Have you ever been in love? Circle your answer.
“ So,” Mingyu asks, hands clasped together on the table. Wonwoo’s remembering all the times they sat at this cafe and held hands on top the table between sips of coffee and loud conversations. “Have you ever been in love?”
To his credit, Mingyu doesn’t know Wonwoo all that well. This is like the second time they’ve hung out, and it’s only to do this survey Mingyu has to fill out for his sociology class. Wonwoo wishes he knew the topic before.
“Uh, like what kind?” Like, I saw you and it was love at first sight? Wonwoo’s thinking of the second day of highschool, really hot girl in a really short skirt. That was love at first sight.
“It doesn't really specify? But, real attraction not just crushes,” Wonwoo nods.
He dated Soonyoung in grade twelve, they did the whole thing- went to prom, got expensive bracelets and cologne for each other, had a one year anniversary.
He also dated Wen Junhui in the second year of university to last month. That sucked.
“Yeah. I think so.”
Mingyu beams. “Great! Can you describe what your experience felt like?”
Like, sweaty palms and hot necks, chewing on fingernails and pulling on sleeves, like cold tap water and burning hot sizzling beef straight off the grill. Like, coke cans from a vending machine or iced coffee from a coffee shop. “One specific relationship or in general?”
Wonwoo bites his lip, twirls his straw around his drink. “Uh, nice? Like, it's kinda the same feeling as when you're up on one of those skyflyer rides, and everything looks so small. Like you're hella terrified sure, like scared shit weightless but you've got this one thing stuck in your head and that’s making the entire thing worth it. You're hanging on for dear life, but having the breath choked out from your lungs never felt so good.”
Mingyu writes it down, Wonwoo watches the pen scratch on paper and waits. Wonwoo's been to this coffeeshop every other day, he knows who works the counters and he's pretty accustomed to the rest of the regulars.
There's just one person missing, who finishes their morning class at ten and waits here for half an hour until Wonwoo’s biochemistry class is done and they leave together, with one blueberry smoothie and one mostly finished iced coffee.
Wonwoo takes a sip of his iced coffee, asks a question. “Is there a reason you're not getting me to write it out for myself?”
Mingyu looks up. “Body language,” he says nodding towards Wonwoo's cup. “You keep looking towards your drink whenever you ask me to specify what’s being asked for.”
“Ok! Last question, what did you mean by ‘having the breath choked out from your lungs never felt so good’?” Mingyu asks, smiling bright like it's going to make Wonwoo any more comfortable.
“Uhm, it's like the whole time I was scared of screwing up or having them see my faults and screw ups and like I was worried about what everyone else was thinking too? That's the insecure part, but then like dating someone? It’s really nice. They like you and you like them and there's shit to talk about. You're both interested in each other? So you listen to them and they listen to you. Also it’s kinda sick to be dating someone, even just for the status quo.”
Also like, Wonwoo's head fills in for him, later when he's walking back to his place, you know it's gonna be shitty as fuck at some point but this happiness is enough that you don't care. His laugh after Wonwoo made a bad joke was enough for him not to think about the sting from the first fight.
He throws out his iced coffee, and pretends he can't hear Jun saying “Wasteful,” in his head because it was unfinished.
(b) I can still smell her shampoo on my pillow
His grey sweater is slung over his desk chair, and when he goes to put it on because he has shitty heating, because he’s cold, it smells like Jun’s cologne. He sits on his desk chair, knees to his chest, hands wrapped around them, trying to keep it.
The assignment he was planning to do doesn’t get finished that night.
(c) I can still taste her toothpaste in my mouth
There’s a couple minutes to kill before Mingyu arrives for his project, so Wonwoo orders something. Three minutes and there is an iced coffee waiting on the counter for him.
When Mingyu arrives and takes a seat across from him, offering Wonwoo one of those smiles that make flowers grow, Wonwoo takes his first sip. It’s cold watery coffee, and it’s gross. And it tastes nothing like Jun does when Wonwoo kissed him in the middle of this coffee shop halfway through their drinks.
2. Do you understand what you’ve done?
They start off: sitting beside each other on the couch sharing one blanket and one line between their bodies. They end off: with Junhui yelling from the kitchen, nearly smashing a plate and Wonwoo, walking out.
do you know what went wrong?
I dont know anything
what happened? who started yelling
both of us I think.
ok, but why?
It was some line from the movie I don't know.
well obviously you do but I can't help unless you tell me.
I don't kno, it was just the guy did something dumb to the girl and he pointed out how I basically did the same thing to him
Ad maybe he didn't really mean it all bitchy like bc Im pretty sure none of us care aht that anymore but he /sounded/ bitxhy so like
I dky I said he shouldny be so annoying or bitchy or something then and he's like “its not my faukt my boufriend sucks so much i even have to do that do get his attention”
Ok ok not that long but that's what he meant
and I got pissed and then we started fighting about that
I don't even know
did you get kicked out or did you walk out?
(a) I said the only thing I promised I never would
I walked out.
(b) She looked beautiful and I didn’t tell her
“Yeah, well maybe! You should actually talk about things and deal with them instead of taking the easy way out and ignoring them! Do you even try sometimes? All you do is let others deal with it,” Jun’s yelling at the drama. Wonwoo agrees with him, up until Jun turns to him and says. “You have the same problem.”
“When have I ever decided to take a job offer because I saw you hanging out with your ex-boyfriend once? When did I even get a job offer? They don’t offer those to broke-ass uni students.”
Jun rolls his eyes, looks at Wonwoo. “Yeah but I’m pretty sure you completely walked the other way a couple times instead of just admitting you liked me”
“Hey hey, I called you pretty once,” Wonwoo points out shoving his legs into Jun’s lap, scooting closer. “And, you laughed at me.”
Jun sets his hand down on Wonwoo’s thighs. “No, Soonyoung said that you thought I was hot, and when I looked at you, you just looked away and shrugged.”
“Have you ever called me pretty though?” Wonwoo asks. Jun looks at him.“Yeah, I didn’t think so.”
“No, I haven’t. Because,” Jun says, hand coming up to cradle Wonwoo's face. “You're beautiful.”
Jun doesn't let Wonwoo pull away, so Wonwoo ends up repeating greasy greasy greasy into his chest while Junhui presses kisses into his hair.
3. It’s been raining for three days and you see her at a bus stop three hours away from your house. If her bus comes at 8:34 and yours comes at 9:15 then you’ll both get to your homes by 10. If her bus comes at 9:15 and yours comes at 10:34 then why are you waiting for a bus in the rain? Please answer clearly, in full sentences.
(Not a correct answer: I just wanted to see her one more time).
Wen Junhui, very hot graphic design major that Soonyoung somehow knows because of course Soonyoung knows everyone, sits in the library for two hours after his media studies class ends. Which is around the same time as when Wonwoo’s environmental engineering class starts.
(“I got him to make a poster for the dance team after following him around for two days,” Soonyoung says, offering Wonwoo the bag of chips as they stare at Junhui sitting three tables away.
“It's not like environmental engineering is even a legit thing,” Wonwoo says in reply, taking a potato chip.)
Basically, for most of first semester Wonwoo is five minutes, ten minutes, fifteen, half an hour late for his first class on Thursdays. It’s only Thursdays.
On the ninth week, Wonwoo's sitting with Soonyoung, third table from Mr. Hot Graphic Design Major (“I’d let him design my graphics, if you get what I mean,” Soonyoung says, wiggling his eyebrows at Wonwoo. Wonwoo throws a chocolate bar wrapper at him). They're set up really nicely, a couple magazines thrown around for naturalism and the usual mess of candy bars and chip bags that come with Soonyoung and his endless pockets. (“Aren't you a dancer? Should you really be eating this much junk food?” Wonwoo had asked at some point. Soonyoung threw a Twix bar at him in reply). The point: they did not look like stalkers, they looked au naturelle.
When Wonwoo realizes it's raining and he has a ten minute sprint across campus, he says “oh shit.” Soonyoung is the one who repeats it, loudly.
Junhui looks up, Wonwoo looks out the window, Soonyoung waves at him. Then asks, still in an outdoor voice if he has an umbrella that my desperate, already late, dumbass friend can borrow. Wonwoo hits him, but Jun actually does give up his beautiful, sleek, black, corner store brand umbrella.
They talk for the first time a while later when Wonwoo returns it, and Jun asks why he hangs out in the library if his next class is a twenty minute walk.
The point still stands, Wonwoo is not a stalker.
4. Define two (2):
Love | The way the sun hits her hair at six in the morning
“Hey, Wonwoo,” Jeonghan says, leaning over to pull a strand of his hair. “Since you're actually dating someone, what's love?”
Wonwoo looks at him, it's Jeonghan, both rounded and sharp and endlessly tricky. He shakes his head.
“Come on, tell the ace person what love is if it’s not defined by sex,” Jeonghan just said the word sex out in public, at a McDonald’s where kids who come to have happy meals, not badly timed sex-ed lessons, can hear. Wonwoo looks at him. Jeonghan stares back.
He’s better at the dead-eyed glare than Wonwoo is.“Isn't it like- different for everyone?”
“Dude, do you know how many people have told me you can't have love without sex? If that's the same for them, why isn't this the same for everyone?”
“I mean-” The umbrella leaning against Wonwoo's door, texts with clean spelling, a long nose and soft singing. “The definition is specific to the person you love isn't it?”
Jeonghan frowns at him, crumpling up the wrappers- they've finished everything. “Well, what do you think of loverboy that makes it love?”
When he's stretched out on the couch, limbs half hanging off the edge, looking like everything Wonwoo wants. Sleepy smiles in the morning, the cup of coffee handed to him with too much milk and not enough sugar. Checking his phone at 3 a.m and Jun breathing out softly beside him, a small murmur of “go to sleep."
Wonwoo finally answers. “A lot of things.”
Jeonghan raises his eyebrows.
“If I'm around him and I think that it’s pretty much fine like this.”
Beauty | The moment of silence after your heart shatters
Junhui shakes his head and says he’s not doing this again, and walks out. Wonwoo’s left standing against the couch, arms crossed holding himself up tightly. The way the door shuts is the only sound in the apartment for a long while. His own breathing is steady, but everything else is so so still. Wonwoo breathes out after a few moments- shaky, different the rest of the air in the room.
Junhui looks at him for a second, then laughs. Joshua’s the one who made the joke but Wonwoo swears that this laugh is for him, like everything else Junhui does. Dictionary, define the word ‘beautiful’, it’s this moment- Jun leaning to the side, shoulders drawing together, shaking with laughter. His smile, all teeth and big and hand coming up to cover half of it. Eyes, crinkled and bright- Wonwoo doesn’t give a shit about how much Soonyoung goes on about how twinkly Joshua’s eyes are, there’s nothing as pretty as Jun’s when they twinkle.
Junhui leaves, the door shuts and Wonwoo’s soul drops.
5.True or False:
i. You love her.
The hardest questions to answer, are the ones he gets texted by a number he memorized because his phone battery was dead.
The hardest questions to answer are the ones he asks himself, trying to figure out what his answer is.
Do you have my red plaid shirt
I think I mightve left it at ur place
It's the shirt that's hung over Wonwoo's headboard. Faded red with a rip on the sleeve that was caused by one accident with scissors, Soonyoung, and card-making. Wonwoo's borrowed it so many times, Jeonghan actually thinks it's his. Two days after they broke up Wonwoo found it in his shirt drawer, not the one for Jun’s stuff. It's been on his bed for a week now and
it reminds him of a lot of things. First dates and spilled ramen and Soonyoung at a noraebang and Jeonghan trying to wink. Jun. There's this faint smell of the Chinese brand detergent Jun uses, cloves and something green, his cologne and
something Wonwoo misses so fucking much it fucking sucks to break up with the person you love the most.
Should I come over to pick it up or
Can you drop it off
You wore it when we went to the coffeeshop for the third time do you remember that
Yeah I do
what happened to that
un-breakup with me
Except people don't do that. No one does that, and certainly not Jun because he doesn't reply after twenty minutes and he doesn't reply after two days. And Wonwoo's spent two days moping around in the same gross shirt and pants, watching nothing but shitty dramas halfway through, so he can't even regret sending it. He can't get any worse, so everything is fine.
Soonyoung comes over and Wonwoo finally showers. They spend the first half hour making awkward small talk, Soonyoung keeps avoiding the topic he wants to talk about the most for Wonwoo's sake and Wonwoo's sick of it.
“So? Didn't you ask Joshua out or something?” Wonwoo asks, snapping up.
Soonyoung messes with the rips in his jeans, running a hand through his hair.“Dude, you just had your worst break up yet. I don't wanna talk bout my new blooming romance.”
“Shut the fuck up, you do. Besides, I spent the entire week watching romance dramas, I'm sure I can handle a real life relationship story,” Wonwoo says, pulling up the sleeves on his sweater. Grey and bland like his life right now.
Soonyoung looks at him like he knows what Wonwoo's thinking. “Alright man, don't kill me for tryna be considerate.”
“You and considerate in one sentence? No.”
“Hey! I'm very considerate! Remember the time I got you those napkins?”
“I remember you spilling coffee on me and shoving napkins into my lap and saying, don't embarrass me in front of Josh! ” Wonwoo looks up at him. “‘Cause you didn't wanna look like a total klutz in front of him.”
“Or, because I obviously did not want to be associated with someone who looks like they peed their pants. That works well too, especially considering that I am not a klutz.” Soonyoung nods.
“Coffee is brown,” Wonwoo points out. “Besides, he still ended up dating you didn't he?”
“Yeah. It's great! We're great! He keeps sending me xD faces and I don't even mind cause he's really cute and he smiles like all nice and oh man, he got so shy when I asked him out. Like I was going to burst into song but he started walking away and covering his face by the time I started the public confession so...”
“Did he only say yes ‘cause you wouldn't shut up?”
“Probably. But I think he does like me.” Soonyoung’s quiet for a moment, then. “Isn’t that basically what happened with you and Jun?”
“I liked his face. Not sure what he liked though,” Wonwoo says quietly. There's a pause and then Soonyoung breaks the balance.
“What about now?” he asks. Wonwoo doesn't know what to think.
“I love him.”
ii. It was her fault.
He runs into Jeonghan at the public library, not campus, and he doesn’t know what to say. Jeonghan does it for him anyways, so it’s not like it matters.
“Why’d you break up? He loved you so much, what the hell did you do?” Jeonghan asks, and it’s not mean. Not even sharp, he just sounds surprised.
Wonwoo looks at his shoes, Jeonghan’s wearing the same ones as that day in McDonald’s and Wonwoo doesn’t know what to say. Jeonghan is Jun’s friend, not his and everything just sucks.
“I don’t know.”
“Wonwoo,” Jeonghan’s not even pissed, he’s just trying understand. Wonwoo can’t explain it to him, Wonwoo can’t explain what it’s like to love someone but not try and fix things, can’t explain how love can’t change human nature, how you can love someone so much but still be sick of them, can’t explain why they broke up. Can’t explain that it wasn’t something either of them did. It just was.
“It was his fault,” Wonwoo lies, Jeonghan’s already frowning, and Wonwoo walks away before he sees the glare and leaves. Leaves and leaves and leaves until carpet becomes concrete and bookshelves are stores and trees and it’s not air conditioning that’s cooling his face but wind.
iii. If you were given a second chance, you’d kiss her in the rain the Sunday before it ended.
If Wonwoo was a good boyfriend, he would’ve kissed Jun right after their first fight. Smoothed out the crease between his brows and apologized for every single thing he said wrong. But he isn’t, he didn’t kiss Jun, he stayed quiet and stewed in his own anger.
He kinda wishes he didn’t.
iv. If you were given a second chance, you’d turn right and never meet her.
If Wonwoo was a good student, he would’ve said no when Soonyoung asked him to come to the library with him the Thursday before Reading Week. Wonwoo wouldn’t have missed so many powerpoint intros. But he isn’t, he said yes, saw a stupidly hot graphic designs major and developed a crush.
He kinda wishes he didn’t.
v. You can’t regret a single moment that you had her.
Jihoon’s dorm is decked out with cute memorabilia shit Wonwoo wishes he had, and there’s a little Pikachu magnet holding up a polaroid picture of all his friends. He knows everyone there, but Wonwoo’s right in the middle, with Soonyoung and Jihoon, and Junhui, with his head on Wonwoo’s shoulder.
It was taken over eight months ago, somewhere near the tail end of September. All he remembers about that moment before the camera clicked was Jun taking his hand, Soonyoung yelling about Jihoon’s shark smile, and Jun whispering something at him; Wonwoo whispering back the minute the camera clicked.
Jihoon calls him, asking about the movie and Wonwoo shrugs. They end up watching Pixar and Wonwoo starts crying when Joy cries and Jihoon makes fun of him but it’s not like he didn’t bawl when Toy Story finished.
Jihoon’s curled up on his lap by the time Monster’s Inc is finished, and Wonwoo lifts him off carefully, going back to his desk and the picture.
He can’t regret that moment, he’s not looking at the camera, only Jun. Soonyoung’s caught mid-yell and the entire picture is slightly blurry. But there’s nothing wrong with it. They’ve broken up and they still don’t talk but Wonwoo doesn’t want to change anything.
He can’t regret a single thing about them.
vi. It ended long before either of you said anything.
“How did your last relationship end?” Mingyu asks, last question on his survey.
A fight, Wonwoo thinks. Twenty something fights and no resolutions to any one of them because they were arguing about the same things over and over again.
“Rephrase the question?” Wonwoo says instead.
“Uh, okay. Why did your last relationship end?”
He wanted this and I didn't have it, I wanted that and he didn't give it. I wanted this and he didn't have it. He wanted that and I didn't give it. Wonwoo bites his lip.
He doesn't say it, this and that are too hard to define. He looks at Mingyu. “Come again?”
Mingyu taps his fingers on the table, the same beat Jihoon always plays out and Wonwoo remembers that he's here on a favour. He should probably be more accommodating, but then again Jihoon never is. Besides, he's the one who's always complaining about how annoying this one freshman is, and Wonwoo’s pretty sure the person sitting in front of him is it. He's just not sure why Jihoon owes Mingyu a favour, he should ask.
“Hey, why does Jihoon owe you a favour?”
Mingyu lights up like a puppy. “Oh! Woozi-hyung? I helped him out with one of his tracks once. Also he says it's cause I keep buying him coffee.”
Jihoon’s a fucking liar, this kid likes him. No wonder Jihoon thinks he's annoying, Wonwoo is so telling Soonyoung.
Mingyu pokes him with a straw. “Do you wanna finish the survey now?”
“Ok,” Wonwoo says.
“When did your last relationship end?”
When? Last week of April. When? When Junhui rolled his eyes and Wonwoo walked out. When? A while before they broke up for real.
When? “When we stopped working out.”
Mingyu writes it down and doesn't ask for other details. They're finished.