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paint your world with me

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“Taehyun, are you listening?”


“Hm?” Taehyun looks at his senior who is pointing at a word on the whiteboard with the blue marker in his hand. For the past five minutes, he’s been staring at his wristwatch. It’s almost five pm and he has to get home soon, but the broadcasting team of his school suddenly called a meeting to discuss new projects.


Taehyun is one of the two current DJs of their school radio and nothing being discussed in the past hour concerned him, so he started zoning out. (His friend Beomgyu is the other DJ – he skipped on the meeting this afternoon with the excuse that he had another meeting with his band, leaving Taehyun alone to sit through their senior’s droning.)


Taehyun looks sheepishly at his senior, “Sorry, I didn’t quite get that...”


“We’ll be adding a new segment to the radio show. Students will be allowed to submit letters and you’ll be reading them out. It can be about anything – just make sure to choose what you read to avoid anything inappropriate. Anyways, we’ll be posting the guidelines so hopefully that’ll be avoided. Sounds like a good idea, right?”


It’s a terrible idea.


“Yeah, it sounds great.” Taehyun forces a smile.


“Great, we’ll be sending you and Beomgyu the script later. Go over it sometime this week – the submissions will be open by next week.”


Taehyun nods in acknowledgement, then his senior moves on to the next agenda. Not long after, they get dismissed. Taehyun sighs in relief as he leaves the room to finally head home.





When Taehyun receives the script that night, he calls Beomgyu. He picks up on the fifth ring with a gruff voice.




“Beomgyu-hyung, were you sleeping?”


“Yeah, I slept after I got home from band practice.” Beomgyu’s voice sounds a bit muffled – like he’s speaking through his pillow.


“I can’t believe you left me alone in that meeting,” Taehyun says with spite in his voice, “I almost fell asleep.”

“What did they discuss, anyways?” There’s a sound of bed sheets shuffling. Beomgyu’s probably getting up already.


“They’re adding a new segment to the show. Did you get the script? We should go over it.”


“A new segment?” Beomgyu sounds more awake now, “What’s it about?”


Taehyun groans, “It’s stupid. Listeners can submit whatever and we’re supposed to read them. I’m assuming it’s all going to be confessions. I don’t want to deal with that.”


“Confessions? That actually sounds like a good idea...”


“It’s stupid. Do you really want to read confession letters every Tuesday and Thursday with the same cheesy lines, hyung?”


“I mean...” Beomgyu trails off, “Well, I don’t think it would be all confessions.”


“What else would people submit, then?”


There’s a long pause on Beomgyu’s end of the phone. Taehyun waits expectantly for Beomgyu’s voice while he reads over the script on the screen in front of him.


Finally, Beomgyu speaks, “Just – you know. Something. We should practice the script already. Do you have it opened?”


Taehyun has to stop himself from laughing at Beomgyu’s inability to answer his question.


“Yes, hyung. I’ve had it opened even while you were still asleep.”


Beomgyu ignores Taehyun’s words and proceeds to read the first line of the script. Taehyun laughs loudly and says the following line in between hitched breaths. For the rest of the night, they practice introducing the new segment together.





Taehyun was right. The submissions are all confessions. Some are love letters, but like that’s any better, Taehyun thinks. Most of the confession letters had the same format – Dear Smash the Universe Radio: first of all, thank you for reading my letter. There’s this person in class two... Come the last part of the letter, it would usually go (insert name of the object of affection), I like you. Go out with me. I’ll wait for you at this place after classes.


Taehyun is getting tired. Contrary to him, Beomgyu is absolutely enjoying the confession letters. He’s always elated to read each one whenever he’s the one assigned to read the letters. He even imitates the voice of a stupidly in love high school student. More than that, he cheers on them with a small shout of fighting~ and says that he hopes for them to end up with that person.


In a span of a few weeks, they get feedback from the past writers that they indeed ended up with the person that they wrote the letter for. They only read one letter every session, and sometimes they’d squeeze in the letters thanking the DJs for successfully bridging them to a good relationship. Soon, the submission form is being filled to the brim with confession letters, and they’re being labeled as the confession center of the school where it’s guaranteed that you’ll have a happy ending if your letter gets read.


But more than that, Taehyun and Beomgyu earn the title of campus cupids. Their friends tease them about it, asking the two to find them a good match. Beomgyu genuinely laughs about it, but Taehyun’s starting to feel a bit bothered.


He never asked to have the title as the campus cupid. It’s a dumb idea – to him, at least.


But who is he to complain when the ratings of their school radio show rise to its peak, prompting the whole board to treat him and Beomgyu to dinner at a barbecue restaurant with premium quality meat?


So, Taehyun continues to do his job, and he does it well. To their luck, no one has ever submitted a bad feedback yet after having their confession letter read. It’s pure coincidence. Taehyun thinks that he and Beomgyu must have been some sort of love gods in their past lives.


On a Thursday morning, he and Beomgyu are choosing the confession letter to be read for the radio session later that day.


“I think this one will do,” Taehyun points at one title after a minute of scrolling through the submissions.


“No!” Beomgyu exclaims all of a sudden, startling Taehyun in his seat.


“Sorry,” Beomgyu grins at Taehyun as an apology for screaming into his ear, “I just don’t feel good about it. Let me pick.”


Taehyun moves his chair aside to let Beomgyu scroll through the laptop screen. It takes a couple of minutes for Beomgyu to finally pick out a letter.

“This one,” He declares with a little smile of victory on his face, “I have a good feeling about this.”


Taehyun reads out the title, “To my friend. Hyung, are you sure this is a love letter?”


Beomgyu nods with an almost innocent look on his face, “Positive.”


Taehyun gives him a weird look, “Alright. If you say so.”





Later, they’re sitting down across each other with their mics in front of them and headphones over their ears. They’ve just finished playing a song – next on the script is the segment that everyone’s always anticipating for. Letters to Smash the Universe Radio, it says on the script. Taehyun mentally snorts at this. He wonders who even had the idea to have that terrible and unoriginal segment title in the first place.


“And that was Whiplash by THE BOYZ!” Taehyun announces into a mic with a bubbly voice.


“Now, it’s time for the next segment! Listeners have been anticipating the next letter with how the last confession ended up. Fighting to another couple in our school! Ah, love is truly in the air.” Beomgyu laughs lightheartedly, “Taehyun-ssi, will you read today’s letter for us?”


Reading from the printed-out script, Taehyun starts off with the title, “This one is titled To my friend.”


“Hello Smash the Universe Radio! Thank you for reading this letter. I’m sure there’s a lot of letters being submitted, and there’s only a small chance that mine would be the one to be chosen. I’ve always listened to your radio show – there hasn’t been an episode that I’ve missed ever since I came here. Anyways, there’s this guy in class one of year three. When I first came to this school, I didn’t have any friends yet, of course, but this guy approached me and befriended me instantly. He was so handsome that I felt intimidated! But it turns out, he has a pure heart even though he looks tough on the outside. Sometimes, he’s like a cat, actually. It’s a strange comparison, I know, but he acts like he doesn’t want affection but he does. He just doesn’t want to say it. So, I try to give him that affection. He acts like he doesn’t want it, but then he returns it! Sometimes, he puts me in a headlock and does all sorts of martial arts techniques on me. I think that’s his love language.”


Taehyun pauses to giggle at this.


“I’m a year older than him although we’re in the same year level, but he doesn’t treat me any different from his other friends despite the age difference. That’s the problem. He treats me too much like a friend, when I like him more than that. I don’t know how to get my message across either, so I just look at him with heart eyes and pray to the stars that he notices it. I don’t think he does, though. Now, you might think, surely this guy doesn’t like you back. But we’re not sure about that! Maybe he might give me a chance, right?”


Taehyun flips the script to the next page.


“This guy is a year younger than me, but he’s so wise that it almost feels like I’m the one younger. Somehow, he has a way with words that leaves me dazed. I don’t know if he notices that. He always just says that I’m out of it and that I need to sleep more, but I think I get enough sleep... I want him to think that maybe my glances mean something. Or maybe I don’t. Or maybe I do. Sorry, this letter is such a mess. Anyways, I’ve heard this radio show has some sort of luck with love, so I want to try it out. My mind is still a mess, but I want to tell this guy that I like him.”


Taehyun’s eyes flit across the script, and his eyes widen in surprise, “Oh my god.”


He looks at Beomgyu who’s across him. At his reaction, Beomgyu’s eyes shift to the script in front of him and lets out a laugh.


Taehyun’s face starts to heat up. Flustered, he continues to read the last line of the letter, “Kang Taehyun of Smash the Universe Radio, I like you.”


Opposite of him, Beomgyu bursts out in laughter. He crutches his stomach as he leans back into his chair. After catching his breath, he positions himself in front of the mic to speak, “Oooh, Taehyun-ssi has an admirer here.”


Taehyun wills his face to stop from reddening, “It’s signed as anonymous, though. I guess this person doesn’t want a direct response from me?”


“You don’t want to say your response here?” Beomgyu’s eyebrows raise.


“Well, I’d rather say it personally to this person...”


Beomgyu clears his throat, “Maybe they’ll reveal it in another letter, when they’re ready. You never know.”


“But anyways, thank you for the letter.” Taehyun looks at Beomgyu through the glass panel, “If you want to hear my response, you can approach me, since we’re friends like what you wrote.”


The segment ends just like that, and soon, they’re wrapping up the show with one last song.




Later, when they’re packing up to go home, Taehyun pauses and turns to Beomgyu who’s putting his script into his bag.




Beomgyu stops and directs his attention to Taehyun.


“You know that you’re my only friend in the same level who’s older than me by a year, right?”


This time, it’s Beomgyu’s face that’s reddening. There’s a mix of panic and expectancy that flashes across his face.




“Do you want to hear my response?”


Taehyun doesn’t wait for his answer.


“If you want, we can go out this weekend – wherever you want. And not just as friends, by the way.”


Then, Taehyun’s making his way out of the radio station. The door shuts softly behind him. As he’s jogging down the stairs (in a rush out of shyness from what had just transpired in the room), he hears his name being called out.


“Yah, Kang Taehyun! What do you mean by that?”





On their next show, Taehyun gets asked by their listeners what happened with his admirer. He looks at Beomgyu sitting opposite of him who’s smiling from ear to ear.


Taehyun shoots him a wink before speaking into the mic, “Let’s just say that it went really well.”


Perhaps the addition of the new segment wasn’t such a bad idea after all.