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Welcome To New York

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“Hello, and welcome back to my BOO-Tube channel!” Seungkwan laughs at his joke, even though he’s made it a hundred times before.
“Or if you’re new here” -he continues to the camera- “my name is Seungkwan and I vlog around New York, sharing my experiences as an international student. Thanks for joining me!” He beams his biggest smile and claps his hands together.

“Today is just going to be a casual vlog, I’m heading to the library and I think I’ll check out Central Park. Can you believe I’ve spent almost a month in New York and still haven’t been to the famous Central Park?” He lets out a half laugh/half sigh, he’s been so busy with settling in to his new life, he hasn't had time to check out the touristy stuff people would usually do on their first day.

“So please join me~” he smiles and presses the button to stop recording. He carefully puts the camera into its case and grabs his bag. It’s September, still warm enough that he doesn’t need a jacket, but he picks out an oversized button up shirt and pulls it over his plain white t-shirt.

He walks to the living room/kitchen where his roommate, Seokmin, is playing video games. “I’m heading out now.” Seungkwan informs him.

“Cool,” Seokmin hums in response. “Will you bring back pizza for dinner on your way home?”

Seungkwan rolls his eyes. “We’ve had pizza three times this week, I need to diet.”

“But it’s Saturday!” Seokmin pouts. “And you don’t need to diet, you already look great.”

“Fine.” Seungkwan replies. “But you’re paying” he expectantly holds out his hand, as Seokmin pauses his game to pull a twenty out of his pocket.

-

As he walks down the street, Seungkwan films some short clips of the scenery, of his feet, a selfie in front of the subway station sign, to use as b-roll footage for his vlog.

 

Craving some caffeine, he decides to try a new cafe that’s by the library, ‘Chew’. The sign looks cute, there’s little cartoon drawings of cats with teacups adorning the windows. The bell chimes as he enters the door.

The cafe is quite small, no more than ten tables, some only seating two. It’s mostly natural decor. Wood and light tones, exposed brick, with some pastel accents here and there to brighten up the place. It feels homey and probably family owned.

Seungkwan walks up to the counter, the server is facing the other way, likely refilling one of the coffee makers. He is humming a tune to himself as he opens a fresh bag of coffee beans, seemingly in his own world, unaware of the customer waiting.

But when he does turn around, both of them seem shocked, the server that he didn’t notice the man enter, and Seungkwan’s jaw almost drops as he’s surprised to see the barista is a man about his age, with a strong jaw and the most beautiful eyes Seungkwan has seen before in his life.

They both stare at each other silently, for a moment, although it feels like longer. “Sorry-“ they both speak at the same time. “Uh, can I take your order?” The taller man behind the counter asks.

“Uh, uh, yes, of course.” Seungkwan can feel how red his cheeks are. “One large iced Americano please.”

“Of course.” The barista nods, and Seungkwan hands over the money. “It will just be a couple of minutes.”

Seungkwan quickly turns around, trying to get the embarrassment off his face. Cursing himself for getting so easily flustered at the sight of a cute guy.

“Iced Americano.” The barista shouts, pulling Seungkwan out of his fantasies. “Thank you so much,” he bows and grabs the drink, rushing out of the shop before he can embarrass himself any more.

-

Seungkwan finally makes it to the library, browsing the shelves as he sips on his coffee. He loves to read, especially poetry, he believes it helps with his songwriting, and with his English of course.

He picks up a random book, reading the back cover to see if it interests him. ‘When Emilia has a chance meeting at a coffee shop…’ He cringes thinking of his own coffee shop chance meeting just fifteen minutes earlier. Squeezing his eyes shut tight trying to erase the image as he puts the book back on the shelf.

He instead navigates his way to the poetry section. It’s only his second time in the building so he is still figuring out the layout, it appears he just came from the romance novels, and walked through the crime fiction section to reach the poetry corner.

He aimlessly runs his hand along the shelf, feeling the edges of each book, until it stops against a gap. Now he’s not a huge believer in fate, but since he has no better idea of a book he’s looking for, he decides that gap was made for him to stop there for a reason, so he grabs the next book.

Shakespeare’s Sonnet Collection

Of course Seungkwan knows about Shakespeare, but he hasn’t read much of his sonnets, so figures it’s as good a book as any to pick up, so he places it under his arm and goes to the check out desk.

-

After another subway ride, he reaches Central Park. It’s so different from how he imagined it. It really is a green space in the middle of a concrete jungle. He goes to reach his camera to vlog his reaction, but realises it’s not there.

“Oh no… No. No. No. This can’t be happening!” He almost lets out a sob. The panic rises in his body as he flaps his arms around, ripping through his small backpack hoping he just placed it inside there.

He’s emptied every pocket, loose napkins and random products strewn across a park bench. He tries to collect himself and blink back the tears starting to form in his eyes. He can’t believe he has lost his camera. He saved for months to get it, working any small jobs he could over the summer, wanting to be able to fully document his New York experience.

He lies back on the bench, defeated. Sighing as he gathers up everything to shove back inside his bag. Not feeling like exploring the park in this mood he decides to head back to the apartment.

-

“Hey, where’s my pizza?” Seokmin greets his roommate as he returns. “Wait, have you been crying?”

Seungkwan just drops his bag to the floor and immediately lets out the tears he was holding with a loud sob.

“Are… Are you alright?” Seokmin rushes over to his crying friend. “What happened?”

Seungkwan can’t say anything, he just cries as his roommate soothingly rubs his back. “Why do these things always happen to me?” He sighs.

“Kwannie, you’re gonna have to tell me what happened.” Seokmin says in a sweet tone. “I might be able to help.”

“My camera.” Seungkwan looks up, his lip trembling, but the tears finally stopping. “I lost my camera. Or, or someone took it?”

“But you’re not hurt?”

“Well, no,” Seungkwan seems confused. “But the camera, it’s gone.”

“Seungkwan, it’s just a camera, I was more worried something had happened to you.”

“Something has happened to me!” Seungkwan argues back. “You know how much that camera means to me. Never mind the fact I had to save for months, I was going to document my whole time-“

“Seungkwan.” Seokmin says rather firmly. “Stop spiralling, we will find your camera.”

“How?” The smaller man whines.

“Well, we can retrace your steps. Where was the last place you remember having it?”

“I came off the subway, I had been recording some clips, and then I went into this coffee shop.” Seungkwan looks deep in thought.

“Did you put it down at the coffee shop?”

Seungkwan blinks, then realisation hits. He must have put his camera down on the countertop when he was taking out his wallet, and was so flustered he totally forgot about it.

“Oh god. I can't go back to that coffee shop.”

Now it’s Seokmin’s turn to look confused again. “What happened at the coffee shop?”

Seungkwan groans, covering his face with his hands. “The guy who worked there. Ugh, it was so awkward.”

Seokmin looks at him expectantly, urging him to finish the story.

“He was just really cute, and we were staring at each other in silence, and like I got really flustered and stuttered on my words, and I just ran out the place.”

“Oh my god stop being such a drama queen!”

“What?!” Seungkwan looks offended.

“You’re going to lose your camera just because you had a slightly awkward interaction with a coffee shop worker?” Seokmin says as if he’s just heard the most ridiculous thing in the world. “You can just go back tomorrow, he likely won’t even remember. He probably won’t even be working!”

Seungkwan sighs, he knows his roommate is right, but he’s stubborn. “Can’t you just go for me?” He pouts.

“No. I can’t go.” Seokmin replies. “It’s not my camera!”

“Yeah, but wouldn’t you do it for me?” Seungkwan puts on his best puppy dog eyes.

“Oh grow up!” Seokmin retorts. “You’re the one who left it there, so they’ll probably only return it to you.”
“Plus, don’t you want to see this ‘cute guy’ again?”

Seungkwan smacks his shoulder in response. “I’m here to study, not to get a boyfriend. And he’s probably straight!” He whines.

“What if I go with you?” Seokmin offers as a compromise. “And you’re paying for the pizza tonight.”

“Alright.” Seungkwan begrudgingly agrees. He can just push his friend into the building and wait outside while he gets the camera, that seems like a plan actually.