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Porcelaine Inhyeong

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Situated in a beautiful area in the middle of the city centre even a gorgeous, stylish restaurant wouldn’t stand out much if it wasn’t for the youthful figure of a pretty and breathless brunette at its entry. Said boy had just arrived there and was catching his breath before entering the restaurant. 

The bells rang symphonically as the brown-haired guy went into the building. His co-workers looked up sighing in relief when noticing it was him and not a new customer. 

Smiling apologetically, he waved at them before running again to get into the server’s uniform. Changing at the speed of light he was soon out of the bathroom already into a professional kind and smiley face mode.

“Thank gosh you’ve arrived only 2 minutes late today, Min! Who knows what could’ve happened if boss found out you’re half-an-hour late again!”

Hyunwoo smiled to him and handed him the pen and notebook.

“Anyways, my shift is over so good luck! I gotta ran to my classes.”

The tall male ran away before the boy was able to emit any sound. Chuckling slightly as he had forgotten his friend had afternoon classes, he immediately went to work.

He had worked in the restaurant as a waiter for already 3 years, however it has lately become difficult for him to arrive on time as he was finishing his studies earlier than usual which meant he had college classes every morning till 1 p.m., precisely when his shift started. Thankfully, their boss was extremely nice and allowed him to be late as he has known him for so long and he was such a good employee.

Having worked on the restaurant for so long enabled him to know all the regulars from the morning and afternoon shifts, which made the job ten times easier when running late as his charismatic but calm personality was loved by them and often got him out of trouble with their amazing reviews.

As always, he walked around the restaurant near the tables while waiting to be called, take the orders and give them to their chef.

Time passed fast as the chill atmosphere made it easy for him to relax. Soon it was 6 o’clock in the afternoon and his shift was over, what drove him to get changed and put his apron on his personal drawer.

“This shift was pretty hectic, wasn’t it?”

Another tall man called Mingyu had just finished changing as well and made a little chat as they waited for the other third waiter in this shift to get changed so to part ways out of work.

“Yeah, it has been worse though. Luckily I wasn’t very late too, which is great. Arriving late could get me in trouble even with our boss…” 

The brunette ruffled his own hair, smiling again.

“Talking about boss, tomorrow he will present to us our new schedules. I hope it won’t make everything more complicated than now, even for me it’s pretty uncomfy!”

“I agree!”

Both males turn their heads to the noise, shooting a friendly expression at their colleague. Together they went outside after checking out.

“Before leaving I wanna express how I’m freaking nervous and I hope they won’t try and put me in the morning shift, I can’t even attempt to try and attend it!”

“I’m sure our boss will understand, Jungshin-hyung, don’t worry about it. Like, he still hadn’t kicked me out!”

The three boys laughed at his expression, knowing perfectly his recent late arrivals and said goodbye, separating into different directions.

Chapter Text

The next day came and the same three boys were standing outside the building as yesterday the smallest of them had. They weren’t alone, there were also six other men. Altogether were all the current waiters of the restaurant. The less time anyone had been working there was 4 months, so they all knew each other enough to chat comfortably.

“Hey, Min, how are you? I haven’t seen you in ages since you always arrive late” one of the guys looked at the small male with interest.

Blushing slightly as he liked to pretend he didn’t arrive late almost always Min chuckled before answering.

“I’m ok, thanks. Uni has just been a pain in the butt”

They all laughed as they could certainly understand that statement.

“You’re finishing, right? I can’t believe it, in two years you’re finishing college! And I’ve been studying for already 4 years!” Matthew moved his head sighing in displeasure.

The rest of his colleagues laughed again as they’ve heard the men complain about college a thousand times at least.

“What are you all laughing at? I thought you’ll be scared of the schedule changes”

Their boss opened the door of the restaurant while observing his employees. Said males just stared at him as they’ve been startled.

Showing a kind smile, he told them to come in so they could organise their new schedules in a meeting.

Sitting in the meeting room Min-jun, their boss, started the discussion.

“Guys, we’re running out of waiters in the night shift. I was thinking that maybe Ba Rom, Ho Seok and Minho could work at that time, but what do you all think?”

“I don’t know if putting Minho in the night shift is a good idea. There’s a reason why he has never worked at that hour even if he has been working here for 3 years, more than almost everybody.” Ba Rom reasoned.

“What reason do you mean? Remember I just became your boss this year”

“At the night shift it’s when all the gang members appear. No offense, Min, but we all know you’re exactly what a gang member likes: small and delicate with feminine features… and very pretty. On top of that I don’t think he has much strength, no offense again.”

The other males nodded at that information. All of them were pretty tough or broad guys except from Minho, which was the sole reason he never worked at that times. No one wanted to risk their beloved waiter with any gang member.

“I’m not offended… But maybe they won’t do anything? I mean, I am pretty weak strength wise and I do look kinda fairy but maybe because of that they’ll just leave me alone. They’ve become aggressive with you all before.”

“Oh, you mean that they see us more like a threat since we’re more bulked while they might just see you as a pretty thing and won’t try to hurt you? I haven’t thought about that”

Matthew hummed at the information, reflectively.

“I understand your worries, guys… I don’t want Minho to go through any horrible experience neither, but we’ve no one else to work in that shift. If you, Ba Rom, and Ho Seok work with him I don’t think it’s too risky.”

“Okay boss!” giving up, the three mentioned males wrote down their new schedules while the other waiters received theirs.

“Now, thank you for coming! See you all tomorrow in your shifts!” the tall man waved at them and they went out.

“Min, don’t worry, ok? If anything goes wrong just call us” Ho Seok smiled at his friend.

“Yeah, yeah, everything will be ok. See y’all later!” Minho returned the smile and ran away back to his house as it was only 7 a.m. on a Saturday and his shift would start later that night.

Chapter Text

Minho arrived at this house with a tense expression. Although he had pretended he wasn’t affected by the new schedule, he was pretty terrified. He only knew the regulars from the morning and afternoon which made everything more complicated, as those regulars were usually extremely kind people or business people, who would never disrespect him. Working with gang members didn’t seem like a nice change.

Concentrated on his thoughts, he jumped startled at the ringtone of his cellphone. Surprisingly it was Jaebum, his co-worker. He had been working in the restaurant for 2 years already, so they were kinda close. But it wasn’t usual for him to call.

“Hi, Jaebum-hyung? ”

“Hello Min. You must be surprised but I wanted to give you some advice now that you’re working at the night shift.”

“Oh, ok.”

“Well, for starters I know you’re always very kind and smiley with our clients. You can’t do that now, not even with the regulars you’ll eventually recognise. Be straight to the point and cold, but still educated. A bunch of them will probably flirt with you, try not to get affected by it or else they won’t leave you alone. You sure have experience dealing with people flirting with you, but these guys aren’t to mess around. Just play the oblivious card. It’s risky but ignoring them or answering its worse.”

“I can do that… Thanks hyung!”

“You’re welcome kiddo, be careful.”

“I’m not that younger! But yeah, I’ll be careful, don’t worry!”

“Ok, I’ll trust Ho Seok and Ba Rom to take care of you if anything happens. I have to go, I’m having a date with you know who.”

“Oohh, congratulations hyung, you finally made a move!”

The brunette laughed at his hyung’s distress and bid him goodbye.

“Go to your date, hyung, see ya!”

He cut the call and threw himself in the bed. It was still early in the morning and he needed to sleep or else he’d be fidgeting the whole shift, which started at 6:30 p.m. and finished at 11:30 p.m. Soon after he fell asleep hugging his favourite plush, which was a whale, with his cats purring in the carpet.

Three hours later he woke up extremely anxious, as he thought he was going late to work. He got up very agitated and went to his phone about to apologise until he remembered his schedule has changed so he wasn’t running late. In fact, if he went to the restaurant now he’d be five hours early.

Sighing in relief, he lied in bed again watching his ceiling attentively. It was full of little stars that shone in the dark with fluorescent silver forming constellations. His favourite one was the twins Castor and Pollux, glowing brightly directly above his head. They usually help him to sleep when the loneliness got the best of him.

It wasn’t like Minho was completely alone. He counted his colleagues as friends, as they always show him he could become one if he wanted to. But, for some reason he never got as close. He lost his little family members and few friends in an accident 10 years ago and he never recovered from it. The fear of losing everything after managing to trust with his whole heart was bigger than any feel of longing.

But, even with his fear, sometimes and even more, recently, he found himself wanting more and more some friends to share his life with. He finally realised he had to move on, as they wouldn’t want him to be stuck on a memory his whole life.

This change in his routine of years could become a new beginning in his life, he thought. He only wished no one of the gang members would harm anyone.

Chapter Text

Soon it was 5 p.m.

Minho had spent the whole day lazing in bed but now he had to get dressed and take the bus to work. Changing into comfortable clothes, he ran to the bus stop and took it.

The nervousness was getting to him again, even after all the assurance his fellow colleagues tried to give him saying everything was going to be ok. He had his reasons to be fearful but he really hoped nothing would go wrong. He loved working in the restaurant and a night shift shouldn’t change that fact. But who knows, gangs were unpredictable. No one besides their respective leaders really knew what was going on.

Letting those both positive and negative thoughts invade his mind, the brown-haired boy was fidgeting with his tiny and slender hands unconsciously the whole bus trip.

Not long after boarding the bus, maybe half-an-hour after, he got off the vehicle. The bus stop was still 10 minutes away from his work but he was pretty early, so he decided to go to the mall next to the restaurant, eat something and maybe look around for some new stuff.

His university was extremely expensive. It had a tiny house (technically an apartment) as dorm, which was usually shared between two students or just for one, and the breakfast, materials, exams and school stuff covered. However, Minho had a complete scholarship so he barely spent the money he gained, which was a lot since he worked every day and was one of the most popular waiters.

That’s why he calmly went into a known coffee shop and ordered mocha coffee and toast with cheese, bacon and eggs. He forgot he’d be working at dinner hours, and after arriving home late he’d certainly not prepare any food, so he needed to eat now and enough.

As there was surprisingly almost no one there, the food arrived five minutes after he ordered it. Having around twenty minutes to eat he did it at a slow rhythm, savouring the delicious food with no rush. He paid before finishing, and as soon as he did he stood up and walked out to his work.

It was 6:20 p.m. He entered the place and went straight to his boss office. Shooting a smile, he greeted him.

“Hello Min! I guess you’ll be arriving on time from now on, right?”

Minho nodded, laughing a little.

“Well, that’s great. Before you go and greet Taecyeon as I know you’ll do I wanna give you some advice on your new shift. The guys probably gave you some already but well. Here’s the thing, as you know the night shift uniform is different from the rest. It’s basically a black and white apron with your name tag only, and whatever clothes you want with the only condition being that they’ve to be discreet and formal enough. The way you dress is ok but I know you sometimes experiment, so please don’t wear any soft baby boy influenced outfit, I don’t want any client going crazy for you and disturbing your peace.”

The younger man was not expecting that at all and even though he appreciated the concern and advice he couldn’t help to burst laughing with how direct his boss words had been.

“I gotcha boss, big boy pants the whole shift! Being serious, I got it, I won’t dress dangerously. I don’t wanna make any disturb nor be disturbed.”

Grinning at this affirmation he dismissed his employee, whom run away to say hello to the cooker.

Rushing into the kitchen he shouted an upbeat hello to another tall guy who jumped startled.

“Christ, Minho, you almost gave me a heart attack. Hi to you too, but isn’t 6:28 already? You should be with your apron out there with the other two…”

“Oh my you’re right, see you later Taecyeon-hyung!”

As messily as he entered the kitchen he put the apron and waved to his friend before getting ready for the approaching customers.