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“Seriously…Donghyuck? You can read?” Johnny eyed the book tucked inside his bag among other paraphernalia. Donghyuck huffed, and pushed the book deeper among the rustle of other contents, until the bold letter of the title was not seen.

 

“Not funny.” Donghyuck stated, twirling a stray pen he found on his desk, in middle of his fingers through the gaps. Johnny shrugged, and signaled Yuta to come over at their desk. Yuta, promptly, took a seat on the yellow desk, shifting comfortably as his one leg dangled on the other side.

 

“What’s up?” Yuta tore a stretchy piece of a candy, before chewing it down hardly. Donghyuck shot a glare at Johnny but the latter brushed it off anyways. “Donghyuck…”Johnny bubbled into giggles, “he bought a fucking book. Like one of those heavy novels. Can you believe?”

 

“You sure that is not a porn magazine?” Yuta asked cockily, guffawing, shaking his shoulders. He paused slightly to tear off another bite of the candy. Donghyuck rolled his eyes, and reeled in the memory when he tried to sneak in an adult magazine into class but was caught foolishly by those jesters. They never buried it, and popped it up whenever chance struck upon them.

 

“Porn…PO…”Johnny enunciated the letters with struggle, rolling it on his lips, “The word is already so lewd. No wonder I can’t eat prawns.”

 

“Don’t ruin prawns for me.” Yuta bantered, “It’s enough Ten traumatized my life after showing me that milk video. Disgusting.” Johnny scrunched his face in disgust, and held his hand out, asking for some of the candy. Yuta toppled some pink tablets on his hand and shook the container, asking if Donghyuck wanted some.

 

“Nah…I’m good.” Donghyuck waved it down with a flutter of his hand, and Yuta gulped pulled another stretchable candy to devour in between his teeth.

 

“Were you seriously reading porn? What kind?” Yuta prodded, and Donghyuck trailed a grave sigh. He passed a glance in between his ruffled bangs, noticing Yuta’s curious eyes burning holes into him.

 

“For the last time guys…that was just one time. I was just curious how…”Donghyuck voice descended lowly, “that sex scene would turn out.” Yuta looked at him with condescending smirk, before morphing into a softer expression, “Well, you can look. You are a boy with hormones after all. I mean I watch porn whenever I can squeeze enough time. Those are my needs.”

 

“Yeah…sure…”Johnny added, “Just don’t masturbate too much. Believe it or not, I looked it up, but it does stuff. Bad stuff.”

 

“They do?”

 

“Oh well,” Johnny rolled his eyes, settling his fumbling hands on the table, “I mean that was what I was told once I asked the forum.”

 

Donghyuck muted the conversation to a quite hum, as he burrowed himself in the embrace of his arms. Johnny probably went on to tattle about the forum, where he asked certain questions that ate up his curiosity. It probably encouraged Yuta to open one, as he heard some rustles of Yuta rummaging his pocket for his phone.

 

“Oh Mark!” Yuta hollered , and it perked Donghyuck’s attention. His heart was galumphing in his ribcage, as he couldn’t bear to raise his head, so he snuggled a bit deeper into the warmth. “Happy Birthday, man. When is the party?” Yuta snug a smothering hug, as Mark tried to tear himself off of the flailing limbs. Donghyuck watched it unfold from the corner of his eyes, although it did not provide a better perspective. He could barely make out the tousled hair strands of Mark, ruffled slightly with Yuta’s palm, the school jacket loosely hanging on to his elbows, as the white shirt stuck to his chest like a second skin. It was lite the usual, and Mark didn’t appear any different. But perhaps, Donghyuck’s own heart did.

 

“No party.” It earned a consonant whine from both Johnny and Yuta, “Mom’s words. Not mine.” Mark hoisted his bag over to the Johnny’s desk, before leaning in, “By the way, what’s up with Donghyuck?”

 

“Rubbed his cock too much, I guess.” Johnny quipped, and Donghyuck could only groan inwardly. Mark squeaked a ‘geez’ in between his lips, before punching it close to imitate a pop sound.

 

“Johnny is kidding.” Yuta patted Donghyuck’s back comfortingly, carding his fingers through his nape, “Anyway, there is this forum in the in Internet, that discusses about these sexual endeavors. Johnny showed it to me just now.”

 

“Why were you lurking in there anyway?” Mark hissed at Johnny and to Donghyuck’s knowledge, Johnny probably pursed his lips and shook his shoulders nonchalantly. “Wow…”Mark exclaimed, “that’s disgusting. Poor guy…” Yuta carefully showed what he had discovered on the Internet in the meanwhile, and sneaked in the news of his favourite band coming up with a new album.

 

“That guy was really good. Can you fetch me a ticket too when you buy yourself one?” Mark said, carrying his bag to the back seat, and Yuta followed him suit.

 

“Are you going to pay?” “That is my birthday gift, lad. I am not asking for something expensive.” Mark snickered, as the table behind him clunked and clashed with Donghyuck’s own chair.

 

“Hey, Donghyuck! Could you scoot in front?” Mark asked, and Donghyuck slightly pulled the chair with him, shimmied with feathery steps. “I thought he was asleep.” Yuta remarked.

 

“He is fine. He is not asleep.” Mark chuckled, and continued arguing with Yuta about the person to carry the burden of paying for the tickets. Donghyuck inclined against the chair, once the front door had burst open and the bustles of the students in the corridor filtered through. A well-familiar man had entered the room, with an obnoxious screech telling the students to return to their positions.

He strode towards the front desk, and clapped his textbooks on the wooden table top.

 

The students stood, including Donghyuck, as they solemnly greeted the man with bent backs and mumbles of ‘good morning’. The man quickly told them to take their seat, and started the roll call. Among the beaucoup number of names, Donghyuck name appeared at 5th with Mark tailing his back.

 

“Oh,” The man grumbled, “Isn’t today Mark’s birthday?”

 

Mark chuckled, and sheepishly nodded, scratching his nape. Donghyuck felt around the telltale of his bag, outlining the rough edge of the book against his fingers.

 

“Then shouldn’t everyone wish you altogether? Come on guys, wish Mark a happy birthday.” The home-room teacher was too ostentatious for his own good, and everyone knew it all too well Still they all sang-song the cheer profusely, ringing as an annoying chant against Donghyuck’s ears.

 

˖◛⁺⑅♡

 

“Hey…I didn’t know this was here.” Mark, uttered, his obscure voice taking in the air of the muteness of the library.

 

“What?” Donghyuck popped his head up, from one of the shelves in front. He could only make out the Mark’s raven hair, sicking static in the air. Donghyuck delved back down, as he held a magazine in his hand. The girl in the glossy paper was proactively sinking his teeth in a green apple, but he quickly shifted all the papers close.

 

“The book…Strangers On The Train…it is here. I’ve been wanting to read it for a while.” Donghyuck slipped in the magazine back into the shelve, and tilted another smut magazine to roll his eyes over.

 

“I know.” That time, it was another girl, threatening to show the her nipples by hooking her bra over her cleavage. He gulped when he thought, that it didn’t turn him on at all. “You wanted the book for Christmas…but it wasn’t available, right?” Mark tip-toed over his part of the shelf to scan Donghyuck’s eyes, but was taken aback when he found Donghyuck staring back at him.

 

“Do you want to buy it?” Donghyuck eagerly asked, the magazine slipping away from his hand as it met the carpeted floor below. The white light stuck above, illuminated those pearl like eyes of Mark’s as he flashed a wide grin at Donghyuck.

 

“Nope. Costs a hefty.” He said, slightly mawkish tone knotted on his voice. Donghyuck slumped his shoulders, when he knew the impecunious state they were both caught in. Mark barely could save money, having to pay for all his entities then that he was living alone and Donghyuck never had money anyway, wasting it on food and other useless spree.

 

“Okay.” Donghyuck said impassively, buckling to pick the magazine up of the floor. He slapped the cover slightly, before lingering his finger on one of the bust of the woman.

 

“What are doing?” Mark peered curiously in to his shelf, trudging close slowly. Donghyuck quickly tucked the magazine in among the rest, and displayed his empty hands in the air. “See, nothing.” Mark let out a dry chuckle before hoisting his arms over Donghyuck’s shoulder, knocking him in with his knuckles on his head playfully.

 

“Is this about your unhealthy obsession with porn?”

 

“Who told you that?” Donghyuck asked, struggling in Mark’s hold. His legs whipped in the air, still holding on to their small aggrandized fights, before Mark let Donghyuck go with a soft punch on his sides. The latter winced lowly, and let Mark guffaw over his paper-like body.

 

“You know Johnny spills a lot when he is baked.” Donghyuck rolled his eyes, and imitated Mark’s tone before Mark pulled him away to the exit.

 

“You can go first.” Donghyuck said, and he flickered his finger towards the glass doors. Mark furrowed his brows, stepping closer to Donghyuck’s face.

 

“Is it because I punched you? I am sorry.” He jutted his lips out, and Donghyuck's fingers squirmed in discomfort. “Nope and move.” He pushed Mark to trip a few steps backs, and Mark caught himself not to miss a footing.

 

“Are you going buy a magazine-”

 

“No. Now go.” Donghyuck inclined his head towards the exit, and strictly planted his finger in the air.

 

“Okay…” Mark trailed, and Donghyuck waited until his presence dissipated in the crowd. He quickly ran to the shelf Mark was previously standing beside, and quickly scanned the titles looking for the book. Once he found it, he toppled it on to his hand and escorted it to the check out.

 

“How much is it?” He fished out a couple of tens from his pocket, and bunched on the table. The cashier squinted at them and told the copious price of the hard-cover. He rummaged his pocket for more notes and a couple lucky changes, and huddled it together.

 

The cashier collected it all, impassively, passing only a coin over the table. The exchange was complete, and Donghyuck was robbed out of his lunch money for a week.

 

“It’s good that you bought the book. It is a really uncommon book to find, so be glad you bought it quick before anyone got their hands on it. Also, hence the price.” The cashier threw the book in a plastic bag and handed it over Donghyuck’s shaky hands. He chanted to himself, ‘It better be worth it.’

 

˖◛⁺⑅♡

 

“Aren’t you going to eat?” Johnny asked worriedly, and poked Donghyuck’s shoulder.

 

“I think this has been the 5th time I have told you. No. I am on a diet.” Donghyuck snapped his face to the other side, eyes unfocused on the blur of the students.

 

“What is going on?” Mark appeared by his side, nudging Donghyuck with his elbow. “He is throwing a tantrum that he is not going to eat.” Mark sighed, and pushed Johnny from his seat so that he could convince Donghyuck to burst out of his bizarre demeanor.

 

“You okay? You have been acting weird all day.” Mark’s legs accidentally knocked up on Donghyuck’s bag, and Donghyuck quickly jabbed his legs away with a fist, and carried it on his lap. He had eyeballs stretched, and he quickly wandered his hands inside to check if the book was alright.

 

“Hey, what was that?” Mark hissed, and tried to snatch the bag from Donghyuck’s hold. But as wayward as Donghyuck’s was, he didn’t let go with the small amount of strength he mustered. Mark didn’t force back but let it go eventually.

 

“Donghyuck, it’s okay if you didn’t bring me a gift. But don’t be so moody about it.” Mark snapped, as he sprung from his chair. “Johnny, did you tease him again comparing his gift with with your Apple watch?”

 

“I might have.” Johnny nodded, making way for Mark to pass through.

 

“Now wonder he has been acting up.” Mark mused, and quickly turned to Donghyuck, “If you need food, I have a lunch box inside my bag. You can help yourself.” Donghyuck was left alone with wallow alone in his stupidity, because why in the hell was it so hard to pass a small gift to your best friend?

 

“Hi.” Yuta interrupted in inner volcano by passing a wrapped up sandwich under his shadow, “Thought you might be hungry.” Oh, his stomach was growling.

 

Thanks.” he quickly picked out the tomatoes in between the bread, which Yuta placed under his own wrap.

 

“Do you like Mark or something?” Yuta asked, and Donghyuck was to choke on the first bite but luckily, he was able to gulp it in.

 

“You don’t like him, right? Please tell you don’t.” Yuta didn’t bite into his sandwich at all, but studied Donghyuck's expression. Donghyuck muffled his answer with another humongous bite of the bread.

 

“I think Mark likes you too.” It triggered Donghyuck’s throat to convulse and vomit the churned food back on to the wrapper. Yuta looked at with dismay, and coaxed a chocking Donghyuck with pats on his back.

 

“What makes you say that?” Donghyuck strained, as he gurgled in a mouthful of water. He heaved a sharp exhale, before letting his sandwich be forgotten on the table.

 

“Oh…so today Mark was asking about the concert, right?” Donghyuck nodded, “He asked me if I could buy two tickets for him. Now, I know The88 is both of your favourite band-mind that. I asked him why and he brushed it off saying he had a date. So who is this date?” Yuta mumbled something in the sandwich before continuing,

 

“He makes this stupid name for an alias-Haechan Thicker. Now I know,Haechan is something he made up in that moment and Thicker is just the roundabout way saying Thacker from Notting Hill.Both of your favorite movie. So I figured, Mark was just-or will try to ask you out.”

 

“How ingeniously you connected the dots…” Donghyuck dryly, “Good job, Yuta.”

 

“Oh well…”Yuta chuckled proudly, “I am Yu-Were you being sarcastic right now?”

 

“I was.” Donghyuck stood up, and grabbed the sandwich to discard it. He stood in front of the trash, contemplating if Yuta was right. Would Mark really ask him out? If he did, what would he tell?

 

Well, the most important of all was, was he even gay?

 

He craned his neck, only to watch in horror. Yuta was shuffling frantically inside his bag, and was pulling out the book he bought for Mark.

 

“Why the hell are you snooping through my stuff?!”

 

“Strangers On The Train?”

 

˖◛⁺⑅♡

 

“Why isn’t Donghyuck answering my calls? It is either, the line is busy which means I am blocked. Or straight away, disconnected. Did I do something?” Mark asked worriedly, and Johnny seemed like he could care less. He languidly propped another piece of the chocolate cupcake into his mouth, and chewed on it slowly.

 

“I guess he just doesn’t have your number?” Johnny gulped the cupcake with a down of his water bottle. Mark had that unsettling feeling in his stomach, churning his insides. The cupcake looked distasteful (no offence to Johnny), and he didn’t feel like touching it any soon. On the top of all, Donghyuck wasn’t by his side to celebrate his birthday, to which he looked forward to the whole week prior. It wasn’t the best day, and he had mustered up so many feelings and words, to finally-

 

ask Donghyuck out.

 

That foolish, stupid, Haechan Thicker wouldn’t even answer his calls.

 

˖◛⁺⑅♡

 

“Why do you have Strangers On The Train in your bag?” Yuta turned the book over and found the green sticky note plastered over it, “Oh I know why.” Yuta scratched the note of, and read the words aloud, letting Donghyuck suffer in his containment of rage, worry and just embarrassment.

 

“Dear Mark Lee, Happy Birthday. I hope you have fun reading this book. From your-Secret Santa.”

 

“Why Secret Santa?” Yuta asked, taping the note back on to the cover.

 

“Because…Mark didn’t get this book for Christmas last year?” Donghyuck winced, and took long strides over to Yuta, to seize the book back. He meticulously straightened the crumbled note, and pushed it back into his bag.

 

“You like him, don’t you?”

 

“No, Yuta. I don’t.” He felt his phone buzzing in his pocket, and he picked it from inside his pocket. He quickly hung up the unknown call, and categorized it into his blocklist. He jammed the phone back in to his pocket, and took his seat in front of Yuta, trying to organize the inside of his bag.

 

“I don’t believe you.” Yuta prodded, poking his shirt from behind.

 

“Your choice, really. I am not giving the book him, anyway. I am going to just return it back to the library.” No, the library wasn’t kind enough to take it back, and he knew it well. Donghyuck was just going to rot it in his shelf, and survive another 3 days without lunch. He was in a deep rut, but he can crawl of it, he was sure.

 

He didn’t like Mark, he was sure.

 

“Call him. Call Mark, and say that you like him. This is going to be his best gift ever.” Yuta cheered, poking more aggressively on to Donghyuck’s back. Donghyuck sighed, and swiveled on his chair, to stare back at Yuta, empty.

 

“Not.” He stated and turned back.

 

“Please. If I tell him I convinced you to confess to him, I am not going to have buy the tickets.”

 

“Selfish, much?” Donghyuck muttered under his breath, “Also, with the fact he changed his number so many times, I don’t even have his number saved.”

 

“Okay.”

 

They had recess the next period, so Donghyuck quickly went to the locker room to change. Yuta, seizing the chance, quickly pried through Donghyuck’s bag and picked the book. Tip-toeing he went back to the class, and filed the book in with Mark’s other textbooks. He also sneaked some of Mark’s chocolates, that he got for his birthday, and gobbled it in.

 

Yuta was doing the God’s (-No, Cupid’s) work, and he was damn proud of it.