The third letter is written on an old Pizza Hut receipt.
Seventeen is about to have a comeback and Hoshi and Dino have just finished choreographing the dance to the title song. The Performance team members are performing the dance to the cheers of the members. Everyone tends to be in high spirits during their first dance practice. They’re all excited to learn the new dance moves. They all fall into position and the next couple of hours go by quickly as they learn the new moves. The choreography is cheeky but complex. It isn’t the hardest choreography they’ve ever done but they know that the fans would like it.
They break for a couple minutes. Everybody instantly hit the floor as they guzzle bottles of water. There is none of the usual chatter as the members try to catch their breath. They’re all drenched in sweat. Chan is leaning against a mirror and staring into space as he tries to get his pulse to come down, Jeonghan is starfished across the floor; Seungcheol has already left the practice room to meet the Vice-president about the new studio. Vernon, Jun and Minghao are still practicing their hand movements as they sit in a corner, Seokmin and Seungkwan seem to be cuddling as they lie on the floor, Hoshi is still checking out some of his moves in the mirror while Joshua and Woozi are listening to music with a pair of shared earphones.
Mingyu and Wonwoo are sitting next to each other, leaning against the mirror as they sip from their bottles of water when Wonwoo feels fingers poking his stomach. He immediately turns his glare at Mingyu who extracts his hand with a jump.
“What are you doing, Mingyu?” he asks.
“N-nothing” Mingyu stammers out.
He slips his hand into the front pouch of the hoodie to rub the area that Mingyu poked when his hands touches a piece of paper. The paper is crinkled as he takes it out. All it says is “Meet me at the convenience store at midnight.” He rolls the paper back into a ball with a sigh and shoves it into his hoodie’s pocket.
They practice for one more hour and then head to the dorms when it’s 11:00p.m. They say goodnight to the members living on the second floor as the elevator takes the rest of them to their third floor dorm room. It isn’t much quieter now that they’re split into two dorms but Wonwoo still misses having all the members in one place. For years they’ve lived in each other’s space, the absence is felt even if just one member is missing.
He has time only to shower and change before its midnight.
The convenience store is now a fifteen minute walk from their new dorm. It’s close to the Pledis building. They used to frequent the store when they were trainees but they haven’t had many opportunities to visit the store since debuting. The store itself is dark when he arrives. Mingyu is sitting on the wooden table with a black plastic bag at his side. The weather is cold for the ending of spring so they’re both dressed warmly, Mingyu in a navy blue sweater and black track pants and Wonwoo in a long brown coat as he tends to get cold easily.
“The store is already closed?” asks Wonwoo as he climbs onto the table, “I wanted to buy a bag of pretzels.”
Mingyu rummages into the bag and pulls out a bag of salted pretzels chucking it at Wonwoo.
“Thanks,” he replies, opening the bag.
“I bought ice cream too,” says Mingyu, “we should eat that first before it melts.”
“Here, let’s dip the pretzels in the ice cream,” says Wonwoo as they open their chocolate (for Wonwoo) and strawberry (for Mingyu) ice creams.
They slurp their half melted ice cream in companionable silence before Wonwoo asks, “Why’d you decide to have a midnight picnic with me?”
“Just felt like I haven’t seen you in a while,” mutters Mingyu.
“You saw me today,” replies Wonwoo.
“I meant I haven’t had you all to myself for a while,” says Mingyu.
“Ohh,” says Wonwoo as a faint blush appears on his cheeks. “What else have you got there?” he says motioning to the bag.
Mingyu takes out each item. “Triangle kimbap, cheese sandwiches, cola,” he says presenting them to Wonwoo.
“Let’s eat the triangle kimbap now,” says Wonwoo.
“We haven’t been here in a while,” says Mingyu as they eat, “there was a time we used to come here every day after practice.”
“It hasn’t changed much,” says Wonwoo, “we’re too busy to come here as often.”
“I wish we could go out more often,” says Mingyu, “without having to worry about cameras and fans watching our every move.”
“You do go out often though,” says Wonwoo.
“Not with you,” whispers Mingyu.
“You could just ask me,” says Wonwoo.
“I didn’t know you’d want to. I know you prefer staying at the dorm. I didn’t want to pressure you,” says Mingyu.
“You’re not pressuring me. People who are dating go on dates,” says Wonwoo.
Mingyu promptly chokes on a piece of kimbap causing Wonwoo to gently stroke his back.
“I know you don’t like when fans ship us together,” says Mingyu, “you know if we go out they’ll find more reasons to ship us.”
“It used to bother me,” says Wonwoo, “but I’ve realised that it’s something out of our control and therefore I should try to not let it bother me. They’ll ship us together whether they see us together or not. Besides, my ship with Hoshi is growing in popularity so we’ll be more well-known than this ship.”
Mingyu shakes his head, pulling Wonwoo with him to lie down on the table as they silently look at the sky.
“The moon is looking beautiful tonight,” says Wonwoo suddenly.
Mingyu breaks off into a round of high pitched giggles.
“I love you, too,” he says as his laughter subsides.
“Let’s do this again when promotions end,” says Mingyu.
“Let’s do this somewhere else next time,” says Wonwoo.
“Hmm, the mosquitoes will be out by then. We can just go to a restaurant,” says Mingyu.
“What made you think of coming here today?” Wonwoo asks after a while.
“It was the closest place, the most private place,” replies Mingyu.
“How is this private? We’re out in the open,” interrupts Wonwoo.
“-and it was the place we first kissed,” finishes Mingyu. Wonwoo just rolls his eyes and elbows him on the side.
“I’m so full now,” mumbles Wonwoo, “it’s making me sleepy.
“You’re full already because you don’t eat enough,” says Mingyu petulantly, “Did you even eat for today?”
“I had bibimbap,” Wonwoo replies as they lapse into silence.
“Comebacks are tough on everybody,” says Mingyu, “Seungcheol hyung is on a diet again and has been going to gym more regularly and Seungkwan is suddenly putting all sorts of lotions on his skin.”
“At least he isn’t going on a water diet this time,” adds Wonwoo.
“It’s the pressure to be perfect,” says Mingyu.
“You’re perfect just the way you are,” says Wonwoo.
“Yah, why are you being so sappy?” whines Mingyu as he brackets Wonwoo with his arms.
“Because I’m sleepy,” says Wonwoo with a pout.
“Then let’s go back home,” says Mingyu making no effort to move as they continue to just look at each other.
Wonwoo suddenly tilts his chin up. This prompts Mingyu to bring his head down and close the distance between their lips. Mingyu pecks him softly on his lips before adding pressure as they continue to kiss. Wonwoo hooks his arms around Mingyu’s neck as they continue to kiss each other in brief spurts that eventually turn longer and more passionate.
“Let’s go home,” whispers Wonwoo as their lips part.
They quickly chuck their trash in the bin.
“Mingyu, give me a piggyback ride,” says Wonwoo, “just to the end of this road.”
“Hop on, hyung,” he replies. Then they make their way back to the dorms.