. I didn't think he was really going to be able to get the essence of asshole or something like that, and it's not like him to do something disgusting with it. It was a bit of a strange experience waiting in anticipation for him to return. I thought that maybe this plan would be great bc it seemed really romantic and all, but the reality of the situation is that I've never really considered how long twenty minutes is until I've had to sit there for that long without constantly getting up out of my seat.

Anyway, he eventually returned and brought the dessert over to where I was sitting. I felt his presence close to my body as he sat down on the sofa next to me, and then the coolness of the spoon pressed against my lips. My mouth was suddenly filled with a mix of sweetness and what appeared to be cinnamon. It took a while for me to guess the flavours and Wonwoo seemed to be genuinely surprised that I didn't guess what I was being fed before he'd finished feeding it to me, but then he decided just to tell me because it was proving to be an impossible task.

He'd made a peach cobbler. It usually took a lot longer than that to cook, but he'd made a very little one for me so it was done within the time allowance. The crumb top was mixed with vanilla - an apparent notion of the fact that although I claim to be kinky, I much prefer just the standard boy-on-boy action. The peaches were apparently to do with my personality and not my fine ass, and they were joined in the dish by honey-glazed hazelnut chunks. The honey was supposed to be a mix of my smile, the warm undertones of my skin, and the idea that I'm a dreamer. Apparently, it's also symbolism for male arousal in some cultures, and so Wonwoo feels that it's fitting. The hazelnuts, on the other hand, have a certain warmth that he associates with me. It's like the warmth of winter; of the roaring fire, and the glowing light replacing the need for bulbs.

Wonwoo got a bit nervous when it came to the cinnamon, though. It was the main flavour that I'd identified so I was anxious to find out what it meant and why he associated it with me. It ended up taking until we were in the bath for him to actually tell me what it was. At that point, he'd placed his face on his chest so that he couldn't see my expression, and was lazily drawing patterns on my arm with a fingertip. "Cinnamon is a charm of love and happiness, you know. It's a part of magick cultures. The powder and oil forms are supposed to help charge items so that you'll have good fortune in your romantic life and happiness. I suppose I associate it with you because you've given me good fortune in that sort of way. I'm in love for the first time in a long time, and I feel happy whenever I'm with you."

I didn't expect that. Not in the slightest. But I appreciate it. He confessed that I do annoy him at times, but he would never wish anything bad on me. He couldn't stand the thought of us breaking up because he's made awful mistakes in the past, and he wanted me to know that he honestly thinks the world of me.

So I just kissed him. There was nothing else I could really do; words couldn't even begin to touch on the fact that he's grounded me, and I feel like I'd be failing him if I tried to describe it. Love is an uncomfortable place to be, in all honesty. It has the power to ground people who would otherwise be scattered and fragmented. It has the power to drag out the best version of you, but it also has the power to drag out all of the worst. As much as it might help you to find yourself through support and genuine caring, it could also drag out the hurting and jealousy and mistrust. It's a little part of an individual that shouldn't be their whole self, but it's still a part that is important for personal development. A bad relationship might help you to see your worth as much as a good one. A relationship in which you have arguments over boundaries or respect is going to teach you about your own - and other people's - emotions.

Now, I know that I probably seem like I idolise Wonwoo more than I should. I probably make him seem like a god among men, and I've only ever discussed one argument so far. What you need to understand, though, is that the other disagreements don't necessarily matter so much when someone really outweighs them with positivity. Certain things may annoy me, and certain things may annoy him. He gets unnecessarily pissed off if I leave my socks in the bed. He straight up refuses to get under the bedsheets if I can't show him that I've taken them out. I get irritated with the fact that he's always leaving cutlery in the sink. He hates that I let Min lick butter from a regular spoon and not one that's specifically dedicated to her, and I can't stand the fact that he puts dried fruits in the rice when I'm visiting his house. See, it's minor things. We have a slight bicker over it, but it's not something we'd be so angry about that we'd go to bed questioning our relationship. It's not something so big that I really feel the need to write it here either.

I'd prefer to be happy in our relationship and this is why. He thinks of me like I'm cinnamon; a good luck charm for love and happiness. And I think that's probably the sweetest thing that anyone has ever said about me. It's a sign of genuine love and appreciation, and no amount of socks in the bed or cutlery in the sink is going to make us stop having feelings for each other. I don't need to sit here every week and complain about the silly, insignificant details. You don't necessarily need to know that when we went to bed after our date night, our plan to get intimate was temporarily halted as Wonwoo hissed that my wet hair was leaving the pillows damp and he wasn't continuing until we were dry. See, he never called me out on the big things, but the little things always come alongside sheepish smiles and awkward laughs, and it's just the usual thing that every couple experiences. It's what makes us normal - what makes us human - and I want to make that very clear.

Ah, it looks like I've dissolved back into messy, soppy talk once again. I just feel more reflective nowadays. Every time I think I've seen everything and that our relationship is going to start turning towards boring adult things - where we have sex once a month, get our kicks out of shopping for plates together, and a night together involves sitting on opposite sides of the living room playing Candy Crush on our laptops - a curveball like this comes out of nowhere. It's those few seconds of intimacy that make it worth being in love, even when divorce rates are so high and there's growing belief that it's just a temporary sensation.

Anyway, I think we're done here now. Until next week.

-- Mingyu

Chapter Text

I just screwed up severely.

I don't know what to do.

Wonwoo is in A&E and it's all my fault.

Chapter Text

It's Monday 11th June.

Okay, okay. I got everything sorted. Panic over. I honestly thought that I'd killed Wonwoo yesterday but he's currently home with me. He's got some nasty damage to his head, and we have to constantly monitor him so that he doesn't end up dying in his sleep or something, but I guess at least he's at home and the damage was only so bad that he was kept in hospital for two nights.

Congrats to me.

Anyway, as you can probably imagine from last week's entry (which I was considering throwing away because it looks like a bit of a mess all scrawled out on the paper like that, out of place and rushed), I genuinely screwed up more than I've ever screwed up in my entire life.

Now, it's really hard to explain everything that went down. It was basically like an episode of "Sex Sent Me to the ER" but worse. Funnily enough, I've been watching some clips from that show lately because Hansol found them absolutely hilarious and sent me a version with Korean subtitles so that I could enjoy it. I never really expected that my weekend would end up looking like I was a part of that show, but I guess that at least it's something we can laugh about now. Or at least I hope we can laugh about it. Trusting my luck, Wonwoo will recover and he'll be really pissed at me or something. He hasn't just yet, but I'm anticipating it. I wouldn't blame him, in all honesty - I did hurt him pretty badly - but then I guess that if we can't laugh at everything that happened, it's not worth continuing really.

So it started out on Saturday, essentially. Wonwoo doesn't usually go into work on Saturdays (obviously) but he had to go to some meeting with his senior staff this time. He'd decided that he was going to go in early in hopes that he wouldn't have to stay later, since he knew that the other staff would be expecting certain things to be done by the end of his time in the office, so he ended up leaving my place before eight in the morning. I slept for a while longer, figuring that there was no point in waking up too early when I was just going to be sat there with Min, waiting for him to get back just after lunchtime. But then when I woke up at around elevenish, I had a text from him to say that he would probably end up staying there until around two o'clock because it had turned out that someone had severely fucked up their auditing or something and they needed to get it all sorted out before Monday, when everyone would be back there. He wasn't impressed, as you can imagine, and I wasn't all that happy either. I know that we've been in a relationship for quite some time by this point, but I still really like spending time with him so excess work is just a bit disappointing really. I'd rather not have to deal with him being away during our usual time together.

I decided, though, that I would do something fun for when he returned. As you can probably tell by this point, we're still sort of in that honeymoon phase. It's not as bad as it was at the start, at which point we were literally all over each other from the moment our eyes met, but it's still pretty out there. I mean, we're still in the first two months of our sexual relationship and most couples are pretty intimate up to around three months after their first time in bed together, so I think we're doing pretty well to have it capped. Three to four times a week is a lot better than the five times a day we started out with, so I'm not even all that embarrassed to admit that intimacy was on my mind when he was out of the house. I ended up taking some pretty intimate photos for him, figuring that it would brighten up his day a bit. I even considered making a sock elephant, in hopes that it would make him laugh, but I guessed that he would probably just thwack me for it when he got back. It's either supposed to be sexy or funny, and I have to admit, I'm awful at making both work at the same time. He has his ways, but I'm pretty much a one-at-a-time sort of guy.

So I sent them over to him, along with a message about how I wanted to eat his booty again. It's becoming a bit of an addiction, I think. Not actual booty eating, but telling him that I'm gonna do it. It's like the ultimate sign of being in the mood for someone's attention; going to something that could quite easily be seen as disgusting and making it seem as if it's the norm. He's hardly complained so far, so I think it's just becoming our thing by this point in time. Figurative booty eating, just to show him that I love him.

He sent a message back after around a half hour, although he didn't sound half as enthusiastic about it. "Mingyu, my phone read your message out in the meeting. I've never felt so humiliated in my entire life. I've not come out to any of my colleagues, so I had to explain that I'm in a relationship with another man on the spot. It was probably the most awkward, uncomfortable experience of my entire life." Whoops. Well, how was I supposed to know about that? I sent him back an apology, but he ended up just telling me that at least it was out there. He didn't necessarily need to hide the fact that we're in a relationship from his colleagues anymore now that it was out in the open, even if it was awkward and embarrassing for him to deal with at the time. "You'd better live up to your promise when I get home, though."

Game on. I knew by that point that Wonwoo would have sorted his phone out, just so that he didn't have the same issue with it reading out his texts again. I sent an even worse text, going into intense detail about exactly what I was planning to do with him when he returned to my place. I was rather impressed with my own artistic talent when I was explaining it - the text didn't come across as being too lewd or awkward, and I'm pretty sure it wasn't too cringey either. Of course, my erotic novel-reading boyfriend would probably be the judge of that when he finished work; he'd read enough of that sort of thing to know when my writing was poor, so I fully expected him to give my a load of criticism about how my sentence structure was awkward and it succeeded in making him feel uncomfortable more than it aroused him.

Instead, he sent a text back a while later to tell me that he was actually really interested. "I hope you're ready to help me destress from the minute I walk through the front door," he said, "I'm really in the mood to have you pulling my hair as you treat me like your pet or something." Kinky. I was absolutely down. In fact, I can't even begin to describe how down for that I actually was. It was the greatest feeling to actually be supported in that sort of area, with him acting as if he was genuinely really into the thought of us getting close and intimate when he got back from work. I'd imagined that perhaps he'd want to make it quick and simple, since he was probably exhausted after the early wake-up for the sixth day in a row, but he was actually really into the thought of us dragging it out. I can't even begin to describe how happy it made me feel when I read the text, and so I ended up searching through my drawers for absolutely everything that we could possibly use in order to make our time together that little bit more exciting. Anything to make it special so that he did feel as if he was being destressed.

I ended up finding some massage oils whilst I was at it. They were still within their use-by period, even though I haven't actually used them before, so I figured that they would be a nice starting or ending point. Perhaps get him all warmed up so that he would feel a lot more comfortable. You know how it is when you finish a long shift. The last thing you want to do is continue with physical activity. You just want to get into bed and lay there for a while as you think about other things to take your mind off how busy you were. It's just the standard, really, and I know that Wonwoo is a huge fan of that sort of thing usually. He hates working at the moment, since there's always a lot of stress on him and all, so I've just become use to the fact that he wants to leave it at the door as soon as he gets home.

The wait for him to get back was painful. I can't even begin to explain it. It's always the same when you're anticipating something. Min didn't want anything to do with me so I couldn't distract myself with cuddling her or anything, and I didn't really want to start watching something on the television because I knew that I would have to watch it through to the end once I'd begun to get into it. I didn't think that that would really go down well with my boyfriend, as wonderful and understanding as he usually is, so I figured that that was probably the worst thing I could do. Yet, it wasn't really like there was anything else that I could indulge myself in during that time. So I just ended up sitting there and watching the clock for around a half hour more, occasionally doing something here and there to clean up the main room in the process, until I finally heard the door click open.

For once, Wonwoo was rather relaxed when he walked into the main room. He didn't look too bothered by everything that he'd had going on at work, and he strangely seemed as if he wanted to be cuddly with me right away. Usually there's at least a few minutes in which he needs to cool down before we can even consider making contact - be it kisses, cuddles or anything more - but this time he simply sat next to me and curled up against my side. "How has your day been so far?" he asked me right away, catching me completely off-guard. I told him that I'd enjoyed being relaxed but had missed him a lot, and so he pressed a soft kiss to my lips before telling me that he was glad that he was back home now. Then he kissed me again, more deliberately that time. One more firm, long kiss, and he was in my lap. It was a chaste move, though; he made sure to press himself close enough for me to feel the warmth of his body radiating through his clothes, but he didn't try to push for too much contact right away. He was cuddled up against me and that was it; nothing too needy or desperate to start our afternoon out with.

To begin with, we just sat there. Once the kiss was over, Wonwoo moved his head to press against my shoulder as he held me as close as he could manage. "I've missed you today," he said, "I don't like being at work when you're here waiting for me." It was unusual to hear him speaking like that, but I actually found it pretty sweet. Soft Wonwoo is the cutest Wonwoo, especially since he won't kick my ass for pointing out how adorable he is.

I was about to make my move so that we could at least get something romantic going (think sweeping him off his feet and making him swoon in the process) but before I could start down that avenue, Wonwoo shifted his position so that he could look up at my face. "Do you love me?" he asked, as if I hadn't told him a million times a day for the past month or so.
"I do," I told him, and he broke into a smile as he cuddled back against my chest.
"I'm feeling fragile," he told me. That much was obvious from the way that he was acting, and I should've expected him to say something like that earlier. I wrapped my arms around him tighter so that he could feel the warmth of the embrace starting to swallow him up, and then pressed a gentle kiss to his forehead.
"Do you want to just cuddle for tonight or something then? I don't want to push you too far."

Surprisingly, he shook his head. I felt the tickle of his breath against my ear as he leaned up towards it, his voice hoarse and scratchy as he spoke. "I want you to break me," he said, trying his hardest to keep the words as a whisper. It was as if he was expecting someone else to hear it, or perhaps for someone to realise and break up what we were about to do. He shuffled closer somehow, far enough for me to be able to feel his heartbeat against my ribs. Which was pretty hard, considering that he was wearing a suit and I was in a hoodie, but he still managed to do it.

I promptly moved an arm to support his ass as I stood up, and he immediately clung to me with his arms and legs. As always, it was as if he was scared that I was going to drop him or something. Sometimes I worry that he doesn't really trust me when I'm carrying him towards my - well, our - bedroom, even though I had yet to drop him and cause serious damage. His face stayed tucked neatly against the gap between my neck and shoulder as I took him through the house, and then attempted to lower him onto the bed. This time, though, he continued to cling. He didn't want to create any distance between us for now, as much as I pointed out that we needed that little bit of a gap so that I could undress him ready to get started. "You don't want to do this in your work suit, do you?" He shook his head in response. "Then let me take it off you."
"We can do it one arm at a time. It's fine."

Sigh. I should really appreciate the moments when he gets needy like this, but I do find it a little bit difficult. He doesn't put up with it when I try to act like this. "Mingyu, stop being a brat," he'll tell me, "Or you're not getting anything. Don't think I won't just sit here with my book and read instead." But I can't help it when he's like this. It makes my heart melt. Sometimes I think it's necessary to be a bit childish, even if it's a huge inconvenience for your romantic partner. Of course, he was going to get away with it again now that he was showing that bit of reluctance, so I simply did as he asked. One arm released and out of the sleeves. That arm returned to my neck. The other arm released and out of the sleeves. Back around me again. He unwrapped his legs for a moment so that I could wrestle his trousers off, but then they were back around me again so that I had no choice but to clamber over him and try not to knee him somewhere uncomfortable.

It did get better after that, though. As soon as we were under the bedsheets and away from the cold of the bedroom, he was a lot more relaxed. He unwound completely but simply gazed up at me with this loving little smile the entire time. I'm usually a little bit uncomfortable with making eye contact during moments of intimacy. I think it's a bit like when a dog relieves itself and stares its owner down in the process. You can't look away because the stare is captivating, but it's really uncomfortable in the process. Although this time, Wonwoo was a lot sweeter with the eye contact. It didn't feel as if he was waiting for me to slip up or do something ridiculous. The look in his eyes was filled with genuine love - it was the same face that he pulled on our first time back a few months ago. Pure love and adoration. I love it. It's that sure sign that your partner is still attracted to you in a way that surpasses lust. It's an attraction to you as a person in your most disgusting moment - when you're starting to sweat and the pleasure of copulation leaves you unable to concentrate on making your face pretty. It's a pretty weak moment, in my opinion, and if your partner can stand you when you're looking gross like that (and genuinely still seem like they're completely in love with you), they can stand you through pretty much anything.

So it went on. It was great to start with. Generally pretty silent this time, but I didn't have that strange urge to talk as usual. It was just a relaxed Saturday afternoon of showing how much we love each other. Great stuff. Would do again. Ten out of ten. That was, until everything started to screw up. You knew it was going to happen; I mean, I mentioned that I had to take him to the emergency room so something was bound to happen, right?

So, it turns out that I made two big, big mistakes this time.

First of all, I used a new lube that I had in the drawer. I say it's new, but what I mean is that we've never used it in the bedroom before. I usually use it during my solo sessions, if I'm being completely honest; I rather like silicone-based lubricants for my alone time. It was the first one that I grabbed and I didn't check the bottle because I still wanted to stay close to Wonwoo as we were cuddled against each other, so I simply rubbed it over the condom and got to work. I'm not sure if anyone else of what happens to condoms when they come in contact with silicone lubricants but it's not pretty. They disintegrate. Like, completely disintegrate. You're probably sat here thinking, "Well, that's not a big deal. You're both guys; it's not like you're going to end up risking pregnancy if your condom splits once." You'd be right about that, and usually I don't think it'd matter all that much. Wonwoo and I are clean; we both took the tests to ensure that we're both clean before we started to really get into the intimacy of our relationship.

No, rather the condom surpassed the level of splitting. I had a strange sense that something was different when we were around halfway through and I pulled back, only to find that it was gone. Almost completely gone. As in, I literally had the band at the bottom and the rest had separated and was somewhere inside of him. Now, I don't know how the hell it happened. I've had the odd condom mishap in my time, especially with silicone lubes or too much force and it just breaks or splits or whatever. Never before in my life have I had one that separates in half horizontally and ends up buried in a guy somewhere. So I tried to be as calm as possible as I told him. "Ah, it seems that the condom is missing," I told him as coolly as I could. Wonwoo suddenly dropped his loved-up expression and stared at me in horror.
"What do you mean it's missing? You put one on, didn't you?"

I pulled back to show him and he suddenly let out a low noise of discomfort as he buried his face in his hands. "Seriously, Mingyu? How does that even happen? I've heard of them splitting lengthways but not like that."
"Maybe it did split lengthways but then just came off in the process?" I offered. It apparently didn't help whatsoever as he moved his hands to stare at me disapprovingly.
"That's making me feel a lot better, Mingyu. What if I have two pieces of latex missing inside of me now?" I didn't really know what to say. Yeah, maybe it wasn't for the best that I made the comment. He seemed a lot more anxious now that he was considering that there were multiple pieces inside of him. I'd royally fucked up and I didn't really know what to say to make him feel better about it.

I tried anyway, though, because that's just what I'm like.

"Well, maybe if you take a laxative, it'll all come out and we won't need to see a medical professional." He hit me hard on the shoulder.
"I'm not taking a fucking laxative, Mingyu. I'm going to see a medical professional." It seemed like it was a bit much for him to go to the hospital over that sort of thing. I mean, he could always just remove it how he would usually get rid of waste from his body. It was just one or two pieces of latex inside of him somewhere. It couldn't really go far; in fact, if he was that bothered about it, I could always try to fish it out. I was sure that my fingers were long enough to be able to do that sort of thing. Sure, it'd be pretty gross and it'd probably hurt a little bit, but at least then we wouldn't have to spend hours waiting to be seen by a doctor, only for them to tell us that he should've just taken the laxatives in the first place.
"I'm sure we can find some other way of going about things. You know, since it's gonna be so much of a hassle to get to the nearest hospital and go through the entire process like that. Do we really wanna waste our time on that sort of thing?"
"I'm allergic to silicone and I can feel the burning starting."

So I'd officially Fucked Up. I didn't even know what to say in response to that. I was pretty sure that neither of us had any allergies to sex-related products - I'm sure I asked him about it right at the start - but apparently, it had never come up because we were obviously supposed to use water-based lubricants with the condoms. And the vast majority of them used water-based lubricants on the outside too so he'd never had any issue with it up until that point. I could see him starting to get uncomfortable already, and so I promptly asked him if he needed help with getting there. "I think it's going to rub if I walk," Wonwoo admitted, "So I think that I might either need to be carried or you might need to call a taxi for us to get there." Either way, I was going to have to carry him down to the street, so I informed him that I would call for the taxi now, we would get ready, and then I would take him down to the street to wait. I was prepared to be the best possible boyfriend to make it up to him, so that he didn't feel so bad anymore or see me as the screw-up I am.

Could it get any worse? Of course it could. We got dressed ready to leave once I'd called a taxi and so I scooped him straight up so that I could carry him to the street. He made me promise that I wasn't going to drop him because he could feel the slight shakiness in my legs as a result of the fact that we were just in bed together. I swore that I wasn't going to drop him but then when we were right in front of the door, Min came bolting at us as if she'd just seen a ghost or something and so I suddenly lost balance and ended up falling forward.

Wonwoo hit the ground first and I landed on top of him. But then, since all of my weight was on top of him and I'm quite a lot bigger than he is, he ended up hitting the ground with an incredible amount of force. His head smashed off the tiled floor in the kitchen, and he promptly lost consciousness. I found that out the hard way as I tried to clamber off him and realised that he was out cold. That was enough to warrant an ambulance, so I quickly called for them to come out to my apartment and told them that he'd hit his head hard but I was scared to move him. The last thing I really wanted was for him to have a neck injury and for me to aggravate it by messing with him. They said that they would be out as soon as possible but asked for me to stay with him until they arrived.

Thankfully by the time they'd turned up, he was conscious again. I swear, I've never been so relieved in my entire life. I could've cried. He tried to sit up but I ended up holding him down so that he couldn't cause any damage to his neck, and he so he simply accepted it and stayed down as he asked me what happened. I had to confess to him that I'd tripped over Min and hurt him, and that I hoped he wasn't too badly injured but I was unbelievably sorry for causing him so many issues when he'd spent the day at work and all. He promised that it was all fine but honestly, it didn't really feel like it was fine. The ambulance crew were there shortly after and they made sure to check his head and neck over before getting him into the ambulance and taking us both to hospital so that it would be checked over. I made sure to tell them about the condom and the incident with his silicone allergy too, and I was absolutely relieved to find that they weren't angry with me over it. It had surely caused a lot of issues for them, since they would have to treat his allergy with antihistamines and keep it checked over, since the inflammation was surely going to cause issues with bowel movement for the next day or two, and then they would also have to try to find the pieces of condom. If they were still coated in the lube, they would probably cause further reactions, so they needed it to be taken out as soon as possible.

So I ended up just sitting in the hospital for a few hours until he was all taken care of. They'd managed to find the condom relatively easily but it started to disintegrate further as they tried to remove it, so it was a huge pain for them to deal with. Eventually, though, it was removed and he was given the medication to reduce his allergy flare-up. Then they made sure that his head was okay. He was severely concussed, they told me, so he needed to stay in for at least one night in order to ensure that everything was okay. We spent a few hours together on Saturday night until it was time for him to get some rest, and so I went home for a couple of hours until I was able to visit again in the morning.

The issue was, though, that they suspected a more complex issue. When he woke up, Wonwoo's right pupil wasn't focusing properly. The left was responding well to the light, but the right one was saying large the entire time. They were very concerned that it was a direct result of the head injury and that it was a sign of swelling of his brain, and so they ended up taking him for multiple tests to ensure that everything was okay. I swear, I've never been so worried in my entire life. I was convinced that I'd near enough killed my boyfriend and that when he got out of the hospital, he'd tell me where to go. And I wouldn't blame him because I'd really hurt him badly by just being my dumb self. I whispered apologies over and over again as I waited for the results, and just prayed that he would be okay.

It took a few hours for them to come back to me about it, and thankfully it turned out that it was just a result of a severe migraine which came from him rolling over the bump on the back of his head. He'd just not told them because he didn't want to bother the nursing staff, which was why they didn't catch onto it earlier. They treated the migraine and helped him to get some extra rest so that he was more comfortable and by this morning, it was sorted. They gave him one more check over to ensure that he was healing properly, that it was definitely just the migraine, and then sent him home with me today.

I've basically spent the entire day making it up to him so far. He's had Min on his lap, since she could tell that he was hurt and immediately came to check that he was okay, and I've been making sure that he's had his pain medication and enough water. Surprisingly, he'd not angry at me either. He asked if I would cuddle him whilst we slept tonight and told me that he doesn't mind me being the big spoon as long as I don't put my face in his hair. His skull is still sensitive and he doesn't want the migraine to come back, which is completely understandable.

So yeah, it's been a bit of a wild few days and I'm glad that he's feeling better now, but I do feel like I'm going to be forever in debt to him. Who ends up hurting their boyfriend that badly in the space of an hour, seriously?

Until next time, I guess.

-- Mingyu

Chapter Text

It's June 23rd today!

It's been a little while since the accident with Wonwoo, but he's recovering well. He's being a bit of a brat, though, if I'm being completely honest. Earlier today, he asked me to massage his shoulders and back. I took slightly longer than he'd anticipated that I'd take to get around to it, and suddenly it was the end of the world. "My back is hurting so badly. I don't know if I'm going to be able to stand to go to bed when it's hurting this badly." Obviously, he was hinting that he wanted to be carried to bed too. Obviously, I wasn't going to reject his hinting when the only reason why he was in that position in the first place was because I'm an awful boyfriend who caused him to have an allergic reaction, lost a split condom inside of him, and then dropped him onto a tiled surface. He deserved to have someone running around after him.

Also, I figured that some sort of a gift would be appropriate to make it up to him. We didn't argue so I wouldn't say that it breaks the rules, but I booked him a full-body professional massage for tomorrow night. I was considering getting a deep tissue one but after thinking about it for the whole day at work, I guessed that perhaps it would be a bad idea because it'd mean that he would end up in more pain from the rough rubbing on his sore, tense parts. Instead, it's going to be really relaxing and he'll even get a head rub. I'm thinking of giving an additional rub down when he gets home too, although it's probably not going to be anywhere near as good as what he'll be getting done professionally.

Aside from that, though, he's a little bit ill at the moment. To start with, I thought that maybe it was something to do with last week's incident, but then he started to have stomach problems and it's too long since his allergic reaction for it to be related to that. He's currently tucked up against my side with a hot water bottle on his stomach because it's bloated. I have to keep helping him to get to the bathroom, and he always makes sure that I'm well out of the way before doing what he needs to do. I don't know whether he's actually being sick or whether it's something more to do with his digestive system, but I'm a bit concerned either way. It probably doesn't help that he's had an increased appetite, but it's not really my place to comment on how much he's eating at the moment anyway. Maybe it's something, maybe it's nothing.

On another note, work has dropped a bit of a bombshell on us this week. I wasn't really expecting it, especially since we seemed to be doing so well lately, but we're having a few financial difficulties at the moment. Apparently, people prefer to get their news online nowadays - even the older generations, who I expected would probably still choose a physical copy over a digital one. It's the case that a lot of news is readily available online within minutes nowadays, so there's no need to wait for half a day to hear about what's going on in the world. I understand, to a degree. Newspapers are a waste of paper, since a lot of people don't bother to recycle them and will only read them once, and they're inconvenient too. How are you supposed to find out exactly what article you need right away, other than the "turn to page ___" tags next to what the editor thinks is the most interesting news? You literally just have to flick through and hope that you come across what you're trying to find.

The surprising part is that even our online news isn't doing as well as we'd hoped at the moment. I can't really think of a solid explanation for that one. Maybe it's related to the fact that social media tends to update users on the current news as it happens, so there's less of a need to specifically visit news websites. Maybe I'm just grasping at straws and it's just the fact that our news isn't interesting or unique. That could certainly be the case; after all, whilst we do have some unique aspects, such as my column and the medical advice columns, a lot of it is just the mediocre news that every company will be spewing over the next few days. Scandals, company flops, problems with America, huge accidents - nothing so interesting that you'll find different details in different newspapers.

On the positive side, however, that means that the bigger areas of the company that no one really cares about will see losses of jobs first. Whilst I was convinced that I would be one of the first ones to go, my team isn't even seeing cuts just yet. It was announced at the meeting last week; the sports and business departments are receiving the biggest cuts, and then science is taking a bit of a hit too. We're also reducing the number of reporters and correspondents we have. The worst part, though? They're all going to be having interviews with their managers to see who is the most deserving of their job. It doesn't matter whether they've been with our company since the start, whether they've had consistent praise or have heaps of experience. Everyone is essentially being pitted against each other so that they can find the people who both genuinely want to work here and can provide evidence to show that they're deserving.

I think it's pretty shitty, to be honest, and I'm really glad that I'm not in that position. Imagine being really good at your job but having very poor self-esteem, for example. You're really excellent and you're driving the company, but you're not confident in what you're doing. Some idiot who bigs themselves up gets to keep their job instead. How awful would that be? I seriously think that if this is their method, it's just going to flop and we're going to end up having to file for bankruptcy in a few months. Hell, as much as I love working here and I'd really rather not lose my job, I'm in two minds whether to start looking for another job already. I can't really afford to not have a job at the moment, so I think that it's a better option to have that back-up ready, just in case.

Overall, it's been a pretty dry week so I'm not going to add too much more, but one thing that did come up was my sister's scan. She was a bit reluctant to hand out the first ultrasound, since she was worried that it would make things tense if she tried to act as if it was a good thing so soon after announcing to everyone that she'd fallen pregnant following affairs with multiple married men. So instead, she waited for her second one - which took place this Tuesday - and came over to give me the photo of my first niece.

I don't know what I was expecting but the photo was really clear. I could see the shape of her entire body really clearly, from the bump of her nose to her curled-up legs. My sister said that she kept moving about whilst they were watching her, so they ended up having to try to figure out her gender around four times before they were actually successful in confirming it.

By this point, my sister is growing rapidly. When she sits down, her knees are basically on opposite sides of the sofa. It's unfortunately the case that in our family, the women look a lot further into their pregnancy than they actually are. Even though she's only around twenty-one weeks into the pregnancy, she could easily pass for being around thirty-five weeks. The weirdest part, though, is that there's no real reason for it. She's not eating more than she usually would, other than dealing with the odd craving here and there. Her fitness coach said that at the very most, she should be eating for one and a half instead of two people, since the baby won't use up the same amount of energy as a full person, and she's been keeping up with that relatively well. The baby isn't even big either. She's average, maybe even on the smaller side. It's just really weird because she's swelled up like a balloon but it's pretty mismatched in general.

I think I'm warming up to this pregnancy now, you know. She gave me a photo of the ultrasound to keep so it's on my fridge. I think I'm going to need to step up and try to be the best uncle I can be, making sure to push my previous negative feelings to the side. After all, it's not the baby's fault and if my sister doesn't want to get rid of her, she shouldn't have to feel obliged because we all thought that it was an irresponsible decision. It's probably not going to be as bad as we thought it would be, in the end. I hope it won't be bad.

Oh, also she's already picked out a name. She's thinking that Hyunjae would be a pretty name. It means "wisdom and respect" and I think it'll be fitting.

Anyway, time to finish up before I start to ramble about random philosophy as usual. I'm sure that it's starting to get annoying by this point and makes me seem like I'm constantly on the soju. Although it might end up returning soon. You never know. I'm here to keep you on your toes. You never know when I'm going to write, what dramatic events have happened each week, and whether I'm going to have a Renee Descartes moment.

Until next week.

-- Mingyu

Chapter Text

It's Friday, 29th June.

It's been a bit of a weird week. Wonwoo suddenly got sicker this week so I've had to spend a lot of my time taking care of him. He's had to call in sick for the past five days and ended up going to the doctor on Tuesday in order to get the time off. He didn't tell me what the issue was, but said that he was given some medication to help him to feel better. He's been a bit awkward about discussing it, really. I'd be suspicious under any other circumstance, but I'm just worried about him at this point. I've never seen a guy this ill before without it being something related to a poor immune system. It's a really bad virus, and he's basically surrounded by tissues. I've had to leave jugs of water next to the bed for him, and then I've been carrying him to the shower every day so that I can wash him properly. I didn't think that it would be all that great if I left him to melt in a puddle of his own sweat, after all. He says that he's cold but his skin is so hot that we don't even need to put the radiators on at night. Just being near him if making me sweat.

That naturally meant that it was hard to go to work without him, though. I was worried sick the entire time. Most of my time has been spent with my phone on the desk next to me, worrying that he's going to contact to say that he needs to go to hospital or something. Okay, maybe it's not that extreme or anything, but I was really concerned. Wonwoo hasn't been ill once since we got together and then suddenly it hit all at once. It started as soon as he woke up. He ended up being sick, and then the fever started shortly afterwards. I was in two minds whether to call into work and tell them that I really needed to look after him when it first started. It was just so sudden that I was concerned about whether it was something really bad that could kill him. You know how it is with certain illnesses; they look a lot like a common virus but then it turns out that they're just there to kill you. It's not nice at all and I feel awful thinking about it.

As a result, though, work dragged. There were only so many column articles I could write, seeing as we were cutting most long articles down significantly nowadays. Although actually, I did have a few interesting questions that I could work with. I ended up adding them to our online newspaper instead because they were just too great to toss away. It's been a long time since I had anything like this. These were some of the best ones that I found and I swear, you're not gonna regret reading them:

"Dear Mingyu. I recently contracted chlamydia from sharing a toilet seat with my wife's sister. She only told me afterwards that she had it. It definitely wasn't from having an affair with her but I think that's what my wife is going to think when she finds out that I've passed it on to her too. We were supposed to be trying for a baby so I can't really say nothing to her - you know, since it can cause infertility and all. How do I bring the topic up so that she doesn't kick me out?"

"Dear Mingyu. To cut a very long story short, I decided to use my friend's cat's litter box the other day. They're really concerned about her now and have taken her to the vets, but nothing conclusive is coming out of the tests. The vets are worried that it's some sort of foreign illness causing the cat's intestines to stop functioning properly and all in all, the treatment has cost them almost 500,000W already. Do I mention it to them, or do I stay silent about it? I don't want to ruin our friendship by telling him that I took a dump in the litter box, but I don't want him to have to pay to find out what's wrong with the cat either."

"Dear Mingyu. I recently came out as gay to my parents and made a huge deal out of it. We've had a lot of arguments, in which they started out by telling me that they couldn't accept me and they wanted me out of their life for good. Somehow, though, I managed to convince them that they should still love and support me regardless because that's what good parents do. The problem is, I've since discovered that I'm bisexual and have fallen in love with a woman. How do I even begin to explain this? I don't want to seem as if I was making a big deal out of nothing, but I'm pretty sure that they hate bisexual people even more than they hate gay people. Help!"

I didn't really know how to answer any of them, if I was being completely honest. This job brings out the absolute gold, but also the sorts of questions where you simply want to throw your hands up and confess that you've got absolutely nothing. I feel particularly bad for the third guy because it seems like a pretty tough one to have to deal with but I guess if he's put the idea of an exclusive attraction to men out there, coming out as bisexual is only a bump up from that. Maybe his parents will take it better, though. I know a few people are more comfortable with the idea that they might be able to have grandchildren or that their kids will have a "normal" life in those sorts of situations, so perhaps it'll work in his favour. I'm hoping that he keeps me updated with it. There are some readers that you naturally get attached to because you can relate to them in some ways, so I'm hoping that he's the sort of person who will let us know whether the advice actually helped him. I'm anxious to find out about that sort of thing, in all honesty.

Oh, also a lot of people started to leave today. It was their final week, and so there was a huge party at work to wish them good luck with the future. There were cakes, banners, and a much more relaxed environment in comparison to usual. I think it was so that they didn't feel so bad about the fact that they were having to go. The final day at any job is bad enough, but it's just made worse when you're expected to just get on with it. You can guarantee in those sorts of situations that you're gonna get everyone come over to ask you questions until you hit the point where you want to throw a chair at them or something. Colleagues have that special way of making your last day absolute hell. It's something that can't be helped, though. I'm sure that on someone's last day, I'm going to be the annoying person who makes it hell, and on my last day, someone will do that too. It's basically office work in a nutshell, if I'm being honest.

I do feel bad for them, though. A few of them seemed to be absolutely miserable. You know when you can tell on someone's face that they're having an awful day but when you ask them about it, they claim that they're fine? That was it, basically. Whilst obviously there are a few people who already have interviews at other places, or even job offers secured so that they don't miss any pay, I think that the majority of people are going to be without work for a while. It's probably pretty depressing. In today's world, having no job is essentially the end for people who aren't in stable relationships or are unable to ask their friends or family for help. You have nowhere to turn. You need something to get you out of the rut, but it's hard when you're already feeling useless for losing your job. Even if it's not your fault, there's always that niggling feeling that if you did a little bit better, you would still be a part of the team. It's especially the case with this method of reducing numbers. Imagine losing it because you're humble about your abilities, and then you don't feel as if you have what it takes in an interview because obviously, you weren't as good as you thought.

It has left me thinking about things, actually. What would I do if I ended up losing my job there? I don't know how I'd even manage. I'd have to get a job right away or I'd be in quite a bit of trouble, wouldn't I? It's not even like I have to just look after myself, really. If that was the case, I'd scrape together a couple of thousand won here and there, probably take out a part-time job at some little restaurant or something so that I could pay the bills. Nothing too fancy, but enough to be able to get me somewhere. No, there's also Min to worry about. I couldn't resort to getting her cheap food just because I'm poor - after all, cereal-based foods are hardly good for an animal that needs to have a primarily meat-based diet - and it's hardly as if it would be her fault. It's something that I'm genuinely worried about at this point.

And then I look over at Wonwoo, who is asleep against my side. His forehead is currently burning my arm, and I'm worried about his fever. And that's the biggest concern I have about our relationship at the moment. I'm worried that he's ill and I can't be here to look after him constantly. What if my concerns were bigger than that, though? What if I had to worry about the fact that he was having to help me financially too? I know that he wouldn't let me starve, and he certainly wouldn't let me become homeless either. I don't know what would happen, though. I'm concerned that he'd want to pay my bills for me but he shouldn't have to do that. He has his own bills to pay; his own things to worry about. I don't want to be that awful partner who takes what I can from him. I don't want us to end up breaking up in the future and to feel bad because he financially supported me for so long.

I'm trying so hard not to slip into that philosophical trance that I often end on, but it really is something that worries me. I don't want to be in a position where I lose my job and then I end up damaging our relationship because of it. This is becoming real now; if they've gotten rid of fifty members of staff already without even looking back, cutting our numbers in half, there's going to be a point where they'll drop the numbers further. They could probably get by with twenty workaholics with no families to go home to. They'd get everything sorted in an instant; there would be no missed deadlines or worries about staff not turning up. There'd be fewer people to pay for the same jobs, yet it'd all get done. Soon enough, there'll be one or two people working on sports, science, entertainment, local news, and one of the editors might also take over my job. After all, until they get the articles from the other members of staff, there's nothing for them to proofread and submit. They might as well just get on with some 'easy' work that requires more out-of-the-box thinking over actual factual knowledge. Let's face it; pretty much anyone with a creative mind and a talent for writing understandable sentences could do my job.

It's definitely time to search for another job, I think. If I end up bagging a good position, then it's great because I'll be able to hand in my notice and feel confident in my job security. If I don't find anything, at least I'm narrowing down the companies I'll apply to if I do end up losing this job. It feels like a time bomb is waiting to go off, and that's why I really need to get started on this as soon as possible. In fact, whilst I've been sat here with Wonwoo by my side for the past few days, I've done a few job searches. It's not like I can really move around too much; the last thing I want to do is wake him up when he's clearly very tired. I've applied to a number of different jobs and have a few saved. There are a few other news companies across the city that I'm looking at, including an anchor job for a television channel, and I've considered doing freelance work too. There are also the odd few little jobs, like working in shops and such, that I have saved just in case they're absolutely needed. You know, since I'm certain that if I'm in a really bad state, they'll take me on for a little while until I can get a better paying job. They're always looking for staff, after all.

Anyway, I'm going to sign off now because Wonwoo is starting to stir and I need to get him something to help him to relax. Maybe some pain medication or a damp flannel or something.

Until next time.

-- Mingyu

Chapter Text

In the space of a week, everything has suddenly flipped onto its head. I don't know how it happened or anything, but I'm really feeling weird as a result of it.

It turns out that Wonwoo has been ill because of stress. The guy at his workplace has continued to harass him and nothing has been done about it. He's been trying to ignore the guy but it's done absolutely nothing. Then he was cornered in the bathroom and asked on a date, since the guy knew that he wouldn't be able to just walk around him and leave. He continued to pressure him and pressure him until Wonwoo finally agreed, but then obviously he didn't turn up and the guy was livid. By the time that Wonwoo arrived at work the next time he was working, his office was absolutely destroyed.

It wasn't even slightly destroyed, though. He finally showed me the photos of it. The guy smashed his work laptop - the damage is so bad that it looked as if he took a baseball bat to it or something - and also shredded every single piece of paper he could find in his office. Some of it was important documents that he legally needed to keep for clients for up to eight years. Some of it was regular plain paper, just to be petty. His chair was knifed open and all of the stuffing was torn out, the windows were smeared with what appeared to be blood but, upon closer examination, was red food dye. The desk had been scratched so deeply that the damage was probably done with a knife there too. Yet, his office doesn't have CCTV cameras and somehow the guy managed to sneak through the building in black clothes and a mask without being caught by anyone, so there's no way of being certain that it was him. There was no DNA anywhere either, so they couldn't even test it and get him fired. It was all a guess and of course, the guy had an alibi for it when he was called into the office to discuss it. He'd spent the evening with his girlfriend, and he had no idea why Wonwoo would say that he was interested in him because he's only into girls, apparently. He gave a phone number for his 'girlfriend' and whoever answered the phone said that they'd spent time together from around four o'clock in the afternoon, so it 'couldn't possibly be him'.

Incidentally, that was around the time that I dropped him on the floor and almost killed him. That's around four weeks ago. Wonwoo had been off work for a few days because I'd ended up concussing him, and he got back to work to find that everything was destroyed. He'd gone in to find out that there was nothing they could do about it, and then the colleague decided to make a scene over it in the lunch room. Told him that if he was going to accuse him of vandalism like that, he would take him to court over it for defamation of character. He called Wonwoo a liar in front of all of his colleagues and told him that just because he's not getting attention for being gay in the workplace, he wasn't going to accept him trying to get the attention that way.

The problem is, though, that he essentially outed him in front of all of his colleagues. He still hadn't mentioned it to everyone that he likes guys. Only a handful of people knew that we were in a relationship. And then this absolute mess of a human decides to tell everyone about it. I don't know what he thought he was doing, but that was the start of Wonwoo getting ill. It led to his colleagues being really awkward around him because they thought that if he'd spent so much time pretending to be heterosexual around them, he was surely pretending to be harassed by the guy too. Besides, why would he make a huge scene over it in the kitchen if he was responsible for it? There was always the risk that Wonwoo would call him out for it in front of everyone. Of course, he did that because Wonwoo isn't the sort of person who would call him out in front of everyone. He couldn't prove that the guy asked him on a date and forced him to accept. It would also make the situation worse if he did reveal that and then admitted to everyone that he'd basically stood the guy up. There was no way of winning that argument and the guy knew that, so he did everything he could to make it all as difficult for him to deal with as possible.

And so he started to get symptoms of ill-health. He started to get really sick, and I didn't even put the pieces together. I don't know how I didn't catch on to it earlier because it's clear now that it couldn't have just been a stomach bug or whatever I thought it was. It was too sudden and it didn't get better after a few days. Stomach bugs don't usually last that long, and he knows full well that he'd need to go to the hospital if it did last that long. He's really forward when it comes to his health so I doubt he would've avoided doing that if he genuinely didn't know what the issue was. But he knew, and that was why he decided that he wasn't going to go. He knew what they were going to say, and so he didn't want to have to reveal his issue to me on the spot if I had to go with him. In fact, he didn't want to have to explain it to me when he got back either. He knew that I would start prying because I've been worried about him for the longest time, and he couldn't really be vague about it if he went to the hospital to get checked out. They know what they're doing and they're not going to give him some vague answer when they've probably been briefed on the infections that are going around. I don't know how working as a doctor actually works, admittedly, but I just know that they'd know what was up almost immediately. Especially if Wonwoo already knew what was wrong too.

So he ended up simply handing in his notice. He said that he was done; that he couldn't stand the fact that he was having to simply put up with it. He didn't like the fact that they couldn't do anything about it when it was almost certainly that guy doing that to his office - after all, no one else in the office has ever had a problem with him, so he doubts that any of those guys would have done that sort of thing to his room. It was just too convenient. The security tapes from the day after the date was supposed to occur showed that it must've happened then, since no one else had gone anywhere near the room since that point in time, and that was just a little bit too convenient for it to be anyone else. Of all of the days that they could've done it, that day was the day that would show a spur of the moment reaction; anyone else would've probably left it until just before he arrived at work on Monday in case the managers came in during the weekend and found the mess. It would probably be cleaned up before Wonwoo had the chance to check it out. Doing it on Monday, though, would mean that no one would really check it. After all, no one would really have a reason to go in his office. They would all have their own things to deal with; emails, post, billing, taxes, arranging meetings, etc. It was just too busy at the start of the week for people to start going around the office. If anything needed to be done, the person would receive an email, rather than a visit in person. It would have been the perfect time to do it in order to avoid being caught.

As planned-out as it was, there was still an element of impulsivity about the act. Wonwoo put this forward in his case, but they didn't seem to care. Impulsivity didn't mean that it was definitely him, they said, and they couldn't really dismiss him without solid evidence. He-said-she-said logic just wasn't going to cut it when the guy could potentially be taken to court over this level of vandalism. It would cost the company more to deal with the legal issues than it was worth if there was no evidence to say that he'd done it. Both when it came to hiring a legal team to sue him for the damages, and the unfair dismissal charges that would come afterwards when there was no proof to get it all sorted. They just weren't ready to do that sort of thing for him when it was just a guess that it was the guy's fault.

However, they did offer to help him transfer to a different branch of the company in Daegu. It was only because he wrote up his notice on the spot and told them that they had to let him go without regards for his two weeks notice because it was an issue of safety above anything else, and he was more than happy to get a lawyer to help him push for that in court if they were going to try to deny him that right, and so suddenly they could do something about it. Apparently, they realised right away that he was really concerned for his safety once his office had been destroyed like that, since a person who caused that much damage in rage could easily follow him home and do the same damage to his body. It was something that he didn't want to risk and suddenly, they understood that. They told him that if he still wanted to work for the company, they would call up the other branch right away and tell them that he wanted to transfer to them by the end of the week. They would pay for all of the charges that came along with getting a new place too - all of the upfront costs and deposits and such - so that he didn't have to worry about getting from Seoul to Daegu every day. To start with, he told them that he needed to think about it because he knew that it wasn't going to be as easy as that. He knew that if they were going to make him feel awful and then suddenly decide that they wanted to help him, he didn't want to stay with the company. Of course, though, he didn't want to have to go without a job either since he knew that being without a job would cause huge issues for his ability to survive. If he didn't get a new workplace within a few weeks, he would have a load of issues coming up. I couldn't afford to help him out financially at the moment either, so we would have to do something drastic to be able to sort out the mess that they'd left him in.

And so he's had a few weeks off to sort it out. The stress caused his body to start shutting down. He didn't know what to do, and he couldn't risk being in work whilst he was unable to make that decision. It was too much of a decision for him to make all in one go, but he couldn't really stay in the office during that period. In fact, he much preferred the thought that everyone thought he was dismissed than he liked the thought of actually going into work, and that's a pretty big thing because he hates it when people side with the bad guy. He's got a strong sense of moral judgement and finds it infuriating that other people aren't similar in that aspect.

As a result, though, he's now got the job in Daegu. He made them sign a contract to say that they wouldn't charge him for the upfront costs of getting the house in Daegu, since the last thing he wanted was to leave the company and have them try to charge him. They helped him to pick a small apartment out, and now he's got his current house on the market again. He's transferring in just a few days, at which point I'm going to help him to move into his new place. It's going to be awful to not have Wonwoo too close to where I'm living, but I guess that if he has to relocate for his health and safety, I'm not going to cause a scene over that. I love him enough to know that it's not going to affect our relationship. We're not going to suddenly drift apart because we've been forced into a long distance relationship. Besides, he swore that as soon as he gets a new job, he'll be moving closer again so we'll only be apart for a little while before we're back together. I'm looking forward to that day.

Anyway, he decided to come up with an elaborate plan to make the guy realise how disinterested he is. It was something that was pretty damn risky - not only for his future job at the other branch but also for his own safety, but it was something that he needed to do and I completely respected that. In fact, I'm pretty sure that it was the plan that encouraged him to tell me about everything that had been going on at work for him. I really appreciated that, if I was being completely honest. I know that I don't need to know every single aspect of his work and everything that goes on for him, especially since there's not really much that I could've done about it and trying to give him solutions to the problem was only going to make things worse for him. His plan was quite frankly the best thing that I'd heard that day, even though there was a chance that it was going to get us both stabbed or something.

He wanted me to come into his workplace and start getting romantic with him. I would be there to help him to move his things out on his final day. We'd start with me dropping him to work in the morning - of course, I would boo the day off work but would pretend that I was going in once he was settled into his office - and then at lunch, I would collect him so that we could get something to eat together. I'd take him back there when we were finished, kissing him at the door to his office before going about my day again, but then when I went to collect him from work, things would get pretty heavy in his office. On Thursday nights, this creepy guy was the only one who usually stayed late out of their department. Something about his mom going to a community group or something and him not wanting to be dragged along. Whatever. I'm not really interested in his experiences of life. I think he needs to go to the community church and learn how to be a decent human, frankly.

We'd end up leaving the door open as we got intimate. It would start with little kisses and touches, and then eventually I would end up making sweet love to him on the desk. Making our mark before he finished there. The aim was to keep going until he walked past and caught us. He knew that Wonwoo was supposed to be staying late to wrap everything up before he left, and so we anticipated that he would be over at his office if he didn't realise that we would be in there together. So we were going to be making the most of it.

Of course, I was absolutely on board with the idea. I wanted to make this stranger's life a living hell for just a few minutes once I'd learnt how he made Wonwoo feel. I don't like the thought of anyone making him feel like that, but especially not someone who is so disgusting that he decides to corner my boyfriend and pressure him into accepting a date. I don't know who does that nowadays, but I think it's pretty disgusting behaviour. The world needs fewer of those people around, and there needs to be something in place to avoid letting creepy people get away with that sort of thing. It's the one thing that really bugs me more than anything, I think, and it's only made worse when the victim's experiences aren't believed by the people around them. Nothing like making them feel uncomfortable and even more victimised, right?

I was absolutely pumped when we got around to it. This was today, sorry. I forgot to add the date to the top of the page and I'm out of space so I can't really scrawl it at the top now. It's Thursday today and we've just gotten back from his workplace. Or rather, his ex-workplace. Anyway, I was so happy to be following the plan that we'd set out that I was almost too enthusiastic, but Wonwoo was frankly fine with it. The happier I was to do that sort of thing with him, the better. At least that meant that it would seem as if we'd just started going at it in the spur of the moment, rather than planning it out to victimise him directly.

And really, I'd just like to point out that it's so much hotter than I anticipated. Whilst there are a load of rauchy films in which guys screw their colleagues or wives on the desk of their office, it's nothing like actually doing it. We were still mostly clothed, for starters. I've never considered being sucked off by a guy when I'm wearing a suit before, but it was the greatest experience. I absolutely recommend it for the future, and I think that doing that sort of thing in his office was worth the risk when the thrill of the experience was so amazing. Then when we actually got around to it, his trousers were only pulled down enough to reveal his ass, and I got on with it right away without undressing either of us any further. It made it feel that little bit raunchier to feel the fabric of his suit underneath my fingertips. The best part, though, was when we switched from standing with him facing the desk, to him straddling me on the desk. It was messy and really disorganised and neither of us could really move with the restriction of the fabric, but it meant that when the guy finally came to investigate the noises that Wonwoo was intentionally emphasising, he got the perfect view of my beautiful boyfriend with another guy's junk in him.

He just stood there in complete silence. He didn't know what to do with himself. The look on his face showed pure pain and embarrassment and it was clear that knowing what we were doing was crushing him. I made sure to maintain eye contact with him as I held Wonwoo's hips tighter. "Tell me how much you want me, baby," I said to Wonwoo, loud enough for him to hear. It was to rub it in a little bit more and show him that I knew what he did. Without even turning around, Wonwoo obviously knew that he was there.
"I want you more than anything else," he told me as he continued to move against me. His hands moved up to cup my cheeks, and he pressed our foreheads together as he made a point of panting softly. "I love you and I don't think I could ever love another man like this. I want you to fill me with every drop of your love until I'm drowning in my feelings for you." I kissed him hard and started going rougher. He pulled away from the kiss to let out a shrill noise, and so I moved my lips to his neck.

It didn't take long for the guy to leave. As soon as he was gone, Wonwoo and I erupted into laughs. It was petty and immature to do something like that to make him feel insignificant, but it was a sure sign that Wonwoo wasn't going to become his. It was a sign that we were very much in love and some loser who thought that pressuring a guy to date him wasn't going to change that.

All in all, I think it's a job well done. I'm going to help Wonwoo to move into his new place in the morning and we're going to spend the day together. I think it's all moving a bit fast for me, to be honest, since I haven't even had a full week to prepare for his departure yet or anything. I think I'm going to miss him a lot. Yet, I guess if this is what has to happen, it's what has to happen. That's it; I'm not going to tell him that I don't want him to move when we both know why he has to do it. I'm just glad that it didn't get to the point where that guy physically hurt him because if that was the case, I don't know what I would've done.

Anyway, until next week.

-- Mingyu

Chapter Text

It's Sunday 15th July.

I'm bored.

Wonwoo hasn't spoken to me in a full week - other than a quick two-minute call - and I honestly don't know what to do with myself because he's around ninety percent of my impulse control and almost one-hundred percent of my daily social interactions. So I've basically spent the entire week cutting my shirts up and bugging my colleagues. My cupboards are now filled with crop tops and shorts because I'm a useless excuse for a human. He's going to get back to me, see the mess that I've created, and I'm going to end up being scolded so badly for what I've done it'll be unbelievable.

And sure, I know that he's busy. He's just moved into a new house and he doesn't know the area. He's probably been exploring and meeting the neighbours. He's also had his new job to worry about, and the fact that even though they do the same sorts of things, every branch does things slightly differently based on what works best for the staff. It's a huge change for him and I shouldn't really expect him to make time for me. It's going to take a little while for him to feel settled enough to call me and say, "Mingyu, can we spend time together?" Or even, "Mingyu, can we chat for a while?" I hoped that that would happen within a few days of him being there, but I guess I have to be a little bit more patient. As I said, it's a big change for him. I'm not the sort of boyfriend who will take it out on him because I know it's not as easy as just getting to a new place and getting straight back into the swing of it. If that was the case, we wouldn't see people cutting themselves off from their friends when they move to a new area.

The worst part was that I tried to be social and it really went downhill. At work, it's always going to go badly when you have exactly three friends and they're in the short-staffed departments so they don't really have the chance to talk. I tried talking to them and all, but it just wasn't something that was possible. My girls are very polite but it was clear that I was bugging them so I ended up just dropping it all in the end and accepting that I couldn't continue to get in the way. So I moved on to other colleagues instead. What I initially tried was making conversation with whoever was around me at any given point in time. If we were at the printer together, I would try to chat with the other person about anything that came to mind. The printer quality, how busy we were, and the sorts. If we were in the kitchen together, we would discuss other things like the need for coffee or the fact that it was painfully hot in the building without any form of air conditioning. The small-talk was probably rather annoying but I couldn't really stop myself from doing it. There was nothing else I could really do whilst I was at work and I was really itching for someone to make me feel important.

That was only amplified when I tried to contact my family and they didn't really want to know about what sort of things I'd been doing in my day. As much as it sounds like it's pretty rude and all, apparently my sister is going through a really rough time at the moment and they don't really have time to listen to my issues. Her boyfriend has started to distance himself because she keeps getting irrationally angry at him - or so he said to our parents when they called him up to demand why he wasn't there for his kid - and then she's been experiencing what he thought were labour pains. It's weird; she's around five months along at the moment and she shouldn't be experiencing that sort of pain, but she's absolutely convinced that it's labour pains and not any other pain. She's researched it extensively to see whether she was just making it up or whether it's what she thinks it is, and there's been nothing so far that's made her think it's something else.

It sort of showed off how irrationally upset she's getting over it all, though, since she won't accept anyone else's ideas of what to do either. My mom said that she should spend time relaxing because it's probably related to her stress levels. My sister told her that she didn't need such a stupid opinion. She's not stressed, apparently; just upset with the fact that she can't trust anyone to be helpful nowadays unless it's something that benefits them too. My dad then told her that she should probably go to the hospital or something and ask them if they can check the baby over because he doesn't think that it's right to leave it if it might mean that there are complications. She yelled at him that it's her choice whether she wants to go to the hospital or not and she's saying that she doesn't want to.

I suppose I understand them not wanting to spend too much time talking to me, given that that's the case. It doesn't mean that it doesn't hurt, though. In all honesty, I think that being rejected like that has meant that I felt that little bit more lonely. That and the fact that again, I'm not being included in family affairs. Sure, I don't need every single detail. I won't always care if, for example, my sister had pasta for lunch. If it's a good recipe that I can try, I might be more inclined to listen. If it's just regular pasta, not so much. But I'd like to know those sorts of things. What would they have done if it turned out she was going into labour? Just call me up to say that it's happening and I need to get there soon, leaving me to wonder how long she'd been in that state? Labour isn't instant; it's not like women walk down the street and then suddenly their waters break and they're on the floor ready to push. It's much more than that, and I'd rather not find out when she's actually in the hospital ready to give birth.

Admittedly, I did spend some time moping over that at work the day after I was told about it. Anyone who would listen to me heard the story about how my family always leaves me out of important discussions. It's as if they don't think I'm mature enough to handle them or something. I don't know why else they would refrain from letting me be a part of their discussions like that because it's not even like it's a household thing. My sister doesn't live with them, and they actually live closer to me than they do to her. Although I probably shouldn't take it personally, I really did for the first few days after that phone call, and I can't even say that I regret that behaviour in the slightest because I managed to get some good advice from other people on how to handle the feelings of inferiority.

In the end, some of the guys from work took pity on me and ended up inviting me to go to dinner with them. They weren't planning on getting something to eat together but then they figured that it would be nice to spend some time being social and at the same time, they would be able to avoid leaving me looking like a kicked puppy for the rest of the week. Their words, not mine. They took me to a Korean barbeque restaurant and we ended up getting a load of food together, which worked out great to start with until they pointed out that the waitress kept "sneaking" glances at me. To start with, I was concerned that it was because I was getting absolutely covered in food, since I'm not exactly the tidiest when it comes to eating, but then they eventually just gave a huff and pointed out that she was probably into me.

That did it. You can probably imagine that I was struggling to refrain from staring at her from that point onwards, solely because I was conscious of the fact that she kept looking at me. It became a bit of a back-and-forth thing for a little while, in which she would catch me staring and I would catch her, but then eventually she came over to our table and proceeded to directly ask me if everything was okay. "I'm fine, yourself?" I said, not realising that she probably wasn't trying to make conversation. My colleagues tried to hide laughs, and I could tell right away that it was because of my response.
"Oh," she said cheerfully, "I'm okay thank you. I just wondered if you needed anything." When I shook my head, she gave a polite nod before smoothly slipping me a piece of paper and starting on her way to the other side of the restaurant.

Just as expected, it was a phone number with the name "Mina" scrawled above it. I couldn't even describe how bad I felt for her when I glanced up to see that she looked painfully nervous. I figured that perhaps it would be mean to tell my colleagues about it, seeing as there was no way that I was actually planning on texting her, and so I ended up telling them that she pointed out that I needed to fix a problem with my face before excusing myself to go to the bathroom.

Here comes my weekly mistake.

I ended up texting her when I got home because I was lonely. I knew that I wouldn't hear anything back from Wonwoo so I guessed that I might as well just make a new friend who I could chat with in his absence. She texted back a few hours later, apologising for the slow reply since she was still on shift. She asked me if I'd like to watch a movie with her on Friday (i.e. two days ago) and I accepted right away. I didn't really think anything of it for the longest time, since she didn't really seem to be particularly flirty or anything and I guessed that she just wanted to be my friend.

Of course, I got there and she was dressed up prettier than most people would dress to meet friends, but I complimented her anyway and we went in to watch the film together. It was a horror film, which surprised me a lot, but she said that she was brave enough to watch it. I believed her, not expecting that for the next few hours, I would have her clinging to me and trying to hide her face. Apparently, she'd expected that it was a relatively softcore horror and not some violent indie film in which a guy stabbed himself in the throat several times right at the start. Even worse - as the film started to develop into a psychological horror with the occasional graphic death, she was almost in my lap. At that point, I started to get a bit anxious too, although more over the fact that she was getting too close for comfort than the fact that the film was getting oddly disturbing. I didn't complain, though, until she moved in towards my face.

At that point, I made a point of intentionally moving away. She seemed surprised by it but swore that she was moving to hide her face in my neck because she'd heard that there was a bad part on the way, and so I ended up reluctantly moving closer again. Her head pressed against my shoulder and she quickly grabbed my arm. For a moment, we both stared at the screen in anticipation before a particularly disturbing scene started to play out. I shut my eyes as soon as I felt her turn her face press into my skin, and I was frankly glad that I'd done so because I could hear the screams of the characters echoing in my head as I did so.

Nevertheless, though, she seemed exhilarated when we finally left the cinema. I didn't know whether to be happy that we'd watched something intense instead of some soppy film or a poor attempt at comedy, or whether I should have been glad that the film was finally over. I don't know which made more sense, frankly. It was something that left my skin crawling and I wanted nothing more than to erase the brief images of horror from my mind. Everything from stamping on someone until they bled out to forcing people to eat things that they definitely shouldn't have been eating. I suppose it was a nice experience to be able to watch something that terrifying with someone, since I know that Wonwoo wouldn't like that sort of film and wouldn't have been able to go with me if I'd decided that I wanted to watch it. He has a little thing about body fluids; we tried to watch Pitch Perfect a few weeks ago with Hansol because it's the softer sort of stuff that he prefers, but we almost ended up turning it off at the start because he can't handle sick in the slightest. Same with if I sweat too much in bed, and he absolutely can't deal with it if someone asks to change a baby in the same room as him. It's going to be a bit difficult when my niece or nephew is born but I'm guessing that he'll probably just make an excuse to get drinks or something whilst the baby is being changed.

So anyway, I ended up going for ice cream with Mina and it was pretty cool because it turns out that she's studying medicine outside of her job. She admitted that that's how she was confident enough to ask a stranger to watch a film with her, and that she simply guessed that it would be the sort of film that a guy like me was into. Of course, I couldn't really tell her that I'm starting to count my blessings with Wonwoo's love of soft films. As much as they seem really dumb and over-romanticised a lot of the time, I'd much prefer to see Stella and Stanley Kowalski's make up scene for the eightieth time than watch a guy killing himself to avoid being tortured by an innocent-looking twenty-something-year-old girl. So I boasted about how much that sort of thing is my style and I really enjoyed it. She could probably see right through me but neither of us said anything so we left it at that.

Then she asked me to take her home. It was getting late, she said, and she was a bit concerned about walking home in the dark. I did think that it was a bit forward for a new friend, but I wasn't really prepared to reject her when she said that she was scared. If it sounded suggestive, perhaps I would've told her where to go, but this seemed to be completely innocent. I had no reason to think that it was anything other than innocent, so we ended up going back to her place. When we reached the front door, she stared at me almost expectantly, and suddenly I didn't really know what to do with myself. I think that was when it clicked that she was expecting more; between the way her hand hesitated on the door handle and the way her eyes were glued to my lips, there was no way that she wasn't expecting things to go further.

And at that point, it all made sense. She'd probably been expecting it to be a date, whilst I'd thought it was just a friendly thing. I'd not really mentioned Wonwoo so she must've thought that I was single, especially since I'd sent her a text first. I'd been so desperate for someone to talk to that I'd completely taken it the wrong way. I was a huge huge asshole, and I was about to ruin everything. So I did the only thing I could think to do in order to save myself the awkward explanation. I gave her an awkward hug and announced that I needed to leave. "I'm sure you can spare me ten minutes for a coffee," she told me with an innocent smile, "You walked me all the way here, after all; it's the least I can do."

Which meant that I had to go in. I didn't want to seem like even more of an asshole and although I'd figured out my mistake already, there was a chance that this was actually something friendly but she was hoping that it would end up developing into something more. Think Clueless - another flick that Wonwoo and Hansol insisted on watching - in which Cher asks Christian to watch films with her and then announces to her friends that they almost had sex when it turns out that Christian is a massive gay. It's surprisingly fitting and pretty accurate, really. I ended up sitting down in the main room of her apartment as she went to make us drinks and immediately snatched up the opportunity to send Wonwoo a text, asking if he could call me as soon as possible, just for a minute or two, and pretend to be angry at me so that I'd have an excuse to leave an uncomfortable situation.

That was the only time we ended up speaking all week. She'd just brought the coffee out and sat right next to me, and I'd taken one sip when my phone started buzzing. I'd taken the liberty of changing his name in my phone to "aein" - sweetheart - with a load of heart emojis and such. For a moment, I just held it in my hand so that she would definitely see the name on the screen, and then excused myself to answer it. "Mingyu, where the hell are you?" he said. It sounded as if he'd just woken up from a nap and he did seem to be genuinely grouchy, but I couldn't help feeling a rush of happiness when I heard his voice.
"I'm just with a friend at the moment."
"You said you'd be back home hours ago. I swear, if you're not home within the hour..."

The disappointment on her face was obvious. I apologised and quickly left, then let Wonwoo know when I was finally free. "I'll let you get back to whatever you were doing, but when will I be able to see you again?" I asked as I speed-walked in the general direction of my apartment.
"I'm not sure, but I'll text you when we can talk. I love you." He barely gave me enough time to reply before hanging up.

And then I was alone again. It was nice to hear from him but I think it was a taste of what I can't have right now, and that hurts more than not hearing from him at all. Part of me wishes that I hadn't asked him to call because at least then I wouldn't have to miss him even more, but I guess that at least it shouldn't be that long before I get to hear from him again. Probably. We'll see. I just keep thinking about it and playing everything over in my head, whilst simultaneously avoiding Mina's texts about how I'd not mentioned being in a relationship or anything.

I've dug myself a grave, I think.

-- Mingyu

Chapter Text

It's Tuesday July 17th, and I messed up again.

Now, I know what you're all thinking, and I get it. "How the hell has Mingyu messed up this badly so early in the week, and how could it possibly be so bad that he's dropped his habit of updating us near the end of the week, rather than the start?" Let me tell you, Wonwoo was so angry that he was calm. That's how badly I messed up.

It started with the fact that today is Wonwoo's birthday. He's a year older, and it's a pretty great thing, in my opinion. In life, there are so many stresses that sometimes birthdays are overlooked, but I think it's a huge sign that you're living - or have lived - and you're getting through - or got through. It's like a marker of the passing of time, and shows how a lot of things aren't permanent, even an age. If something so big isn't permanent, hardships aren't either. At least, that's how I like to think about things because at least then it seems as if I can deal with anything that life throws at me. Wonwoo is generally pretty humble about birthdays, though, he told me. He doesn't like to make a huge deal out of something that's been going on for years, and that he'll experience every year for the rest of his life. I pointed out that he made a big deal out of my birthday this year, but he simply brushed it off and told me that it's because I think birthdays are important. He didn't really want much done as a result.

I felt a bit awkward, though. I didn't really want to have him spend a load of time and money on me for my birthday, but then get him absolutely nothing for his and act as if it was just some regular day. So I ended up getting him a load of books delivered to his house. I knew that it would have been better to take them over as a surprise, but it would've been hard to carry them, and thankfully he'd booked the day off when they arrived (on fast-track one-day delivery, ordered yesterday morning, alongside flowers and chocolates too) so he was able to get them right away. My morning was spent at work, since I was only able to get the afternoon off to see him, and so I ended up getting a text at around ten o'clock this morning to thank me for the gifts. He said that he was glad to be able to have the time to relax and start reading one of the books, since his boss had insisted that he take his birthday off and spend the time recovering from the stresses of having a new job. I told him that I was happy he enjoyed them and then left it at that without telling him that I would be visiting him, but then obviously I ended up having to tell him when I finally got to his nearest train station and realised that I didn't know how to get to his place.

Wonwoo actually seemed rather excited when I called him to ask how to get to his house. I'd expected that he would be a bit grouchy that I turned up at his house completely out of the blue, but the happiness was clear in his voice. He told me that he would meet me in town, and so I told him to make his way towards the nearest coffee shop to the station. I went there to wait and got him a coffee whilst I waited, and then around ten minutes later he appeared at the door. It was clear right away that he'd run over to meet me, as his face was red and he was panting, but he immediately switched back into polite mode as soon as he got into the shop and saw me there. A little head dip of acknowledgement to the baristas, and he walked over to meet me. We hugged briefly before sitting back down together, figuring that perhaps it would be awkward if we made too much of a deal out of it in front of strangers, but it was clear that he was a lot more relaxed when we were facing each other. "You came to see me," he said quietly, his smile obviously forcing its way onto his face. He tried his hardest to keep it hidden, but it was hardly the most subtle smile in the world. It left his cheeks rippling, and his eyes crinkled slightly too.

"I missed you," I told him, "So I thought that maybe spending your birthday with you would be a great idea."
"I said to you that I didn't need anything special done on my birthday, though."
"What, do you want me to go home, then?" Wonwoo's face grew serious for a fraction of a second as he shook his head and moved to press a hand to the top of mine. Then the smile returned, much wider this time. He allowed it to show more, though, showing me that he was finally starting to accept the happiness that came alongside us being together again. We both knew that it was great to be together, and that was exactly what I loved. No need to discuss it, no need to act as if we weren't that bothered by being side by side. I love him and he loves me.
"I don't want you to leave, ever," he said quietly, making sure to check that no one was close enough to hear as soon as the words passed his lips. Once he'd decided well enough that the coast was clear, he turned back towards me and leaned in closer. "I want you to stay with me for good. I miss you a lot when you're not here and you know that. You don't need me to tell you that, do you?" I shook my head. He obviously fought the urge to lean over and kiss me on the spot, if the twitch of his features was anything to go by.

Instead, we decided to start with small talk whilst he drank his coffee and I drank mine. What had he been doing lately? Was he enjoying the new job? What sort of things had he been experiencing so far? Was the city like Seoul? Did it feel weird to be living there still, or did that feeling die down already? He must've answered a million questions for me, but he didn't really seem all that bothered by that. He seemed happy, if anything, that we were able to discuss that sort of thing in person. We'd been planning on calling each other for the longest time but he'd never really had the opportunity to do it. We'd been apart for over a week, which was the longest amount of time since we first got together, and I think it was really taking its toll. But it was okay in that moment. We were back together and we didn't need to worry about other commitments getting in the way of our talk, and we could even spend time together, just in each other's presence. It was the best feeling in the world, and it was so clear that it was mutual.

Eventually, we made our way back to his place. As most couples often do after periods apart, it started with intimacy. A warm bed with a good mattress. Bedsheets wrapped around us. The memory of it is still fresh in my mind and close enough for me to touch. I can still feel the sensation of his fingertips into my back, and the sigh of his breath in my ear. It's something we did to show how much we love each other, rather than because we were aroused, and that was what made it that little bit more special. It's hard to describe to those who haven't ever experienced it but if you have ever had the experience of sex after so much time away from each other, I can guarantee that you'll be able to feel the memories of that time tingling through your spine as soon as you think about it again. It's the greatest feeling in the world, and it's arguably worth the time apart to be able to feel the other person against you in a way that makes you appreciate their being just that little bit more.

Then we finished. It took several hours to get to that point where we were both perfectly sated, and I think we both appreciated having that opportunity. Wonwoo immediately pressed his face into my neck once we'd finished up and started cuddling. I could feel his breath against my bare skin, and I absolutely loved it. I proceeded to stroke his hair as I enjoyed the closeness, but then I started to feel his tears dampening my skin, and I instantly knew that everything was worse than he'd told me. As much as he could claim that he enjoyed work and everything was starting to straighten itself out, that was an absolute lie. He was still under a lot of stress and probably couldn't emotionally handle me being there by his side, but he clung to my body regardless. I continued to hold him, not really knowing what to do. I'd not seen him cry enough to know how to handle it. He seemed to be the sort of person to want to be comforted, but it wasn't certain whether he wanted me to acknowledge that he was crying, or whether it was best to just not bring it up. So I ended up leaving it. I pulled him closer to my chest and stroked his hair so that he knew I knew what was happening, and I allowed him to get it all out before speaking again.

Or rather, I went to speak. As I opened my mouth, my phone buzzed in my trouser pocket. Wonwoo looked up as I did, neither of us really knowing what to do about it. I didn't usually get messages from anyone, so I figured that it was something important, but I didn't really want to answer it because I was there to comfort my boyfriend at that point in time. He simply stared at me in anticipation for a moment, though, before motioning towards my clothes with his head. "Aren't you going to check who that was?" His voice was still quaky from the crying, although he tried his hardest to mask it where possible. I was hesitant to grab it, but he seemed to be insistent on it, and so eventually I leaned over the edge of the bed and snatched it up to check the message.

And when I opened my phone, it was Mina.

My stomach lurched. Her message was as follows: "I know you haven't spoken to me in a few days and I was going to wait for you to message me first, but it seems like that's not going to happen. If you're not interested in me, you should say now, but I expect an explanation for what you did." Suddenly, my throat was dry and I didn't really know how to respond to her nor the questioning expression on Wonwoo's face. In the end, though, I had to come up with something. "Oh, it's just a friend asking for a catch-up. I'll just tell her to message me back later." So I turned back to my phone and sent her a message about being with my boyfriend and not really having time for her, before promptly switching off my phone and turning my attention towards Wonwoo again.

I won't give all of the details of our time together, but I'll just say that her insistent messaging quickly turned annoying. She's one of those people who will send several short texts in a row so my phone was vibrating more than I expected. And whilst you expect that it'll stop after a little while, she ended up sending around thirty in the space of five minutes. I could tell that Wonwoo was starting to get irritable over it and so I made sure to message her to say that she needed to let me have some time alone with Wonwoo, but then that only proceeded to make things worse. As a side note, I should also point out that my phone is pretty old and so it either vibrates or makes noise (and technically both options make noise). It was made before all phone companies thought about ease of use, and so I've searched for ages for the option to turn off the vibrations too but still can't find it.

To start with, I'd actually thought that she was a nice girl. Polite, friendly, and the sort of person who would be nice to hang out with sometimes. As it turned out, she was the sort of person who would get obsessive over someone's attention very quickly. Sweet on the outside, but bitchy on the inside. A huge pain in the ass. Eventually, it got to the point where Wonwoo gave up and let out a loud sigh before pushing himself away from me slightly. "I'm really sorry about this, and you know I wouldn't try to cause an argument over nothing, but could you either turn your phone off or put it to the side please because we're supposed to be spending time together and it's really distracting me."

Now, I understand that I probably should have just turned my phone off, but I was so bothered by the thought that I could turn it off and someone would need to talk to me that I ended up just messaging her to tell her to stop. I put my phone a little bit further away, since I still didn't want to annoy him or anything. So then we turned our attention away from the phone and got back to what we were doing - watching a documentary together. Wonwoo snuggled right back up against my side and we put it to the back of our minds for the moment. Nothing more came, until eventually I needed to go to the bathroom and came back to find Wonwoo with my phone in his hands. My heart seized as soon as I saw the disappointment on his face, and I instantly found myself fighting the urge to run.

"It started to go off again whilst you were away, five times in succession. I was just going to politely request that the person text you in a few hours when you're on your way home, but then I saw what they had sent to you, and... well, I don't even know what to say to you anymore, Mingyu." He made his way over and handed it to me, then promptly made his way out of the door. I checked through them very quickly to see that this was our conversation history for the day (since I hadn't really checked what she'd sent beforehand when I said to stop):

Mina: I know you haven't spoken to me in a few days and I was going to wait for you to message me first, but it seems like that's not going to happen. If you're not interested in me, you should say now, but I expect an explanation for what you did.
Me: Sorry I'm with my boyfriend at the moment, could we talk about this later?
Mina: Of course. With your boyfriend.
Mina: You know, that's something that actually really upset me a lot.
Mina: I thought it was obvious that I was interested in you when I gave you my phone number.
Mina: And I thought you were interested in return because you sent me a text right away. Men don't just give girls their phone numbers if they're not interested.
Mina: But either way
Mina: You had plenty of chances to tell me that you weren't interested in me
Mina: We cuddled at the cinema
Mina: You walked me home
Mina: I invited you in and you accepted
Mina: There were plenty of times in which you could have said
Mina: "Mina, I have a boyfriend"
Mina: But you didn't.
Mina: You waited until I was invested in you
Mina: And you only flaked when he called you
Mina: He had to CALL you for you to leave my place
Mina: Do you understand how much that hurt me, Mingyu?
Mina: And you know what else it's telling me?
Mina: You have no respect for me, and you have no respect for your boyfriend
Mina: Both of us deserve better than that
Mina: You must think you're some playboy or something because there was
Mina: No
Mina: Way
Mina: In
Mina: Hell
Mina: That you didn't realise I was making advances
Mina: And okay sure, a lot of girls don't make the first move still, but this is 2018 and you need to understand that you're not the only person in the world.
Mina: The more I think about this, the angrier I get because I feel like you've cheated my heart and his trust
Mina: And the fact that I could hear him saying that you were supposed to be home
Mina: You didn't even tell him that we were going out together. Why wouldn't you tell him if it was supposed to be friendly?
Mina: Are you actually going to answer my messages?
Me: Please stop messaging me. I'm trying to spend time with him on his birthday and we don't want to be disturbed.
Mina: Wow okay haha I had to take a break there so that I don't flip at you even harder.
Mina: Imagine having to take an hour away from a conversation because a boy has hurt you so much.
Mina: I truly hope you're happy with how you've made me feel, Mingyu.
Mina: Don't bother messaging me back, actually. Just delete my number and move on.
Mina: I'm sure you were going to do that anyway. Goodbye.

I'm guessing that he probably read most of it in that time. I hoped more than anything that he hadn't read any messages further up on the thread because I knew that he would be seething if he actually read the messages that seemed flirty. Even I had to admit that they sounded a little bit flirty when I read back on them, but I kept them in case they were used against me. There was a chance that they were still going to be used against me, though, which is a bit of an issue. I quickly dropped my phone onto the sofa before turning my attention to where Wonwoo walked, and then I promptly started to search for him. He was a little while away when I looked up, and so I quickly started on my way over to him.

"Wonwoo," I called out to him as I started following him down the street. To start with, I thought he hadn't heard me, but then I called out again and he turned to shout back to me that I needed to stop shouting at him. So I ended up running over to him and trying to grab his hand, which he promptly pulled away from me. "Wonwoo, I can explain everything in her texts," I told him.
"You can explain why you went on a date with a girl whilst I was trying to get my life together?" His voice was calm right from the start. That and the way he said it made it sound worse than it actually was, and I couldn't help but wince in response.

"No no, I didn't take her on a date. She asked if I would watch a film with her and I was lonely, so I agreed."
"And you met this girl where exactly?"
"She was working in a restaurant I went to."
"So she gave you her phone number and you sent her texts, despite the implications of that?"
"I didn't think anything of it at the time. I thought she was trying to be my friend."

He gave an audible sigh and rubbed a hand over his face. At that point, I became painfully aware of the fact that we were stood halfway down the street, having a very uncomfortable but quiet conversation. I suggested that perhaps we should go inside again and so he started heading back in silence before going straight through to the main room.

I won't go into every detail of our argument, but it was clear that he was very upset about everything that had happened. He didn't understand how I didn't get the sense that she wanted something more, and I didn't know how to tell him that I was just offering the benefit of the doubt. I thought that it was only guys who tried to hit on people in that sort of way, but I guess my ideas of how girls do and don't behave clouded my judgement. The parts that did affect him the most were the topics of her cuddling me in the cinema and the fact that I went inside her house when she invited me to do so. Then there was the issue of me lying to him about why she was texting me. It was something he didn't like in the slightest, and he told me that it really made him feel as if there was more to the story when I didn't even tell him what she was messaging me about. Despite how much it annoyed him, though, it only took an apology and an explanation to sort that part out, rather than being something that he dwelled on.

Wonwoo also admitted that it made him incredibly uncomfortable and he felt arguably territorial when he read those texts. He did add that he felt filthy for having invaded my privacy but it hadn't been with the intent to be malicious. He's not the sort of person who would intentionally do that sort of thing and actually finds it pretty toxic, which I have to agree with. If I was honest, though, I wasn't going to argue with him over that sort of thing. I shouldn't have anything to hide. I feel like we can look at each other's phones as two adults in a mature, consenting relationship, without being concerned that we'll find something that we shouldn't.

It just happened that this time, I had something there that was completely out of context, and that worked against me.

So sure, the argument developed to the point where Wonwoo was getting frustrated and almost in tears as he asked me why I would do everything with her that I would do on a romantic date and then get him to call me so that I could worm my way out, but I knew he trusted that I wouldn't cheat. It didn't matter whether or not I was attracted to girls, or whether I panicked and gave him a fake story about the texts I'd received; he was confident in the fact that I wasn't out to be malicious either, and it was just poor judgement overall. He just didn't understand how I could possibly not realise. It seemed completely alien to him. Although he didn't tell me that I was stupid like he did last time, it was obvious that he thought that. Of course he thought I was stupid. I think I am, too. The worst part is that he probably knows he can do better than me, but he's attached now and can't just drop me.

In the end, after an hour of me trying to explain what was going through my head, Wonwoo had visibly given up. "I think you should go home for the night," he said quietly. I didn't want to argue with him. He took me back to the train station, with us walking in complete silence, and then he offered a polite nod when we arrived. No hug or kiss; he just let me get onto the train and go home.

I'm on the train now, actually. Almost home. I feel awful about everything that went down tonight. My heart is still in my stomach. It was probably the calmest argument I've ever had, but I feel worse now than I did after our first argument. And yet again, it's my fault. I wish I'd never spoken to Mina because it's just led to disappointment from Wonwoo, and that's worse than him being angry at me, actually.

I think I'm done now.

-- Mingyu

Chapter Text

It's Sunday 29th July.

I've rewritten this entry around four or five times by this point. I don't know how to approach it really because I know that I'm experiencing some mental ill-health right now, but it's taken so long to figure it out.

It's the weirdest thing. I know that I'm experiencing a short period of low mood and potentially a brief depressive episode, although I've checked the criteria online and it's not been going on for long enough for me to get a diagnosis. And besides, it's not really a thing over here. I've only managed to find a few little things about it here and there because of the Western shows that Hansol and Wonwoo have had me watching. You know, everything from those weird medical dramas to Downton Abbey and that boring 1980s-style daytime television. Like honestly, I don't care so much about a couple who want to get a house abroad together, but can't even agree on the colour of the walls. Sandra and Mark from the United Kingdom, your marriage is in wrecks and you're not going to last for five minutes in the South of Italy. But that's a story for another time. I'm sure that you - or future me - will stumble upon these weird shows at some point in time and deeply regret your decision to watch them. The point is, many of these shows that Wonwoo and Hansol force me to watch mention mental health issues in some shape or form, be it through alcoholism or an acknowledged problem, and I relate to that. So I think I can actually cope with it all a lot better now that I realise what's happening than if I didn't understand what was happening to me.

So, every time I've reread through this, I've found more and more signs that it might be the case. The first time I started to ramble about how numb I'm feeling, and the next time I was mentioning other symptoms. Insomnia, reduced appetite, decreased sex drive, lack of interest in my hobbies, difficulties with social situations, a huge issue with putting effort into anything. These were all the sorts of things that I mentioned as time went on but I realised pretty quickly that it was probably a bad idea to dump these sorts of things on you (and my future, hopefully less depressed self). It's something that I want to move past as quickly as possible, so instead I'm going to do something a little bit different with this entry in hopes of dragging myself out of this negative mood. After all, I can't spend my entire life feeling negative about everything. I've been really negative lately, actually. Like, really negative. And it's something that's only going to make my mental health issues feel worse. Of course, it's not going to fix things all of a sudden, but it's going to make things feel a tiny little bit better at least. I'm going to give five things that have been good this week because I think I really need to hear that sort of thing right now. And let me tell you, whilst it's going to be a bit difficult to do this when I've been really struggling to do the basics, like getting out of bed and washing, I'm going to sit here and continue trying until I have five things that have genuinely made me feel happy this week. Nothing wishy-washy and nothing iffy. It has to be something that's definite and solid and genuine. So, here we go.

1) I thought about my first kiss with Wonwoo.

Okay, this one is a little bit dorky. And I know, technically it shouldn't count because my first kiss with Wonwoo was quite some time ago. But then when I thought about it this week, I couldn't help but feel really happy. My chest grew really tight as I thought about how it felt when the new year hit and he pressed our lips together. How it felt when the skin of his face was touching my face. The way that it was so sweet and innocent; no tongue or biting or an attempt to get sexual with me. I remember feeling him go from holding my hands to grabbing my hair so that I was forced to kiss him for a few seconds longer. Honestly, I feel like it was the best first kiss that I could have ever experienced with anyone, ever.

And sure, Wonwoo might not be talking to me still. He might have told me that he wants some space and I'm not to text or call him until he messages me first, but I can still fantasise about him whilst I wait. There's no harm in thinking about the way that we spent the new year together and the way that he smiled when we kissed each other. I remember how soft his voice was when he asked me to walk him to his hotel room and the way that he almost kissed me again at the door but then shied away when we finally got there. It was just a beautiful way to meet someone.

We haven't even known each other for a full year yet, but I'm so madly in love with him already. I'm willing to do anything for him already, even if his feelings for me diminish because of my poor judgement. It's like my thoughts about what made the perfect relationship were clouded before I met him, but now I know that I want to spend my life with Jeon Wonwoo. The thing is, he's taught me that the perfect relationship doesn't have to be picture perfect but rather, you still love each other despite the problems that you face together. We could fight a hundred times and as long as we were still in love with each other and made up afterwards and we weren't intentionally being malicious to each other, we can still have the perfect relationship. We're adults and sometimes adults have disagreements. So I'm feeling really positive about our future together and I really hope that as soon as he's over this disagreement, we can sort it out between us and then I can kiss him again.

2) The cashier at 7-11 was nice.

This one was a lot more fun, honestly. I went in to get some noodles and he got me some hot water right away, but I got my words jumbled up as I tried to talk to him. I ended up letting out a weird-sounding laugh as I told him that maybe I should work on speaking Korean properly before I try learning Mandarin to talk to my Chinese friends, and so he ended up cracking a few jokes about it and then discussing the matter with me some more. He told me that some of his friends were from China too, and he's pretty impressed that I'm trying to learn the language because he finds it really difficult. The kicker is, though, that it's not even the hardest language that he's trying to learn for his friends and he's already on the verge of giving up. He's got a friend from Thailand, two from America, one who is from Canada and speaks both English and French, a few from Hong Kong who ignore Mandarin in favour of Cantonese, and one friend who is Japanese. They sound like quite a diverse bunch really, but he told me that they're a huge pain when it comes to languages.

I wasn't in much of a rush, so he ended up writing down a few phrases here and there so that I had something to impress my friends with. There was "หี", which I'm pretty he said was a compliment, but I'm not completely sure. He wrote that on a piece of paper with the pronunciation so I've copied it right from the sheet into this journal, but I don't even know how I can search it online to find out the exact definition. Then he gave me some weird French phrase about trying to find something to whine about all the time - "chercher la petite bête". I think that one relates to my sister quite well so he wrote that one down for me too, whilst laughing with me about how sisters have a habit of complaining about everything.

In the end, we'd learnt quite a lot about each other and our relationship with other languages, which was really nice. He ended up giving me a free cake to continue my day with and told me that he hoped we'd meet again in the future, and so I continued my day feeling a lot happier about everything.

3) A dog who looked like a cloud walked past.

There's not much to say about this one really; it's exactly as it says on the tin. I was making my way to work on Thursday to see a huge white dog who looked like a cloud. Seriously, her fur was the silkiest looking fur I've ever seen in my entire life. I stared a bit too hard and her owner noticed me stood there with my jaw hanging. She smiled warmly before turning her dog back around and bringing her right over to me. Then she asked if I wanted to stroke her, so I thanked her profusely before patting the softest girl in the entire world. She just stood there in front of me with big round eyes and soaked up the attention.

It was only a few minutes of my life taken up by this dog - whose name was Gureum, by the way - but it was a few minutes that brightened up my day and admittedly, I did spend a lot of the workday bragging about the cloud to anyone who would listen to me. She reminded me a lot of my childhood dog, Aji, actually. Obviously not in size or anything because Gureum probably reached my kneecap whilst Aji was tiny, but they were similar in personality. As nervous as Aji usually got when she was around strangers, that nervousness would slip away as soon as she was being patted or cuddled, at which point she would get incredibly affectionate. It just reminded me of how much I miss her sometimes, although it was for the best that she passed on in the end because she was really old.

4) One of the editors brought her toddler into work.

I might not have mentioned this before, but I really like kids and I did want one in the future. Obviously it's not a big deal or anything now, since I know that Wonwoo is a little bit scared of children, but I still can't help but feel strangely happy when I see other people's children around. Someone from the editing team was supposed to be coming into work just to collect her laptop so that she could work from home with her toddler because his playgroup was cancelled today, but then she brought him around the office and it was the sweetest thing in the entire world. He was just pottering around the place to bother everyone, and everyone was just so happy to have someone so sweet around the place. He really brightened the office up, especially when he started to offer his stuffed giraffe to people. It was the cutest thing I've seen in a long time and I'm happy to have had the opportunity to spend a few minutes with him.

Part of me is considering asking Wonwoo if he'll reconsider in the future at some point because of this exchange. I think that his dislike for children is perfectly valid and I appreciate that it's the case and all, but I really think a baby who looks exactly like him would be great. I think I'd fall in love as soon as I saw the baby, to be fair. I'm hoping that if we ever do decide to get married or anything in the future, we might get a surrogate - perhaps even my sister or something - and then we can have the most amazing family together. He can read with our baby, since he's really academic and all, and I'd be the fun dad who teaches them how to play games and sing songs and stuff. I think it would be really nice to have that experience.

5) My childhood teddy appeared under my bed.

So I ended up taking Min to the vet for a check up and all, especially after everything that had happened with her seeming as if she's in heat, and everything was all fine but she hated me for a little while when we got back. I was expecting it so I wasn't really offended or anything, even when my mood was so low beforehand anyway, but I figured that it was best to encourage her to like me again anyway. I got her favourite toys out and some snacks, with the intention of helping her to trust me again, but then when I tried to coax her out from underneath my bed I noticed my childhood teddy under the bed next to her.

As soon as I had the opportunity to do so, I went back and took the teddy out. He needed a wash so he was tossed into the washer for a while, but then he came out and I couldn't help but feel warm inside. He still had the one eye dangling down from where my mom didn't sew it back on tightly enough, and his mouth is starting to become unraveled. But he's still perfect and just as soft as I remember, and even though I washed him he still had the slightest scent of my family's old washing powder clinging to his fur.

I didn't even know that I'd brought him along when I moved house but I'm so glad that I found him. He provided that little bit of comfort that I didn't really feel last week. It was like a little bit of light in a dark corner and I appreciated it so much. In the end, he found a permanent home on my bed and I cuddled with him last night when I went to bed. It's the best feeling ever to finally have a stuffed teddy in your arms again after so long, and so I really felt a huge boost in mood after finding my nameless stuffed bear.

 

I think that's it for this one because I don't really want to start letting the negativity trickle out again, but I think that this has boosted my mood a bit for the moment. If it does continue though, I swear I'll seek help. Anyone who reads this - including my future self - will know that I've improved if I don't mention it again. Just assume that I'll get everything fixed and that I know what I'm doing.

-- Mingyu

Chapter Text

It's Friday 3rd August.

I thought I would start off with some positivity in the form of Wonwoo, since the rest of this week has been a bit of a mess. He's currently asleep in my arms with his head on my chest, and I'm honestly so relieved that he's here by my side. I don't know what I would have done if he was still upset with me because I really needed to have someone close to me after everything that's gone down. His hair is growing long because he's well overdue a haircut, but it means that it's tickling his forehead and my neck as he cuddles close to me. His eyelashes are resting delicately on his cheeks as he sleeps peacefully, and his fingers are pressing very gently into my shoulder. The one thing that's taunting me at the moment is the scent of strawberries that's lingering in the air; the scent of his newest shampoo and conditioner. It's driving me absolutely wild already. It's the sort of scent that's making me want to smother him in kisses and make sure that he knows how great it feels to have him next to me. It's the new scent that I'm going to end up missing when he's gone.

Wonwoo turned up at my front door today without having messaged beforehand. When I opened the door, he was holding Min in his arms. He said that she wouldn't leave him alone on his way up the stairs, so he simply picked her up and brought her up with him. If he pulls kissy faces at her, she purrs and crams her nose between his lips, he said. It's far from what she does with me, I told him; if I tried to get her to kiss me like that, she would probably bite my face. But she loves Wonwoo, so I guess she's going to be gentle like that with him. He carefully put her down and then turned his attention back to me without saying a word. To start with, he stayed completely silent, but then I quickly caved and leaned in to kiss him, and then we were all over each other.

Don't get me wrong, though. We didn't end up in bed together. That's not why Wonwoo is asleep on my chest right now. He reminded me of his policy to not use sex as a way of making up after an argument and as much as I tried to tell him that I was just trying to make it so that he knew I felt bad for what I did, he still wasn't having it. Instead, I had to make him a meal as he sat on my kitchen side, and then I would occasionally make my way over to him to litter his face and hands in kisses along the way. Then I hand-fed him his food before taking him through to the main room, where we laid down together and talked about our time outside of the argument. Wonwoo told me that he had missed being around me and wanted to get everything sorted pretty quickly but had figured that it was best to get his work out of the way first. I had to agree, even though I had been upset that he hadn't contacted me earlier. I proceeded to tell him about everything that had happened that week, even though it had been pretty negative, and then we ended up watching an old film together before he ended up taking a nap on me.

It's the greatest feeling to have him back after everything that's happened, though. First of all, things went downhill with my sister again. I'm not sure if I mentioned this but after her boyfriend distanced himself, they broke up, but then last week they got back together. And now they're no longer together again but this time it's permanent. It was a bit of a bad situation, actually, and I almost ended up going to his house to absolutely destroy her. It turns out that she disagreed with him on something that he felt pretty passionate about, so he picked up a lamp and threw it at her. She managed to dodge it, so he threw the other lamp at her. That one ended up bumping her on the head. Obviously she was really upset about that sort of thing and so promptly informed him that she didn't want anything to do with him anymore. He tried to act as if it was some sort of accident, but my sister isn't the sort of person who sits back and accepts any form of abuse or violence so she told him to get out of her life forever. He said that he still wanted to see his baby, but she informed him right away that she would do anything and everything in her power to stop that sort of thing from happening.

And I have to agree, really. Whilst I don't think it's going to be easy for her as a single mother, I think it'll be a lot better if she doesn't have an asshole around to make things stressful. At the end of the day, if he's willing to throw things at her whilst she's pregnant, what else would he do? Would he abuse any pets that they end up adopting in the future? Would he think that corporal punishment is an appropriate form of discipline against their child? Would he hit her again in the future to put her in her place? What would happen if she ended up getting pregnant again? There are so many things to consider, and so I really think that breaking up was the best option for both of them. At the end of the day, the last thing my sister really needs is to live her life in fear of what will happen to her and her child, and he really needs time to sort himself out. Obviously I don't know whether she provoked him in any way, but either way it's not appropriate to throw lamps at anyone, let alone his pregnant girlfriend. He needs anger management at the very least, but maybe even some other sort of therapy to sort out his problems.

She's still pretty shaken up, honestly. We thought she had a concussion to start with. She was pretty dizzy when she called our dad to pick her up, and then she ended up passing out a few times on the way to the hospital. She was worried about the baby the whole time, though, so we ended up having to get the check-ups done on both of them at the time, even though she should have been the priority and the baby should have been more of an afterthought. And I know what a lot of people would think about that, since the baby is life and can't defend itself and all of that, but I really don't think that it matters all that much to start with when his mother could have ended up dead as a result of some inconsiderate prick potentially causing bleeds in her brain. We're just thankful for the fact that he doesn't appear to have caused lasting damage and both her and the baby are safe.

Then there was work. See, I have these recurring themes in my journal entries because this is all I do in life. Work, worry about my sister, and spend time with Wonwoo. Work was actually the worst part of this week though, surprisingly.

We had a staff meeting when I got into work on Wednesday, at which point they announced that we were still making losses and more people needed to lose their jobs. They announced that fourteen more members of staff across all departments - including my own - would be losing their jobs so that we could hopefully make enough to stay afloat. I instantly felt my heart rise up into my throat as I realised that I was probably going to end up losing my job as a result of that, since I'm the most inexperienced member of staff working in my department, but the reality was actually quite a lot worse. I didn't end up losing my job, but Dohee and Soomi did. They apparently found out before the meeting, and so by the time I got back to my desk and began to worry about my fate, Soomi was already there packing her belongings up.

"You're staying, right?" she said to me when she noticed me glancing at her. In all honesty, I'd expected that they were working their way around the team or something, but she quickly followed it up with, "Has Jinyoung not spoken to you about it?" When I hesitated to answer, she simply offered a warm smile to me before making her way over to my side of the desk and holding her arms out for a hug. So I stood and hugged her tightly, and she buried her face into my shoulder as she started to cry. "I'm going to miss you," she whispered, and at that point I realised that I wasn't going to be leaving that day if I hadn't already been told my fate. I stroked her hair as she continued to cry into my chest, but then after a few minutes she simply pulled back and dabbed the corners of her eyes with her fingertips.

"Sorry about that. It was just so sudden that I haven't really thought of another plan just yet. I don't know whether I want to continue working in printed media anymore, whether I want to follow my degree and work in advertising, or whether I want to try something completely different." I gave a little nod in response and offered up the most apologetic smile that I could.
"I can try to help you find something," I suggested, "I know a few people in a few different companies who would probably be happy to give you a place."
"Thank you for the offer, but I think I might need to get everything sorted in my life before I thrust myself into another job without considering whether it might be the job I want for the rest of my life."

Now, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't upset. I was really upset. She ended up spending the rest of her time there crying, and then Dohee made her way over so that she could join in with the crying. I felt awful for them, honestly. I'm sure that they needed the job a lot more than I did, but I could hardly say that to them out loud. It wasn't appropriate; after all, I kept my job whilst they lost theirs so it was easy enough to say that sort of thing to them. It would have been a bit of a kick in the teeth, actually.

It ended up looking lonely when Soomi finally packed up everything on her desk and left. I sat there and stared at it for a while longer, imagining how it would look the following morning when she wasn't there. I thought about every little memory we shared whilst she was working near me. The way that she had her stationary organised into little drawers and had sweets in her top drawer to deal with her hypoglycemia. I thought about the neat little piles of work she kept on her desk and the way that she had a stack of sticky notes in five different colours and how her computer screen was covered in tiny photos of her and her sister. I thought about the one occasion in which we spent the evening together and she helped me to get ready to see Wonwoo and she told me everything about herself - along with the other girls, obviously. She told me about her first kiss and her first time in bed and all of the times she'd gotten wine drunk and ended up in a giggling mess with her friends. That was the Soomi I wanted to remember, but it was the Soomi I'd probably never see again.

The issue is that when someone leaves a workplace, it's pretty rare that they'll meet their colleagues again. As much as you can be close and say that you'll stay in contact, you probably won't. I have countless people I've met in my lifetime on social media, but I've never really spoken to them since. What can you even say to them? You no longer have those things in common with them. And even if you thought you had things in common at the time, it turns out that there's not that much when you're finally apart. There was a boy I went to university with who was close enough to being my best friend, for example. We would sit in my dorm until the sun rose again, taking about anything that came to mind. Sometimes it would be silly things, like whether animals have dreams or who out of our lectures would be the first to do something stupid and end up in prison, but other times we would talk about more serious matters. He confided in me about his childhood abuse, and I told him about my difficulties with my family. We talked about philosophy and existentialism and our overall fear of death. We had hospital trips together; grocery trips and late night trips to McDonald's and all-nighters as we tried to finish our assignments. Heck, we even shared one kiss to prove that we weren't into each other. But since we finished our degree, we've not really spoken.

It's the reality of life, though. I know that in a few years, Soomi is going to be a distant memory. I will have met hundreds of other people in that time, so she won't be at the front of my mind anymore. But maybe I'll catch the scent of jasmine and think about how it was her scent and our desk space was drowning in the smell of her perfume. Maybe I'll meet a new colleague who wears petticoats under everything and be reminded of her. Maybe I'll even see a stranger in the streets and realise that they look just like her. But for now, I'm still feeling that it's not real and she'll be back on Monday.

Those were the main reasons why I needed Wonwoo around anyway. There were a few other things that irked me during the week, like cyclists not obeying the rules of the road and my favourite kimbap increasing in price by two-hundred won, but those were the sorts of things that I could deal with on my own. I mean, I could have dealt with the issues with my sister and the departure of two of my good colleagues on my own too, but I really did need that little bit of emotional support.

And whilst Wonwoo is laid here in my arms, he's blissfully unaware of the sadness that's still knotting my insides. He doesn't know that I'm feeling down and I wish I didn't have the emotional issues to deal with. He thinks I'm just regular old Mingyu, to match his regular old Wonwoo. I think I'd like to keep it that way, though. I don't really want to stress him out by introducing something like this. He's got enough on his plate already without having to deal with a boyfriend who is just feeling down on top of that too. Besides, it's not really like there's anything he can do about it anyway. Being in a relationship doesn't make you spontaneously happy if your issue isn't grounded in the fact that you're not in a relationship in the first place.

That's the note I'm going to sign off on, I think. Until next week.

-- Mingyu

Chapter Text

It's Saturday 11th August and I don't know what to do with myself.

I've just met Wonwoo's family for the first time, and it was probably the most uncomfortable experience of my entire life, ever.

No, I'm being absolutely serious. I've met a lot of my ex-partners' parents before in the past. I've met the parents of boys I was planning on starting something romantic with but hadn't quite reached that stage before. Hell, I've even met the parents of boys I've been messing around with, and we've had dinner together. I thought that eating dinner with a boy's family when they think you're dating but he's just going down the dirt road with you was bad enough, especially when they started asking about how we fell in love with each other and that sort of thing, but this is a completely new experience entirely.

So, I found out very quickly that he wasn't out properly to his parents until yesterday afternoon. He'd briefly mentioned finding a few men attractive but his parents hadn't really taken it in, and he could hardly expect them to do so when it was so subtle. He figured that it was best to avoid mentioning it again, though, just in case they got annoyed with him. He didn't know how to put it or how they would take it, and so he ended up settling on keeping it inside instead of telling them about it again. After all, he didn't really anticipate that he would find a boy who would be interested in him - which I think is a big fat load of shit because he's absolutely stunning and I know of at least eight men who would like a piece of him - and so he never did mention it again.

But then, obviously, we're starting to get a bit more serious in our relationship already. We're in both a romantic and a physical relationship, and we share a bed most of the time when we're together. The only exceptions are if either one of us isn't feeling that well, and then we figure that it's best to sleep in different beds. We've started to visit each other on a regular basis again, and so we're spending almost every night together again, just like a married couple or something. And then there's the fact that we've been discussing moving in together at some point. We're considering the fact that I could get a job near to where Wonwoo works and we could both move into his place, since we would have plenty of money to be together and it would definitely save us a lot of money in rent and travel to spend time together. I think by this point, I have more clothes at his house than I have at mine, and clothes that he hasn't even worn to my place occasionally have some of Min's hairs on them. We might not be at the point in our relationship where we're considering getting engaged just yet, since we've only been together for eight months or so, but we're definitely getting to be very serious about each other.

He figured, given that we are in the position where we're considering taking further steps in our relationship, that it would be best to officially come out to his family and introduce us. But his judgement was slightly off, and so we're now in a position in which everything is incredibly, incredibly awkward. He figured that it was best to jump straight in without giving it another thought. He would tell them that he's in a long-term relationship with another man on Friday afternoon, and then we would all meet for brunch on Saturday. When he called me to arrange it, I couldn't help but feel my heart jump into my throat. It was bad enough knowing that they didn't even know I existed until yesterday afternoon, but it was even worse to know that they wouldn't be over it by the time I finally met them. Of course, Wonwoo was quick to apologise for springing all of that straight onto me, but I didn't really know how I could possibly handle the fact that I was actually going to be face-to-face with them all, like some weirdo who they were set out to judge. I'm sure they wouldn't have minded having the opportunity to sit and judge me, too. It sounded like the best idea, seeing as I was probably going to turn out to be a family disappointment and an embarrassment to my boyfriend.

But I could hardly complain. After all, he met my parents when I forgot that I'd double-booked my time with them both. He'd adapted to the situation well, so surely I would do the same. I had over twelve hours to prepare for that sort of thing, so it should have been completely fine.

Except it wasn't fine. It wasn't fine in the slightest. The moment I walked into Wonwoo's house, expecting that I would be the first one there, I was faced with the sight of them all sat in the main room. It was a modern Western-style house with an open main room, which overlooked the door. As in, all of the sofas were directed towards the door and as soon as it swung open, I moved in to greet him with a kiss, only to be faced with the sight of his entire family in the background. I very obviously recoiled, not even having the guts to reflect it into a hug instead. Wonwoo quietly cleared his throat before inviting me in, seemingly agreeing that perhaps physical contact was a pretty bad idea, and then he promptly invited me to sit down on one of the sofas.

Now, I've never met a bunch of people who looked so stuck-up in my entire life. Not once. No disrespect to Wonwoo's family, but it was painfully intimidating. This was made significantly worse by the fact that Wonwoo had invited both parents over, despite the fact that their divorce was still very much fresh. And sure, they had been separated for quite a while, but there was still a lot of tension from being in the same room for the first time since they moved into separate houses.

And man, I can't even begin to describe how similar Wonwoo looks to his brother and parents. He's literally like a carbon copy of his parents, and he and his brother could pass as twins. Have you ever seen those families in which everyone looks like they're related or something and then you find out that the parents aren't related and the kids are actually like eight years apart or something? It's basically like that sort of situation. Wonwoo has the exact same nose shape as his father, and his eyes are sort of a mix of both of theirs - although they both have a similar eye shape so it's hardly difficult. It's more his father's eye colour and the way that his mother's eyes dip downwards slightly more in the inner corner. Then his cheeks match his mother's perfectly. He's closer to his father's height, although that's hardly difficult, seeing as he has almost outgrown the man. His mother is hardly short, though, and his brother is huge too. Obviously, I didn't take all of this in as soon as I saw them, but they were the sorts of observations that I noticed with time.

The big difference, though, was the fact that Wonwoo was relatively chatty but his family avoided conversation as much as possible. I think they were annoyed that they were dragged all the way over to his house to see his boyfriend when they didn't even know that he was in a relationship, only to realise that I'm probably not good enough for their son anyway. Or maybe they thought that Wonwoo was the only reason why I actually managed to function as an adult, rather than being a child forever. I don't really know, but I don't think I ever want to find out how they feel about me. Whatever they think about me, I can absolutely guarantee you that their feelings aren't positive in the slightest. And it's terrifying. I don't want to be that in-law that the entire family hates when we eventually get to the point where we're considering getting engaged or something. I don't want any kids we might have to find out that grandma and grandpa and uncle all want their papa to get lost.

Eventually, they did start talking to me. When you're with someone for eight hours, you eventually do have to start talking. We took their car to the nearest restaurant to have lunch - although they seemed to be relatively reluctant to let me in with them - and then Wonwoo's father started out by asking me questions in an obvious attempt to try to get to know me. Don't get me wrong, though; I genuinely appreciated the gesture. I know it was hard for him, especially since he found out that his youngest son wasn't going to be able to do the things a parent hoped for their child, so I was hardly going to hold it against him. "So, Mingyu, do you like sports?" he asked me once we'd made our order. I immediately offered him a smile and informed him that yes, I do like sports a lot. He quickly asked me if I followed football and, if so, what team I supported. It led to some small-talk about football teams, but it was an ice-breaker so I didn't really mind all that much. I'd rather us have a bit of an awkward conversation about the country's worst football teams than have him act awkward and uncomfortable around me. I seemingly won his approval that way too, which was a huge, huge relief.

Wonwoo's mother, on the other hand, wasn't quite as willing to accept me. She stared coldly at me the entire time, as if she was hoping that I would just go away, and she almost flipped every time that Wonwoo and I accidentally touched. My elbow would bump against his or I'd accidentally hit his leg, and her eyes almost shot out of her head. I swear, she would have probably launched herself across the table to punch me in the face if she had the opportunity to do so without getting into masses of trouble for it. So instead, she stayed silent until Wonwoo tried to engage her in conversation and even then her answers were painfully short. That was, until she decided that she was going to start quizzing me on all different aspects of Wonwoo's life. It was probably the worst quiz I've ever had, but I answered it regardless, just to spite her.

"So tell me, Mingyu, do you know what Wonwoo is allergic to?" she asked as she bore holes into my skull from across the table. I swallowed my bite before giving my answer as smoothly as possible.
"He's allergic to silicone and cherries. And he has a little bit of a reaction to latex too, sometimes, but it depends on the type. He's fine with some types, but he doesn't do so well with those powdered gloves."
"Some types, as in condoms?"
"Well, yes," I responded, trying my hardest not to come across as being too pushy. "Condoms, balloons and shoe soles are usually fine, but plasters and rubber gloves don't do so well for him."
"So, you're having sex with my son?"

Wonwoo and his father simultaneously let out the loudest groans of annoyance that I could have possibly imagined. All I could hear from my left side was Wonwoo's father asking her if she had to bring up something like that at the breakfast table, and from my right side I could hear Wonwoo complaining that she needed to stop prying when he's an adult and that sort of thing shouldn't be of any concern to her.

She simply gave an irritated huff before questioning me about other aspects of Wonwoo's life instead, since she had been called out for asking something that personal and intimate. She proceeded to ask me everything that she could think up on the spot. What was his favourite colour? What was his favourite animal? What was the name of his childhood stuffed bear? Where did he work his first job? Wonwoo tried to stop us from continuing with the back and forth, but I dismissed him in favour of continuing with something that I was definitely good at doing. I knew that I could be the best at this competition, and I wasn't going to allow her to try to put me down. It was no longer a matter of making her respect me; it was more of a matter of pride.

"Who was Wonwoo's first kiss?"
"Park Jungjoon. October 20th, 2010. Would you like the details of where it happened, too?" She didn't know whether it was the right date and I didn't either, but when she turned to Wonwoo to ask, he told her that I was correct.
"What about the first time he drove a car?"
"On his twentieth birthday. His driving instructor brought him a box of Poptarts to celebrate his birthday because he didn't know what else to get him and felt bad for not getting him a gift."
"When did he first go into the hospital for treatment, other than his birth?"
"It's a trick question. You didn't find out about his hospital trip when he was thirteen because he and his best friend hid it from you and his friend got his older brother to come in and pretend to be Wonwoo's legal guardian so that you didn't find out that he broke his nose in a fight. But I'm expecting that you would have said when he was fifteen and split his head open after he fell down a flight of stairs."

She looked humiliated, and I instantly knew that I was the champion. It came alongside genuine pride, which I can't even begin to describe to you. I was so unbelievably happy that I managed to make her back down, but she quickly learnt that I was going to be able to answer every question she threw at me. I have an incredible memory for the little details, and Wonwoo and I have spent enough nights talking about our traumas and upbringings for me to know plenty about each of the topics that she would ask about. I even know the details of when and where he lost his virginity, although he didn't count his first time really, since he wasn't really into the guy and he felt a bit pressured into doing it. See, I wasn't prepared to back down when she was trying to make it seem as if I didn't know Wonwoo as well as she thought I should have and although it clearly upset her, I wasn't prepared to sit around and accept her trying to show her authority over me.

I honestly expected that Wonwoo would beat my ass once we'd finished brunch, but he admitted as soon as we were in private that he was proud of me for how well I did. He knew that I just got lucky with the sorts of questions that she asked - after all, they were pretty generic and there was always the chance that she wouldn't know either - but it was still a huge achievement either way. In fact, Wonwoo's father even gave me a congratulatory pat on the back and mumbled something about her being a dragon when she didn't like someone, and so I instantly felt as if I was genuinely a part of the family right away. At least the part of the family that contained his father anyway.

So we ended up talking a little bit more when we got to Wonwoo's place and spent a few hours trying to bond over board games and the sorts. I'm usually pretty competitive so I tried to calm it down as best as possible, but Wonwoo is even more competitive so he didn't even attempt to be humble as we played together. Instead, he made sure to absolutely obliterate all of us. Connect Four almost turned violent, he tried his hardest to distract his brother during Operation, his Yut strategy was absolutely perfect without even needing to discuss it or take the time out to think of how he was going to play, and somehow his skills at playing The Genius were unmatched by any of us. I've never seen a man so competitive, but I loved every minute of it.

I mean, I guess we all sort of bonded by the end of it. I didn't really talk that much to his brother all the way through the exchange, but I definitely did get on with Wonwoo's father very well. He even told me that if I wanted to watch a football game together in Seoul, he would enjoy the chance to spend some man time with me. Apparently, neither of his sons are into sports so he's glad to have another man to share the experience with. And I'd genuinely be happy to spend that time with him. And then there's Wonwoo's mother, who seemed to have respect for me by the end of the day, even though she's still obviously wary around me. I'm still very uncomfortable around her and I'm concerned that she probably wishes I'd disappear forever, but I can't really blame her. I'm seeing her little boy, and she probably does feel a bit uncomfortable with that.

The only issue after that, though, was when Wonwoo's father asked if I'd like a lift to the train station and Wonwoo informed his parents that I was supposed to be staying for the night. It definitely caused a bit of tension, especially after Wonwoo's mother brought up our love life over brunch, but they didn't say anything in response. It was Wonwoo's decision, and he was already holding my arm to stop me from leaving.

As soon as they left, he apologised profusely, though, for his mother's behaviour. She'd never done it with the girls he'd taken home, apparently, but he supposed that it was a bit of a shock when she found out that Wonwoo had found a man he liked instead. He ended up taking a shower to clear his head after everything that had gone on, and that's where he currently is - hence the fact that I'm writing this now.

I just hope that they feel a lot more comfortable around me in the future because I really don't want to be that outsider in a family that I'm hoping to become a part of for the rest of my life.

-- Mingyu

Chapter Text

It's Tuesday August 14th.

I think we all know by now that if I end up making my entry at the start of the week, something pretty big must have happened. And oh boy, did something bit happen.

But I'm going to start right from the beginning because otherwise this is gonna be a short drama-filled entry, and I want to remember more than just the drama that happens in my life. Just a little snippet. And it leads on to what happened, so I think it's important to know this bit too. Otherwise, how else would I know about it?

So at the end of last week, I'm sure I pointed out that I was staying at Wonwoo's place and his family didn't really seem to approve of it. Of course, we ended up doing couple things - by which, I mean taking a long bath together and then me drilling Wonwoo into the mattress - and then we fell asleep together at a reasonable eight-thirty. I was surprised at how exhausting socialising with Wonwoo's family was, although I can't really say that I would take it back. I really did enjoy it, at least when his mother wasn't being overly protective and making it seem as if I was just a temporary part of his life. But I guess we needed it because we were both out cold until Wonwoo's alarm eventually woke me to say that we needed to get up and make breakfast. The last thing he ever wants is to lie in bed for too long and end up wasting half of the day, so his alarm is always set to sound at seven-thirty in the morning. Even so, that meant that we had eleven hours of sleep, which was pretty impressive considering that we usually end up sleeping for around five or six hours at most whenever I'm staying with him.

We spent the say together, just enjoying each other's company until I finally had to take the train back home. He promised that he would come to see me after work on Tuesday - well, today - and that perhaps we could work out a system together so that we would be able to visit each other more. Perhaps we could work it out so that one of us visited on Tuesday, one on Thursday, and then we would go to one person's house on either Friday night or Saturday morning to spend the weekend together. It sounded like the perfect idea, if I was completely honest, and so we decided that it was a plan. It took forever for Wonwoo to let me go at the train station regardless, though, and we ended up parting with a lingering kiss that was hard to part from when the train arrived at the station. Actually, it was pretty special too because I think it's the first time that Wonwoo has properly kissed me in a well-lit public space throughout our relationship, and we've been together for a good few months now.

Anyway, I had the usual stuff at work. You don't really want to hear about that. It's the sort of stuff you've probably heard a million times anyway. They're talking about cutting jobs again, there's a lot of complaints from other members of staff, and I'm just plodding on and doing my job. The only difference is that we're mostly getting the summer questions for my column now; "I decided that I would treat my girlfriend and take her to a nude beach abroad when we go on our holiday and I've already bragged about one being close to the hotel, but I decided to make myself hair-free beforehand and burnt my urethra, balls and asshole by sitting in hair removal cream. It's supposed to be for our anniversary, so we were supposed to be getting intimate whilst we were away, but it even hurts to pee! What do I do?" and similar questions. I was looking forward to these ones almost as much as the winter holiday ones, admittedly, but I wasn't sure if I was going to last in the company until I got to answer them, so I wasn't really holding my breath all that much.

The important part was actually when Wonwoo came to visit me today, though. I had prepared everything; it was supposed to be another one of those relaxed nights where we did crafts together and watched those Western programmes that Hansol got him obsessed with, about holiday homes, auctions, and the sorts. As much as they still aren't really my cup of tea, they're easy to indulge in so I don't really mind. Besides, they really make Wonwoo smile. I don't think you've ever had a relationship where you can imagine your life with someone until you're been sat doing needlecraft on the sofa as he tells you that the couples on the show aren't going to get their dream home because they can't even agree on whether to get a garden or not and their relationship is already in ruins as it is. It's quite funny, but also something that I have to agree with. Keith and Carol from London, you're not going to get very far in the South of Spain if you're arguing over the fireplace like that. Do yourselves a favour and fix your problems before you go from having marital issues, to having marital issues in Spain.

Actually, it led to us discussing a few things, like the fact that we haven't really seen our friends for a while. Wonwoo admitted that he missed Hansol, even though he has only met him once or twice, but that he hasn't even seen his own friends in months so he feels like it would be rude if he was to see my friends first. So I suggested that maybe we could have a bit of a house party or something so that we could all get to know each other a bit better. I mean, we did all spend that one day together, but I feel like we could probably get to know each other a bit better. And I know that two of our friend have started seeing each other, whilst a few will probably end up flirting if they met again. For the record, the two who are actually together are Hansol and Seungkwan. They're such a cute couple, even though Hansol is still a bit nervous about the fact that he's dating another guy. Saying that, though, he's not embarrassed to be seen in public with Seungkwan and they hold hands and kiss and all, but he just finds it hard to admit it to people.

I'm going off-topic again. Back to the story. So, we were discussing the fact that we wanted to see our friends when Wonwoo's phone randomly rang. And although his policy is to not answer his phone whilst we're together, he took it out of his pocket to see that it was his brother calling. Now, Wonwoo's brother rarely calls him, and they don't really get on all that much so he figured that it was going to be something important. I think we both felt it as we stared at the caller ID, and then he quickly looked up to me to ask for permission to answer it. I gave the nod to him, having expected him to answer it in the first place anyway, and then he promptly swiped the icon to answer it. From there, he put him straight onto loudspeaker before asking him right away if everything was okay.

"Wonwoo, there's... something I really need to talk to you about," his brother said on the other end of the phone. Wonwoo waited for a moment to see whether he would continue, but then quickly cleared his throat and asked what was wrong.
"Is it something to do with our parents?" he asked.
"Well, yes and no. Not directly, but I suppose it affects them too." Again, they went silent. It really went to show how they didn't really click with each other, although obviously I wasn't prepared to make a comment about that. I just waited in anticipation for Wonwoo's brother to continue and seemingly, so did he.

After a moment, Wonwoo's brother gave a slight huff. "I know you think you're into boys, but I really think you need to take a step back and have a look at the implications of this." Of course, both Wonwoo and I turned to each other in surprise at that comment. It's not really the sort of comment you expect to hear in today's society, but it was literally coming out of his brother's mouth right there. Neither of us really knew what to say we were so shocked by the comment. "And I know what you're gonna say," he finally continued, "It's twenty-eighteen and society isn't against homosexuals anymore, but I really think you should see how it affects our family. You're supposed to be a high-earner in a respectable family, and part of your social responsibility is to have a relationship with a woman, have two or three children, and then encourage them to do the same. That can't happen if you're in a homosexual relationship with Mingyu, and I think you know how much that's going to affect mom and dad in turn."

"What are you even saying?" Wonwoo asked as he let out an exasperated laugh. He opened his mouth to speak again, but seemingly found no words to describe how amazed he was as his mouth opened and closed a few times, like a fish who was struggling to breathe.
"I'm saying that you need to re-evaluate what you're doing and think, hey, this lifestyle choice is affecting more than just me."
"Lifestyle choice," Wonwoo repeated breathily. I didn't know whether he wanted to laugh or cry, and so I decided to prepare for the worst by wrapping an arm around his shoulders. He immediately flashed a thankful smile in my direction, but then turned back towards his phone. "Bohyuk, it's hardly a lifestyle choice that I fell in love with another man."

"Tell me what it is, then," his brother said. His voice was forceful and harsh, as if he was already sick of the topic of conversation before Wonwoo had had the chance to explain.
"We're just a regular couple who fell in love how couples tend to fall in love."
"And how would that be exactly?"
"We met at a party, we flirted, and then we went to his hotel room to greet the new year in private."
"So he coerced you into sex from the moment you met him, then?"

That wasn't what Wonwoo meant, and I'm sure that his brother knew that. But he wasn't prepared to back down. Wonwoo let out a laugh again, as if he couldn't believe what was happening, before quickly explaining to him that we danced together without feeling as if we were outing ourselves to a bunch of strangers, and then we kissed once before I took him back to his room to rest. His brother swore it was a mistake and he shouldn't have felt as if we needed to be together after a drunken night of dancing and kissing, but Wonwoo insisted that it was a lot more than that. He said that his brother knew he wouldn't feel obliged to be with someone just because of a kiss, and we had actually ended up clicking very well. If he didn't want to make anything of it, he would have simply given me a fake number.

But he wasn't having any of it still. He began to point out that it was fair enough for Wonwoo to have a little bit of a fling with another man, but it didn't necessarily mean that he needed to make anything of it. We were more than welcome to explore our sexualities but that didn't mean that we needed to spend the rest of our lives together. And we had already done six months of exploration by that point, so it was only right that we simply call it a day and quit whilst we still can. He was certain that Wonwoo would still be able to make their parents happy if we cut off our relationship. Wonwoo pointed out that their father likes me already, but his brother pointed out that their father would like pretty much anyone who happened to show any sort of an interest in sports. It was their mother's opinion that mattered, he said, and so Wonwoo quickly accused him of taking her side in the divorce. "You know she can be a controlling bitch sometimes," Wonwoo huffed.
"Don't call her a bitch, Wonwoo."
"Well, we've all said it at some point or another. She likes all of my friends, but no one I could ever date would be good enough for her. And you can't even deny that, Hyuk. Try and tell me that someone I've dated in the past has ever been good enough for her."

There was silence. We all knew that Wonwoo was making a fair point. He's told me about all of his past relationships before, and they've always ended prematurely because she does things to sabotage them. She once sat between Wonwoo and a girlfriend in a restaurant so that they couldn't hold hands underneath the table, and she kept walking into his bedroom when he had a girl over once, in an attempt to catch them in bed together. From what he's said, she honestly doesn't seem to like anyone he's been in a relationship with, whether they've been good for him or not. And whilst I get it, parents tend to notice if someone is good for their kid right from the start, it's not really their place to say whether their child is allowed to love someone or not. Even in cases like domestic abuse, they can only advise against them being together. They can't force their kid to end the relationship, even if it's really bad for them. And as much as they don't like it - heck, even I don't like the thought of my future kids being in that position either - it's a parent's job to support their kid.

Us being together isn't comparable to domestic abuse. It's not comparable to a physically or psychologically damaging relationship. It's not a relationship where either of us abuses drugs or alcohol. Neither of us is going out and cheating on the other person constantly, and there's no financial abuse or anything either. So it shouldn't matter. His mom might not like me but unfortunately, it's not her place to tell him not to be with me. Likewise, it's not my family's decision whether we're together or not, and it's certainly not Wonwoo's brother's decision either.

They actually continued arguing for quite some time. Bohyuk wouldn't back down whatsoever, and Wonwoo wasn't going to allow him to act as if we were wrong for not having the wife-and-kids sort of relationship that he expected. By the time they cut the call off, though, they were really hostile towards each other and Wonwoo's brother requested that he not contact him again, unless he's in an emergency situation and couldn't get in contact with their parents. They finished the call there, and then Wonwoo just sat in silence for a while.

Strangely, he seems to be a lot more surprised than upset about it. I'm not sure if it's because it just hasn't set in yet, but I think it was just like the cherry on top of the cake and he just wasn't prepared to deal with it any longer. They weren't close anyway so it didn't really matter as much as it would have if my sister and I were in that situation, for example.

So we're finishing off the night with a horror film so that we can cuddle up to each other and feel a little bit closer, and I think it's going to help the situation a little bit more because at least that way, it reconfirms that what Wonwoo and I have is genuine and not just some temporary thing, as his brother suggested. I took a shower and now Wonwoo is finishing his up, and then hopefully what we'll have is a romantic night ahead of us before he has to head home.

Until next time.

-- Mingyu

Chapter Text

It's Wednesday 22nd August, and the inevitable has happened.

That's right, I lost my job.

Let's face it, though. It was going to happen in the end. The company is going into administration because they can't afford to continue printing papers. They can't afford the rent on the building we work in, and they can't afford to pay staff wages. They were considering keeping it online, but who really checks online news websites either nowadays, unless there's something big going on? I don't think I know one person who actively scours through news websites unless they have a specific reason to do so - breaking news or to prove a point - and they're even less likely to check out the website of a minor news company. The big newspapers, magazines, radio shows and websites are going to be the ones that everyone uses instead. It's just the obvious option.

Still, I didn't really anticipate that it would be today. I just went into the office, expecting that it was going to be another regular day, but then my boss came over and told me that we were having to shut the place down within the next few weeks. The issue was, though, that the entertainment columns were to be dropped immediately because there was no point in keeping us when we weren't actually involved in the news itself. We had this last shift and then we would be expected to pack up our things and leave.

And sure, I could have easily just said, "Screw this!" and not done any work all day. I was within my right to do that, since I had just been told that I was losing my job today without much warning at all but they still expected me to work as if I was coming in tomorrow. But I do actually have a little bit of a bond with the people who read my column. I have a few readers who will send me all of their problems or will encourage their friends to send problems in instead. I have people who have sent their compliments to me for the column. I've had a number of really great questions in my time. Everything from "I caught my girlfriend trying to get my dog to lick between her legs" to "I'm not speaking to my dad but he had a heart attack and although I feel rubbish for only wanting to know him after this, I feel like I need to be with him right now". I've seen people in the darkest points of their life, and people who are in a place where they feel as if they need someone to tell them that they aren't a bad person just because they made some heated decisions.

It feels like a family, even though I didn't really know any of them personally. I feel as if I know them and they know me. So I couldn't just drop the column on the spot. I made sure to answer as many questions as I could manage, making my way through the pile as quickly as I could manage, and then made sure to upload as many to our website as possible. I made sure to add a note to them to say that it was the last update that they would all get because the column was finishing there, and then signed off my laptop. I'd even worked through my lunch break today, which was a bit different from usual. I'm often very hungry by the time we get to midday but I had to get this out of the way and show them that I really do care about the people who were there to give me a job. And as much as I sometimes found the questions laughable, every one of them made me happy. Every single question. It was a genuine interaction between strangers, and it was probably the most genuine experience that I've had in a long time.

Once I was finished with my shift and the laptop was turned off, I spent a minute staring at my workspace. It was going to be clear soon and that was something that I didn't really want to imagine. But it had to be done, so I started to make my way through everything, stuffing what I could into my bag. I started with the things from my drawers, just so that I could hold on to the image of my desk's vibrancy for a few more minutes. I had a few papers that I had left in my drawers, along with a handful of pens and highlighters. I threw my sticky notes away, though, since they were losing their stick, coming apart, or otherwise dirty from the pencils in the drawer rubbing against them. Believe it or not, I'm pretty picky about that sort of thing. Finally, I took out the snacks that I'd kept in my drawer; a few packets and some brownies, which I had never gotten around to eating. It must've all been a good month or two old, but I still ate it on the way home. Even if it didn't have the memory of the workplace attached to it, I wasn't going to waste perfectly good food, so it had to be eaten.

Before I left, I finally convinced myself to sort out my workspace. I started off by taking the little figurines that my friends and family had given me to provide that little bit of warmth at my desk, but then there were the photos of Wonwoo and I, which proved to be a lot harder to take down. It made it that little bit more real, I think. Just eight months ago, we were meeting for the first time, courtesy of this company. We had gone up to my hotel room and Wonwoo gazed into my eyes as the new year started to roll towards us. We shared our first dance and our first kiss because of this company, and I feel that whilst I'm not happy about the fact that we're going into administration and I won't have this job anymore, I'm definitely happy about the experiences that I've had whilst I was there. Just as happy as we were in all of the photographs; the ones with Wonwoo smiling brightly and me pressing my face against his, and a sneaky one that we took of me kissing his cheek and Wonwoo pretending to look surprised.

I put them at the top of the bad and put them back up in my room as soon as I got home this evening. To start with, I didn't really know what to do with myself. It just didn't feel real in the slightest. Instead, it felt more like my life was slowly coming to an end. I don't think my ongoing depression has really helped all that much - I've still not seen a doctor, but I'm not really planning on seeing one either. But I felt numb and heavy, as if I had just arrived home after completing military service or something. I imagine that's how it feels, anyway.

Then it all clicked. You know how it does. I was just laid there, minding my own business, when sudden nausea hit. I hadn't really thought about it until that point, but it was a pretty big thing for me. I didn't have another job. I didn't have an income. I wouldn't have minded all that much if I had another job lined up, or if I had some savings. The issue, though, is that I don't have savings and I haven't even started to search for another job yet. It means that I won't really be able to afford my rent anymore, and in turn, I won't be able to look after Min properly. And I know what you're thinking; why am I worrying about the cat when it means that I won't be able to eat either? The thing is, I'm worried that she won't understand what's happening. Sure, she can go outside and catch prey, but what if she doesn't manage to catch anything? What happens if she comes back for the food that has always been here as a security net, only to find that I don't have any food for her? It's not her fault that I've lost my job, so she shouldn't have to suffer as a result of that. And I'm really concerned about it. Sure, I'm going to still get a bit of money from the company for a month or two, but how far will that money go? Between bills and feeding her, I'm not going to be able to save anything still.

So I did the only thing I could really think to do. I called up Wonwoo and told him about the fact that I had lost my job, and then I asked him if he had any advice. Obviously, I don't really want him to pay my bills for me or anything, but I guessed that he was probably a lot more knowledgeable than I am when it comes to that sort of thing. After all, he's had to change jobs a few times, and even relocated to be able to get away from a bad situation. And seeing as he has those sorts of experiences, I figured that he would probably know what to do better than anyone else that I could talk to. My parents don't seem to know anything about that sort of thing at all, and it would be absolutely pointless to ask my sister too.

I simply blurted it all out to him as soon as he answered the phone. I don't think he had fully registered what was happening to start with, especially since I hadn't told him that I had lost my job until that point, but then once I'd slowed down a little bit and caught my breath, he instantly took on a rational view. "Right, first of all, I'm going to say that you probably need to move out of that apartment," he told me straight away. "You're living in a place that's really expensive, and you can't afford to do that without a job. Perhaps find a smaller place, move back in with your parents, or..."
"Or?" I echoed, not really knowing what he was suggesting. I think he thought that I might catch onto what he meant, or maybe he thought that I was hinting something in the first place. But I wasn't, so it didn't really work out how he intended. Wonwoo gave a gentle sigh, as if he was accepting that whatever he was thinking about was probably the best option.

"I know you like your independence and we've only been together for a few months, but you can always move in with me if you want. If it proves to be too much, we can just help you to get back on your feet, then you can move out again. I just don't want you to have to worry about paying the bills, and I know that you'd hate yourself if you let Min go hungry. And I don't want you to go hungry either, Mingyu. I want you to feel comfortable."

That was it. I didn't really know how to respond, but he said that he would come to my place and help me to pack up everything that I needed to take with me. We would have to either take it all on the train or he would ask his dad for help with moving it all, and then everything that we didn't want or need could go to various different charities. Clothes and books could go into charity bins, whilst furniture and other items could either be recycled, donated to charity stores, or it could be thrown away as a last resort. He was absolutely sure that it would be for the best if I didn't want to move in with my parents, and at least that way we would not only be decluttering the place, but also giving back at the same time.

I have to admit, I was a bit nervous when he started giving me such suggestions, but then it sounded better and better as time went on. I mean, we've pretty much been living together since we started dating. Sure, we've still had our own space and all, but he's been at my house and I've been at his almost constantly. I think that that was why it was so awkward when we had our arguments and I didn't get to see him that much. We were pretty much living together, and so it was as if he wasn't at home for a week or so at any one time.

So I guess we're moving in together. It's weird that it's happening so fast, but I should be able to give a month of notice to my landlord and then pay my final month of rent from the remaining pay that I'm getting from work before I finish. If not, Wonwoo said that he would help me out, since he has more than enough savings to make that happen.

I'd feel bad about taking his money, but I suppose that the stress of potential poverty only ended up lasting for a few hours, rather than dominating my life. I don't know what I would have done without him here.

Until next time.

-- Mingyu

Chapter Text

It's Sunday 2nd September.

This week has felt completely and utterly surreal. This time last year, I wouldn't have thought that I would end up in a long-term relationship with someone, nevermind living with them. Wonwoo's dad came to my apartment last Friday to pick me and Min up so that we could go to Wonwoo's house and spend an indefinite amount of time living with him, and that was that.

Well, I say "that was that" but it wasn't really as quick as I'm making it out to be. I had to trap Min in the house for a little while so that she didn't go missing for several days and leave me having to hunt her down. As a result, I decided that I would give her a bit of free rein around the place and not stick her straight in her box. She's not all that fond of it, if I'm completely honest, but she's always good and plods right into it without complaint. I really appreciate how she does that, but I do feel pretty bad for her being in there for so long so I figured that I would wait until we were about to leave before putting her into her box.

But then Wonwoo's dad turned up a lot earlier than expected and I didn't have the time to stick her into the box before answering the door, so I ended up inviting him in and inviting him into the main room whilst I put her in there. Strangely, though, he got really excited when he heard that I have a cat and his eyes lit up like I've never seen in a person before in my entire life. He asked if he could see her before we left and I agreed, obviously, so we ended up going to the main room and I took the bag of treats out of the top of my bag so that he could feed her one. She seemed to be a little bit nervous as she started to approach him, but quickly calmed when she sniffed him and gently took the treat out of his hands. She was a lot sweeter than usual, actually, which I appreciated a lot. I think he fell in love with her instantly.

In fact, I'm almost certain that he fell in love with her instantly. We ended up sitting there for almost half an hour as he smothered her in affection and she happily lapped it all up. She seemed so happy to be getting cuddles and pats, and I don't think I've heard her purring that loud for a stranger before. I'm starting to think that Wonwoo and his dad share a special touch with her, though, because she's usually a lot more nervous around new people than she was when she first met them both. Even when it came to meeting the vets, she's pretty nervous. But she ended up falling asleep on him for a little while until we figured that it was best to leave, and so I placed her in her box with a blanket and a stuffed animal before taking her down to the car, where she ended up on my lap when we finally left.

It was weird to see how little I actually have. There are all of the usual things, like clothes and toiletries and everything, but it didn't actually end up taking up that much room. You would think that it would take up a decent amount, seeing as I was living in more than just one room and I had been there for quite some time. Heck, even I thought that I would end up filling the entire car. It was a pretty big car but I thought that I had a lot of things that would need to be spread out. As it turned out, it looked like a lot more than it actually was when it was in my hallway and it wasn't even difficult to get everything into the vehicle. No rearranging, no awkwardness. We just got on with it and hit the road right away.

It was a much longer journey than I anticipated, though. I knew that it was going to take a few hours but we ended up getting stuck in traffic and it was a pretty rough time. The car started to get hot, I had to get a bottle of water out for Min because she started panting and meowing - even with the windows down - and then we had to go through a huge detour. It was probably the worst driving experience that I've ever had. Even the trips to my grandparents' houses take a while but it's nothing like going on an unfamiliar route and having to be redirected a handful of times to get where you need to be. Of course, we couldn't really appoint blame because there was apparently a huge car accident on the road ahead of us or something, but it still added to the stresses of the journey in the end. It was always going to do that, I guess.

Anyway, we finally arrived at Wonwoo's house almost six hours later. I had to let Min out of her box right away and get her food and litter tray in the kitchen right away because she had obviously been pretty uncomfortable along the way but I didn't really have a harness or anything to keep her on so that she could eat a pouch or pee before we arrived there. And she's really clean so she's not really the sort who would ever mess on her blanket, even if she was really desperate to relieve herself. Of course, she was straight on it and eating, which was a relief since I was a little bit concerned that the anxiety of the journey plus the new environment would leave her feeling ill or something. As soon as she was done, she happily began to explore and that was that.

Wonwoo's dad helped me in and then Wonwoo and I spent the evening unpacking. The last thing he really wanted was to have a load of clothes and other belongings scattered around the place for months, so he wasn't going to let me keep them hanging around the place. It took ages, but then it really started to feel like home when everything had its place. Then he looked right at me and smiled as he told me that we were about to start a new chapter in our lives together. I can't even lie and say that I'm not happy to be in this position with him, honestly. I didn't really think that we were going to move in together - not now nor any time this year - but I'm really glad that we're going for it. I think we're probably going to end up arguing more about adult things, like weird habits that never came up before we were living together and general domestic things, but it'll be a lot more like a real relationship, rather than the sort between young teenagers who are hopelessly in love but sworn to be apart.

And I think it'll do us some good, really. It means that we're able to work on everything as a couple and get to know each other even better. We can do really cute things and leave each other notes on the kitchen sides, and all of those other things that you'd expect from a long-term relationship. I'm certain that it'll come with time and I love it.

The one issue I'm facing, though, is that I don't know how I feel about not having work. I don't think I've ever really had a period where I haven't had some sort of work or education, to be perfectly honest. I was at school until I was eighteen, then I went to university and got my degree. Almost immediately after I finished my degree, I ended up working at my most recent workplace. Any time that I've had off has been with the knowledge that I would be working soon enough. Between my graduation and my first day at the company, I knew that I was going to be working there. I've had days or weeks off at a time but I haven't really felt bored or lonely because I've always been aware of the fact that I'll be going back to work soon. There are things to do in my time off, so I'm always occupied.

But it's a bit of a different story when you don't really have a workplace to think about. It's not fun in the slightest. I feel as if I'm doing nothing with my time, and it genuinely makes me feel useless. What am I supposed to do when everything is done? I make sure to clean everything every day, make myself creative meals and then something nice for Wonwoo and I to eat at the end of the day. I spend time online searching for jobs and on social media. I've even thought about getting a hobby of sorts, although I'm not quite sure how to go forward with that sort of thing. Whatever I do, though, it's usually short-lived and I can't really do it all day every day. Between tasks, my mind is getting bored and it's actually driving me crazy.

As I said, I'm trying to find something to do with myself, though. Maybe I won't want to find a job this early but if Wonwoo plans on helping me to pay my final rent to my landlord, I might be able to use any spare money to find something to do with myself. I'm sure that he would be all for the idea of me finding something that interests me and pursuing it. In fact, it could even help the job search. If I find something that I really like to do and I can make a career out of it, surely that's actually better for me than getting a job just because I have a degree or experience in that sort of area?

It's harder than it looks to be really passionate about something though. You think you're gonna have a look at the sorts of courses that are available in your area, one will stick out, and you'll suddenly be really involved in that sort of thing. No worries, no questioning it. You think that there's always going to be something for everyone. That's how hobbies work, right? For every hobby, there'll be a handful of people who make a career out of teaching those sorts of skills to people who are really interested in that sort of thing. But for some reason, none of the things I've found so far have appealed to me. I started searching on Wednesday morning for something, expecting that I could find at least one hobby to take up before the weekend. I guessed that it would mean that I would be able to start something by Monday. But I'm very, very wrong and I haven't actually found anything yet.

And believe me when I say that I've looked at everything. Not only did I have a look at a list of things that are available within a mile of Wonwoo's house, but I also looked at a general list of hobbies that I could explore more. I wouldn't be opposed to travelling back to Seoul once or twice a week so that I would be able to do the sorts of things that I would like to do with my time. It's not that far and I don't really have anything else to do, so the journey there and the time spent in the city could be part of the experience. Yet, there was nothing at all. Cooking, badminton, calligraphy, Mandarin, teaching, art, poetry, creative writing, soap making; none of it had that spark that I really wanted. So I ended up giving up. I haven't gone back to it since Friday because it sort of made me feel even more down to know that nothing caught my interest at all. I'm going to try to find something next week, though, so that I'll at least be able to say that I've given it a realistic amount of thought. Maybe I'll even go for something relatively cheap and easy in the local area and just hope that something good will come out of it, though. If it's something that'll get me out of the house, I guess it doesn't really matter whether I really enjoy it or not.

Actually, that brings me to something that came up earlier today. I think that Wonwoo is concerned about my mental health. He's not really brought it up in the past, and he even informed me that he hadn't noticed it until we moved in together. When he came to stay with me in my other house, he said that I always seemed to be really bright and happy and energetic. I think it's true; I was so happy to be able to spend time with someone and get my mind off the stresses that were going on around me that I didn't even need to worry about my mood. It didn't hit me until he went to bed or finally left me after our time together. Only then would it all really crash and burn, leaving me feeling absolutely awful as a result.

But he's noticing the difference now. He asked me if I had been feeling any different since I moved in with him and I told him that I was feeling pretty much the same as I felt on any other day, except that the need to be outside was getting to me a little bit more. I didn't really know what to do with myself when I knew that he was at work and I didn't have anything to do, and that was what was bothering me for the most part. He looked thoughtful for a little while and left it at that, but then he pointed out that I really didn't seem to be all that well. I looked tired and down, he said, and he was starting to notice that I didn't really find much joy in many things anymore. When we were watching my favourite shows, I didn't seem to be concentrating on the programmes, I wasn't all that interested in sex and only did it because I figured that Wonwoo was probably in the mood to take advantage of our new living situation, and I didn't even really seem that interested in eating the food that I'd cooked either.

So I had to admit it all to him. I had to admit that I felt as if it was my fault that other people had lost their jobs, and that I had been struggling a lot with guilt and self-doubt for a little while. I wasn't interested in a lot of things to the degree that I had been before, I've been having difficulties with eating and sleeping, and sometimes I do really feel like crying. I don't know why it's hit all of a sudden and it didn't really have any particular cause. I think it's been in the background for quite a while but then the stresses of life just made things difficult to the point where I can't even find myself a stupid hobby because I can't find something that would genuinely make me feel happy.

I told him all of that and he stared at me sympathetically for a little while. He didn't really know what to say to start with, but then he eventually told me - really softly, might I add - that he wanted me to see his doctor. She wa a very nice lady, he said, and she was incredibly understanding of the changing face of mental health. As you're probably aware, mental health isn't really spoken about a lot in our community until a well-known celebrity dies from suicide, and even then, it only usually lasts for a few weeks before it dies back down again. This doctor apparently trained in Europe, though, and has both a degree in medicine and one in psychology, so he said that she should be able to help me with it all.

I'm grateful, honestly, but I'm also pretty impressed that he's able to detect the changes in my mood like that. I'm absolutely certain that it's just because we're living together now and he's able to see that I'm not quite as happy as I was when we were at the start of our relationship, but it's weird because I've been in this position once before when I was living with my parents, and they never did catch on to the fact that something was wrong. I could go days without getting out of bed and my mom would just call me lazy and tell me that she would bring the slipper in if I didn't get up and start being productive, but I knew that something was wrong when I did get up and I wanted nothing more than to isolate myself and stare at the ceiling for the rest of the day. Even when they saw the change in my mood, it was always my fault and they never really noticed that it was something that was wrong with my feelings and mind instead.

And as much as it's really intimidating to think that Wonwoo has noticed my mood changes over the space of nine days, especially after I told him about my attempt at finding a hobby, I also really appreciate it. Whilst obviously this is all in my head, it's sort of not at the same time. I'm trying to keep it inside so that I don't make anyone feel as if they should be feeling sorry for me, but he's still able to tell. The thing is, I don't really like to feel as if I'm inconveniencing anyone. It's not constant. I have periods where I'm happy, like when I played board games with Wonwoo's family and we had a great time together, but it's still there in the background somewhere, lingering. Wonwoo made it feel as if it's not an inconvenience, though, and told me that he was just worried and wanted me to get it checked up so that I would be able to feel more like myself.

I know it's terrifying to think that I'm going to be talking to a stranger about my feelings in such an uncomfortable way, but I guess that it's the way I'll be moving forward. I'm not going to feel better instantly, but it might just take the edge off it and allow me to do something that makes me happy whilst I wait for my next job to come along.

Until next time.

-- Mingyu

Chapter Text

Today is Saturday, 8th September.

I'm surprisingly glad that Wonwoo recommended that I see the doctor about my low mood because as it turns out, I'm suspected to have depression and I've been sent to have therapy with a nearby psychiatrist.

It's a bit of a tough one because I didn't really think that it was a huge deal but apparently, it's something that's diagnosable after just two weeks. I tried to insist to the doctor that I was probably exaggerating it, since I didn't really have anyone to discuss those negative feelings with properly until I went to see him, but he was insistent that I needed to seek help for it. It's something that tends to get worse with isolation and big life changes, he told me, and so I'm at high risk for it developing further. Whilst in Seoul it would have taken me up to three months for a referral, though, I managed to get one for next week. Apparently, it's because the city we're living in is not only smaller, but it's also a new experimental sort of therapy. Since my condition isn't critical, they were hoping that they would be able to stop it before it develops too far by giving me this sort of therapy. He said that I could probably have antidepressants too - if this psychiatrist thinks that I can be diagnosed, that is - but research says something about needing both drugs and therapy to reduce the chances of severe episodes in the future.

So we planned for me to meet the psychiatrist and her therapist team next Friday. The doctor gave me a slip with the address, plus a load of leaflets which I couldn't bring myself to read until Wonwoo arrived home. He ended up sitting next to me and reading through them until I was happy and comfortable with what was happening, which I really appreciated a lot. It's called person-centred therapy and it's supposed to help me realise what the issues in my own life are without the therapist team telling me that something is wrong. I'm supposed to see the psychiatrist first to get an official diagnosis, just so that I can get the medication, but then the diagnosis is supposed to go out of the window. From that point, I'm supposed to come to terms with why I'm feeling low and understand how I can help myself.

Now, I'm pretty sceptical about this, but quite open to it at the same time. I'm nervous about the fact that I'm going to be sat there talking to someone else and they're going to be listening to me, but the leaflets say that it works really well in other countries, so they're trying to see whether it's something that's culture-bound or whether it's something that might help people like me as well. And I guess if it's working for other people - especially for people with low mood - it's something that's probably going to help me more in the long-term than just medication. So I'll give it the benefit of the doubt and go in there as open as I can. I want to go in there feeling confident in my ability to open up and see what could be causing my issues so that I can be the best that I can possibly be.

Which actually leads me on to the next point. When Wonwoo found out that I had listened to him and taken his suggestion to see a doctor seriously, his entire face lit up. It showed me a mix of relief and happiness, and he immediately dropped his bag by the door so that he could hug me. I know that we hug and cuddle a lot anyway - we are a couple who live together, after all - but this felt different. It was one of the warmest, most loving embraces I've ever experienced. It had a purpose, and that purpose was to tell me that Wonwoo greatly approved of the fact that I had followed his instructions. Even when he pulled away, I could still see the admiration on his face. I might not feel completely fine a lot of the time, but I genuinely felt loved and wanted at that point in time. "I'm incredibly proud of you," he told me and my heart instantly melted, just to add that little bit more to the emotions that I was feeling.

I ended up crying in front of him. I'm not sure if I've ever cried in front of him before - I genuinely can't remember having ever done it before - but it was like a weight was suddenly lifted from my chest and launched itself out of my body. I was left feeling small, but it was a good sort of small. A protected sort of small. Wonwoo had me in his arms, and his fingers knotted in my hair as he told me that he loved me and it was fine to let it all out. He said that he would always be proud of me and all of my choice, provided that I was happy with the outcome or at least satisfied that I had done the right thing, and then he informed me that he wanted nothing more than to kiss my lips over and over again until I had it all out. I found it really endearing and eventually told him that I wanted him to go ahead with it until my tears had dried (since he wasn't really able to break from my death grip whilst I was still crying and all) so he spent the next few minutes alternating between kissing me and wiping the tears away.

Most of the week has therefore been spent being soft and gentle with each other. My appointment was on Tuesday morning, but Wonwoo was gentle with me on Monday too. He knew that something was wrong with me and didn't really want to push it until I was completely deflated and feeling even worse, so he didn't even bring up how my day was unless I wanted to talk it through with him. His arms would wrap around me and he would tell me very specifically that he was listening to everything that I had to say whenever that was the case, and it genuinely did make me feel a little bit better whenever he did that. Then he would spend some time drawing circles on my back with his fingertip until I was relaxed in his arms. He would finish it off by asking what I wanted for dinner and whether I wanted him to make it right away or cuddle for a while longer.

And before you sit here and complain, I know it seems like he's treating me like glass. It's almost infantilising me. But it was what I needed to feel safe and loved, so he gave it to me. It's not like it happens all the time anyway. This was probably the first time he treated me so delicately like that, even when I've had tough times in the past too. Wonwoo isn't really the sort of person who would sit there and do it on a regular basis, to be honest. He's not the sort of person who could continue to baby me as much as I want to be babied. No, he'd more than likely tell me to stop being whiny if I was to ask him on a regular basis to treat me how he has been treating me over the past few weeks. It's what made the experience ultimately feel that much better.

Oh, and another thing, actually. Something that I'm actually really happy to mention. Wonwoo contacted Hansol and Seungcheol for me so that we would be able to spend time together and hopefully bring my mood up a bit. Obviously being around friends is something that's not going to fix mental health issues, but it's also likely to make things a little bit better if I've been getting worse due to isolation. They told me that they would be over on Thursday so that we could spend some time together, but that there was no obligation for us to do anything. It was just hanging out, they told me. So I made sure that the house was absolutely spotless for when they arrived, and I even took the time to prepare some food for everyone. Hansol turned up with Seungkwan too, which gave Wonwoo someone to spend time with for the evening. They went to a coffee shop together so that they could spend some time catching up whilst Seungcheol and Hansol helped me.

It was actually really cool to spend time chatting with them both. Seungcheol told me that he was due to graduate at the end of the year, having gotten one of the highest grades in his class. He had essentially been hired straight out of university by a mixed paediatrician and child health researcher team, and they were hoping to pay for his postgraduate degree in health research. He also confessed to me that he was "sort of seeing someone now" when prompted to tell me about it. Hansol didn't push him to say who, since Seungcheol was obviously nervous to talk about them, but then I remembered the encounter between him and Jeonghan when they were first introduced and I just knew. There was no way that he would get so embarrassed about it if it wasn't someone I knew, and Jeonghan seemed like the only reasonable guess. I'm actually really happy for them, though, because it's tough to have a relationship whilst having a life too, and it's something that only gets harder when one person is working and the other one is in the final year of their degree.

Then there was Hansol. Hansol announced that he had come in contact with Jihoon and Soonyoung, and that they were all working on a piece together. In fact, his producer thinks that his title track is going to get him a spot on the radio's top songs this time, which would be really great for him. He swelled up with pride as he told me, and added that Wonwoo's friends would not only be helping him with the choreography and composure, but they would also be a part of the music video with him. The bonus, though? He needed a vocalist part in one of his mixtapes and so asked the producer if they would consider Seungkwan for the role. Of course, they gave him a shot and figured that hiring him for that role would be just as good - if not better - than hiring a female vocalist for the same role, and so they've ultimately ended up with three songs together. It just went to show how much everything has changed over the past few months.

I didn't really talk too much to start with, but it was still really nice to hear about everything that was going on in their lives. They did ask me about myself, but I tried my hardest to brush it off. I know they know that I've essentially been diagnosed with depression, but I still felt really reluctant to mention it in front of them. After all, who really wants to sit there and talk about their success, only to have their depressed, self-isolating friend complain about how he lost his job, has no hobbies, and is having to see a doctor because he's not mentally sound? It sounds really pathetic, when you think about it, and I really didn't want to be that guy who brings it up and makes everyone else feel bad about themselves and what they've said because I really am proud of them both for their successes and the way that their lives are turning out. They're my friends and it's fine that I'm proud of them. I just know that if I did talk about myself, they would end up going all quiet and wouldn't know what to say in response.

But then again, I can't really say that I didn't mention anything when I was pushed. Seungcheol insisted that I tell him about what I had done whilst I was living with Wonwoo, and I had to confess that I couldn't find anything that interested me. It actually had a pretty good outcome to just confess that little bit, though, because Hansol's entire face perked and he broke into a smile. "Have you considered rapping?" he asked me, his voice instantly being taken over by excitement. "I know it doesn't sound like the most interesting hobby, but it's something that might help you to connect a little bit more with your feelings. You know, a bit like poetry with a bit of a snap. Poetry to a beat, if you prefer that."

And I had to confess, it actually sounded like a good idea.

Now, anyone who knows me knows that I'm not really that into poetry. Wonwoo absolutely loves it and once told me that he really wants to go to a slam poetry event at some point. He has poetry books scattered around the place, and he said that he's written a few of his own. But it's really something that doesn't appeal to me. There's too much pressure when it comes to writing a good poem. Structure, word choice, rhythm, rhyme, appeal, sub-themes. Those are just a few things that come up when you write poetry. And considering how much you have to consider, it feels like it's way too much to have to actually make poetry appealing.

Rapping, on the other hand, feels completely different to me, but in a good way. I feel like it's easier to pack a punch and say what you have to say. Sometimes you can have subtle or hidden meanings, but most of the time you can just express everything that's building inside of you in a way that everyone can understand. You might pepper it with a phrase that has two meanings or you might add a little pun, but it's not something that has three different sub-themes that are hidden under a mass of other phrases and contexts. It just sounded more like my sort of thing and I instantly got positive vibes from the suggestion. So I figured that I would give it a shot. If I liked it, that would be great. If not, it's not a huge deal.

Hansol told me that he would arrange for me to go to his workplace and spend some time rapping with him. He said that he would get a backing track for us to be able to work with at the start, but then we could probably make our own one in the end. Anything to be able to make this hobby shine for me. It would even mean that we would be able to spend that little bit more time together. In fact, he even added that sometimes other people joined him so we could even take up the opportunity and bond with the people I haven't seen in a long time. It started with Seungcheol, but then Seokmin asked if he could interview Hansol and his producers, which led to him trying to rap too. Then Seungkwan tried it when they were working on his album together, Jihoon and Soonyoung gave it a shot, and then even Minghao had tried his hand at it. It was something that we could invite them to do so that I would be able to see more than a grand total of three friends for the rest of my life.

Sure, I'm still not feeling completely fine and I'm sure that it's going to take a while before I feel as if everything is starting to improve, but the interactions with my friends really made this week easier to deal with. Of course, the feelings are still there and I still feel incredibly worried about my future at times, but it's something that I feel will be easier to deal with my the end of next week. Therapy and a hobby that involves me with friends isn't going to be a miracle cure, but it's probably going to give me that sense that I'm doing more than cleaning and waiting for Wonwoo to get home. Perhaps I could even find out what my issue was in therapy, and then I could apply the themes that come up to my rap. Can you imagine how that would go down? I could probably make them feel as if they were really small and insignificant, and then I would see improvement in the therapy room too because I would be taking away what I think are the biggest problems in my life.

I'm looking forward to seeing how it goes down and I intend to let you all know once we've had a session or two so that you - or future me - can reflect on this in the future.

Until next time.

-- Mingyu

Chapter Text

It's Friday, September 14th today and man, I've had such a week so far.

Okay, it hasn't been the worst, but it's been something at least. And not necessarily a good something, even though it's not the worst something. You know when you have so many conflicting things going on at one time? It's like that. It'll sort itself out as time passes and my decisions will eventually start to emerge leading up to the time-sensitive plans, but it's still going to be difficult nonetheless. Then again, it's something that has to sort itself out. There's no other way around it. The day will eventually come where I have to make a decision because there's genuinely no other way around it, and so it's not something that I can put off until it escalates completely out of control.

And I think that it's for the best in this situation. I really do. I ended up discussing the situation with the psychiatrist in the end because it was bothering me so much this week and she said that it was perfectly normal to feel stressed and low about this sort of thing in particular - she highlighted everything that I said above and I think that it helped me to put it into perspective that little bit easier, actually. But I'll come to that later since I feel that it's best to actually write down what the big issue is first before I start scrambling for solutions to my issues.

So it all started on Monday. Wonwoo pointed out to me that his parents were hoping that we would be going to visit them for Chuseok. It's starting in just over a week, and so he wanted to make sure that we had the plans sorted with plenty of time to actually make the arrangements, but the comment about seeing his parents for the holiday really threw me off-guard if I'm honest. I didn't really think that they would want to spend a big holiday with their son's boyfriend, especially since they're not together anymore and they didn't really seem to like me in the slightest. I told him that, making sure to be as sensitive as possible as I said it, and Wonwoo simply hesitated for a moment before shuffling uncomfortably in his seat. "I think what they mean is that we spend part of it with my mother and part with my father. Actually, most with my father. I know that Bohyuk doesn't like either of us at the moment, so there's no point in sticking around him for too long either."

It took all of my strength not to wince when I heard his brother's name. I had always really thought that they were close, even though they didn't spend too much time together. But I had ruined it in a matter of minutes, and it had ultimately meant that the subject of Wonwoo's family is still very much a sore spot for the moment. In fact, I can honestly say that I would be happy enough to avoid Wonwoo's family for the rest of my life, other than his father. I've had more of a chance to bond with his father over the past week, as he took me to a football game on Wednesday, but more about that later too. The bottom line is that it would be incredibly uncomfortable and I don't know how I would feel about spending a holiday with his family.

I pointed that out to him, and so he gave a shrug. "It's fine with me if you want to spend time with your family instead," he told me. "I'm not going to force you to spend time with my family, but I just thought that perhaps you wouldn't like to be around them at the moment. Seeing as they're still being difficult with you right now. Although, obviously that's none of my business and I'm not going to make the decision for you." Suddenly, I was filled with a strange feeling in the pit of my stomach. A really uncomfortable feeling. I didn't really know what to do with myself, other than just sit there awkwardly and give a nod. After all, whilst I do like spending time with my mother and sister, for the most part, I think we all know how it would go and I think it would be really awkward.

My sister would be the centre of attention, and she probably wouldn't pay me any mind at all. I'm not all that important to her at the moment, apparently. She hasn't spoken to me in a while again, and she hasn't come to visit me either. In fact, I've even messaged her to ask if I can visit her or at least get her something like groceries, since I'm sure that she needs that little bit of support, but she didn't reply at all. It's as if I don't even know her anymore. I feel cut-off and distant, and I absolutely loathe the way that I'm feeling every time I think about our relationship. It's crumbling and I'm desperately trying to glue the cracks together, but I might as well be using cake icing to fix things. And my mother is being a bit hard on me too. Again, more on that later when it comes up in the story of this week.

So anyway, when I went to the game with Wonwoo's dad, it really helped me to feel better about things. We ended up getting really into the game, and he even offered to take me for dinner afterwards. And whilst I initially declined his offer and tried to tell him that he didn't need to get me anything, he insisted that he knew what he was getting into by offering to feed me. He said that he didn't care how much I ate and that he wanted me to be stuffed with good food, and then pointed out that I'm his third son now so he needs to look after me. When he said it, my heart skipped a beat and I couldn't help but give in and accept my fate. I had to get something to eat with him if he was going to speak so kindly to me like that, and I have to admit now that I really liked it.

It all started with us discussing the sport again until the conversation eventually ran dry, and then he immediately switched it up by getting right to the main reason why he wanted to take me out to eat. "So," he started, offering me an awkward smile. "I know this probably sounds weird but I've never really had this sort of chat with my kids' partners before, so you'll have to excuse me if I make some sort of mistake along the way. I mean, I had to have this sort of conversation with Wonwoo's mother's parents, but that was a bit different. After all, I didn't really think that I would... uh... that I'd be talking to, you know... a guy." I made sure to give a smile and encouraging nod to show him that it wasn't an uncomfortable topic in my books. I immediately gathered that he was nervous about saying something wrong in relation to Wonwoo's sexuality but at the end of the day, it's something that's difficult to discuss if you don't know anything about the topic. So I was going to be patient with him even though he was bound to make mistakes here and there.

"I always thought that I would be talking to a girl and asking her if my son was treating her right," he admitted with a laugh before running a hand over his face. It was a tell-tale sign that he was nervous - something that Wonwoo also did when he was under pressure. "So, um... who is the girl and who is the boy in your relationship? I'm guessing Wonwoo is probably the girl, huh?" Patience, patience. I had to tell myself that straight away. It wasn't the worst question in the world, but it was one that could easily wind people up, so I took a moment to breathe before giving my reply.
"Well, neither of us is the girl," I pointed out, "We're both boys. Which is why we're dating - we're both boys who are attracted to boys."
"But I mean--" He let out an embarrassed sigh and rubbed his face again. This time, it was clearly an attempt at covering up how uncomfortable he was feeling, and that was made even more obvious when he moved his hands to reveal that his ears were going red. "Who, uh... who is the one who takes it when you're in bed together? If you don't mind me asking? Like, who takes on the submissive role in your relationship?"

Of all of the things I thought I would be discussing with Wonwoo's dad, my sex life with his son was probably the last thing on the list. But I sort of know where it comes from, I guess. You know, it's not meant as something malicious or creepy but rather, it's supposed to find out how they should be speaking to you when they're having that relationship talk with you. It wasn't about our sex life directly, even though it was worded to sound that way, but was instead about whether he should be treating me how he would treat a daughter-in-law if she was a boy, or whether he should treat me like his ex-wife's parents treated him. So I gave my answer. "I guess I'm more dominant in a lot of ways. Wonwoo is pretty much the head of the house and I follow what he wants, but I'm not submissive to him in other ways. If that makes sense." His dad gave a little nod, clearly feeling some embarrassment still but feeling a lot better about it than he had been when we first got onto the topic. I hadn't made things awkward so he didn't feel the embarrassment quite as bad as he thought he would.

"So I guess I should probably talk to you about keeping my son safe and not doing anything to hurt him, hm?" Then he paused. I waited too. It was clear that he wanted to say more, so I wasn't going to speak out of turn. Instead, I remained quiet until he felt comfortable enough to continue. "Or maybe I should check everything. I mean, it's just as important that he doesn't hurt you either, right? You're both grown men and you can probably give as much as you get, so I guess it'd be better to know that neither of you is doing anything to hurt the other." His voice sounded hopeful, as if he had been trying to come up with something that was socially acceptable and more forward-thinking. So I gave him another nod and grin.
"Yeah, that sounds good," I told him, "I guess you're right with all of that - I could hurt him if I wanted to do that, and he could hurt me too. I don't think we would want to do that, but it's best that we both know how you feel about it from the start, right?

He looked relieved. I think we managed to bond even more over that thing when we discussed it, actually. Wonwoo's dad pointed out that he'd never really considered that either of his sons would be attracted to men - even when Wonwoo mentioned it - and so he hadn't really taken the time to prepare himself for that sort of situation. But he wanted to make sure that we both felt welcome in his house, and that we were both supported in our decision to be together. Then he asked what we were planning to do for Chuseok, and I immediately clammed up because the offer to spend it with him was clearly there but I knew that Wonwoo wouldn't want to spend the entire time with him. He would want to spend some of it with his mother too, and I guess that that's completely fair enough. So I ended up having to tell him that we're having a think about it but we would get back to him with what we would eventually be doing over the holiday.

I have to admit, I was fully ready to convince Wonwoo that we needed to spend Chuseok with his dad only, but then I received a call from my mom literally as I was walking through the door into our house. To cut a long conversation short, she basically told me that she presumed I would be there to spend the holidays with the rest of the family, just as I do every year, and that my relationship with Wonwoo wasn't going to affect that. I'm pretty sure that she almost asked me whether it was going to cause a disturbance, as if our relationship is some sort of burden or something, so I brought it up. "Would you be angry with me if I did spend it with Wonwoo and his family?" I asked. She went quiet.
"Well, you know that I'll support whatever decision you make, but I miss my son. I haven't seen you in a long time, and it's just been harder since you moved away."

"You and dad didn't visit me when I lived closer anyway," I pointed out, trying my hardest not to sound bitter about it. "And besides, do I really need to spend time with the relatives I hate? There's probably two people in the entire family who I would want to spend time with outside of these events, and I can hardly isolate myself with those individuals, can I?" Of course, it started an argument about how important family is. You have to take care of them or they won't be there for you when you're in need. Aunts and uncles, in particular, are supposed to be there for you if something happens to your parents, but mine probably wouldn't do anything for me because we don't really get on that well. I don't make an effort, she said, so I shouldn't expect them to make an effort back.

It was actually a really sad conversation, if I'm being completely honest. I thought that maybe it would be nice to finally chat with my mom again. We used to get on so well, but lately it's just getting to be tense. And I want to blame it on the fact that my depression has left me unable to sustain anything for too long but I think it's just coming to show me that everyone is there for my darling sister when she needs help, whereas I'm expected to deal with the problem myself. Everything has suddenly changed for the worst and whilst I know that a relationship won't fix my personal issues, I'm still glad that I have people like Wonwoo and his dad to help me through this period of my life because otherwise, I doubt that I would be able to handle the sudden spurt of isolation. No family, no colleagues, but it could be worse.

By the way, we still haven't decided on what we're going to do because now my mom is pushing for me to visit my family for the holiday, Wonwoo wants to see both of his parents, and I'd just really like to spend time with Wonwoo's dad. He's probably the only person who really gets me out of the older adults in my life, I think, and it feels strange because we've only just met. Nevertheless, I would gladly spend the entire time with him. We'll figure it out over the next few days, I think,

I was about to finish here, but then I remembered that I didn't talk about the psychiatrist again. So I'll try to make it quick.

She's actually really nice, I think. Good at making me think about myself in particular. We determined what was causing my issues, and that was what we decided to work on over the course of the therapy. It's the low mood and emotional numbness, by the way. Plus the other couple of things related to that. So then we figured out where I wanted to go forward, and then she followed it up by asking me if there was anything in particular on my mind. It wasn't going to be an extensive session this time, since half of it was taken up by our attempts at figuring out what I need from her, but it was time to vent nonetheless.

So I told her right away. I told her that I was upset with the fact that we have Chuseok coming up, but I don't really know what to do about that. I told her that I'm having family issues and that I can't emotionally handle the demands that are being thrown at me, and whilst it isn't a cause of my depression directly (well, I don't think it's a cause anyway), it's something that's causing my already low mood to get lower. So she told me that she would help me to think about what we could do to make things easier for this week until we could meet again. The conversation went vaguely like this:

Her: "So, what can you actually do about it? Realistically?"
Me: "Not much, I don't think."
Her: "Okay, so what ideas can you think of that might help to make this easier? Anything at all - just tell me whatever comes to mind and we'll try to figure out whether any problems arise from it."
Me: "I could try to see everyone over the holiday period. We do have a few days."
Her: "Could it happen and still benefit your wellbeing? Remember - your wellbeing is incredibly important here."
Me: "I think all of the travelling will be stressful. And I don't think that I'm going to enjoy being around my family or my boyfriend's mom."
Her: "Then why put yourself in that situation?"
Me: "I think it'll make my boyfriend and my parents happy."
Her: "But what about you? Your happiness is as important as theirs."
Me: "I suppose I don't want to disappoint anyone, even if it doesn't make me happy."
Her: "I think you should think this through some more and consider that you're telling me that you're experiencing low mood, but you're willing to do unnecessary things that will make it worse for you. Try talking to your boyfriend about it and telling him that you don't think you can handle the pressure. I'm sure he'll take it into consideration, from what you've told me about him."

It was miracle work, honestly. It didn't take her long at all to remind me that Wonwoo is here for me. He knows about my recent issues with my own family, and he knows that his mom doesn't really like me. He was the one who recommended that I get help for my issues with low mood, and so I think that he would be kind and understanding of the situation. And we're both adults; I don't think we necessarily need to go to the same place this holiday period, even though it would be really nice to spend that time together.

Anyway, I'm plucking up the confidence to discuss it with him so I'll update you on the outcome next week. Probably.

-- Mingyu

Chapter Text

It's Friday, 21st September.

First of all, we've sorted everything out with Chuseok with time to spare. It's not that interesting or exciting, though. We just sat down on Tuesday and decided to sort it all out. I mentioned to Wonwoo that I was still really stressed about it, since my parents and his parents were both pushing from all angles, so he decided that it would end there and then. He asked me what I wanted to do - genuinely and without trying to push me in either direction - and so I explained to him that I didn't want to see my family this year but also felt uncomfortable around his mother after everything that happened when we first met, so he simply called up his dad and asked if we could go over for the day. Right there and then. Phone up, it rings for three, then Wonwoo greets his dad and gets straight on with asking him.

And that was that. Problem sorted. No need to worry about it anymore. His dad was absolutely thrilled and told us that he would get a load of snacks in and we would have a really relaxed time, rather than being too set on tradition. You know, it's just going to be the three of us so there's no point in us really doing something like that. I think I'm going to prefer it like that this time, seeing as it's always really big in my family. Just like every celebration, really. I just need a little bit of a break from it all, you know. It's just so overwhelming and I don't think that I can emotionally handle it. I'm honestly glad that Wonwoo was ready and willing to call everyone else and explain that we wouldn't be seeing them this year because I know exactly how it would have been if I called. I would've been shouted at and scolded for being so rude, but they accepted it right away when Wonwoo was honest with them and said that we were having a quiet weekend because my health was deteriorating.

The matter of the fact here, though, is that I thought that therapy would be an instant cure. That's my problem, and I think that's probably why I'm not improving like I thought I would. I thought that I would have a session or two and be completely fine again, but it's just not the case at all. In fact, I think I'm getting worse because I keep pushing myself more than I can realistically handle, and that's why the thought of being around my family is so overwhelming.

It's weird. I didn't think that it could get any lower than it was, but I proved myself to be very wrong indeed. Do you remember that I mentioned taking up rapping a few weeks ago? And that I really enjoyed it and couldn't wait to embrace the hobby even more? Well, it's sort of gone downhill. I've had to put it on hold for the moment because I can't bring myself to be passionate about it right now. I try to do what I can, but nothing comes out. I can't think of anything to say and even if it's laid out in front of me, I can't do it. It's just too much for me to handle. I could see that Hansol and Seungcheol were disappointed that I couldn't make anything of the experience this week, but I guess that they probably weren't disappointed in me, so that's a bonus at least.

It means that I've been cooped up inside a lot of the time, though. If I can't make myself do things that I enjoy, there's no chance of me doing things that I don't enjoy. I should really be doing things like shopping so that Wonwoo doesn't need to worry about it when he gets back from work, but the thought of going to the store and dragging myself around so that I can get food and bring it back and then put it away so that Min doesn't get into the bags is just exhausting. So I've been getting up in the afternoon and have been taking naps too. I don't think it's really healthy for me, but I can't help myself. After all, there are better things that I can and should be doing with my time, and being lazy isn't really that good for me. But then the depressed side of me isn't taking it very well, hence the napping. It needs time to be lazy, even though I really don't want to let it happen.

I'm actually surprised that Wonwoo isn't sick of me after all of this, actually. He's had to watch my lack of enthusiasm over everything and I think he's getting irritated with seeing me like this, but he doesn't say anything bad to me about it. No comments about how I should try to get better or anything. In fact, he hasn't even complained about my, uh... issues in the bedroom either. Which is a huge surprise, seeing as he's tried initiating stuff and it's just fallen through. It's admirable, I think. We haven't had sex in two weeks and he hasn't seemed too disappointed with me. He asks if I'm in the mood, and I tell him without fear of what he'll say. The issue is that it's not just my libido but also the entire works, so even if I'm in the mood to do something with him, biology is failing me and making sure that no mixing of bodies actually happens.

He does what he can to try to make it work, but a lot of the time it doesn't work at all. No amount of rubbing and sucking worked for us when it wasn't going up, and so eventually he just resorted to asking me if I wanted to use a toy on him. I've done it once or twice but it feels a bit weird so I'd much rather just watch him doing it to himself. It looks more beautiful that way. He knows what he likes and how to touch the most sensitive places on his body, whereas I'm not too sure of how to reach them with a toy, so he's usually just laid on our bed with something between his thighs, showing me how it's done.

I mentioned this to my therapist, actually, and she wasn't that useful. She told me to think about why it all might be affecting my sex life, not even considering that it's a symptom of depression. I researched this, you know. I've checked how many boxes I fit on the ICD? ICM? ICB? I can't remember what it's called, but the big book of disorders that's used around the world. And I fit a lot of the points. It's one of the symptoms, apparently, so it's probably not to do with some trauma or something making me not wanna sleep with my boyfriend. Because trust me, if I had the choice, I would be all over him. I would be ravaging every inch of his beautiful body and making him scream with ecstasy as I pleasure him using my fingers and mouth. He's been so good to me that I couldn't resist. I hope that as soon as I'm feeling better, I'll be able to treat him with the most amazing night of his life.

That thought is a bit happier. The thought of being all over Wonwoo. It's something that I miss quite a lot. I even feel suffocated when I'm asleep too close to him at the moment, but I want nothing more than to feel him in my arms again. Sure, the sex would be amazing, but just having Wonwoo close would be a treat in itself too. I want to smother him with love and affection and feel his body rising and falling with his breaths, and to feel his freezing cold toes against my legs and his face buried in my chest and the flutter of his eyelashes when he wakes up. I miss that a lot, and I think it's a big reason to keep pushing through even though everything is hard right now. I just really hope that he doesn't give up on me before I have the chance to do it again.

I mentioned this to my therapist too. She asked me if I wanted to talk about my relationship so I told her everything. She then clarified everything that I said to her and asked if I thought he would really get bored of me if he truly loved me, and I guess that's a point at least. Maybe he will get bored with my problems but I think if he still has feelings for me, it should be fine. She also asked me to think of three things that I love about him in particular because apparently that sometimes helps people to see how irrational it is to think that their love is sick of them being depressed. So here are my three things. 1) Even if I'm sleepy when our alarm goes off for Wonwoo to wake up and go to work, he always kisses me as soon as he wakes up then again before he goes to work. 2) He always looks into my eyes as he tells me that he loves me and it makes my heart flutter. 3) He stayed late at work on Wednesday, since it was a colleague's birthday, and when he came back - slightly tipsy on soju - he told me that I'm the man he wants to marry if it's ever legal for us to marry in Korea. I don't think he remembers telling me it, but I keep thinking about it and it warms my heart.

So I guess I should probably start being a little bit more positive about our relationship, huh? He's here for me, even if I'm not here for myself, and I think that's pretty great. I guess it's hard for me to realise it sometimes, especially since I'm definitely not improving like I thought I would, but it's one thing I have to look forward to in this process. Loving the only person who is keeping me going at the moment, in a world where I'm struggling with my family, can't bring myself to see friends, and don't have a workplace to drag me out of the darkness.

I think I'm gonna leave it here for today because I don't have much to talk about this week, other than my mood getting lower, but you'll be hearing about Chuseok next week so I guess it might be a little bit more eventful. Maybe you'll even hear of Wonwoo's dad trying to do something to help us out. You never know, and neither do I just yet.

-- Mingyu

Chapter Text

It's Wednesday 26th September and I'm starting to wonder if I really have an issue or whether it's just because I have nothing to do.

You know, as soon as we went to Wonwoo's dad's house to spend Chuseok with him, I instantly felt better. He greeted us with a hot meal and even allowed Min to join us. He really got on well with her and she liked him too, which is a huge surprise considering that she usually doesn't really like people that quickly. You know, she didn't even like Wonwoo that quickly. It took a whole lot of coaxing her with chicken to make peace with the furry demon, and then Wonwoo's dad comes in like a white knight and she's all over him right away. We didn't even need to say anything to him about the fact that she's not usually that affectionate; we let her out of her box and she ran straight over there to cuddle with him. Which is a huge achievement, considering that he hadn't ever really met her before. Maybe she has a secret second home, where she's cheating an unsuspecting family out of food. Maybe that's why she's suddenly so docile and sweet.

Anyway, it was really nice to start out our time with him on a good foot. We all made a mutual decision that it would be a technology-free weekend, since we didn't really want to be in the position where we were getting distracted from what's important. That meant no films unless we went to a cinema (and most of them were closed anyway - it is a public holiday, after all), no phones or social media, and a whole lot of spending time as a family. And it really did seem like a family. His dad really made me feel welcome and a part of the family, and I love that. It was as if I was his long-lost son or something. He chatted to me as if he'd known me for all of my life, and he always went out of his way to make sure that both Wonwoo and I were having fun with him.

Frankly, it's a really long time to spend with someone. That's one of the reasons why I don't really like these sorts of holidays. Sure, they're about being with your family and you're sort of looked down on if you don't spend time with your family during one of these events, but it just feels really off, in modern Korea, to have to be forced to spend time with people you don't really get on with too well during the rest of the year. And everyone pretends that everything's all fine and everyone loves each other when the matter of the fact is that I genuinely wouldn't mind at all if I didn't have to see half of my family again. It's that bad, I swear. I think that the whole gay thing has really put it into perspective for me, actually. My grandparents and parents are fine with it, and some of the others are okay too. But then there's that particular aunt, and a few of the others don't seem all that sure about it either. They try to pretend that they're not bothered, but you can tell from the way they respond. I've noticed it more and more as the years have passed, but I've always tried to ignore it. It just happens, though, that this bout of low mood is leaving me unable to deal with that rubbish this time.

Interestingly, though, it didn't feel too long for us to spend with Wonwoo's dad. We spent a good amount of time just chatting with him about everything in life. He told us about his job as a banker and how that had changed a lot this year, since he had to put a lot of time into the divorce and moving house and all. I felt really sorry for him, seeing as that's the sort of thing he has to deal with when the entire thing wasn't really his fault at all. In addition, he had bought the house that Wonwoo's mother is living in, but he couldn't bring himself to kick them out because he didn't want Wonwoo's brother to suffer any more than he already was as a result of having an unstable home. So he transferred the mortgage over to her name and then moved out. And I really feel for that. I really do. He put so much on the line for his family and it's not fair on him.

Actually, I learnt a lot more about Wonwoo too. It was pretty cool. His dad started to tell me about some of his childhood stories and all, and I couldn't help but be massively interested in them. He told me about the fact that he was always really shy and quiet when he was growing up but then came out of his shell very suddenly when he got to high school and ended up being incredibly popular. He told me that he and his ex-wife had been really surprised when he came back from school on the first day and started telling them about all of the friends he had made. In fact, they thought he was making them up in order to seem as if he had his life together, but then they went to the school to speak to his teachers and they said the exact same thing; he was very outspoken and confident, and he had a huge group of friends who all genuinely liked him a lot.

It was pretty cool to find that sort of thing out. I never really thought about Wonwoo being younger, if I'm honest. The image I had of him in my mind was of him always being bigger; his life starting when he was an adult and continuing from there. I guess it's a really dumb thing to imagine, really. After all, everyone starts out as a kid and grows from there. But I guess maybe I thought it would be a bit of a sore spot - just how it is for a lot of people - so I didn't want to bring it up, or even risk getting too curious about it in case I ended up caving and asking him questions. Of course, he did seem a little bit embarrassed as his dad spoke about his childhood, but it all seemed to be fond memories so I was happy to find out that little bit more about him.

Then they asked a bit more about me, though, so I had to give some of the embarrassing stories from my childhood too. I mean, it was generally a pretty happy childhood so I don't really have much to complain about, but I figured that it would be best to bring up the worst of them so that Wonwoo didn't feel so awkward about the fact that his dad revealed everything to me. So I went into detail about all of the crazy things that I used to do. Like the time when I was little and I was convinced that I was supposed to be a bird in this life. I ended up gathering a load of pigeon feathers from around the schoolyard and on the way to and from school, then I glued the feathers onto two pieces of paper and tried to train myself to fly like them. We had these weird mushroom stools underneath a tree that students used to sit on, so I would stand on the tallest one and jump off over and over again whilst frantically flapping my paper wings, in hopes that I would fly one day.

Wonwoo liked that story a lot. He told me that it was really sweet and showed a childish innocence that he could still see in me. So I told him more and more. There was a time where I tripped over at school and ripped all of the skin off my knees and I was too nervous to tell my teacher that I had been running, since she told me every day not to run, and so I came up with a story about how a ghost had pushed me over. Of course, she knew that I had been running right away, but she was nice enough to go along with my story about the ghost and told me that if I caught the ghost and brought him to class, she would give him a red point and send him to the headmistress to explain himself. That was the ultimate punishment at that age, so I went on a hunt for a ghost I knew didn't exist and took him back to the classroom to be punished.

So then we continued talking about childhoods for a while longer until Wonwoo's dad brought up his first kiss. I visibly saw Wonwoo's entire body tense up, but then he insisted that it wasn't the one he was thinking about. It was a different first kiss, which confused us both for a moment until suddenly it seemed to click and Wonwoo got massively shy again. He covered his face with both hands as his dad told him the story of how he played a game of chase with some other boys, and it involved one guy chasing the rest of them over some stone. They would pass the stone between them and try to put the one guy off the scent, until he visibly saw Wonwoo taking the stone and chased him down until he was backed into the corner.

Wonwoo was shy at the time and was easy to break down, so he held his hand out with the stone in it and nervously told him that he could take it if he wanted. So naturally, the boy took the stone out of Wonwoo's hand and then playfully kissed him on the lips and smiled before running away. Apparently, Wonwoo's legs gave out immediately and he was just so embarrassed by it that he couldn't move and a teacher ended up taking him inside, thinking that he had been hurt or anything, and Wonwoo had to explain that Youngil had kissed him on the mouth. Of course, they mentioned it to Wonwoo's parents first, who informed them that they didn't want it to be brought up with Youngil's parents in case they took it really badly. It had been innocent play and they didn't want him to be punished for messing with their son like that.

I could see that Wonwoo wanted to be eaten up by the sofa when it was brought up. He grumbled something about the fact that he was six at the time and so it shouldn't really be so fresh in his dad's mind like that still, but his dad pointed out that it was a really cute memory that he really likes because it just shows how kids are. They don't care about whether they're kissing a boy or a girl, or whether their games go too far, as far as adults might be concerned. It's just fun for kids, and he thought it was really sweet that Wonwoo had had such a cute experience with another boy like that. Then he suggested that maybe it was representative of the fact that Wonwoo would eventually grow up and start taking an interest in boys, but Wonwoo was quick to tell him that it was just a coincidence and causation wasn't implied at all by such an isolated event that he didn't even remember properly.

The rest of the conversations went similarly, to be honest. I found that we were all bonding really well, and it led to some pretty funny things as time went on. Wonwoo's dad wasn't afraid to tell us some funny stories about himself too, and some of them bordered on indecent, which left Wonwoo cringing badly. I think a lot of it was the fact that he wasn't afraid to mention his ex-wife in these sorts of stories either. He spoke about the first time they shared a bed at her parents' house and almost got kicked out, seeing as her parents were really traditional and didn't want them to be sleeping in the same room until they were married, even though they weren't planning on doing anything inappropriate under their roof. Then he mentioned the time when his ex-wife thought that she was getting labour pains when she was pregnant with Wonwoo - except it happened to coincide with a day where they usually played pranks on each other.

Every year, they would play pranks on each other exactly two weeks after their wedding anniversary, which was some time in mid-April, since they did that sort of thing when they first got married. At that point, they were starting to settle into the fact that they were married - they had had their honeymoon and were going back to work the day it started, and then suddenly Wonwoo's dad played a prank on his mother when she was getting ready for work. So it became a thing that they would prank each other on that day every year. Except she was actually having pains and had to take herself to hospital, where they determined that she was under a lot of stress and it meant that Wonwoo was getting stressed too, so she needed to relax and take it easy. It was only when she got back from hospital that he actually believed her, and then he felt really bad about it and ended up stopping the prank thing there and then, in case he ever missed something important like that again.

Of course, though, there's only so long you can tell stories before you run out of the good ones, so we ended up spending some time playing board games together too, which was really fun. Some of the more competitive ones, which Wonwoo naturally got really uptight about. He was so determined to win that his dad and I ended up going a little bit easier on him. The last thing we really wanted was to have a sour mood around because we had been a little bit too hard on him and had somehow managed to beat him. I mean, this is the real world, so he has to deal with the fact that he's not going to win absolutely everything in life, but it just made it a little bit more fun to see him that excited about doing well. He's like a little kid when we play games, and I absolutely love that.

Oh, then there were the gifts. Something I never really do with my family, but something that's a bit of a tradition in Wonwoo's family, since it is thanksgiving and all. We'd taken gifts for him each, but it wasn't anything too much. He'd mentioned wanting a new toolkit a while ago, since he left his at his ex-wife's house and she wasn't planning on giving it back to him, so Wonwoo got him a new one. I thought about it for ages and couldn't think of much to get him so I ended up settling on some basketball tickets, since he mentioned that he'd never been to a game before but had always wanted to go. He really appreciated them, and I'm really glad because I was so worried that my gift would seem so pathetic that he would be sort of disappointed. Then there were the gifts that he got us, which were far from what we expected, given that he had asked for something really relaxed.

He got Wonwoo an absolutely stunning journal, which put this one to shame. It's vegetable-tanned leather, a combination of thread and glue binding, which was done by hand, and finally embossed with their family crest and his name in hanja. The paper is 70gsm, and it has a leather pocket inside where he can store documents. It has a dotted grid with great perforation, and it feels quality just holding it. He also got a chunky knit scarf because he "needs something to pull his work look together", which he found amusing. Then there was the gift that he got me - a vintage Jaeger Le Coutre watch, which he had imported from a boutique in the UK. It's really beautiful; it has a good-quality strap with a sleek face, and there's a second little face at the bottom too, which shows the seconds. It's such a nice dress watch that I almost couldn't accept it from him. I don't know much about watches in general, but I know that this one is really expensive. It's a top brand and it's vintage which bumps the price tag up that little bit further. But he insisted that it was pretty cheap, since he knows the owner of the boutique personally and managed to get it for the buying price instead of the selling price somehow.

I did feel pretty shameful only getting him something small, given that he had bought us something really big each, but he insisted that it was fine and he'd intentionally told us to only get something little because he didn't want us to worry about what to get him. He appreciated things that we'd thought about and decided that he would like more than he would have appreciated it if we'd just dropped a million won on him each, and he was really happy with our taste in gifts for him. But then he brought up the topic of our gifts for each other and I felt even worse because I'd bought something a bit more expensive for Wonwoo and it made me feel as if I'd just skimped on the gift for his dad.

I'd got him a bottle of cologne that caught his gaze for longer than usual when we were out together; one that he had mentioned a little while, and had actually tested on his forearm. It's one that smells a bit like wood and spices, with a slight citric twinge, and I remember it smelling really great on his skin. The scent is just the scent of Wonwoo and I wanted nothing more than to kiss his neck when he put it on straight away. I also managed to get him some tickets to go back to the aquarium with me so that we could relive that date. His face visibly lit up when he saw it all and he didn't bother to be subtle with the affection in front of his dad. Much to my surprise, he kissed me on the lips and pressed our foreheads together for a moment as he gazed into my eyes. Thankfully, though, he didn't say that he loved me in front of his dad because it would've been really embarrassing if he did.

What was embarrassing, though, was when he handed me a small box that contained a ring. I swear, my heart seized up instantly and I didn't know what I was supposed to do with myself. My hand just sort of stayed there for a moment and every single thought ran through my head in that few seconds where neither of us said anything. "Do you know what it is?" Wonwoo finally said, after what felt like hours. "It's a promise ring, Mingyu. We've pretty much been together for nine months now, and that's at least nine years in gay time, from what Seungkwan was telling me." He paused for a minute so that it could sink in and we could both take a moment to wind down and laugh at the joke. Of course Seungkwan would tell him that it's nine years in gay time. I wasn't gonna write it in here or anything, but he and Hansol are already talking about marriage and they've been together for less time than I've been with Wonwoo. In fact, three of our couple friends are discussing it already. As it turns out, Seungcheol is seeing Jeonghan now too, and Minghao and Junhui finally gave in to the fact that they're more than friends. So we're the only ones who aren't thinking about marriage so far.

"It's a promise that I'll always be here for you if you need me; that if you're ever in a difficult place, I'll be there to make sure to stick by your side, and that I'll never force you to be in a compromising situation. Even if we break up, I'm not going to leave you homeless or anything, and I promise that you'll always be welcome to come over for a chat." Naturally, I ended up crying as he slipped it on my finger, and I ended up holding him for a really long time. I think he might've given it to me specifically because of my current condition, but he didn't say exactly what prompted it. That meant that it was vague for his dad too, and didn't reveal to him that I've been going through a really rough time lately. And if I'm being honest, it really did help to pick my mood up a lot.

So much so that we even ended up bringing a little bit of intimacy back into our relationship. It was completely accidental, mind you. I woke up completely stiff and Wonwoo took advantage of it by absolutely going to town on me and making sure that I enjoyed every second of it. I didn't think that I would miss that sort of thing, since I haven't even been in the mood for it lately, but it was really nice to just be with him. I liked the experience of holding Wonwoo in my arms and pressing my face into his neck and hearing his breaths in my ear, and I loved how hypersensitive my skin was to the sensation of his brushing against it. It's something that I'm probably gonna think about for weeks because it was just too good to miss out on it.

Granted, I know for a fact that I'm not one-hundred percent better. I could tell you that right away. I know that it's not just a matter of being bored or anything, even though I said that at the start - I think I'm trying to convince myself that that's the case. But sometimes I think it eases up because it's off my mind and I'm genuinely less stressed. I think being able to have heart-to-hearts with Wonwoo's dad at three in the morning, with a beer in one hand and a box of tteokbokki crackers in the other, really helped me a lot, and being able to have Wonwoo there with me all day for five days straight has definitely helped too. I guess it's given me a sense of support, in a way.

Anyway, I've written too much this week and we're not even to Friday yet. I'm hoping that the rest of it goes well now that I've said that I'm feeling better, but we never know.

Send good vibes in my direction.

-- Mingyu

Chapter Text

It's Tuesday 2nd October and I'm excited!

Okay, things aren't one-hundred percent okay still and I know that for a fact - I found it really hard to get out of bed this morning, even though I was absolutely convinced that things were going to be fine and dandy today, just as they had been for the past few days - but there are some good things again and I'm so so relieved about that.

For starters, I'm gonna throw the best of the news at you because otherwise you might lose concentration throughout the rest of this diary entry. Wait for it... wait for it... I got a job offer!

And by "I got a job offer", I mean that I was offered a job literally eight minutes ago. 10:53am. It's now 11:01am as I'm writing this. I had to tell Wonwoo about it first, so I have to apologise for the fact that you weren't the first to know. The thing is, it can take me anything up to four hours to write these entries so I didn't want to have Wonwoo come home and then tell him after an hour or something because I was too busy telling my future self that I got a job. But whatever. I don't think you'll care whether you were the first person to know about it or not. You are most likely my future self, as I said, and my future self will know how that job turned out, so it's probably nowhere near as exciting as it is for me at the moment.

Basically, my friends have been noticing my mood dropping more and more as time has gone on, which I've tried to avoid as much as possible. Believe me when I say that I've done everything possible to hide it. I've told them that I was ill and couldn't see them, I've told them that I was in the hospital at one point, and I've even told them that Wonwoo and I were having arguments and I couldn't leave. Wonwoo backed me up each time, even though he didn't really have any reason to back up my lies like that, and I really appreciated the fact that he didn't just tell me to tell them about it. It's easier said than done, after all, and I don't really want to put myself into an uncomfortable situation just to please them, especially not if it risks them telling me that I'm making it out to be a bigger deal than it is.

But they noticed, nevertheless, and they started pestering me even more. They wanted to know what was going on because it wasn't like me to always have something happening. I always had some sort of excuse and it usually came up just before the event actually happened. They knew that if they asked me to do something, it wouldn't end up happening - heck, they even used the example that they could invite me to my own birthday party and I'd have an excuse not to go. Of course, that hadn't happened in reality, but they were worried that it would end up going down if I continued like that. So they did what they could to make things easier on me. One of them sent Wonwoo home with a care package for me last week, having met up with him for coffee over lunch. Another sent me good wishes via social media. Then a third decided to call me directly with a suggestion.

Actually, I don't know why I'm being so ominous about it. That third person was Seokmin. He said that he had been working really well at work and they were starting to ask for his suggestions for other people who would work well in the company too. There were a few job openings and they needed to fill them as quickly as possible. He was helping to conduct interviews on the people who had applied on their own but everyone agreed that those people just didn't seem to fit in as well as they had been hoping. So he was on the hunt for someone else who had the charisma and charm to be able to work in that area. It had taken some time for him to think up the names of some people who would do well, but he eventually decided that he wanted me to try for the job. I was really surprised, considering that I'd never thought that much about a job in presenting or anything, but he promised me that it was all nice and easy. They had all of the information on a little device in front of me and a green screen behind me. All I had to do was read it out and seem charming, but not seem too happy or laugh at what was happening.

Which was pretty easy, considering my low mood. I can fake being happy but I haven't found things half as funny as usual since I lost my last job. So I went along to an interview on Saturday - they usually do them during the week but figured this time that they would conduct it as soon as possible instead of waiting until after the weekend - and blasted through it pretty well, considering that I haven't done an interview in such a long time. I had to tell them a bit about my last job and why I left, the details of my degree and work experience, and then how I handled pressure. It led to a trial weather presentation, since that was the area the job is in, and I had to stand at the front and read everything out as best as possible. It was really weird, though, because it included a variety of curveballs in order to make me slip up. So I had to explain that Godzilla was going to be attacking the Gangnam district on Tuesday afternoon and that the weather was going to be so wet around Songdo on Thursday that Ponyo would swim right over from Japan and make her home in the city.

I don't know how I didn't laugh, if I'm being honest. Sure, the depression could have a big part in it, but it was still really difficult. I think I was on the edge of it at times and I just had to try to ignore it as best as possible so that I could move on. Sometimes, it's just what you've got to do. There's no other way around it; you need the job and you need to prove to your friends that you can do it, so you push yourself more and more until you get to the end of that trial, having represented yourself accurately the entire time. They seemed impressed, too. I was really happy about that. They told me that they would call me back to say whether I'd received it or not, but I had a good feeling right from the start. And now they've just called to say that I was their favourite candidate and they wondered if I could start working on Saturday. They want to train me a bit before Monday's weather announcements, so they're going to make sure that I'm completely comfortable on Saturday.

You know, I can already feel my mood rising. It's so odd; I didn't think that it would feel like a physical weight rising off my chest, but I'm so so glad that it's there and I'm feeling a bit better. And I'm really hoping that it stays that way because honestly, I don't know if I can handle too much more therapy. It's emotionally taxing and I don't like it, and I think I've made it worse for myself by telling myself that my therapist will discharge me every time I go in and say that I'm feeling a bit better. But she's not going to do that. She's not that sort of person. She knows that my problems aren't fixed and it's just been a good week. She started asking those questions that make you slip up, in hopes that she would catch me out. Things about my family and how things were over Chuseok and how I was feeling about my relationship. And I almost did slip up and say that there's no point in continuing, I have to admit. It was terrifying. I'm just glad that I caught myself in time because otherwise there would be no chance of getting discharged.

I guess that I shouldn't really be complaining about her, though. She's trying her hardest to help me when I don't know whether I want to be helped, and that's a difficult job. I mean, I do want to be helped but maybe not in her way. Maybe not in a way that makes me feel exhausted like this. But I guess some good things did come out of it. Like I told her that I was worried that Wonwoo was falling out of love with me because of my current mood problems, but then she pointed out that he wouldn't buy me a promise ring if he didn't love me and think that it was going to work out between us. And I guess it did make me realise that it was a dumb thought. I hadn't really considered it like that, and she ultimately managed to shut down my negative thoughts in around ten seconds flat. And then she told me that I should go on my date with him and see that the romance is very much alive still, and that worked absolute wonders for my mood right away.

(Whew, I thought that was gonna get really negative for a minute but I managed to save it. That's a good sign in itself, right? I think that's showing that things aren't all that bad right now and I'm sort of on level ground again for the moment.)

We did go on the date, by the way. It was absolutely captivating and Wonwoo was unapologetic about holding my hand the entire time, and he kissed me when we got on the little travellator next to the shark tank. It was really cute, although I pretended that my heart rate didn't instantly rise when he did it. He also got really excited about the jellyfish because a lot of the babies were starting to grow, which I loved seeing, and I ended up getting him a little stuffed shark to take home. It has a permanent spot in our bed and whilst I spoon Wonwoo, he spoons the shark. I love it more than anything, I swear.

Anyway, onto the last little bit of news before I put this away and get myself a celebratory bucket of fried chicken, as a little congratulations to myself for getting another job with a company that will provide me with a solid and reliable wage - my sister is back in contact with me properly now.

She apologised for the fact that she had been so distant and gave me a massive life update; basically, she's started to get pains to suggest that the baby is almost due, and she's been really worried about it for a really long time because it's been on and off since she was about six months pregnant. And she's due in the next few weeks, so she's preparing herself for it all. She ended up having to get a job to pay for the baby's nursery and all of her things because her now-ex-boyfriend isn't interested whatsoever anymore, and she's tried dating but guys were instantly put off when they saw that she was pregnant and they would need to step up and be a dad pretty quickly. Of course, she told them right away that they didn't need to be a father right off the bat, but it didn't matter. Most of them ran for the hills right away.

She also told me a load of other stuff about her relationship with our parents. They've been really impatient with her, and they weren't going to stop our family from talking about her when they were all together for Chuseok. A few of them kept calling her names and then the bad-gay aunt told my mother that she must be embarrassed about the fact that she had a gay son and a daughter who was pregnant by a guy who she wasn't married to, who left her before the baby was even born. And you know what the worst part was? My mother didn't even get angry about it. She told my aunt that she was disappointed in me because I hadn't turned up to Chuseok but not because I'm into guys and dating Wonwoo, but she is a bit disappointed in my sister for making such poor judgement, even though she's going to love her granddaughter as much as she possibly can. It's something that she "expects to get over" but it's "true that we've made her sad this year."

I'm surprised. I'm really surprised that she would say something like that, especially in front of my sister, but I'm really glad that she didn't say that she hates me because of my sexuality. Like I know I'm not gonna give her grandkids and she knows that too - after all, I'm not that bothered about having kids anymore and Wonwoo doesn't like them so we're probably not gonna adopt or get a surrogate to have a family - and I know that she always pushed me to give her grandkids when I was younger, so I expected that it would have a bit of a negative impact on things, but she's strangely fine with it. And I think she's actually quite happy at times, at least now that my sister is pregnant. It means that I won't make the same mistakes that she made because I can't get my boyfriend pregnant by not using a condom. I mean, I know that she's had a long time to get over it (I think she probably knew when I was in junior school, actually, so that's over ten years) but she never seemed to be angry at me for denying her grandkids or for doing something that's not your standard heterosexual relationship. I'm also surprised that she would say that my sister is a disappointment, though, because she's giving her what she wants by getting pregnant and being a single parent isn't really a huge deal in today's society, but I guess it's more about the principle than anything.

But yeah, anyway, my sister asked if I wanted to go to the hospital with her when she gives birth so that I can help her out. And I told her that I would have to ask my workplace whether I could do that but if not, I'd be there when I wasn't at work. She understood pretty well, even though she did seem a little bit disappointed. I think she wanted me to be the first one to hold my niece, from how she was saying it. And that would be nice (or niece, haha) but I'd much prefer it that she gets to hold her first. I don't know why, it just seems really weird to not have it like that.

So now it's time for me to get going - now that I've mused about the world like this for way too long, as usual - so I'll write again after my first few shifts at work. Wish me luck!

- Mingyu

Chapter Text

It's Friday, October 12th today.

What a week. I didn't really expect that I would be so busy, but it turned out that I had lots of work to do. Lots of preparation, practice, and a lot of shifts that I had to take. I have Saturday and Sunday off work, since they have a specific weekend weather guy, and I only have to go in for the morning shows. After that, there's someone else who takes over evenings. I'm so happy, though, because it's a really fun job and I already feel like a part of the team. I've done a few shifts already and one of the guys already offered to run out and get me coffee, which I liked a lot. It was just a really nice gesture and he didn't expect anything in return, so I just felt really happy and taken care of whilst I was there.

I told Wonwoo about it and he was happy for me. He's glad that I'm feeling a lot more positive about things, and he can see the changes it's having on my mood. Sure, there are still bad days and all, but I really think that having a job is taking the edge off things. I feel less useless, and a lot more like I have a place somewhere. When I'm thinking about work, I'm not thinking about how I feel useless, and so I think it's really starting to develop my self-appreciation and the way that I think about the world. That's good stuff because it'll hopefully mean that I'm going to need to go to fewer therapy sessions. And I really like that. I don't enjoy therapy like I thought I would. I thought that it would help me to realise what my issues were and make me feel better about everything in a way that felt genuine. As it turns out, I don't think therapy is really for me. I'd prefer to just have tablets until my mood is more regulated, but the doctor doesn't really want that to happen because of dependence on it and stuff. You probably know the drill with that sort of thing.

I spoke to her today, actually. I just arrived back from my therapy session now. It was mentally draining and I feel really uptight for the moment, but I guess at least it's out of the way for another week. And that's one more week down, meaning that I probably won't need to worry about as many sessions with her anymore. I can't really complain that much, though. I know I say that I don't like her that much, but I suppose that she does help me with everything. She's patient and she listens carefully to the problems I tell her. This week, I told her about everything that was happening and that I got a new job. She asked me what effect I thought it was having on my mood; for me to give her a top five so that I can truly appreciate whether or not it's having a significant effect on my life or whether I'm just happier because I'm doing something and taking my mind off it for a while. Here are my top five things:

1) It actually is taking my mind off things, which might seem as if it's not that significant but it really is a big thing for me. When I'm not thinking about my mental health, I'm not worrying about the effect that it's having on my life. When I'm not worrying about it, I'm not concerned about the effect it's having on everyone else around me. I'm not concerned that my friends don't want to be around me, and I'm not scared that Wonwoo doesn't want to be with me anymore. It's promoting a better relationship with myself. You know, it's really hard to pick yourself up when your mind is constantly whirring around these different things. You wonder whether you're good enough and whether you're a burden to your family. I know that my mind has constantly been playing around the fact that I can't afford and I've been trying my hardest to save up for Chuseok, since I knew that it would be important to be able to either travel somewhere to see my family or to buy gifts for Wonwoo's family. It meant that I've been a little bit stressed about the toll that it's taking on Wonwoo. He's having to pay for both of us on one wage.

And yeah, I know that he's pretty well-off. I know that without having to be reminded of it. His place is beautiful and he has a lot of savings. He can afford to take us both to Japan for a break, and he got me an expensive watch just after we started dating. (Actually, on that note, I forgot that I had that watch. I actually found it in one of the boxes that I still hadn't emptied until this week when Wonwoo pointed out how long it had been there. So I'm using the one that Wonwoo's dad got me for work and the one that Wonwoo got me for daily use. I think they both suit the specific occasions a little bit more than just having one that I use for absolutely everything.) He buys us good food and sometimes offers to give me a few thousand won so that I can treat myself to lunch whilst he's at work. But he shouldn't have to do that. He could save a lot more if I had a job and was responsible with my money. And that's why I was so bothered by it all. I think having a job not only gives me the responsibility but also takes my mind off the fact that I had a problem in the first place, I guess.

2) It's doing absolute wonders for my romance with Wonwoo. We went on a date this week and it ended up with us cuddled up on the sofa together, watching a horror film. His head was on my chest and my arms were around him and it was really great. Then he looked up at me and told me that he loves me. Like, said it properly. "I love you." And I just felt really wanted because even though he says it to me, it means so much when you've dressed up all nice and gone on a date with someone and it's really romantic and then you come home and they look you right in the eyes and tell you that they love you. I just really loved it because it showed me that things are improving. And it's not even just one isolated incident. We had a bath together one night, and on another night, he asked me to run errands for him but I got home to see him wearing a lace babydoll. He said that it wasn't really his style to wear something so effeminate, but he thought that maybe it would leave a little more to the imagination than if he was just in boxers. He knows now that I'm usually in a much more positive mood when I get home so we can do those sorts of things, and it's a huge relief.

I've also found that when we go out together in the evenings, he's a lot more comfortable with holding my hand. Not that he wouldn't try beforehand, but he would sometimes be a bit worried about whether it was the right thing to do or not. I could see that from the way that he looked at my hand and then straight forwards again. He didn't know whether it was okay and that built a little bit of tension between us. But we went on a walk a few nights ago and he just slipped his hand into mine and started stroking it with his thumb as we walked together. And it was really nice because it brought along this little bit of closeness that I haven't really felt in a long time. A closeness that can't really be gained from simply being together. A closeness where you feel your hearts coming together and you look at your boyfriend and all you can think is, damn, I love him.

3) I actually got to see my friends this week. Weird, I know. I've not seen everyone together since Wonwoo and I decided that we were going to meet each other's friendship groups. We gathered everyone together and had a bit of a celebration because they were all aware of my problems, even if they didn't really have a word for it. No one wanted to assume that it was depression, but they all knew that it wasn't just something little that happened to be going on in the background. So they all came together and celebrated the fact that I'm starting to feel a bit better. And I didn't even get to the point where I wanted people to go home. Having a job made me feel more inclined to be positive and talkative and charismatic. It encouraged me to joke around with people and play games and talk about everything that's happening in life.

And I don't think I've ever been happier. I got to see everyone enjoying themselves and I even got to see the ones who are in relationships getting close to each other. In particular, I saw Seungkwan and Hansol trying their hardest to hide the fact that they're in a relationship, even though everyone already knows and it's not a huge shock to anyone in either friendship group, whereas Seungcheol and Jeonghan were incredibly cuddly with each other. They make a cute couple and I can't believe that I didn't see it before we all met together. I'm really happy to be able to see everyone comfortably showing it together, instead of the focus being on how unwell I am, and I think it's another bonus of having something to do with my time now.

4) I'm a lot more energetic in general. I want to go for walks and run for the bus and dance around the house. I don't think I've felt so energetic in months. And I'm talking about before I lost my job too. There's something about draining jobs that really make you not want to do anything with your time. They stop you from exercising and doing the things that you enjoy, but I'm suddenly really excited to do everything. I can't even describe it; it's as if there's a weight lifted from my body. Sure, the first few days of work made me feel even worse and I was so exhausted that I had to take a nap as soon as I got home, only to sleep through my alarms and wake up when Wonwoo eventually came home, but it's better now and I can already make it through a full day without even having a ten-minute nap. I think it's a bit of an achievement, really, especially since I would take a lot of naps when I didn't have a job too. It was something that I was really bad for doing, and a lot of the time I would only end up staying awake for an hour or so before going back to bed. It's not good for general health, and so I'm glad that I've not only broken the cycle, but that I'm actually enjoying being energetic too.

Which brings us to our last one.

5) I've started taking up my hobbies again. After the third day at work, I decided that I would take up the rapping with Hansol and Seungcheol again, and we ended up spending hours making some tracks together. I've actually improved a lot too. With the increase in energy, the general happiness with how my life has suddenly changed for the better, and the fact that all of my relationships in life are starting to run smoother, I was able to make raps about things that I was passionate about. I was able to talk about the things that have changed and reflected on all of the things that were going on in the background of my life. I rapped about struggles and mentality and relationships, and they just flowed so naturally that I actually felt good when we listened back on them.

You know how a lot of the time, you listen to your work and you just hate it? I actually didn't feel all that bad about it at all. I would happily show those raps off to people without fearing that someone would hear them and laugh at me. And I think that being able to be confident in your ability to do something that you actually enjoy is a big thing. That's why it's something I'm thankful for now that I'm able to be myself again. I just feel so free and it's amazing. I know I'm probably dwelling on it way too much at the moment, but it's something I didn't think I'd be able to feel again. And yeah, I know that there are gonna be more highs and lows because you can't possibly be completely fine after a week and a half, but it feels as if I'm gonna be able to deal with them instead of thinking about them too much. I might even be able to make positive diary entries for the rest of the year, if things stay looking up. Either that, or I might have to promise myself that I'll write three good things for every one bad thing that I write about. At least that way, it'll make it seem as if things are a lot more positive than they actually are.

But I guess I shouldn't punish myself if I do feel bad, huh? That's something that my therapist pointed out too. Sometimes people do have bad days but it doesn't mean that you aren't recovering if something bad happens. You can't expect to be happy all the time and even though you might not remember how it feels to live outside of being unwell like this, it doesn't mean that you were never unhappy before it hit. And that doesn't mean that you always had depression in the background because it was probably something pretty recent but I just didn't catch on to when it was starting to emerge. It's just like everything, I think. You can't always tell when you're falling in love with someone or when you're falling out of love with them. You can't always tell when the bath water is getting too hot or too cold when you're sat in it. You can't always tell right away that you're too full up of food, or that you're hungry. It's something like that, I think. Or at least, that's my philosophy on the topic.

Oh, also, I don't know whether anyone really cares, but I did something pretty cool the other day. I got Min some kitty yoghurt and froze it then got myself a huge tub of ice cream, and we sat on the sofa together and ate our ice cream as we watched that programme where those couples try to find retirement homes in the south of France again. Hansol really has me hooked on that trashy programme and I can't believe that I've started watching it without Wonwoo here too. I've even started critiquing their opinions on things myself and telling Min about them. But I do make fair points, I think. After all, who would try to find a retirement home with their partner when they can't even decide on what colour they want the walls to be? Shouldn't they be deciding on that before they even start their journey? You're going to be divorced within a month at this rate, Bill and Janet from London, and you're going to regret ever leaving hte country in the first place. You'll just end up moving home again and getting a job to pay the bills because you can't afford to be living separately on the retirement wage you have and neither person really wants to give the other the home in France.

I really hope that Wonwoo and I are never like that in the future. If he wants blue walls in the living room, I'm not gonna argue that it's a bathroom colour. I think blue would work perfectly fine, actually.

Anyway, until next time.

--Mingyu

Chapter Text

It's Friday, 19th October.

I'd just like to start out by telling you about the worst thing ever.

Right, so I was getting changed back into my pyjamas just now, since I've finished work and therapy and I have nothing else to do with my time (other than lazing around and eating ice cream roll cake) when I noticed something absolutely dreadful.

I have a fucking pimple on the crease where my ass and thigh meet.

Good lord this shit hurts. Have you ever had this? Of course you have, future me, because you're me and I'm discussing it right now, but do you remember how agonising it is? You've not noticed it all day and then suddenly, you pull your trousers down and catch it on the waistband as it slides over your ass. Then you run your hand down from your hip to your knee until you feel it and the pain is intense. Then you try to do some crazy cool pose in the mirror to see what it looks like and it's this glowing red boil-looking thing. It taunts you; insisting that you squeeze it and see what damage it'll do. You squeeze it but nothing comes out, so you've put yourself through more pain for absolutely everything. And you wish that that could be the end, but no. Every time you move, you can feel it crushing in that crease and you're left wanting to curl up into a ball and wait it out for it to disappear.

I've tried squeezing it, even though Wonwoo always tells me off for that sort of thing. "It's gonna leave a scar if you keep messing with it," he tells me.
"I don't care because you'll be the only one seeing my ass/thighs/shoulders/back/chest anyway," I always reply. He still slaps my hand away and tells me to leave it alone. Maybe that would've been for the best with this one, actually. It hurt to squeeze it and it hurts even more now. Trust me when I tell you that I'm curled up on my side right now so that I'm not putting too much pressure on it. I'm gonna try to get Wonwoo to disinfect it when he gets back from work but I don't know how I'm gonna live knowing that it's there.

ANYWAY--

We hit a new milestone in our relationship last night and I've been dying to tell you about this all day. It really made my heart flutter when he came out with it, and so I'm left in anticipation for the next few weeks until we finally put it into play.

We were cuddling on the sofa last night, watching another one of those weird, overdramatic detective programmes, when Wonwoo looked up at me and called my name. It was so curious that I couldn't help but look at him immediately - you know when you know that someone is about to say something really unusual and it starts to tickle at your spine when you turn to them and ask what's up? I had that sort of feeling. Of course, it proved to be right when he began to gently draw circles on my chest with his fingertips and let his eyes stay as far from mine as possible. "What is it?" I repeated, "Something you want to talk about?"

"I was just thinking about it today - we've been in a relationship for quite some time and we've never really had a holiday together." I was surprised, to say the least.
"A holiday?" I echoed, "We went to Tokyo that one time and we've travelled a bit together at times."
"No, I mean a proper holiday. Where you both put money into a fund and then go on a week-long trip to a new place, and you spend time just being together. You don't need to worry about it being really romantic or anything; you just do things for the cultural benefit or to relax or explore. We haven't really done that sort of thing together, have we?"

I suppose he's right, really. We've not had that experience. The trip to Tokyo was a very short trip, even though it was really nice to be there. We didn't get too much of a chance to explore, and we certainly didn't get to find too many nice things. It was a bit of a shame, I think. "Is there anywhere in particular you'd like to go together?" I asked. Wonwoo gave this cute little smile that he always gives - the one that suggests he already has some big ideas in mind - and then he gave a nod.
"I was thinking maybe Jeju. They have this penis museum and I thought of you as soon as I heard about it. Plus it's supposed to be very nice to explore, and it's quite separate from the rest of Korea, so we're physically away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, as well as being mentally away from it."

It's a great idea. I can't even argue against that. The thought of going somewhere like Jeju is really great - I didn't really go on too many holidays as a child, so I haven't seen all of those quirky touristy things around the country, never mind in other countries. You know how it is - you want to succeed in education primarily, so you skip out on big family holidays and end up spending all of your time during the school breaks studying instead. It's rubbish, but it's how things work. After all, you need to keep on top of everything so that you can actually function when you get back to school. Plus it actually seems to have paid off pretty well for me. I mean, I got good grades in school and an excellent degree at university, so I think that's proof enough that sometimes it's better to knuckle down. It just makes me sad that I've had to come straight out of university and go into work, and then I've had more responsibilities on top of that which stop me from exploring the world around me.

But whatever. We're going on a holiday together now, and that's the important thing. It might seem like such a little step when we've been doing so many other things - from moving in together to screwing mercilessly to meeting parents - but I really do think that it's hard to know someone properly until you travel with them. So I think it's going to be the experience that really tells us how things are going in our relationship. I mean, I think we're gonna be okay but you never know. You think you know your boyfriend then next thing you know, he turns into a complete monster when you're travelling. He needs to be in control one-hundred percent of the time, otherwise there's a meltdown, screaming, shouting and crying along the way. I don't think I would be able to handle that, if I'm being completely honest.

I'm sure we'll be fine, though. This is Jeon Wonwoo we're talking about - the boy who constantly went on cultural trips as a child, who knows half of the possible holiday destinations we could go to like the back of his hand, and who knows the answer to pretty much any question I could dream to ask him. I'm sure things are going to be absolutely fine and we won't have to worry about the fact that we're going to be travelling properly together for the first time, with actual activities, day trips and excursions to deal with along the way.

Okay, so now that that bit's out of the way, we're onto my favourite topic. That's right - therapy.

I mean, I'm enjoying it a little bit more than I did at the start. I can tell you that much. I discussed a few different issues with my therapist today, but it wasn't anything big like I usually tell her. I said that I'm worried about losing my job again in the future because I know that I'm not the most experienced person int he company and I'm probably not as important as a member of staff. I try to be bright and happy, but it doesn't always work out as you imagine. Saying that, though, I do feel like my progress is blossoming. I feel like I'm getting somewhere already and making a name for myself. And whilst people don't usually remember the names of the people who tell the weather on air, I do think that it's better that way because at least then, I don't have to worry about being noticed in public.

I also ended up revealing to her that I'm nervous about disappointing my family. I said that it was my biggest fear and the one thing that gets me down the most. After all, it's hard to be the one who is supposed to impress them constantly. What could my parents tell people when I'd lost my job? "Oh, this is Mingyu. He's currently unemployed and not really looking for a job, but he has a degree." Wow. Makes me sound like an amazing person with a load of ambition. The worst of it was that they didn't really want to talk to me that much either. They weren't really interested in my life once I lost my job and moved in with Wonwoo. They haven't made the effort to visit me once - although I'm not sure if I can really complain because I haven't really seen them either - and my relationship with them really doesn't feel like the sort of thing that people push for, in which you genuinely love and appreciate your parents and family overall.

Now, I don't want to have a moan about them or anything. I know I already have, but I really feel that they have tried over the years. It's just this year that things have started going downhill. I think that maybe I'm amplifying it because I have quite a low mood, and my therapist suggested that maybe they chatted to me more in the past because they knew that I had fewer people to chat with and now I'm probably busier keeping my relationship alive or something, but it doesn't mean that I can't feel hurt over it. That's exactly how I do feel. Hurt and isolated. I want to go back to when they were always there for me, making sure that everything was nice and fun and enjoyable. I want to go back to when I would call my mom every week, and my sister would visit all the time.

But I guess it's the reality of being an adult. Sometimes this is the reality of it. I know my therapist was trying to put me off the thought of it, but I think it's just the case that when you grow up, you have to expect social interaction a lot less. So that's what I'm doing. After all, I'm getting to see my friends on a weekly basis now - as we agreed last time everyone visited - and Wonwoo's dad is taking me to watch a football game tomorrow. And I suppose that even though it's not the social support that I was hoping for, it follows that saying about the blood of the covenant being thicker than the water of the womb. I picked my friends and my boyfriend, Wonwoo's dad picked me as a third son to take under his wing. It's better than the Bad Gay aunt and the people who only bother with me when it comes to our yearly family meetings.

My therapist still isn't sure whether I should be discharged any time soon, though. She thinks that whilst I'm obviously feeling a lot more open to discussion and I can sort my own issues out a little bit easier by discussing them with her and coming up with a solution, it's still not sorted enough for me to be discharged. After all, even though I'd probably be significantly better off with fewer depressive episodes if we left it, seeing as I'm no longer worrying about work and my related relationships, there are still stressors in my life that can trigger it. And for the first time, I think I actually agree with her on that. I think that life is too stressful for me at the moment, with a hundred new experiences and responsibilities flying at me at once, and so it wouldn't be wise to simply shake hands and say goodbye for the last time. Not only would it be irresponsible on her part, but also on my own for leaving something that I know isn't sorted.

I think I should go now, since thta's pretty much the end of it and the only other eventful thing that has come up this week was Wonwoo sending me a few raunchy messages on the way home from work on Wednesday. I think it's best to spare you the suffering that would come alongside me describing that aspect of our relationship to you, but I just want to point out yet again that I'm relieved to have my libido back. Oh damn, I'm so so glad.

Until next week!

--Mingyu

Chapter Text

It's Wednesday, October 24th.

Welcome to the world, Kim Jiyoo.

That's right, my sister finally gave birth to a baby girl. I'm an uncle, and I'm so so happy that she was finally born.

My sister was in labour for almost twenty hours with the little tot. She was quite small but she didn't want to come out. The labour pains were getting worse and worse as time went on, but the hospital told her that she needed to wait until she started getting contractions and they were only a few minutes apart, and then they would be able to help her with the rest. That took around eight hours in itself. Then she ended up going to the hospital and they continued to look after her as they got closer and closer together, but then the whole process of giving birth to her took forever. She wasn't coming out as easily as the doctors had hoped, even though there were no complications in birth. Eventually, she managed to get her out, the doctors checked her over, and we were allowed to go in and see my sister and niece.

Well, I say we. I was at work at the time, and so I didn't get to see her right away. I had to wait until I finished my shift, and then my parents came all the way over here to pick me up and take me over to the hospital to see them. We ended up discussing some things on the way there - everything that had changed in our lives and the family drama, as you can imagine. I ended up confessing to my parents that I had been suffering from depression and had been seeing a therapist - something that I've tried to hint to them a number of times but never quite managed to get out into the open. They apologised for the way that they had essentially cut me off since I moved in with Wonwoo, and explained that life got in the way to start with but then they eventually grew bitter about the fact that I wasn't making the effort to go and see them first and foremost. Then they realised that it wasn't my responsibility to make all of the effort either, but they felt a bit awkward about just turning up out of the blue.

I guess I could see that. It didn't mean that it stopped the hurting that I've been feeling for so long, but it did make it a little bit easier to cope with it all. After all, they admitted that they were in the wrong and that was what I needed to hear. I needed to know that I wasn't the person who was making things difficult for everyone else. But then the topic of conversation switched to the drama I mentioned, which was a lot happier. We needed to change the conversation before things got too low, and I was relieved to find that there was a lot of new things to hear about. For starters, the gay cousin is dating a man who is ten years his senior. His mother is absolutely livid and keeps making comments about how it's inappropriate, but the rest of the family really love his boyfriend because he's a really respectable guy. Besides, they worked together. It wasn't like a random pick-up. They know each other from work and my cousin's boyfriend was supposed to be moving to a different branch on the other side of Seoul, so he asked his now-boyfriend if they could go on a date together to end on a high note. They did, and now they're in a relationship.

On top of that, one of my other aunts is pregnant. Which wouldn't be drama in itself, but she's not sure whether my uncle is the father. Apparently, she had slept over at a male friend's house after they got black-out drunk together, but the guy had informed her that they slept together when they were drunk. He hadn't thought anything of it because she took the lead and it just felt natural, but they both realised the mistake in the affair the following morning. Now, she had been trying for a child with her husband for quite some time, but she only just managed to get pregnant after an affair. Coincidence? I think not. So she's a bit worried that it's going to look bad or the baby isn't going to look like her husband, so she's considering getting an abortion before he finds out about it all.

Then there's a little bit of drama with another cousin. She's not always the most honest person anyway, but she accused one of our other cousins of bragging about having sex with someone in her class. Please bear in mind that these two are fourteen years old. I'm not gonna mention their names because I don't want anyone to read this and take my reflection on it all the wrong way, but you're gonna know who it is. Which two cousins are fourteen by the end of 2019? Easy. Anyway, they're both underage and discussing that sort of thing, and the liar cousin proceeded to tell her mom that the other one was making her uncomfortable by talking about it all. So her mom told my uncle - the other one's father - about it all and asked him to have a word with her. She claimed that she knew nothing about that and they hadn't even spoken all night. In fact, she didn't even know where the liar cousin would have got that sort of idea from. It led to a huge argument between my cousins and now they're not talking, even though their parents are trying to get them to be friends again.

Now I don't want to take sides or anything, but I think I know who I believe. Would you believe someone who constantly tells lies about everything over a top-grade student who doesn't even have time for extracurricular activities, nevermind a boy? I'm not saying that the first cousin is a liar, but I'm certainly not saying that she's a truther either.

It ended up taking the entire car journey to the hospital to discuss those topics. Which is sort of a big deal, considering that we had to drive all the way back into Seoul. It was probably around a two-hour journey or something. I'm not quite sure because I was too wrapped up in the conversation and I was late out of work today so I didn't really think to check the time, but it was a while. Anyway, by the time we got there, I felt a lot happier about my relationship with my family again and I didn't even mind chatting with them about other aspects of life as we made our way to the maternity ward to see my sister. We went straight through to her bedroom, having been granted permission to see her as a group from the nurses, and so we gathered in her bedroom and were faced with the sight of the most beautiful baby I've ever seen.

I'm not even joking. She was asleep the entire time, but she was so beautiful. She already had a few tufts of black hair on her head, and they were really soft. I've never touched a baby's hair before but it was just so nice to feel and I wanted nothing more than to rub my face on it. Then there was her nose. It was just like my sister's right from the start. Quite thin, compared to her father's nose, and also a little bit flat. Especially on the tip. His was a bit like a bulb, whereas hers is closer to a button. I think it really suited her and I liked watching it scrunch a little bit when she was dreaming. On top of that, she had the softest cheeks I've ever seen. She looked like a little dumpling or a panda. When she scrunched her face up, her cheeks would plump up at the top, and when she tucked her chin in towards her blanket, they would look like melted marshmallows.

My sister let me hold her for quite a long time whilst I was there. She said that she wanted my niece to have a great relationship with her uncle and that the distance between our living spaces shouldn't matter at all. So I got to hold her more than anyone else, I think. She snuggled up into my arms and my heart melted, and then in the brief window where she was awake, she held onto my finger with her entire hand. Basically, if I'm going to summarise it in a few words, I want to give her the entire world and make sure that no person ever does anything that hurts her. She's going to be my princess and I don't even regret putting so much money to the side now so that I can get her some cute things to wear and some teddies for her nursery.

Speaking of the nursery, actually, my sister showed me photos. It's a light brown and the furniture is all made of wood. It gives the place a very rustic look, and it actually works really well for a baby's room, I think. It also avoids that whole thing where parents colour code their child based on their physical appearance, which I think is a little bit weird when you start to consider the concept properly. I'm glad that it looks like a nice space for both my sister and niece can relax with each other, and I would love to be able to add to the room with the few things that I'm gonna buy to help her out a little bit.

Oh, and on top of all of that, my sister actually said something really cute that made my heart melt even more. When she took my niece back, she asked her whether she liked being in her uncle's arms and then informed her that she's gonna love being in her other uncle's arms even more. I was confused to start with, figuring that perhaps her ex-boyfriend had brothers or something, but then she brought up the topic of Wonwoo with me and it dawned that she meant him. Just to confirm that I had the right idea, I asked her if she meant him, and she let out an exasperated laugh before shaking her head with disbelief. "How many other men are going to be my daughter's uncle? It could only ever be my brother's boyfriend, couldn't it?"

I told her that I didn't think she would take to the thought of him being her uncle so quickly, but she pointed out a number of different things in response. First of all, our relationship is hardly a fling - we've been together for pretty much nine or ten months by this point, depending on whether you count the day we made it official our anniversary or the day that we went on a date together. (We still haven't decided which one we're gonna make our official anniversary yet but we were thinking that we would discuss it nearer to the time and then pick a solid day to celebrate together.) She thinks that it's plenty of time for us to figure out whether we want to be together on a long-term basis, especially since we're living together. Secondly, she told me that she considers Wonwoo to be her brother too. He was there to help her on a number of occasions, and he hadn't once treated her as if she wasn't his sister as well. He didn't mind when she came over to visit at the same time that he did, and he was always open to chatting with her.

Then there was the fact that she quite simply wanted him to be her daughter's uncle. She thought that he would fit the role well, and he wanted nothing more than for her daughter to have that family support from a lot of people who were genuinely there for her. There were some family members that she didn't really want Jiyoo to know so well - until, of course, she's old enough to make those sorts of decisions for herself - since she thinks that the drama that those people bring would be negative for her daughter's critical thinking. Take the ones who are very clearly against gay relationships; who turn their noses up a twitch every time someone mentions that Wonwoo and I are in a relationship. What are we supposed to do - let her see that other people think that her uncles are disgusting? If other people make up her mind for her, she won't ever have the chance to think it through properly and make her own appraisals.

I'm actually really happy with everything my sister said she would do when it comes to bringing up her daughter. Even though I thought she would be really immature about everything, she proved right away that she has grown up and she's mature enough to have a child of her own. She wasn't bothered by the feeding or changing and didn't ask for any help from the doctors, other than when it came to leaning down and putting her in her cot. She didn't want to ask us to do it for her, and she only asked the doctor to do it because she came in whilst my sister was struggling to put the baby into the cot. You see, it's a lot on her physically, so it's completely understandable that it's taking a bit of extra time to do some things.

Anyway, we left after a few hours, figuring that she could probably do with some rest. She's not gonna get a lot for the next few years, so she might as well get it over and done with whilst she has the chance. My parents drove me home after that and I've pretty much been sat in our bedroom ever since, looking through catalogues in hopes that I'll find something for my beautiful niece to celebrate her birthday. I'm thinking that I might get her a sturdy wardrobe, a light brown or grey stuffed fox, and maybe a couple of really cute outfits to wear. One of those outfits is definitely gonna include this really pretty blue dress that I found online, which is actually supposed to be worn in the winter. It comes with little boots and mittens and a hat, and there's fur around the collar, cuffs and around the lower hem. You can even get matching white twist tights to go with them, so I'll be getting her that as her gift.

I need to concentrate, though, so I'll end it here.

Until next time,
--Mingyu

Chapter Text

It's Thursday, November 1st.

We've had a bit of an interesting start to the week, I'm not gonna lie. To start with, we did have a little bit of a bicker about the whole process of helping Jeonghan to set up the Halloween party at his house - he's not really the best at decorating things and doesn't have an eye for detail so he was concerned that he was going to end up making a mess of it all. I thought that maybe something really scary would work best but Wonwoo was convinced that gore was the way forwards. I aired that I was concerned that some people would be put off by gore but Wonwoo pointed out that it made it scarier than just having things that could be seen as scary. In the end, we asked Jeonghan and he replaced the "or" with an "and".

"We should have both and make the place look like a haunted house of severed limbs!" he exclaimed when we told him on the phone. "No one will expect to find a cut-off leg in the bathroom, but they also won't expect to find Dracula in the shoe cupboard. Go wild!" At that point, we had to admit that we felt a bit stupid because we had assumed that it had to be one theme or the other, forgetting that Jeonghan probably doesn't care for keeping to one single, consistent theme. We laughed about it and apologised to each other, which is a huge step-up from some of our other bickers in the past. I think I like it this way, though. It meant that we were able to face it like adults and do our thing without worrying about hard feelings over stupid party decorations.

Anyway, we ended up going over to his place to help him set the entire thing up. He had a few decorations of his own there and wanted to include them, and I had to admit that they were actually pretty cool. Huge cobwebs that could be hung from places and some eyeball-shaped, eyeball-coloured ice cubes. He had some spare limbs that he wanted to touch up the colour on, just so that they looked more realistic and less plastic, and he even had one of those creepy old portraits where it feels as if the eyes are following you. When we saw that one, his chest puffed up with pride and he informed us that it was actually authentic and he bought it from a worldwide garage sale. It had been owned by some guy in America, but he had passed away and asked for all of his belongings to be sold and that money to be given to his relatives. He knew that they wouldn't appreciate his love of creepy things but other people would love them.

We spent a while discussing it all and setting things up in one room at a time. And by the time we finished, it looked great. Jeonghan told us that he almost didn't want to sleep there on his own because he was worried that the evil spirits would come and snatch him in the middle of the night, seeing as his house not only looked creepy but also relatively uninhabited. It was all a joke to start with, but then Wonwoo actually started to consider it before asking me if I minded Jeonghan taking our sofa for the night. After all, we were going to be going out shopping for food and drinks once I finished work that morning, seeing as Wonwoo had booked a few days off work to help with the party and spend more time with me, so it just made it easier than trekking all the way back to Seoul to hunt around for everything we needed. This way, we could pick it up on the way from one of the cheaper stores, each carry something back to his place, and we wouldn't need to take any additional stops.

Of course I didn't mind at all. Sure, I was going to be leaving for work very early on Wednesday morning, but I wasn't going to say that Jeonghan couldn't stay because of that. The boy sleeps like a log, and I'm sure I wouldn't wake him up when I'm putting my shoes on and leaving the house. And even if I did, he would be straight back to sleep anyway. I knew that it was the logical answer to our problems and the train ticket was only a few thousand won anyway, so we took him back to our place, got something to eat for dinner, and then made our way to bed.

Except things got a little weird when Wonwoo and I went up to our room. Usually, I just cuddle close to him and we go to sleep, or one of us will propose doing something a little more physical before we sleep. This time, though, Wonwoo shuffled as close to me as physically possible and hooked one of his legs underneath mine before looking up at me. "Mingyu?" he asked. His voice was almost unrecognisably tiny. I glanced down at him.
"Hm?"
"I'm... I'm just feeling a bit fragile. Could you tell me that you love me?"

I'd never expected to hear that sort of thing from Wonwoo. Ever. He doesn't really seem like the sort of person who will ever get like that. You know, he's quite strong and tells me that I don't need to tell him that sort of thing constantly; that he knows already and he doesn't want it to lose its meaning. It's something that's really special to him, and that's why I only usually say that sort of thing on special occasions. But here he was, all small and soft in my arms as he was telling me that he wanted to hear me say it to him out loud. I wasn't going to reject him, even though it did confuse me to hear him asking for it like that.

"I love you," I told him, "I love you more than I've ever loved anyone else. You're my rock and the one who stops me from doing stupid things. And I appreciate everything you do for me because I know that it's selfless and loving." And then he started crying. He took a shaky breath and pressed his face into my chest and I could feel the skin underneath his eyes starting to get damp. He doesn't like to be called out on that sort of thing, though, so I just stroked his hair to let him know that I was there. It took a few minutes for him to calm down but then he eventually moved his face away and let out a little sigh.

"Thank you. I needed to hear that."
"Is everything okay?" I asked on reflex. You know when you start to worry that there's something after your partner cries in response to something simple? Like you know that they're not the sort of person to betray your trust but you think for a second, maybe they're having an affair or they were considering breaking up with me? I had one of those moments and it completely overthrew my desire to refrain from asking him about it. Wonwoo just lifted a hand up to wipe his eyes, though, before giving a little nod.
"I'm just a bit emotional today. I don't know what it is, but I wanted to feel appreciated. I hope that it didn't scare you at all."

And it sounded sincere. Wonwoo doesn't usually have those sorts of days. I'm sure I would have noticed if our romance was dying or he was seeing someone else. That much is usually obvious, especially when you're living together and one person is always back during the afternoons and evenings. I know exactly when Wonwoo is supposed to get home from work - it's the exact same time every single day - and he always messages or calls me during lunch to ask how my day has been. People who are having affairs usually aren't like that, I don't think.

But even if he was seeing someone else, I don't think I would mind that much, so long as he told me. I know that feelings for people change and whilst I would be upset to start with, I'd have to come to terms with the fact that in every relationship, you either stay together for the rest of your life or you break up. And a lot of the time, you're gonna break up. I might not be the one for Wonwoo by the end of our relationship but likewise, I might be the person he wants to have a family with in the future. You never know these sorts of things until you reach that point. I just hope that I'm gonna be the man for him because I think that he's the man for me, and I think that means that we'd have a good future together, if we decided that we wanted to go there.

Enough with the soppy stuff. So we ended up spending a little while giving each other gentle kisses and then went to sleep together. Then the alarm went off for me to wake up for work, and Wonwoo woke up too. Usually, he just closes his eyes again and mumbles a sleepy, "Good morning," as he snuggles back under the covers but this time, he sat up with his half of the duvet wrapped around his shoulders. He looked exhausted, but he said that he didn't want to go back to sleep just yet when I suggested it to him. "I want to suck you before you go to work." Without giving me the chance to reply, he shuffled under the bed sheets and got straight to work.

I wasn't really complaining, though. It felt really great to have him doing that sort of thing in the morning. I didn't mind skipping out on breakfast so that he could do what he wanted to do. His mouth was lazy and tired, dragging over my skin, and he didn't even pull away when I warned him at the end. It was a great start to the day and it left me buzzing all the way through the rest of the day. Even when I got back from work. Wonwoo saw me as I walked through the door and his entire face lit up in this adorable little way, halfway between a proud smile and a smirk, and it just reminded me of exactly what he did which made it worse again. I ended up getting really flustered and it was a relief that Jeonghan wasn't in the hallway because he shuffled close to my chest and pressed the tips of our noses together in this overly cutesy way.

I tried my hardest to pretend it hadn't happened for the rest of the day, though, because I didn't want it to be obvious to Jeonghan that something was up. The last thing I wanted to do was make him feel uncomfortable because he was having to watch us being like that, and so I resorted to pushing it to the back of my mind. Thankfully, it was possible to do that, otherwise I wouldn't have known what to do with myself.

So we ended up going to the shop on the way into Seoul, which was around the underground station that we would get on to go to Jeonghan's place. Off the train, into the shop, onto the subway. You know how it goes, I don't need to explain how we got to Jeonghan's house. It was quite a nice journey, I think. We were able to have a bit of a chat as we walked together, and then we had the chance to take it slower through a park on the way to his place. Usually, we wouldn't be able to take it too slow with that amount of stuff in our hands, but we had these really cool tote bags which were designed not only to carry a lot of things but also make it easier to carry long distances. So we took our time a bit and had a look at the area near to Jeonghan's house before going in and helping him to set it all up.

The party was great, by the way - absolutely great. We got to socialise with a lot of people - Jeonghan had not only invited all of our friends, but also encouraged everyone to invite a few of their good friends if they wanted. It meant that we got to meet a lot of new people and there was always the chance to socialise. In fact, it was made even better by the fact that it was a child-free area; Jeonghan had been strict on the fact that no children were allowed to attend, since he's always around them and he wanted to be able to drink and relax without anyone having to worry about taking care of their child on the way home. On top of that, he figured that we were going to end up playing a few games at the end, which were more adult in nature.

Which happened, as you can imagine.

We found out a lot of things about our friends, as well as complete strangers. When we started playing drinking games, Jeonghan confessed to the group that he and "another member of the group had intimate relations inside a medical supply cupboard" (three guesses who that was) and Jisoo told a story where he was offered 50,000W for a handjob at work so he did it. Seungkwan told us about how he felt someone up in a club - someone he was seeing at the time - but almost got kicked out as a result until the person told security that they were actually dating but were pretending to be strangers. Then Wonwoo quietly added that we had done it in his office at his last workplace to make a colleague jealous, which led to a few more with people mentioning names.

I have to admit, I almost forgot about that experience on his desk. It's a fond memory, though, and I was sort of glad that he brought it up. Especially since people began to be more vocal about their experiences as the game progressed. Drink if you've had a threesome and almost everyone drinks. We pick a few people at random to tell the story, as if it's a formal interview or something, and then we move on to the next one. Drink if you've ever eaten ass. Drink if you've done something inappropriate in your parents' bed. Drink if you've ever had an affair.

Interestingly, Hansol drank to the last one. We were all a bit shocked to see, especially Seungkwan, but he mumbled that he was dating a girl when he was actually interested in her brother. Of course, he's still swayed seventy-five percent into guys and twenty-five into girls, but he felt as if she was his only option at the time when he knew that he wasn't that into her at all. Apparently, he felt really bad about it afterwards, though, and confessed right away that he had kissed her brother with passion, and so they agreed to break up on neutral terms, seeing as she was sure that it was just him realising his sexual preference. He admitted that he hadn't dated another girl since, partially in case she saw him with a girl and changed her mind about being neutral and partially because he had always found guys who he wanted instead.

Anyway, we got home pretty late from the party and ended up dragging ourselves to bed right away. I booked today off so that I didn't have to worry about being unable to walk, so I've had plenty of time to get over the splitting headache that's come as a result of drinking so much. Wonwoo is currently cooking up something for a late breakfast or early lunch, and I'm sat at the table with a glass of water. "You drank more than I did," he informed me quite firmly, "Just sit and write in your journal, and I'll sort us out something to eat to get rid of that hangover.

I swear, I don't deserve him at all.

Until next time,
-- Mingyu

Chapter Text

It's Tuesday 6th November today.

Ooh, boy. Things have happened. Things have definitely happened.

But you probably guessed that, right? You probably guessed that stuff would have happened because otherwise, I wouldn't be writing like this on a Tuesday. It's another one near the start of the week, so you know it's gonna be one of two things - a step in my relationship with Wonwoo or some sort of drama.

Are you ready for it, though? I think you probably are, if I'm being honest.

Alright, so Wonwoo asked me what we are.

Yeah, we finally had that sort of conversation. He sat me down on the sofa after work, when we were in our pyjamas and had already eaten dinner, and then he started to get weirdly snuggly with me. And I mean, I'm not complaining about him being snuggly. I love it. He's a bit like Min, in that sort of sense. You can sit next to him for days on end without either of you really touching each other but both of you really enjoying the company of being around another person, but then sometimes he'll be really affectionate and want to be sitting on my lap with his face in my neck. It all depends on his mood, how his day has been, and the sorts. You know how it is.

Well, I guess that's not to say that he's not affectionate any other time. He just shows affection in different ways. Sometimes it's initiating bedroom time, other times it's us cuddling together or even sitting thigh-to-thigh on the sofa, and other times, it doesn't include any physical contact at all. And that's completely fine. I was just a little bit surprised that he seemed to be a little bit stressed but did what he could to get as close to me as he possibly could, but it was a pleasant surprise.

Anyway, back on track. I asked him if there was anything wrong and he stayed quiet for a minute, but then he told me that he wanted to talk about something important. Of course, my mind started whirring at that point and I couldn't even think of what he could possibly want to discuss important without him outright saying it, but then I noticed that his face was shy instead of serious. And so I gazed at him expectantly and offered up the warmest smile possible so that he knew it was okay to tell me what was on his mind. He still hesitated for a little while longer, judging my expression to see how I was going to take it, but then gave a little sigh and told me what he was thinking.

"I'm just wondering what we are."
"What we... what?" I was confused. I'd never really thought about that sort of thing before and I certainly hadn't had a conversation like that with a boyfriend before Wonwoo. It's something that I don't really consider most of the time. What are we? Well, we're boyfriends and we established that months ago. So it didn't seem like it needed to be said again. Wonwoo's eyes met mine, though, and he had a sudden look of bravery on his face.
"What are we? Where are we at in our relationship? What does the future hold? You know what discussion we're having, Mingyu. Every long-term couple should have this talk eventually." So that was probably why I'd never had it before. I've probably never been with someone for long enough to have that sort of chat. Especially if one person is expecting the other person to lead it - that would mean that we'd be getting nowhere because I certainly wasn't going to bring that sort of thing up otherwise.

I stayed quiet, staring at him expectantly so that he would explain it to me. He hesitated for a while, and then promptly gave a momentary chuckle. "I'm guessing that you haven't had this sort of talk before, then, huh?" I shook my head. "Okay, so the first question is, do you like everything that we have so far or do you think that we need to change a few things for a better future?" I mulled it over. If I'm being completely honest with myself, this is probably the best relationship I've ever had. I don't need to worry about anything, like coming home to find that I haven't given Wonwoo enough attention and him throwing a tantrum over it. We do the chores together, so I don't really think that things are unequal. He supported me through the worst stages of my depression, and he's still helping me now that it's in the background. He hasn't once acted as if he didn't love me, and he's not prepared to let anyone - even his family - get in the way of what we have together.

"I'm actually really happy with it," I admitted with a smile, "I would happily stay like this forever. Is there anything that you would like to change?"
"Just one or two little things. Nothing too huge." I felt my stomach flip. He said little things but it could have easily been big things that he was trying to downplay. I gave a nervous nod. "Could you please make sure to put the toilet lid down before you flush? It launches bacteria up to one hundred feet in all directions and I don't really want to be wiping my ass with a piece of tissue that's covered in toilet bacteria. And on the topic of toilet paper, it should be facing outwards, rather than inwards. It's just a little peeve of mine - nothing too major - but I would really appreciate co-operation." And then I was grinning ear-to-ear. It was far from what I expected him to say, but it was so Wonwoo and I loved that. I gave a nod again and told him that I would try, and he kissed me softly on the lips as he thanked me.

Then we moved on to the next part. Where we were at in our relationship. I confessed to him that I liked that we were living together and that didn't feel too fast, but then he followed it up with another question that caught me off-guard. "Do you think that getting married would be an option in a few years, or do you not think that it's the right direction for us?" I hadn't really thought about marriage before today, so I stared at him like a rabbit caught in headlights. He quickly followed it up with, "You don't have to answer if that's uncomfortable. I just want to see exactly where things are, if we have the same feelings about things, and the sorts."
"Well," I started, "I think that I'd like to be with you for life, whether that leads to marriage or not. I think we'd be able to hold a good relationship without getting married, if need be. But as I said, I'm not bothered either way. I would love to call you my husband, but I also wouldn't mind all that much if you were just my life partner."

He seemed satisfied with my answer, offering up a warm smile in response. "I have to say the same. I think that we could work towards getting married, but I'm not going to be angry or anything if we continue to be boyfriends for the rest of our lives. The important thing is that we're together." That last bit made my heart turn to butter. I hadn't really expected something so cute to come out of Wonwoo's mouth, but I absolutely loved it. It made me feel all warm and soft inside, and I could really feel how genuine his words were. I think it's hard to imagine marrying your boyfriend sometimes, but I could already see it after just a few months with Wonwoo. Now, I said I'm not as bothered about having kids now, compared to how I was just six months ago - after all, I've realised that they're hyped up more than needed and our family can be complete without them - but it doesn't mean that I wouldn't be happy to have a few mini Wonwoo's running around if he wanted to have that.

Of course, I didn't tell him that. I know how he would reply. His nose would crinkle and he would point out that he doesn't like kids at all, so it wouldn't be happening. It's up to him to decide that, though; I'm not gonna sit here and try to convince him when it's not really my place to do that. It just made me smile to think about how he wants us to stay together is all. It's something that you know is there, but it's a different feeling when your man tells you out loud that he wants to be with you forever.

Next question - where do we see ourselves in the future. Not in the same ways that we've mentioned before - "together" and "maybe married" aren't included in this list - but in other senses. Wonwoo told me that he wanted to get a few more promotions, get us into a good house, and to enjoy life together without worrying about anything, like money or problems with our landlord. He said that he wanted to move out of rented properties for good and get a mortgage with me, and then we would be able to redecorate and make things look how we want them to look. He said that we could even build a whole room for Min to enjoy, and perhaps get her some friends to play with whilst we're out of the house. He's really into sphynx cats, apparently, and wanted to get one at some point in the future.

Then I told him about what I hope for as time passes. Firstly, I want to feel better. I want depression to be the last thing that I think about, and I don't want it to affect our relationship any more than it already has. (At that point, Wonwoo playfully batted me with a hand and told me that I shouldn't worry about it affecting our relationship. "I'm here for you regardless," he said as he rested his head on my shoulder. "I care about your mental health, and I wouldn't really say that it's affected things too negatively." I don't really agree, but I'll let him have his opinion.) Then I told him that I want to be living in a house that makes us both happy. Whilst this one does make us happy, I know that Wonwoo doesn't like certain parts of the house so he can't change things around. He's not allowed to alter things or exchange the furniture or paint the walls. He had that agreement with the landlord already. It's a shame, really. I know that we could make something great, but it's just not possible in our current position.

Then I told him that I wanted to earn enough money so that both of us could live comfortably and take fewer hours as we got older. You know how studies have shown that couples are happiest when their kids leave home? It's a little bit like that, I think, but obviously kids aren't moving out. We're just acting as if they're out and we don't need to earn as much money now. That means that we'll up our relationship satisfaction because we'll get to spend more time together and won't just be seeing each other in the evenings, and that'll be really cool because it'll be like a mini party every day with my best friend. Wonwoo laughed and told me that it doesn't quite work like that, but I really do think that it could work. We don't need to have children to have "the kids are gone" celebrations. Maybe it could even be "the chance of kids is gone" celebrating. I guess we'll see when we get to it.

It was quite a quick conversation, but I think we got quite a lot out of it. Both of us felt a lot better about moving forward - even though there obviously wasn't an issue in the first place - and so the conversation switched to our next goal as a couple. That goal is getting the holiday arranged so that we're not rushing around when we get to it. We've calculated that it's going to cost us an average of around 800,000W to get flights and a good-quality hotel whilst we're there, and we're going to have it so that we leave on the evening of Thursday 13th December, then come home on the afternoon of Sunday 16th December.

It's pretty interesting, though. I didn't think that Wonwoo would be the sort of person to shop around online, but he was insistent that he knew how to take the prices down to a bare minimum whilst still getting the best flights and hotel. He must have opened up at least eight tabs of comparison websites on his laptop and plugged in all of the details that we had, only to find that the flights could be reduced from 400,000W each to around 200,000W each, and the hotel was far cheaper if we were to book it separately, even though the website boasted that buying them together could save seventy percent. I was amazed, actually; I didn't really think that Wonwoo would be the sort of guy who was frugal enough to search through so many websites for the same trip, but I'm really glad that I've learnt that trick from him. Maybe I'll be able to plan a surprise trip for him soon enough.

Right, so I'm just about to go, since Wonwoo just asked if I wanted to share a shower with him before bed so that we can spend more time being affectionate and then curl up together, (see, I said he was being cute and snuggly at the moment) so I'm going to leave on just one last note. My sister is planning to come over with the baby at some point this week so she asked me to ask Wonwoo if he'd be comfortable with that. I mentioned briefly at the end of last week that he's not always great with being around kids, and she said that even though she wants him to be a part of her daughter's life, she's not going to push it so that he's uncomfortable. Which I can appreciate a lot. So I'm gonna ask him later on whether he would be happy to have my niece visiting. I hope he says that it's fine because I'd love for him to get to know her and all. I think he would love her if he had the chance to get to know her.

Anyway, until next time.
--Mingyu

Chapter Text

Today is Thursday, 15th November.

I'm in a bit of a weird position this week, strangely enough. Not much has happened, other than the fact that the temperature has dropped. And I suppose you already know this, but I really don't like the winter in the slightest. Whilst it's a bit uncomfortable if you're too hot, you know that you can take a nap to overcome the heat, that you're gonna walk into any building to find that there's an aircon, and that you can just lie there naked in your house without having to worry about anything else. It's great because it's something that anyone can do, and that's what's ultimately going to get you through the summer. Aside from being too hot, you can also go to an outdoor swimming pool or sit in your garden with a cold jug of iced tea, or you could go for a long walk and spend time in the open. It's really nice to have the heat of the summer around you.

The winter, on the other hand, is a completely different story. Sure, you can put on extra clothes if you're too cold, but what are you gonna do if you're outside at that point in time? Where are you gonna get extra clothes when you're at work? The biggest problem is that most places don't have heating like they do aircon. You can go into a place and cool down, but you can't really go in to warm yourself up all that well. It's not the same effect. Of course, there is some heating - it's required to make sure that the staff don't freeze to death at a bare minimum - but it really doesn't compare to walking inside on a hot day. On top of that, it's just a lot more uncomfortable if you're too cold. You can't concentrate on anything at all. The heat might make you tired, but you know you're not going to sleep if you're too cold. It's the matter of life and I didn't think that anyone would be able to convince me otherwise.

Except Wonwoo managed it today.

See, he's been trying to convince me since it turned to jumper season. "You're gonna be wearing a jumper in the morning and then you'll be sweating by the time we get to midday," I told him, but he insisted that it was the way to wear jumpers. Besides, he could always roll up the sleeves if he was getting too hot. That was enough to cool him down for the most part, especially if the air was still a bit nippy. And yeah, I do have to admit that he looked incredibly attractive when he was there with his sleeves rolled up when we were out together, but the point still stands - I wasn't ready to start liking winter. So he tried harder. He told me about all of the fun things that we could do during winter. About all of the exciting things that we would be able to do with my niece when she's a little bit older. He told me that we could spend our days off cuddled under a blanket, and it would be absolutely amazing to just watch old films together and make it romantic. But I still wasn't convinced by it all; in fact, I wanted nothing more than to avoid the winter altogether.

But then the worst happened today. There was a weather warning a few days ago to say that winter was hitting us early and we were going to have blizzards. They said to bring all outdoor animals inside for the night, just to be on the safe side, and that employers should be prepared for staff to be snowed in and unable to make their way to work. As you can imagine, I didn't believe it in the slightest. I don't remember when I last saw a blizzard hitting a built-up area in a way that caused problems for people. Okay, sometimes it affects vehicles that are parked on - or going down - hills, but it doesn't usually bother the actual people themselves. It's still pretty mild here, even if it does snow. Cold, of course, but not so bad that it'll affect your day. So I didn't worry myself with it until I woke up this morning to go to work and realised that we were snowed into our house.

Now, I'm no expert on that sort of thing, but I think I was well within my rights to be terrified. I didn't think that it would be as bad as if was, but I opened the door to find that the snow probably came up to my mid-thigh. Bearing in mind that I'm not exactly the shortest man in the world, it was pretty intimidating. Suddenly, I was really glad that we brought Min inside for the night because I don't think she would have survived the night in that weather. I ended up having to close the door and call into work to tell them that I wasn't going to make it in that day. Thankfully, another colleague had come from near to Seoul, so he was able to cover me and get the job done. It was a huge relief, admittedly, and it made me a lot more comfortable with the fact that I couldn't leave the house. So I ended up calling up Wonwoo's workplace to tell them that he wasn't going to be able to come in either - just so that he didn't need to worry about that sort of thing - then wrote him a note to say that I'd told them about it, and finally got back into bed for a few hours.

I ended up waking up again when Wonwoo woke up for work. He saw the letter, but I told him again anyway. Just to make sure that he knew exactly what I'd done. He paused for a minute and rubbed his eyes, then stood and made his way straight over to the window so that he could check whether what I was saying was true. It was, obviously, but the look on his face was a picture. A mix of surprise and amazement. I don't think he's ever seen this much snow either, but he seemed to like it a lot more than I did. I could tell from the look on his face that he knew exactly what he wanted to do with this opportunity. He knew how we were going to spend the day from beginning to end, and I knew right away that I was just going to have to go along with anything that he did or said for the entire day.

I thought it would be a drag, admittedly. I thought that today would be the worst day ever. But as it turns out, Wonwoo has me convinced that winter is a great time for couples.

He asked me to grab a load of feel-good films for us to watch together. No horrors or anything too psychological, and preferably things that we both knew really well. I ended up opting for the pile of Disney films that we had in the bottom of our wardrobe. You know the usual ones that people like a lot. Rapunzel, Snow White, Princess and the Frog, Mulan, and the sorts. Those ones that everyone gets pumped to whenever they're showing. They're Wonwoo's favourites too, funnily enough, which was why I chose the specific ones that I did. So I took them through to the main room, only to find that Wonwoo was already there with three huge throws and a space heater. The heater was plugged in and was warming up, ready to leave us toasty and warm, and the throws were on the sofa already. The first was a huge fluffy brown one, which was placed on the bottom. It was the one that we were going to sit on when we curled up together. Then we had a really ugly blanket that his mom bought for him a few years ago. Ugly but very warm. It had a rustic appearance, but a sort of "cabin in the woods" sort of rustic, if that makes sense. The second was one that my grandma sent my mom over with this week, since she was concerned Wonwoo and I would freeze to death.

He had also brought through all of our pillows so that the sofa was remarkably plush-looking. I had to fight the urge to throw myself on it, since I knew that I would ruin all of his hard work in one go. To help me fight the temptation, though, he told me to get into something warm and comfortable so that we would be able to make the most of the experience. So I ended up going to our room to put on some soft bed trousers from Wonwoo's drawer (let's face it - there's no point in having a boyfriend who is around the same size as yourself if you're not gonna steal his clothes) plus my warmest chunky knit jumper. Then I went down to the kitchen, figuring that I would make us something to eat for breakfast so that we could kick it all off. I'm actually getting a lot better at cooking, you know. I'm getting into making really big dishes with a load of sides, and I haven't had much fast food at all since we moved in together. And when I have, it has always been a one-off treat.

Of course, we were gonna let loose a little bit more in the cold, though. I ended up making us a load of rice, fried eggs, grilled mackerel, honey bacon, yoghurt with fruit slices, a few slices of french toast, and then a brothy soup to get the day started. And I know what you're probably thinking because you probably can't remember how amazing that dish is. You're probably thinking that it all sounds really gross and I should never be allowed to make any breakfasts, but I promise you right now, it actually worked really well. Even Wonwoo complimented me on my cooking and flavour combinations, which you probably wouldn't expect.

Speaking of Wonwoo, actually - he came through to the kitchen in something more comfortable too, although it really wasn't what I was expecting. No, he came in wearing shorts, thigh-high knitted socks, and the jumper I bought him earlier this year. He looked like a damn meal and I absolutely loved that. It made my heart flutter too, actually, because it reminded me of the early days of our relationship. I couldn't help myself when I saw him; I had to move in right away and kiss him hard on the mouth. He kissed me back but then reminded me that the fish was going to burn if I turned away from it for too long, so I ultimately ended up having to turn my eyes back to the food. I did sneak a few more glances, as you can imagine, but I got scolded every single time so I ended up having to fight to keep my eyes forward.

To add to the breakfast, Wonwoo made a pot of coffee and two hot chocolates. The chocolate was made with frothy milk that he heated up on the stove, and then he added everything that he's been stockpiling for December to make it magical. He started by dribbling chocolate syrup around the rim of the mugs before he put the chocolate in, and then he added a mountain of whipped cream. More syrup on top of the cream, and then a little bit of a milk chocolate bar grated on top. Then he added a few sugar stars, a wafer stick, and a few marshmallows, which he toasted on the stove first. And I have to admit, it tasted absolutely amazing. I loved the entire experience of drinking it alongside our breakfast. Not only was it delicious, but the chocolate powder was laced with gingerbread, which made it that little bit more festive. Yeah, I know it's not Christmas yet and we're only really celebrating it because of our multicultural friends, but it's something that you have to ease yourself towards. And mid-November is the perfect time to start if you're not really a festive sort of person in the first place.

I have to admit, it was the nicest day I've had in a long time. Wonwoo insisted that we sing along as we watched the films together, and he glared at me when I was too quiet. He said that we had to do the duets properly, or else he would rewind it so that we could do it again. And to be fair, we did actually end up singing all of it together in the end. I pushed my pride right down and sung as badly as necessary to make it funny but still enjoyable, and it meant that Wonwoo was more than happy to do the same. We ended up getting through quite a few of the films before we got a little bit tired of watching that sort of thing, and then we moved on to the next thing.

That thing was putting on those trashy television programmes that Wonwoo loves so much in the background as we did our own little thing. Wonwoo curled up against my side as he read his book, and I played a few video games as I held him close to my side and made the most of the experience. Although we weren't really talking to each other that much, just having his company was good enough for me. It made me feel secure and loved just to have his head resting on my shoulder, and I just loved hearing his gentle breaths as he immersed himself in the world of the book that he was reading. It was one of the classic favourites, rather than being a new one, so he remembered what was happening next. You tend to remember that sort of thing when you've read the same book forty times. But I could hear his breathing changing with the flow of the book. His breath catching when a murder is mentioned and getting a tiny bit deeper when there was a love scene between the detective and her partner.

And whilst I started out the day hating winter and thinking that it's awful, I don't think you'd ever get this sort of situation in summer. I'm not talking about the blankets and such, though, because you can do that whenever you want. What I mean is the whole thing where you're engulfed in the warmth and homeliness of everything. See, we even made sugar cookies for after dinner, and they were amazing. We even took a nap on the sofa together and I had Wonwoo asleep on my chest with Min asleep on Wonwoo's ass. It was a real family-like situation, I think.

You know, I've actually been thinking about families a bit more lately too. You might have noticed the flow of my feelings towards kids. I really wanted to have a kid at some point, but then I realised that it wasn't that much of a big deal to me anymore since Wonwoo is scared of kids and I got to see how much effort it was for my sister to have to go through having a child. There's also the fact that our family is a family even though there are just two of us and the cat. But then again, I think this sort of thing would be nice to do if we had kids. Think about it - we could bring down a soft mat for them to sleep on during our nap, and Wonwoo and I could be stretched out on the sofa like that too. And we could get them involved in making tasty treats.

Now I'm not that sure, okay. Don't judge me. Wonwoo still hasn't met my niece and I'm not going to force him to do that if he's not comfortable with being around a baby, but I think that if he likes her and gets a bit attached, I might keep that sort of thing in mind for when we've been together for a while and want something else in our relationship. I mean, I don't think he would want kids in the future and I'm absolutely, one hundred percent happy with that now that I'm realising that they're not a big deal, but I guess that it's always something that we can discuss when we're drifting towards that point in our life.

All I'm saying is that it would be cute to be snowed in if we had a little family who could enjoy the experience with us. I guess we could always ask if Jiyoo wanted to join us some time or something.

I'm gonna leave it here before I start getting myself caught up in hypothetical situations.

Until next time!
--Mingyu

Chapter Text

It's Saturday, 24th November.

You'll never guess what happened this week. I'll give you a second to guess, okay? It's something that you'd never really expect to happen. Or rather, three things that you'd never expect to happen.

They all blend into one, actually, so I'm not gonna spend the time separating them. No, we're gonna dive straight into this wonderful story.

The first thing is that my sister decided to bring Jiyoo over on the train to stay with us this weekend. Weird, I know. She's usually the sort of person who would really try to avoid going on long trains, but she brought the baby along with her and asked if she could stay. It was a bit of a pain because it meant that I had to rush into the baby chat with Wonwoo, but I guess it was easy enough to get all of that out of the way in the end so I was just happy to see her.

Jiyoo is so adorable still, honestly. She was in the cutest little onesie when she arrived and she let me hold her without crying or anything. I was so happy to have her cuddled against me. Like I can't even describe how much I loved it. She's like a little princess and I want nothing more than to squish her cute little cheeks and dress her in cute things. So I ended up holding her for ages as we caught up on everything that had happened over the past few weeks. More family drama, as you can imagine. Gay cousin got kicked out of the house because he kissed his boyfriend in front of his mom. Half of my aunts and uncles aren't speaking. That one aunt got an abortion and is pretending that she miscarried and the whole family is really upset with her. Blah, blah. You know the drill. I probably didn't even need to tell you all of that because you could've probably pieced it together yourself. This is our family, after all, and these things really aren't uncommon.

We spent quite a lot of time catching up, though. It was really really nice to be able to spend time with her without having to worry about anything else in the world. We could have a bit of a laugh and that was fine. We could say things that our mom would yell at us for saying if she was around. We could be really open about everything, and that was absolutely okay. So we continued chatting until Wonwoo eventually got home. I couldn't help but feel excited as I heard the door close, and it was only made better as he made his way into the main room with Min in his arms. "This little girl was waiting at the front door for her daddy to let her in," he told me, and then immediately turned towards my sister with a fond smile. "Hello, Minseo. How are things?"

At that point, he took Min over and put her in my sister's lap. Of course, the little brat jumped straight off her and went over to look at the baby instead. Her eyes were like saucers the whole time, and I found it really funny. At that point, I was hoping that Wonwoo would want to see Jiyoo too but instead, he excused himself and hurried out of the room. For a second, my sister and I stayed completely silent, but then Wonwoo was back with three bags of gifts and I felt great right away. I loved the fact that he didn't even hesitate to get them, and he even helped my sister to get all of the gifts out so that she could look at them properly. She's still hurting a little bit, to be honest, since she's trying to take everything on at once. Living with a baby who is just a month old is difficult enough, but even worse when you're a single mother and you're trying your hardest to keep on top of everything in life.

The bags included everything, by the way. All of the clothes we got Jiyoo and a load of different snacks for my sister too. It was great; I watched as her eyes lit up right away and she thanked us both so honestly that I couldn't help but grin.

Then we spent the rest of the evening relaxing together. I said that I would cook dinner so I handed Jiyoo back to my sister, but then the weirdest thing happened whilst I was away. I got back with all of the food and Wonwoo was cuddling with my niece - our niece - as he gave her a bottle. The little tyke was guzzling like she'd never been fed but he didn't really seem fazed. In fact, he started humming to her a little bit as he gave her every last drop of the bottle. And then he began to wind her right away, making sure that every last bit of trapped wind came right up.

Even though he says that he doesn't like kids or anything, he was actually really great with her. He didn't mind changing her nappy, since my sister was struggling to get out of her chair as quickly as she wanted, and then he even helped to set up her travel cot. It was the most bizarre thing in the world. I've never seen him so genuinely happy to interact with a baby, and I was even more surprised when he offered to sleep on the sofa so that my sister would be able to sleep in a proper bed for the night. In fact, he only accepted her answer when she insisted that she could only sleep on the sofa for the moment, seeing as it gave her no option but to lie on her back. She couldn't roll and that meant that she couldn't cause much more damage to her spine. Or so she said.

It all got weirder, though. Wonwoo and I went to bed together and he seemed to be strangely cheerful. Of course, I asked him what had changed his attitude towards babies and he immediately told me that he had been reconsidering his stance for a while. He had been afraid of babies because of their germs and bacteria, but he had recently figured that the gross babies were the ones whose parents didn't care to make them clean. Those were the parents who spent all of their time on social media and let their kids sit around in filthy nappies until they were almost five years old. They wouldn't wash their kids' hands when they were sticky, and they certainly wouldn't take the time to wipe their kids' noses either. That was what had put him off. But Jiyoo changed that pretty quickly. She made him realise that babies who were looked after well were okay, and he had the power to look after a child enough to make sure they weren't going to be germy and gross.

And then he said it. He shuffled closer to me and whispered in my ear that he wants to have a baby with me when we've been together for a few years. "Maybe we can find a surrogate who is happy to let us have full custody," he said, "Or maybe adopt a baby whose parents can't look after them."

Now, I know I've had mixed feelings about kids over the past few weeks but damn, I would jump at the chance. Imagine how adorable a baby Wonwoo would be. Imagine his cute little nose on a baby. Imagine our kid having glasses like their papa. Imagine it right now. I know I said I wasn't all that bothered by kids anymore but let me tell you, I think Wonwoo would be the most amazing father in the world. I'd be the goofy one and he would be the strict one, but our kids would all love him more because he's the sort of parent who really cares about every last detail. And when I pick them up from school when they're a bit older, we'll have a race to see who can hug Wonwoo first. I'll win every time, of course, because I have longer legs and I'll push them if it means that I get to cuddle him before they do. Jiyoo changed his mind and he changed my mind, and now I have to stay with him for the rest of my life because he looks really good when he's interacting with babies.

Anyway, that was the second surprise. The fact that he suddenly changed his mind and wants to consider parenthood now that he has met Jiyoo.

The third is the one that's gonna blow your mind the most, though.

Wonwoo's brother turned up at our house this morning. We were in the middle of having a chat with my sister when suddenly, we heard a knock on the door. We all froze for a minute because we weren't expecting any visitors, but Wonwoo figured that it might be the postman or something. So he went to the door and opened it and all we heard was, "Oh my god."

So I was worried, naturally. I went out into the hallway to see what was happening, only to see him stood there. "Can I come in?" he asked. Wonwoo looked him up and down.
"Are you going to be a dick?"
"I'm here to apologise but if you want me to leave, I'll just go." They stared at each other in silence for a minute before Wonwoo finally let his walls down and said what he was actually thinking. He let out a long sigh of relief and moved away from the door.
"Come on in."

There was a bit of tension as we moved into the house. I'm not gonna lie and act as if there wasn't, because it was very much alive and very much uncomfortable. Neither of us really knew what to do with each other, but his brother simply greeted and introduced himself to my sister before taking a seat on the sofa. We remained silent and took our own seats, and then Wonwoo's brother finally spoke again. "I hope you don't mind me doing this when you have company," he said. Of course, we all told him to go ahead, and so he eventually gave a nod. It was delayed, which made me feel a little bit on edge, but I guess it's better late than never.

"I completely understand what you mean about everything now. I feel terrible about the way I spoke to you but I didn't think that you would answer your phone if I called you up. Especially not after I told you to refrain from contacting me again."
"You're absolutely right," Wonwoo told him right away. It clearly hit a bit of a sore spot, although his brother tried his best to hide it. "I don't mean to shame you in front of everyone else, but I really didn't appreciate the sorts of things you said to me. My choice in partners shouldn't affect you, and it shouldn't affect our mother either." His brother cringed a little bit but gave a little nod.

"I realised how cruel it must have sounded to call it a lifestyle choice," he admitted right away. Although I could hear the embarrassment in his voice, though, his head stayed up so that he and Wonwoo were looking each other dead in the eye. It was intimidating but I guess at least it showed them that the other person was genuine as they spoke. "And I feel even worse for saying that you're in an abusive relationship." My sister visibly twitched, as if she was about to add to the conversation, but somehow - and quite thankfully - managed to keep her mouth shut. I watched as she bit her tongue, and then let my gaze return to Wonwoo's brother.

"How did that happen?" Wonwoo asked without hesitation. His voice was calm, as if he was about to start scolding his brother. But his brother's expression stayed completely calm. He knew what he was going to say; he had already thought his answer through thoroughly by that point.
"For starters, mother insisted that I spend a few days with father so that we could fix our relationship. Whilst I was there, though, he told me about his relationship with Mingyu. Said that they've been to a few games together and have spent a load of time getting to know each other. And then he told me that he could tell that he was in love with you. Genuinely in love. He said that he could tell the adoration from miles away. And I suppose that it showed me that it's a genuine relationship and not just a guy trying to get into your pants.

"Then Muyeol - you know, the one I went to school with - told me that he's in a relationship with another man and told me the ins and outs of it. He told me that he was trying to deny his feelings because he didn't think that it was right for two men to be together, but then he eventually came to the realisation that he couldn't deny it and be happy at the same time. He ended up accepting that he was in love and now they're in a relationship and I had to admit that I saw a notable difference in his happiness levels. And that was when I figured that it's not something that a person can help.

"And finally, I realised what you meant about our mother being a bitch. All she's done is try to turn me against you. I didn't realise that that was what she was doing for the longest time but then I took a step back and asked myself, why does she want to put you down so badly? She had no real reason to do that because I wasn't talking to you in the first place, but then I realised just how deep she was going. She told me that you were the one who broke my fireman toy when we were younger, and that you sabotaged my parents evening event at school because you knew that I had better grades than you did at my age and you were worried that our parents would compare us. And she just kept going on and on with things like that until I realised that she was really just trying to make it seem as if you always hated me and so I should hate you for how you were as a kid."

It was a lot to take in all at once, but at least he was honest and had a bit of substance behind what he was saying. After all, it was easy enough to say that he changed his mind but actually being honest enough to discuss what led him to change his mind was a huge thing. I could see right away that Wonwoo had forgiven him. You know how it is when you have a disagreement with your siblings. You spend your time being angry with them, and then you suddenly realise that it's not worth arguing with them because you miss being around them so much? I think it was a little bit like that because Wonwoo accepted a hug right away and then we all ended up taking the train to Bupyeong together so that we could visit the market and spend a little bit of time catching up with everything that's been happening.

We're all tired now, by the way. Really, really tired. Wonwoo and I are planning to have an early night as soon as Bohyuk goes home, and Minseo is already asleep on the sofa so I think it's gonna be the exact same for her.

Anyway, that's the interesting stuff from this week in a nutshell so it's time for me to go!

Until next time.
-- Mingyu

Chapter Text

It's Friday, 30th November.

First of all, I'd just like to say that I've officially been discharged from therapy now. After twelve weeks of therapy, I'm still not absolutely perfect when it comes to mental health, but I'm certainly a lot better than I was. And that's the most important thing, frankly. I'm well enough for my therapist to say that I don't need to see her anymore, but I still have her contact details so that I can call her if I want another session.

It was a bit weird to find that I wouldn't be going back. I went in there expecting that she would ask me to stay for another six-week course, but she was insistent that she could see improvement. She said that I was a lot more optimistic about the future and showed far fewer signs of suicidal ideation, and whilst she does think that a lot of things probably sparked the low mood - all of the things that we discussed whilst I was seeing her for my mood - she does also think that a lot of it was sparked by not having a job. And since I have a job now and I'm happy with the work I do, she thinks I'm probably in a much better place and that's going to ultimately ensure that I'll continue to improve as time goes on.

And I do have to agree. I'll give her that, to be fair. It does seem to be the case that when I'm working - regardless of whether or not I actually enjoy the job I'm doing - it does make me feel that little bit better about everything. I'm free to get out of the house and talk to people and genuinely just enjoy everything that's going on around me, rather than focusing on the low mood and how it feels to be down all the time. It's something that I always took for granted, admittedly, but you only realise that you've got a problem when it hits at full force for the first time. That was the only reason why we were able to clock on to my rapidly deteriorating mental health, I think.

I'm so proud of how far I've come along, admittedly. I didn't really think that therapy would work. I thought that if I got a couple of pills, I could take them and I'd be absolutely fine again. But the therapy helped a lot. I had the chance to clear my mind, and I also felt a lot more comfortable about opening up. I could talk about my childhood without fearing the reaction to what I said, and I could really reflect on the little things that have been happening in life. I managed to sort everything out with my family because I had a new-found confidence in telling them exactly how they were making me feel, and I've been able to ensure that my relationship is still going smoothly, even though I had a huge fear that I was a disappointment for feeling how I felt. That's a big thing, actually - another thing that I took for granted. I didn't really consider how important it was to have a good support system but here I am with an amazing boyfriend who actually cares about my mental health, and a few friends who really helped to pick me up out of the ditch I was in.

On another note, Hansol revealed that he's working on a new project and asked if I wanted to join him on it. Just for one song, and just for fun. It's supposed to be something to celebrate that I'm out of therapy. I told him about it today and he immediately told me that he'd been considering how far I'd come along and wanted nothing more than to let me know how things are going. Of course, he didn't know that I had been discharged to start with, since I've only just told him, but he said that the lyrics were all within the same realm of mental health anyway, so we could always switch things up. Of course, he said that

It seems like he's always working on new projects, if I'm being honest, but I actually like the vibes of this one. Of course, when I say that it's for fun, I don't mean that it's funny or anything because the entire thing is about the impact of mental health on young men who feel unable to open up about their life experiences. But it's supposed to be something that we can enjoy. In fact, I'm not even the only one who is gonna be a part of it. He asked Seungcheol to do a bit on acute stress disorder, since he was diagnosed with it in his first year of university, Wonwoo agreed to help with experiences of anxiety, and Jihoon is talking about body dysmorphia. I'm surprised to see that he managed to grab quite a few people for this sort of thing, but I'm also really happy about it because it means that everyone involved gets the chance to widen the spectrum of people we reach with it.

I'm actually really excited. I don't know what it's going to be about, but I'm glad that we're gonna include the therapy side to things and how I've managed to free myself from it all. I'm hoping to still mention that I'm still at around ninety-five percent, rather than one hundred percent, because that's important for those who think they're going to be perfect again after a little bit of therapy, and then hopefully that'll help to encourage more men to seek medical advice if they think that they have a mental disorder or anything. But honestly, I'd even be happy if I was the only person I saved with it. To talk about this sort of thing is to be strong, so I wouldn't even be that disappointed if no one else was interested in the stuff that I was rapping about.

Secondly, Wonwoo and I had the greatest night a few days ago. I have to admit, I was pretty worried to start with, but it turned out to be really cool.

By "worried", what I mean is that Wonwoo and I had to have a chat about why he was suddenly so clingy. After I finished work that day, I decided to go grocery shopping and--

Actually, put the bit about our romantic night to one side for a minute because I forgot how important this is.

So anyway, I decided to go shopping after work and as I was walking around, I saw a guy who looked really beautiful as he turned around. He snatched my breath away immediately and I wanted nothing more than to go up to him and tell him how beautiful he was. And in the end, I did. I realised that Wonwoo was there too, getting a few things that we needed at home in his basket. Since I'd expected that he would be at work, I didn't recognise him for a minute, but then I realised that it was okay that I was looking at another man like that because it actually was him. It sounds cheesy, I know, but I swear it isn't something I'm making up to make our relationship sound cuter. It actually happened.

He was looking at the soups at the time and so I went over to him and told him that I thought he was beautiful. He immediately started to tell me that he had a boyfriend as he turned to look at me - getting to "I have a b--" before he caught himself - and then he realised who I was and immediately flushed. "Mingyu," he said with the slightest of smiles. It was one of those little ones where the corners of his lips twitch upwards. "What are you doing here?"
"I thought I'd get the things you wrote on the shopping list so you didn't need to worry about it after work. Are you not in today or something?"

He looked guilty. Really guilty. His eyes averted for a minute and then he mumbled something about not feeling well. And my heart sank right away. It was just the discomfort on his face that did it; it felt as if he was trying to hide something. But I didn't say a word until we got back home and everything was private again. At that point, I just came out with it. And I know you know exactly what I mean by that. Even though he went to tell me that he has a boyfriend on reflex when we were in the grocery store together, his sudden change in behaviour over the past few weeks has worried me. From the sudden clinginess to the fact that he was pushing for us to have kids in the future to the way that he didn't tell me he was going to have a day off work.

"Seriously?" Wonwoo asked, raising his eyebrows. He looked surprised but not angry that I would suggest something like that, and instead of answering right away, he just scratched his head slightly and let out a long breath. "Okay, I can see why you would think that, but I can promise you now that I'm not having an affair. Not at all. I called in sick today because my job is making me more stressed than I would like to admit, and I'm not fond of the fact that I'm sometimes having to work six days a week when I'm contracted at forty hours a week. There's plenty of time to fit forty hours into five days, and so it's causing a lot of tension. In fact, I wouldn't say that I'm really getting on with any of my colleagues because of that tension.

"I was actually going to get some groceries so that we could have a good night in together, then come back home, and finally start looking for other jobs. Of course, I'm not sure whether I'm actually going to go for another job but I'd like to enjoy my twenties and not feel as if I'm in a dead-end job already."

I had to admit, it was fair enough. It was something that I could absolutely believe and it really sounded characteristic of Wonwoo. I felt really bad that I doubted him for even a second but thankfully, he didn't seem to be offended or angry with me. Instead, he asked if I wanted to go ahead with our original plans for the day and then start making dinner together, and so I agreed. Of course, my plans for the day didn't involve much at all - I was mostly just sorting my life out and trying to be like an adult for the most part - but I wanted to make sure that Wonwoo had the chance to research jobs so I found things to get myself out of his way as much as possible. After all, the last thing he really needed was for me to be hovering around and distracting him when he was trying his best to do important work.

It felt as if the day lasted for ages, but then we eventually hit dinnertime and Wonwoo simply tucked his laptop away for the night before taking me to the kitchen, where we proceeded to make a really nice dish together. It was chicken and mixed vegetables marinated in a tangy sauce on top of rice. I wasn't too sure about it to start with, since it seemed like quite a simple dish, but I did really like it and I particularly enjoyed the experience of cooking with Wonwoo. We were both strangely relaxed for two guys who are working a lot at the moment and so it was easy to make it a fun task.

Then Wonwoo suggested that we take a walk around the city and enjoy the area. Now, usually we would be watching films or something together but I liked that idea more. We walked around hand-in-hand, taking in the sounds of the night. Sometimes we chatted about things and other times we were silent, but we ended up feeling a lot more relaxed by the time we got home so I don't think it really bothered either of us. It was followed up by a warm shower, in which we helped each other to get washed and dry, and then we fell asleep completely naked.

I liked that a lot. You know, there's something really nice about waking up naked with someone when you know that you did nothing physical to take you to that point. It was because you were doing something cute and that little bit of cuteness comes back the next morning and you get to see their pretty morning face as your alarm goes off and wakes them up too, and even though they don't want to move because they're comfortable just cuddling with you, you feel them reluctantly dragging themselves off you so that you can get up for work. There's something quite intimate about the experience, but more of a domestic intimacy rather than a sexual one. I'd like to do that more often but I don't want it to lose its charm.

As a final note, we've got all of the plans sorted for when we go to Jeju. Or rather, Wonwoo has it all sorted. He even thought to call my boss a few weeks ago and book it off for me, since I'd completely forgotten to mention it at work. We added what we could into our savings pot, based on what we earned this month, and we're lucky enough to be able to afford quite a big holiday. So we'll officially be doing to Jeju on December 8th and coming home on December 16th. It's gonna be great to spend a whole week away with Wonwoo and I'm so excited to be able to do things like exploring with him and trying out some of their signature orange dishes. It's great stuff and honestly, the only issue I can think of is that we're not gonna have much time to prepare for Christmas when we get back.

And yeah, I know what you're probably thinking. "We don't celebrate Christmas - neither of us is that into it." Or maybe you're not because maybe you do celebrate it in the future or something. I don't know and I'm not here to judge that aspect of your life. But Hansol and Jisoo are hosting a Christmas day celebration and we're invited. Hansol's parents are going back to America to spend it with his mom's family and he can't get enough time out of his practice sessions to join them. So Jisoo said that we can all go to his house, since he would be alone for the holidays otherwise, and we'll all have gifts and a traditional meal and everything. Apparently, it's going to be really nice and we'll have the chance to see how it usually goes at home for him.

I think it's going to be nice but it means arranging gifts for everyone, which is difficult. When you have such a big group of friends, all of your family (or at least my immediate family), and then a boyfriend and his family, it's a huge task trying to think of what everyone would like so that you can get something they'll appreciate. I don't even know where to start, but I'm gonna try to write a list somewhere. Maybe in a few entries when I'm in my final few days and I'm rushing.

On top of that, Wonwoo is insisting that he read somewhere that Americans take gifts to their hosts' house (I'm pretty sure that's more of a custom in Europe or for suburban soccer moms or something, but he won't take no for an answer). It means that we have to find an additional gift to take along, like wine or something. Apparently. But any old wine isn't good enough for him - Wonwoo wants to have a proper look together and find something that we think Jisoo would actually like.

Whatever, I guess.

Anyway, I've been going on for too long, so I'll update again next week!
-- Mingyu

Chapter Text

It's Friday, 7th December.

I don't know if you're keeping track or anything, but we're going to Jeju tomorrow.

Which should be great. Should be. I didn't really anticipate how much effort it would take to prepare for a holiday together but apparently, it takes a lot. I just thought that you need to put all of your things into a suitcase and get ready to go but according to Wonwoo, that's not quite the case. No, there were a thousand things that we needed to prepare before we depart tomorrow, and he wouldn't let me avoid them at all. So I've spent the past week worrying about every little aspect of this holiday and trying my hardest to keep up with him. He knows how to make things flow easier whilst we're there, after all, so I have to be the one who listens to his suggestions and goes along with them.

The first thing that he wanted to do was sit down and write a list of all of the things that we were planning to take with us. Sounds easy, right? No. There were so many things on that list. He categorised everything. Clothes, toiletries, miscellaneous, and things that we needed in a rucksack. And then everything had sub-categories. Clothes into day clothes, night clothes, underwear, shoes, accessories. Toiletries into hygiene, health and emergency. Miscellaneous into electronics, monetary and documentation. Rucksack into essentials, entertainment and food. I've never seen a list so long in my entire life. "How are we supposed to fit all of that into our suitcase?" I asked him as I looked over the list.
"Simple," he told me. "We cancel out all of the things that we don't need."

"How do we do that?" you might ask. I didn't know either. It sounded completely pointless. Why not check first and then write them on later? But he insisted that there was a system. Firstly, he called our hotel and asked if toiletries were provided. They said that they had shampoo and shower gel, and they could provide two toothbrushes, toothpaste and disposable razors for free. Those toiletries were crossed off the list. He then asked me if I had enough anti-depressants to last whilst we were away. (I probably haven't mentioned it before but I ended up giving in and going on some weaker tablets to support the therapy, in hopes that I wouldn't have to go back. That's the one thing that I never want to have to do again.) I told him that I had enough for half a week, so he added a little notch to that marker to remind me to go to the doctor and ask for another box. Then he started looking through the weather in Jeju. It was supposed to be cold whilst we were there, so summery or light clothes were crossed off the list.

There was a very clear system and whilst it was really annoying to see him adding so much to it all, I could see how it would be beneficial. And I hated that. I knew that I would have ended up screwing up if I'd done it on my own and that's the issue. I wish I was as prepared and knowledgeable as Wonwoo is because he was really on top of it all.

Another thing that he did was make a list of everything that we had in the fridge. He then downloaded an app that gives you recipes including things that you already have and figured out our meals for the week based on that. It meant that we weren't wasting too much food - and even if we didn't eat something, we could simply put it in the freezer and that would be that - and we were able to enjoy a greater range of foods. I was impressed. He tried out some European recipes here and there, plus a few that were from China and Japan. Quite simple ones, mind you, but they were really delicious. And I have to admit, I really enjoyed it. Even though I kept telling him that it was a waste of time and we'd figure it out as we went along, he knew exactly what he was doing and how he would make things work, and so we ultimately ended up clearing the place out.

Then he started us on a new diet outside of the house. Of course, the dishes that we had at home followed the plan quite well too, but he insisted that we have certain vitamins and minerals too. If I didn't want to eat them on my own, he said that he would buy me supplements from a nearby health store. I said that I didn't see the point in them, obviously, but he informed me that it was the best way to stay healthy whilst we were there. Optimising our diets meant that we would have less of a chance of getting sick whilst we were away, especially if it was going to be as cold as the reports claimed, and we would also be in a much better position to eat their local cuisine. Going from greasy foods in Seoul to the foods that they ate in Jeju would surely result in us getting sick, he said, and so I begrudgingly did as I was told.

Now, I don't know how much it's gonna help me but I guess I'll see next week. I'm hoping that it's worth it, though, because otherwise, my stomach is gonna be really sad. It has been forced to put up with this diet for a week and that's something that no stomach should have to do if good results don't come out of it.

(Actually, now that I've written that, I do feel a little bit mean. I know that even if it doesn't work, Wonwoo is trying to look out for me and that's why he was encouraging me to eat well and take care of my body as we get closer to our holiday. I can't be upset with him over it. He's trying his hardest and making sure that when we get there, we have a stress-free time. It's a bit harder to relax when he's making things really efficient and formal like this, but I know that it'll be better when we actually get there. We won't need to worry about not having things and Wonwoo himself will be less anxious about the entire thing. And I think that'll be worth it, even if I am here having a bit of a moan about the fact that he so desperately needs everything to be perfect.)

After that, Wonwoo checked our diary for birthdays and other events that were coming up whilst we're away and just after we return home. I can't remember if there are any but I know that I saw him writing more lists and then going to the shop with one clutched in his hand. Either he's getting a heads-start on Christmas shopping or there's something we need to get for someone, but I trust that he'll sort that out and I won't get in the way of it. It's his thing, after all, and getting in the way of that would just cause him to be more stressed, really.

Then we finally made a list of the last-minute things that we needed to do. Make sure that the heater and aircon were both switched off completely. Make sure that all doors and windows are locked. Confirm again with Wonwoo's friend that she would be alright with coming in and taking care of Min here and there. Finishing up the final little bits at work and reminding everyone that we would be away for a while. Switching off plugs and such. Changing our bedsheets, for some reason. Just the little things that didn't really need too much attention, but ones that we would otherwise forget. They were pretty important, actually, and I'm glad that we wrote all of it down so that we would definitely be able to come back to our regular lives afterwards. I don't want to explain what I mean by that but you probably know. Just don't jinx it by saying it out loud.

Anyway, we'll be going tomorrow and we have everything prepared. Everything that needs to be packed is packed, and every task that we could do before the morning is done. We just have the odd thing to do before we leave, like turning things off, but we know what needs to happen so it's not that much of a big deal. And now we're finishing off the day by eating snacks and watching variety shows. It's not really Wonwoo's thing but he's finding some of the idols funny. Something that I've noticed, by the way, is that when he genuinely finds something funny his nose scrunches up really cutely. I know, I know. It took forever for me to notice that. I've been seeing him for almost a year already. But I just love it. It's my favourite little quirk of his.

I should be going, though. Once we finish this next episode, we're going to have an early night. So I need to enjoy it with Wonwoo and relax so that my mind isn't racing.

Until next week!
-- Mingyu

Chapter Text

It's Sunday, 16th December. We're currently on our way home from Jeju.

What a week. I've never been so happy nor so exhausted in my entire life. I'm really, really tired. We've done so much and I think that that's a good sign, really. We actually got to explore a new place and enjoy ourselves. In fact, I think we ended up seeing most of the island by the time we went back to the hotel and started packing last night.

Of course, the thing you want to know about first is the museum. As it turns out, it's more of a sex museum and park in general. It's called "Loveland" and it's for adults only. The mascots are genitalia and even the door handles to the bathrooms are breasts and an erect phallus - obviously coded for heterosexuals so that straight guys aren't forced to grab a dick to go into the bathroom. You know how straight guys get about coming in contact with other guys, even in Korea. We might be okay with being affectionate with each other when clothes are on, but you still won't see many guys just grabbing their friend's crotch.

Even though it was incredibly straight, it was actually pretty cool. The artists did a really great job at making the place look interesting, and it was based more around the physical sides to people, rather than the raunchy side to sexuality. I think I quite liked that. It made it a lot less uncomfortable to walk around the place with Wonwoo. I mean, obviously we've seen each other naked before so the thought of looking at bodies with him wasn't too much of a big deal, but it was more the idea of looking for too long. I thought that perhaps he wouldn't appreciate it if I was to stare at a statue's crotch for too long, but then he pointed out the detail to me - everything from the texture of hair to the realism of the statue's foreskin (and I can't believe I'm writing that, actually, because it sounds really odd) - and we ended up just spending a good amount of time just admiring it all together.

Wonwoo told me some history about the place, actually, and that made it feel a lot less random. He said that he had researched it and found that before the place was built, the island was a popular place for newlyweds. And because there was such a huge push for arranged marriages in the past and a lot of the couples who went for their honeymoon had never really had any other relationships before, it became a big place for sexual education. The museum is pretty much marking that side to things, he thinks. It's representing the sides of physical attraction, human sexuality, and that side of relationships where you want nothing more than to be all over each other. It looks at everything from pure desire - as marked by statues like the one with a guy whose trousers are by his ankles and a woman is clinging to him - to genuine attraction - as marked by the ones with intertwined legs and fingers making delicate touches to skin.

Oh, and another thing on the topic of newlyweds in the past - apparently, hotel staff would perform as professional icebreakers to get the newlywed couple comfortable with sleeping together. Sounds a bit odd but I can sort of imagine that if you've never really gotten to know someone and you're expected to marry them, it can be a little bit unnerving. There was supposedly erotic entertainment as well, which is supposed to get couples to relax and slip into the mood. I mean, I can see why it would help, but imagine if we did that nowadays. Imagine if Wonwoo and I turned up to the hotel here and the staff started trying to get us to screw each other. I'm not saying that it's the worst idea I've ever heard of, but I'm not saying that I would be one hundred percent comfortable with a stranger trying to initiate sex between us.

Back to the museum for a second, though. I think I found my favourite sculpture in there without even needing to try. I was trying to figure it out whilst we were walking around, but then it struck me and I knew right away that no other statue could ever do. It was literally a massive wang, resting on the floor. It was covered in mosaic and probably around twenty foot long, maybe a bit more. It just caught me by surprise because I didn't know what it was to start with, but then I looked properly and it was just a dick. A close second, though, was a really bent dick with a woman sat on it. Not on the top, but riding it like a worm it something. It was bizarre but I think it looked pretty interesting, actually.

We also visited the Hallasan National Park. Not on the same day, but during the week. You'll start to notice right away that there's a theme here. Whilst we could have just spent out time relaxing, we ended up doing quite a lot of things and discovering new places together. That was the plan, anyway. So back to the National Park. In itself, it's actually really pretty. There's everything from waterfalls and trees to the mountain itself. Wonwoo and I decided that we were going to take the short route up to the top of the mountain when we hiked it, since we're both pretty fit and can go up steep paths if need be. We knew what we were getting ourselves in for, and we were more than happy to take the long route on the way back. It would be around twice the length - at around eight or nine kilometres - but it would be easy enough to rest our legs that way. So we walked all the way up together and got to see the peak. Although the thing was, the peak was covered by clouds so we were just left with our thoughts for a bit. Which isn't bad, mind you. I didn't think that it was the worst thing in the world to be so isolated. But it really confirmed to us how far up we were. And that's a scary thought. A missed step and you could tumble down. I tried to push those thoughts to the back of my mind because I could see how relaxed and happy Wonwoo looked as we stood there and admired how far we'd walked.

And okay, the walk back down was a little bit tricky - especially with our ice boots on, which weren't going into the hardened ground as easily as I thought they would - but we had already gone that way before so we knew that we weren't going to get lost or anything. That was why we went back down like that. My legs were really hurting by the time we got to the bottom but that was all fine because we had the chance to relax and eat some sandwiches together. Wonwoo had made some in our hotel room, figuring that it was the best we had when there were no kettles out here to make anything hot, and I think we were both incredibly grateful for that. So we ended up relaxing until it eventually started to get dark, then slowly made our way back to the hotel for the night.

Another place we saw was the Glass Castle Theme Park. Well, it's called that, but it's actually more like a museum. Pretty much everything around the place is made out of glass - fish made from recycled soju bottles, a glass waterfall, and even glass books - and that's what makes it so cool. I didn't think I would be all that interested until we were there and I saw it, but it actually looks really whimsical and gave the illusion of serenity. The fact of the matter was that touching it could bring everything crashing down and would disrupt both the silence and the serenity but whilst we were there, we weren't planning on doing that ourselves. It wasn't really our place to leave the entire thing in ruins, as far as I was concerned. And I think that Wonwoo felt the same way. I could see his eyes touching over everything but his hands stayed still by his side. I think he was a bit worried about breathing too hard around it all too. But it was beautiful nonetheless and I wouldn't even mind seeing it again.

Then there were the mermaids. Seriously, mermaids. I'll be honest, they aren't the mermaids that you're probably expecting, though. They're a group of fisherwomen from families who found loopholes in the old taxing system. Wonwoo researched that too. He told me that men were taxed heavily but women weren't taxed at all because they were expected to stay at home and raise the children. So the island's women started working as fisherwomen and took over as the head of their households. A lot of these mermaids are older ladies now, as you can probably imagine, but they look really cool when they're doing their work. Apparently, they're dwindling in numbers nowadays because there's other work that women can do on the island and that tax loophole no longer exists, but there are a load of statues around to mark the memories of the mermaids. And we did actually get to see one whilst we were there too. She was out in a wetsuit and had her net fixed to her side. And she looked amazing. Honestly, she looked like she was the only important person in the world at that point in time. I was inspired by her.

We didn't just go to the beach for the mermaids, though. We went to sit and watch the waves together and just spent a good amount of time relaxing whilst we were there. It was a bit of a cool-down from everything that we'd been doing whilst we were there. A bit of time to take a breath, I suppose. And it gave us some time to chat, too.

You might not have expected this as such, but Wonwoo figured that it was the best time to get philosophical with me. He started discussing the meaning of thoughts and the critical mind, and then continued it by telling me that he sometimes worries because love is just a chemical response in his brain, prompted by the secretion of hormones and the re-uptake of certain neurotransmitters. A mix of oxytocin and vasopressin - which are attachment hormones - testosterone, dopamine, serotonin and a little bit of norepinephrine. I'm gonna be honest, it sounded really scary when he started telling me about the chemicals that make up love, but I guess it was pretty interesting at the same time. After all, these weird chemicals in your head can make you feel drawn towards another person and on one hand, knowing that you have no control over it is the most uncomfortable thing, but then knowing that your head is making you have giddy feelings in an attempt to make you want to have a relationship with someone is strangely endearing.

I don't know. Maybe I just find the weirdest things cool. But I think it really is an interesting thing that he gets all philosophical like that and then we're stuck in a position where we're both fascinated and uncomfortable. I think it made for a bit of a bonding experience too, actually. I learnt quite a lot about hormones and human attraction, and we also had the chance to reflect on our relationship whilst we were at it. Which reminds me, actually; we're just a few weeks away from having known each other for a whole year. Like, a year ago today, I didn't even know that Wonwoo existed, and now here we are, on our way back from a holiday in Jeju together.

There were a few other less interesting things that we did whilst we were away too, as you can imagine. It can't all be really upbeat and exciting. But that's not to say that I didn't enjoy it. I still enjoyed having dinner with Wonwoo and walking around aimlessly with him. I loved just sitting around and doing really domestic things, like going to get a few groceries so that we could have a light dinner or lunch. And I loved the fact that he insisted on wearing just boxers or less to bed. It meant that we were forced to cuddle up close to each other and share body heat underneath the blanket, and I really like that because it meant that even though we were cold to start with, we soon warmed up because we were cuddled up really close together. In fact, the only bit that I really didn't like was when Wonwoo would put his cold toes on my legs and make me feel uncomfortably cold. It's the only thing that I don't like about having a boyfriend, although I guess I can push it to one side in my mind when I do like everything else.

So anyway, we're on the way home now and I don't know whether I'm happy or not. I've missed our regular lives and I've definitely missed the cat a lot, but I also know that I'm going to miss our holiday too. It was really great to be able to spend time with him without having to worry about going back to work or anything. I think we'll be a bit tired and sluggish for the next few days, which will be a bit rubbish because we can't really afford to be tired at the moment. Remember, we're going to have to start the Christmas shopping pretty much straight away, and that's going to be more stressful than it's worth.

But currently, Wonwoo is writing a list. He has everyone's names written down one side of the sheet - including Jisoo and Hansol's parents, since he knows that they celebrate the holiday as well - and he's trying his hardest to come up with a few ideas for every person. For example, he has it written down that Jeonghan wanted a new scarf and Chan was complaining that he didn't have a decent pair of shoes to dance in - I don't know whether I mentioned this before, but he's studying performing arts at university, so it's sort of a big deal for him. Then Junhui, the man who could have everything he wanted, told Minghao that he wanted a massage but was too proud to get himself one. At least Minghao was honest and said that he wouldn't mind one too, which made it easier for us right away.

Of course, there are a few who are going to be a little bit harder. Seungkwan insisted that he didn't need anything when Wonwoo asked him, and so it's going to be a difficult task to find something for him. Wonwoo isn't going to give up, though, and I know it. He'll find something even if it kills him. Then there's Jisoo. He tries to be modest by giving very small suggestions, like a plain t-shirt that costs maybe 2,000W, but he can't be the only one to get something really bland when everyone else is getting really thought-out gifts that are going to impress the receiver. And then there's Wonwoo himself. The mythic difficult boyfriend. He's not there to help me when it comes to getting him a gift. I have to find something myself. And it's stressful. I didn't think that having a boyfriend would be so stressful until we got to the point where we had to sort out gifts for holidays. Birthdays are a bit easier because mine is before his, so I just have to match on what he gave me, but what about everything else? Seollal, Chuseok, Christmas, Valentine's day; there are so many that I can't really keep up.

But I'm gonna try. I'm gonna try my hardest to come up with a couple of ideas on the way home so that next week, I'll be able to get him the coolest gift ever, and he'll really think that I have my shit together and that I'm an adult because I'm able to do something like that.

Well, I'm hoping that it turns out like that, anyway. Maybe I'll get him another book reference mug, a new book and a jumper or something. Maybe he'd like that more than something big.

We can only hope.

Until next time!
--Mingyu

Chapter Text

It's Sunday, 23rd December and I'm panicking.

I still have a full day to run around and get Wonwoo's present but I'm still very much struggling to find something good for him. Do you know how difficult that sort of thing is? We've been walking around all week and he'll point out things that he finds cute but he has this bad habit where he'll basically either buy it himself or he won't want it enough to actually spend money on it. And that makes things really difficult, you know. You don't know how to actually get your man a gift when he's so awkward and difficult with you.

It just made me feel guiltier when I was watching him pottering around, trying to get everyone else's gifts. He told me that he knew what we were getting and e just needed to find the gifts, and so I pretty much just followed him around and let him do what he needed to do. After all, I couldn't really get in the way of his system. So I kept my mouth shut for the most part and let him do what he has to do and that was that. You know how it is. I carried the basket and watched as he made his way around the various stores, putting everything into the basket. "This is for Seungcheol," he told me as he put this imported Italian cake into the basket. I hadn't really thought that he would have picked something from such an expensive store, but he was insistent that he could afford to splash out and make our first Christmas as a group enjoyable. "Besides, he doesn't take care of himself enough. Which is incredibly damaging for someone who is supposed to be a medical student."

Then we continued pottering around until we got to the next store. Another thing in the basket. A good-quality winter coat for Seokmin. It was relatively cheap, as far as I was concerned, but I knew that we both knew he would like it. Then Chan got his top-quality school supplies. Notebooks, organisers and pens, on top of the new clothes that he was getting. Wonwoo didn't want him to have to skimp out on supplies because he couldn't afford much, so he was even happier to splash out on him to make sure that he had everything he needed. And I had to agree with that one. I knew that he needed good quality supplies in order to have the motivation to work hard on his degree.

And the rest followed similarly. It didn't take as long as I thought it would, since Wonwoo already knew what we were getting for everyone. We had already bought everything we needed for everyone other than each other by the time we went to bed on Monday morning. I think I quite liked how it was relatively stress-free in that sense, even though I had been really worried that it was going to be a horrible experience when it came to preparing for Christmas. I mean, the good part is that our own families don't celebrate it so we don't really need to get them anything, but it's a bit difficult to get things for the friends you only see a handful of times over the year. You know that you need to get them something nice because it's a pretty big deal for some of them - especially Jisoo and Hansol, who were raised in households that followed Christian or Western holidays, plus Minghao, who informed me a little while ago that he wanted to start observing both Buddhism and Christianity because he thought that they were both perfectly legitimate religions.

So, considering that it is such a big thing in our friendship group, I think we did a pretty good job when it came to the gifts. Or rather, Wonwoo did a good job when it came to the gifts. We all know that I learnt about half of them when we were at the store together. I didn't know anything about what we were going to be getting half of the boys, and I was actually more focused on what I would be getting him.

Which, again, is a difficult topic.

Man, I don't even know where to start. I tried to get him to hint what he was getting me but he wouldn't say. He said that it was a secret because he wanted everyone else to be as surprised as I was when they saw it. And my stomach immediately sank because I remembered that everyone would get to see what I got him too. They would be judging us on that sort of thing. Considering that by the end of this year, most of them are in relationships with each other, we've decided upon buying gifts in pairs - other than Jisoo, who announced that he doesn't have a Christmas date but he's the host anyway, so he's going to buy everyone individual gifts - but we'll obviously getting our partners something cute on our own. And that intimidates me a lot. Not only are we going to be getting gifts that will be seen by everyone there, so that they'll be able to make their own judgements on us as a couple, but we'll also be in an unspoken competition in which we're trying our hardest to prove that we're the cutest couple ever.

I've been going between trying to get Wonwoo to tell me what he's getting me and trying my hardest to come up with a gift for him all week. I swear, nothing is working. He won't even give me a hint. He won't tell me if it's handmade or whether he's buying something, how much he'll be spending on it, whether it's edible, or anything. And I usually like surprises, to a degree. I think it's really cute when someone spends forever trying to think of a cute gift for you so that you're able to really connect with them. You know that Wonwoo is going to pick out a really great gift anyway, though. It's either going to be something that I've mentioned but forgotten about, something that's really going to help me out or make me feel great about myself, or it'll be incredibly sentimental. And I don't know which would be the worst. Not in the sense that I won't like it, but in the sense that I can't match it.

As you can imagine, I ended up turning to the trusty internet to help me with my task. As you can imagine, it didn't quite go to plan.

Typing in, "What gifts to get your boyfriend for your first Christmas together," seemed like a good idea until I started searching it. "Twenty-one gifts your boyfriend didn't know he needed," sounded promising, obviously, so I began there. The first suggestion? Gloves. Fucking wow. Impressive gift that's gonna make everyone think that I'm a romantic boyfriend, huh? Oh, but it gets worse. A hat. Lip balm. A candle. A mobile phone charger. A passport holder. Like, can you think of anything more boring than that? It sounds like absolute trash. So I ended up clicking right off that one and moving on to the next one.

Which was just as trashy. There was this odd gift that's like a bell, but you ring it when you're in the mood for a blowjob. Classy. A stress ball that's shaped like a woman's breasts. The perfect thing for a guy who dates guys. A dick warmer that looks like a snake. Furry handcuffs. I swear, this website wasn't even supposed to be a novelty sex site. It's supposed to be a genuine gift-hunting website. But all it was really suggesting was sex-related stuff. And I'm not being funny, but if we wanted to try things like bondage, we'd be trying it at any other time of the year. I wouldn't get him bedroom things to show off in front of our friends. I would be humiliated. It's one thing talking about your sex life with your friends because you're comfortable with your sexuality - after all, it's healthy to talk about that sort of stuff and it's good for understanding your relationship more - but it's a different thing to show that sort of thing off.

Take, for example, when I was getting really bad with depression. I have to admit, I did end up bringing it up with Seungcheol. He's a medical student, after all. He did time shadowing the staff in mental health services. He knew what was normal and what wasn't, and I was a lot happier discussing that sort of thing with a friend before mentioning it to my therapist. I asked him if he thought it was normal that even though Wonwoo was trying to get me in the mood, it wasn't happening. I asked if he thought that maybe I just didn't have feelings for him anymore or anything, but Seungcheol insisted that it was a side effect of mental ill-health and so I should mention it to both my therapist and Wonwoo himself. And it definitely helped. But I woudn't necessarily ask him to come over to hold my hand as I gave Wonwoo a gift of a butt plug. That would be a bit off. Does that make sense?

Over the past week, I've been trying to think of some cool things to give him. It has taken so, so long to come up with a list that might actually work. But I have a few things, and there's still a full day to narrow it down. So, here it is:

1) A piece of the moon. Obviously, it's not something that he can hold. It's a literal piece of the moon, after all. It's just an acre, but that's plenty for a guy like him. He's not greedy in that sense. But he'll have his own certificate and he'll be able to claim ownership of it, and it gives great bragging rights. This is primarily a back-up, by the way.

2) There's this artist who does thumbprint art. I just have to send her a thing of Wonwoo's thumb and blow it up really big and she'll turn it into a piece of art. It's really expensive but it'll be really personal; it includes all of his favourite things, from books to films to activities. I can make a list of the top twenty things he likes, and she can add everything from titles to quotes. It looks really cool and it becomes a portrait and I think I'd really like to get it for him because it's so personal.

3) There's a service that sends a book a week from the top one hundred books worldwide. They're all translated, obviously, and they're in hardback edition. On top of that, I can say which books he's read and the ones he's not interested in, and they'll adjust the order accordingly. I think it's a bit of a lazy idea, but it could be something that works out well if I'm really struggling for ideas.

4) I could desperately write a load of things I love about him to put in a jar so that if he's feeling bad, he can get one out and read it. I think it's gonna be difficult on the time frame, but it might work. I'm also concerned that this is a bit of a dumb one and I'm a little bit self-conscious when I think about our friends learning any of the really personal reasons why I love him, so I'll keep that one at the back for the minute.

5) Maybe a scrapbook of all of the receipts and everything I've been hoarding from our dates and our time together? I don't know. It sounds stupid now that i'm putting it on paper, even though it sounded really cute in my head.

Actually, all of it is sounding really stupid. I have one day to come up with something really great for him and I just want to cry because I'm so rubbish when it comes to gifts and I know that I'm going to disappoint him in front of all of our friends.

I guess it's time to get back to the drawing board, huh?

Chapter Text

It's Tuesday, 25th December.

Well.

I didn't really think that Christmas would be as fun as this, but I'm pleasantly surprised by it.

The stress ended yesterday, actually. I was still trying to figure out what I was going to get Wonwoo as a gift, and then I caught him grumbling to himself about his skin. It was starting to break out, he claimed, and he didn't like how much it looked as if it was ageing. He was only twenty-five years old, but he claimed that he looked well into his thirties. I mean, I can't see it at all, but he must have been bothered by it to be standing in front of the mirror, grumbling to himself about it.

And I knew right away that I'd hit gold. I could get him a few little gifts too, like a scarf and beanie, but my main gift was gonna be skincare stuff. So I ended up going to the train station in search of this little store. I know, the train station. It's not really the sort of place you'd usually go if you wanted to get someone a gift, but I was surprised to find that this one actually had a really cool little shop. And the staff were more helpful than I imagined. I went in to see shelves stacked high with different skincare products and I really didn't know where to start, but then a lady came over and offered to help and I swear, it made everything so much easier. We started by going through his skin type - I didn't really know what it was but I tried my best to describe how it feels in the morning when I stroke his face - and so she helped me to pick out a few items that would help to neutralise his skin and make it feel great all day every day. Then I told her that he felt as if his skin was ageing, even though I thought it was still perfect and beautiful, and she made a playful comment about how I'm the sort of boyfriend that everyone would want before picking out a couple of additional products with me.

It was expensive. I'm not gonna say that it's not because it really was. But it really paid off when we got to Jisoo's place and we were all opening the gifts from each other. Wonwoo saw what I'd managed to find for him and pointed out that he'd never actually told me that he hated his skin, so he was amazed that I'd managed to find exactly what he needed. The bonus was that the person behind the till made sure that it was gift-wrapped perfectly for me, so it looked aesthetically pleasing when he got the gift. And I have to say, I was relieved. He spent plenty of time looking through each of the products that I'd bought for him and told me that he loved it more than he could put into words. He also really liked the scarf and hat, mind you, but we both knew that they were added extras and there was less emphasis on that. So he focused more on the skincare gifts and made sure to show a lot of appreciation for everything for quite some time.

In return, he got me some expensive shoes that I'd lingered on a bit too long whilst we were shopping together earlier in the year. We'd walked past them a few more times over the months and he noted that I always hovered around them a little bit. And I have to admit, they're really nice shoes. I didn't think he would actually get them for me, seeing as they're really expensive, but then again, we're talking about Jeon Wonwoo here. The guy who isn't afraid to splash out on the people he loves. He might be the sort of guy who likes the little things from other people - like books and fragrances - but he's certainly not the sort who will skimp out on his parners' gifts. He has fine taste in everything, from holidays to gifts. And whilst it does make me feel a little bit inferior sometimes, he isn't the sort to drop money constantly. He prefers to leave it during the rest of the year so that he can splash out during the holidays that we observe together, and I think I prefer it that way. At least I don't have to feel guilty about him dropping money on me all the time.

(Although, that's not to say that he wouldn't get me something if I asked him for it. He just doesn't want to make it seem like our whole relationship is built around money. It's not. He just happens to have a well-paying job and be from a wealthy family who helped him to build his savings up.)

It was clear that the other couples were trying to get on the same level, to be honest. We started off with Seungcheol and Jeonghan, who had bought each other very pesonal gifts. Jeonghan had got Seungcheol a load of medical-related things, but they were actually really cool. Think ten coasters, each with a different cut of the brain on them. Think a really pretty anamatical charm. Think a plush spleen with a smiley face. It was really cute to see the little box overflowing with sweet little things that made Seungcheol smile. And I could see that Jeonghan was nervous when he opened it up, but then he calmed right down again and was smiling along, which was really sweet. In return, though, Seungcheol had bought him a really beautiful necklace that sat perfectly, just below his collarbone. It really did look pretty on him. It seemed like something really small but it was something that left him lighting up and happy, and I actually really liked seeing that.

Then there was Seungkwan and Hansol, which made for a particularly interesting experience. Seungkwan got Hansol a literal crate of fruit, which he picked himself. It was really bizarre to look at this box of fruit. But Hansol was really happy with it and basically spent the rest of the day eating bits of fruit until Jisoo came in with a wooden spoon and smacked him with it as he told him that he would ruin his appetite before dinner if he kept eating it. In return, though, Hansol got Seungkwan this really beautiful copy of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Apparently, it was the first book that he read to Seungkwan when they started dating. Which is really cute, I think. It was a blue hardback book with gold-leaf details and it looked like such a special book to mark their romance. I think I liked that gift the most out of all of the ones that our friends gave to their partners, and I wish that Wonwoo and I had that special book. I mean, Pride and Prejudice could be that book if we really wanted it to be, but I feel that in doing so, we'd be going for a book that both of us have agreed, over the past few months, is a bit of a bland classic.

Next, we had Jun and Minghao. They swear that they're just best friends, mind you, but the gifts they got each other individually are suggesting otherwise. And I know that we all agreed that we would buy gifts in pairs and all, but I do feel that their gifts were very couple-to-couple ones. Like, you know where your parents and their married friends by couple gifts for the other couple and you can just tell that it's from one couple to another? It was very similar to that. And that's what made me a bit suspicious. I mean, Jun got Minghao tickets to go to Disneyland Florida with him. The plane tickets, the hotels, the park costs, the food; everything. You don't just do that for a best friend. You do that for a boyfriend. And likewise, Minghao got Jun a whole outfit from the mall he works at in Gangnam - so, really expensive things. And I don't just mean a shirt, trousers and shoes. I'm talking about everything through to the socks, boxers, hat, belt and jacket. Seriously. They're dating and no one can convince me otherwise.

Then we have Jihoon and Soonyoung's gifts for each other. Work-related. I'm not gonna go into the details on that one because I'm not exactly sure what they got for each other but they were both really happy with the results. We'll just leave it at that.

And finally, Seokmin and Chan paired up, even though they're not really dating. Chan couldn't afford to get too much, but he got Seokmin a 25,000W giftcard to his favourite food place. I think we could see that he was a little bit embarrassed by it, but Seokmin loved it a load and told him that he hadn't gone too overboard either because he didn't want him to feel guilty about a thought-out gift like that. So he'd bought him two tickets for this Michael Jackson tribute tour thing that's going on in Seoul around his birthday next year. Chan got really happy too and it was really cute, and Seokmin just kissed his forehead and held him as he got emotional over it, and I think it was the cutest thing I've ever seen.

Actually, I lied earlier. It wasn't the last couple one exactly. Jisoo got himself a body pillow. He opened it in front of us all and pretended to be surprised. I think it was actually really funny because it was just so Jisoo that I couldn't believe it. Really really funny. He spent the afternoon spooning it and calling it his boyfriend.

As for the other gifts, I'm not gonna go into the details for every single person, but here are the ones that I ended up getting from people: matching "nobody knows I'm gay" boxers and mug from Jeonghan and Seungcheol, a bottle of vodka from Jun and Hao (I feel like it's a mistake but whatever; my first experience will either make or break my vodka experience), a clock with Min looking grumpy in a Christmas hat on it from Seokmin and Chan (I suspect that Wonwoo got the photo and sent it to them), some pine and cardamom cologne from Jihoon and Soonyoung, a weird but strangely cool and comfortable mermaid tail blanket from Seungkwan and Hansol, and then a really nice photo frame from Jisoo. And also some extra-small condoms, which made everyone laugh. It was funny, honestly, but I couldn't help but feel embarrassed. I knew something was coming, obviously, because he got everyone something like that to lift the mood, but the last thing I really expected was condoms. (They fit my little finger by the way.)

It was actually really nice to detatch from life for the day, I think. We spent a good amount of time playing board games and chatting about everything we could think of as we went along. It was really nice to have everyone together and all, since we don't really get the time to do it usually. And I think we got to see everyone's feelings towards each other a lot more too. One example being the relationship between Jeonghan and Jisoo. As a gift, Jeonghan got him a cheeseboard and said that it was for Jisoo's American side. It led to a bit of teasing, since Jisoo apparently tried to put cheese on kimbap when he first moved to Korea, but you could really see how playful their relationship is. Likewise, Seungcheol gets on surprisingly well with Soonyoung but not as well with Jihoon. I could see a little bit of hesitance when they interacted sometimes, even though it was very slight. I don't think it's the case that they don't like each other or anything but they're just really awkward.

Then there was the dinner. Oh man, it was great. Really nice. Jisoo made a really American dinner, making sure that everything was as traditional as he could make it. Of course, there were a few things that he couldn't get in Korea - at least, they weren't half as good as they were in America, from what he said - but it was still amazing. I ended up eating loads, which was completely fine because he'd catered for around forty people and there were only thirteen of us. In fact, I would say that it worked out for the best. After all, I have a big appetite and so do Seungcheol and Soonyoung, Chan is a growing boy so the other boys were pressuring him to eat more, and then Jisoo was making sure to stuff himself as much as possible so that he would make the most of the American food whilst it lasted. So we actually managed to get through it all. I'm not even kidding. It was great and we were all on the floor by the time we finished, so Jisoo told us that he would give it an hour before we had dessert because there were like eight different desserts to get through. I'm not even kidding. The guy went massively overboard with it and the thing was, they were all homemade too. Think about the dedication.

Actually, that brings me on to another little point. I don't get how we all managed to cram inside Jisoo's tiny little house. It wasn't really designed for thirteen adults to be crammed around the dining room table. It would be a struggle to fit his family on it, I think. But I think it did make it a bit cosier too. It made sure that everyone felt included and could take part in the conversations, and I really quite liked that because it was more encouraging for the quieter ones in the group.

Oh, and one last thing before I go to bed. (It's really late and my eyes are closing because of it, and I think that that's a sign that I need to go to bed as soon as possible instead of writing about everything that happened from the beginning of the day to the end.) Jisoo also put this mistletoe stuff above the door that led into the main room and it resulted in somet pretty interesting encounters. I've never heard of it before and I don't think it's a huge thing nowadays either, from what I gathered after chatting with Hansol about it, but you're supposed to kiss whoever happens to be underneath it with you. So, by hanging it there, it meant that anyone who happened to go be going to the kitchen or bathroom at the same time that someone was re-entering the room from either of these places would have to kiss.

I have to say, though; some were cute. Chan and Jeonghan were under it together and Jeonghan just pressed a really gentle kiss to Chan's forehead and it was really sweet. Hansol and Jisoo gave really awkward but sweet cheek pecks then moved on right away. And I ended up there with Jihoon, which was always gonna be weird because he's a lot smaller than I am, but I tried my hardest to diffuse it by picking him up and kissing his cheek really hard, and he pretended that it was the grossest thing ever as I put him down, even though it was more funny than anything. But then there were a few more... questionable ones. Jun and Hao again, funnily enough. They kissed on the mouth and held it for a good ten seconds. I'm one hundred percent sure that they're seeing each other. Then Seokmin and Soonyoung went for mouths. Something I didn't expect but Jihoon strangely wasn't bothered, even though I thought that he and Soonyoung were sort of half-dating or something. I don't really know the arrangement, if I'm being honest, because everyone describes the relationship differently. That just confused me even more.

Wow. I'm really starting to think about this couply thing now. I didn't realise that it was as intense as it is until I started thinking about it but now it seems as if everyone is seeing each other, doesn't it? Does it seem like that in the future when you're reading what I've mentioned? I mean, surely we're gonna have at least one or two couples who don't even make it until the end of next year because that's what really happens when you bring two friendship groups together and they suddenly decide that they're attracted to each other. It's probably more the case that you know that gays attract gay friends and that means that you're more likely to be able to get in there with one of the people you're introduced to when the groups join, so you're instantly attracted on the premise alone. But I won't get into that too much. That sort of thing is very Wonwoo.

I'm becoming scarily like him, aren't I?

Until next time!
-- Mingyu

Chapter Text

It's Tuesday, 1st January 2019.

I feel odd being at this point in the journal. My final entry. So much has changed over the past year and I think if I was to look back on everything that I've been through, I'd probably get a little bit emotional. But I started this year the exact same way as I started last year, so I'm going to read back on what I wrote then and make the appropriate changes.

I came into this journal thinking that I was going to reflect every Sunday night on a week that had had its ups and downs. I thought that I was going to sit there in that time and just talk about the mundane things that happen in life, as well as the juicy things that everyone would want to hear. "On Monday, I missed breakfast," I might have written, "But the person who sat opposite to me at work had some spare rice, so they brought some over to my desk." Boring. Maybe someone would have liked to read that. I once read an article about someone who bought another person's journal at auction and they found that the person wrote mundane things like that in it. But then again, it also documented the person's mental health - a bit like I've done in mine - so the person who read the journal was really rooting for the journal's author to get a decent night's sleep and three meals a day. I guess that even if this journal was like that, it would have attracted some sort of audience still. I'll never know, though, because I think that some of the details are too personal for me to want to give this to another person. Even though I used to joke about it becoming a feature-length film.

During this year, I've aged and I'm now twenty-four years old. This means that in the next six years, I'll end up being called for military service at some point. So will my boyfriend. I'm hoping that we'll be enlisted at the same time, so that we don't need to worry about having four years apart. By the end of 2018, I'm living in Daegu with my beautiful boyfriend and our pet cat, Min. She's still as much of an asshole as she was at the start of the year, but at least she actually likes Wonwoo and I often catch them cuddling together. She's not the sort to try to eat paper, unlike a lot of my friends' cats, so she coexists well with Wonwoo. He's happy to let her sit on his lap and sleep for a while as he reads his book, and occasionally I'll see him reach down to give her a gentle rub behind her ear.

I'm currently working for a news company as one of their weathermen. I go in, put on the charm, and then have the rest of the day off. They're starting to trust me a little bit more with the admin work and I'm actually getting to help the people who determine what the weather is going to be, but I'm mostly just the face of the things that they determine. I don't really get how they manage to figure that sort of stuff out, even though they've tried to explain it to me a thousand times. My degree is in journalism, after all, which suggests that I'm not a sciency sort of person. If I was good at science, I would have probably taken my degree in that instead. It pays a lot better than some shitty office job that ultimately ends with everyone being laid off because they aren't earning enough money to actually stay afloat.

Actually, I shouldn't speak badly of them - they got me Wonwoo, after all, which is the only good thing I've really had from the place but also the only good thing that I needed. Except for maybe the friends who promised to stay in touch but never messaged me again once we left the place.

Anyway, I'm hoping that his job gets me somewhere. I'm not expecting the world from it but I'd like to progress in some way. Maybe doing more things behind the scenes or helping out a little bit more. Maybe I can do some hosting too, but I'm not counting on it. You can't rely on that sort of thing, especially when it's not your area. Most weather people just continue announcing the weather to the viewers. We can't all be Kang A Rang and spend our time working on shows like The Unit outside of our regular news appearances, can we?

Moving on.

If you can recall, in my first entry I told the story of how my company managed to worm their way into a huge New Year's party at the Park Hyatt in Gangnam. Really fancy, with all of the staff from really top-class companies going in with their partners and spending time mingling with other people. Now that I'm thinking about it, I think there was a reason why that sort of event was held in the first place. I think it was started so that people would be able to make connections with people from other businesses. You know, if you have connections, you have a greater chance of getting more jobs and that sort of thing. Your own business is more likely to thrive. Think about idols, now that we've brought up the topic of Kang A Rang, who is pretty enough to be an idol. Hansol managed to get his contract because he knew someone in the business. Seungkwan got his place because he knew Hansol. And there are a load of others who only become known because of their connections. If I remember rightly, someone from the idol group BigBang only became an idol because he was recommended to the company. A load of SM's artists join because of their connections. In fact, thinking about it, the big few companies either recruit from schools or through personal connections.

That's what I think our company was trying to do, along with all of the others. Which is a bit sneaky, if you ask me. We were supposed to be going there to meet new people outside of business, but it seemed that I was probably one of the only ones who was disinterested in the business side to things. Instead, I was interested in a beautiful boy who was reading a book on one of the benches to the side. I watched him for a little while before making my way over to sit with him.

I can't remember what book he was reading now and he won't tell me. I don't want to flick back and check because that would ruin the game. I'm specifically covering that bit up because I don't want to find out. I'll remember in the next few days and surprise him with the quote that I chose in the first place. I specifically remember choosing a quote so that I could woo him. One that everyone knows, obviously, but one that attracted his attention right away. Remember, he told me that he already had a drink and I knew that he was probably trying to get me to go away, but I decided to sit next to him anyway and so he ended up giving in and putting his book to one side. We chatted about things before going up to my hotel room, where we spent time dancing together and then started the year with a kiss.

Funnily enough, actually, this year didn't start too differently. Except for the fact that it got a little bit more physical.

We could have gone to spend it with family but it seemed a little bit dumb. After all, who goes to New Year's parties anymore? They usually end with drunk people having fights. It was one of the reasons why I didn't want to be around until the end during last year's party. People get out of hand. They start getting sick. They start throwing punches at people for ridiculous reasons. And whilst it probably didn't get like that because it was a work-based party, I didn't want to be around to see it if it did go down in the end.

This year, I spent the day cuddling up with Wonwoo. We had a load of snacks in the fridge so we just spent the day heating them up and only eating that. Wonwoo read his book - The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Murakami Haruki. Actually, I don't know how I feel about that book. It's actually pretty gross. I read a little bit of it with him at the start and I thought that it was really well-written. It's about a guy whose cat runs away and then his wife gets increasingly distant and whilst the topic itself seems really mundane, weird things start happening and that's what makes the book interesting. I was actually going to sit down and read it with him but then I noticed something around a third of the way in and it made my stomach lurch. It was just really graphic and gross and I can't bring myself to find out the context but I really didn't like it. Spoiler alert - it might be a great book but the torture scenes are far from what I'd typically associate with Murakami, based on what Wonwoo has told me about his other works.

(Damn it, he was reading Pride and Prejudice when we first met! Remember, I said that dumb quote - "One word from you will silence me forever." I got him the themed Valentine's card to mark the occasion. How could I forget that?)

Anyway, we almost got to the end of the day when he asked if we could be stupidly cheesy and do as we did when we first met. Well, to a degree. We were mixing things up a bit. We ended up going to the nearest liquor store and bought a box of wine. Then we went straight home and started to drink it. Whilst you don't really think that that sort of thing will get to you so much, it really did. Wonwoo and I had three bottles of wine each - totalling at two and a half litres per person - and by that point, we were certainly tipsy. It didn't hit me until I tried to stand up, but then my legs almost gave out underneath me and Wonwoo began giggling. It was probably the first time I'd heard him laughing like that but I loved the sound. I told him that right away. "I love hearing you giggling like that."

"I'm not giggling, I'm laughing," he insisted, so I got a dictionary up on my phone to prove that he was, in fact, giggling and not laughing.
"'Giggle; to laugh lightly and repeatedly in a silly way, from amusement, nervousness, or embarrassment.' By definition, you're giggling." He didn't like the fact that I was right, naturally, and so he playfully thumped me with a pillow. So I decided to make it seem as if it wasn't something to feel embarrassed about using the only means that I could really think of when the wine was going to my head like that. "Nah, I think it's really sexy - don't get like that with me. I wonder if the sex'll be giggly too, since you seem to be in the mood where everything is funny."

"Is that a hint that you want something more, Mister Kim?" I told him that it was. He hopped up from the sofa right away and made a break for our room, even though he knew that I'd gotten up off the sofa so that I could break the water seal and so I couldn't really chase him.

I chased him anyway and almost pissed myself in the process.

Of course, I didn't let that happen. What, do you think I'm a barbarian or something? I care a lot about personal hygiene and besides, there's no bigger turn off than your boyfriend wetting himself because he's drunk too much wine and thought it would be a great idea to chase you through the house. So I ended up taking care of that before joining him in the bedroom.

Strangely, though, the moment seemed to have passed. He was sat on the bed with his legs tucked underneath him, and so I just raised an eyebrow. "Are we gonna get on with it, then?" I asked. Wonwoo licked his lips.
"How about we put on the radio and dance for a bit first?" Just like our first night together. I liked it a lot. So we ended up turning on the same radio channel as we had done when we first met - SBS Love FM, if it matters - and we listened to the songs that started playing. They were just as mellow and romantic and so Wonwoo hopped straight off the bed and moved closer so that I could dance with him.

His head was resting on my shoulder as we slowly swayed along with the music. I could feel his breath tickling my skin. In fact, I was very aware of everything. The fact that our bodies were touching. The way that he tucked his face close to my neck. The softness of his hands as I held them. The tipsy feeling that made me want to collapse back against the bed. We continued to dance, though, until the host told us that we were ten minutes away from 2019.

It was at that point that he pulled away enough to look into my eyes. He told me to kiss him so I did. His voice was a little bit slurred but I was sure that mine was too. We were still very aware of what we were doing but the wine had hit hard. That's why I wasn't too bothered when the kiss resulted in us tumbling onto the bed together. He was incredibly gentle as he pulled my jumper over my head and then moved straight down to tug my sweatpants down past my knees. I was just as gentle as I did the same for him and then we were just sat there for a moment, completely bare in front of each other. And then Wonwoo broke into a smile. A really warm, genuine one. "I love you, Kim Mingyu," he told me. And my heart fluttered. I felt it go light in my chest and my head went light at the same time. It was the best feeling in the world. So I said it back.
"And I love you, Jeon Wonwoo."

Then he was upon me. Moving our bodies in unison. I sat up so that I could hold him close to my chest the entire time. I wanted to feel that skin contact and I wanted to still get the kiss in there as the new day hit. So we continued to mix our bodies together through that last romantic song, and until the radio host announced that we were going to start a count down. We counted with him, just as we had done last year, and then finally kissed as the new year hit. At that point, I decided to flip him onto his back so that we could finish the best way, and so we did what we needed to do until we were both satisfied.

I don't know what happened after that, though. We were out cold. I remember waking up on top of him this morning. I was still inside, which made dislodging a difficult task. I think I might have hurt Wonwoo, even though he insisted to me that it was fine. So far, we've had a breakfast that included that nasty hangover cure from the 7-Eleven, and we've done pretty much everything to celebrate a year since our first kiss. And that's what I like. Enjoying our time together and making sure that we appreciate how far we've come along.

Now, I have to admit, I've really enjoyed writing this journal. It has been a huge pain at times. I've had periods where I've made mistakes and documented it, and I've added entries where I've written without thinking, which makes for a story that's really disjointed at times. The plotline is everywhere and that's exactly why this is never going to become a feature film. I'll give it to a movie producer somewhere down the line and they'll look at me as if I'm the biggest waste of space in the world.

But let me tell you right now, I'm not going to do one next year. Not unless my mom gets me another journal with the date on it. I think I'll just take the reflection skills that I've learnt along the way and keep it all inside my head instead.

(Just wait now - I'll find that I'm bored without this, and I'll end up buying myself a 2019 journal so that I can do this all over again.)

Best wishes, future me.
-- Mingyu