One Last Time
This fic is one I’ve been working on for a long time, and it’s one that I’m really happy with. The years have been worth it seeing how it turned out~ This is my first fic on this blog, so I’d love to hear your thoughts! And feel free to send in a request, as I have none right now~ (Also yes, Sooyoung is Joy from Red Velvet lmao)
Pairing: Wonho x Reader
Word Count: 7,336
TW: Depression, Swearing, Alcohol Use
Hoseok sat in silence, the darkness of his room surrounding him like a blanket; it was almost suffocating.
Three nights he had sentenced himself to such solitude and for those three nights he just couldn’t find the energy, the strength, nor the will to leave the comfort of his bedroom.
He knew that as soon as he left, he would be forced to don a bright smile and act like his normal self. But he wasn’t even sure he could fake a smile right now. He had tried to fake one on the second night as a rehearsal when he wanted to leave the confinement of his room. But forcing out the smile only made the ache in his chest tug more, further ridding him of any will to even attempt to socialize.
So he merely laid on his bed, spread out flat. The blanket tossed somewhere unknown in the corner of his bedroom. He stared at the ceiling like he had been for the past few hours, looking back on memories of the good times.
The first night was the worst, he had stepped into the dorm without a word to the other members. He ignored their inquisitive stares and worried statements of “Are you okay?” or “What happened?” as he darted straight for his room, slamming the door behind him. His bandmates had been so concerned for him, but they were too surprised to follow behind him.
That is, until they heard the loud crashing coming from his and Hyungwon’s room.
Kihyun jumped out of his seat on the couch immediately after the first sound, looking towards the room in a panic. As soon as the second crash was heard, he ran for the door to Hoseok’s room, throwing it open as quickly as it had been closed. Most of the bandmates had followed, to Kihyun’s left was Minhyuk, and Jooheon to his right.
Hoseok didn’t even flinch when the door was flung open, continuing what he had started in throwing assorted items around his room. He pushed things off of his desk, swiped books off of their small shelf, ripped papers, and punched the wall when he couldn’t find anything else to throw. Everyone just stared in awe at the scene before them, not knowing what to do. They noticed that Hoseok was careful to avoid any items that could be considered sentimental regarding her, because they stood out like a sore thumb, seemingly unaffected by the whirlwind of destruction surrounding the rest of the room.
Eventually, Hoseok’s anger wore off, and his punches slowed down, before he turned around to lean against the wall. His legs gave way underneath him, and he found himself breaking as he slid down the wall. His arms hung to his sides as he broke into sobs, no longer being able to hold them back.
Minhyuk eventually gathered up the courage to step over the broken objects littered on the floor. He made his way to their ‘visual’, kneeling down and pulling him into a tight hug, allowing Hoseok to cry into his shoulder.
His tears ran dry after around an hour. But instead of standing up and resuming his day, he remained in the same spot. Minhyuk left after another hour of trying to get him to talk. So Hoseok began his period of solitude, just laying against the wall for a while, the light stinging his swollen eyes. ‘It’s weird to cry so much that you just…run out of tears,’ he thought to himself.
Hoseok sniffled, mustering up the energy to stand from the wall to close the door, turn off the light, and try to sleep. Hyungwon slept on the couch that night to avoid confrontation with his roommate.
But Hoseok was unable to sleep.
The second night, he barely managed to produce the strength to get out of his bed to use the bathroom. He dragged his feet all the way and kept the lights off. He retreated back into solitude, not bothering to respond to the boys trying to get his attention.
“Hoseok, it’s almost noon already. You need to eat something,” was what Hyunwoo had whispered to him first.
He kept walking.
“I made your favorite; pancakes with chocolate chips!”, Kihyun said in a motherly tone.
He kept walking.
“We were all thinking about going to the arcade later, how does that sou-.” He shut the door in Changkyun’s face as he threw himself back onto the bed, shedding the hoodie that reminded him all too much of the events of the night before.
Around an hour later, his door creaked open to reveal a hesitant Jooheon holding a glass of water. Hoseok glared at him, and Jooheon visibly gulped before emitting a nervous smile and stepping inside, setting the glass down on the bedside table, leaving almost as quickly as he entered.
Jooheon refilled his glass of water after a few hours and tried to bring him food, but Hoseok didn’t have an appetite. Before the members went to bed, Jooheon came back in with another glass refill. Hoseok managed to utter two simple words.
They were lacking in tone, possibly worse it was lacking in feeling. His voice was tired, it was strained, and he didn’t make eye contact. But it was something, and anything was an improvement.
Today, the third day, had been slow.
Hoseok was unbelievably numb. He had discarded his jeans the night before and was wearing an old, raggedy tank top and basketball shorts, but he honestly could not care less about his appearance right now. He just watched as the sunlight crept in from the curtains. Eventually, Jooheon came in with a morning glass of water.
The water routine continued, him still denying food at every suggestion.
When it hit 5pm, it had begun to get dark. Hoseok was expecting Jooheon to come in as usual with his water but instead saw Kihyun enter with a tray of food and some water. Hoseok groaned as he rolled onto his side to avoid him.
“Hoseok.” He ignored Kihyun. “You have to eat.” He ignored Kihyun again. “I know it’s hard, but you have to eat.”
Hoseok grew angered at that statement. He couldn’t ignore him anymore. “You don’t know shit.”
Kihyun sighed, “We all miss you.”
“I don’t care.”
“Well, I do! And I’m not leaving until you eat every last bite of food on this plate!”
Hoseok debated ignoring him. However, he turned over and sat up grumpily, resembling a three-year-old who hadn’t gotten what they wanted. He was pouting, and Kihyun noticed. Kihyun had also noticed his filthy appearance.
Hoseok’s hair was matted and wild from being unkempt, and he had large bags under his eyes. He looked the worst Kihyun had ever seen him. He sat in wonder for a few moments, and Hoseok rolled his eyes at the gaping boy.
“Are you gonna give me the food or what?”, he asked angrily.
Kihyun snapped out of it and slowly passed him the tray of food. It was nothing much, he figured it was just some comfort food the others had picked up for him at a restaurant, figuring they wouldn’t waste time cooking since he likely wouldn’t eat it. So Hoseok looked at the food for a few seconds before picking up the silver chopsticks and eating it. Kihyun just watched in satisfaction as the older boy scarfed most of it down quickly.
When Hoseok was finished, he set the tray down next to him and drank some of the water before setting the glass on the bedside table as usual. He used his arm to wipe some of the food off of the corners of his mouth. He turned to Kihyun and sighed at him.
“There, you happy?”
Kihyun frowned at him, but Hoseok just rolled his eyes at him and eyed the glass of water on the bedside table. As much as he hated to admit it, he couldn’t take being the cause of Kihyun’s frown right now. He had so much going on in his head, and that only made it worse.
‘See? All you do is make the people around you miserable. What’s the point if you only burden people?’, he thought.
He shook the thoughts from his head; he knew that wasn’t true. The guys aren’t burdened by him at all…Right? Kihyun’s voice snapped him out of his thoughts.
“I’ll be happy when I see you’re back to the Hoseok we all know and love.”
Hoseok suddenly felt remorseful about his actions. He began to regret confining himself for those three long days. But he also felt like he needed them. He needed the time. But Hoseok had been given time, and he still felt abysmal. He felt like someone had stuck weights on his shoulders and chest and made even the simplest tasks seem like so much effort. So Hoseok just shrugged and sighed at the other man, rubbing the sleep from his eyes.
It was nearing dusk at this point and Kihyun looked at his phone’s clock quickly. “I’ll be back soon, I’m supposed to get the dishes from your meal washed before dinnertime,” he muttered hurriedly.
He quickly and quietly stood, grabbing Hoseok’s used dishes as he exited the room. Hoseok then realized that Kihyun had cooked that meal for him. It was rather tasty, and it brought a hint of a smile to Hoseok’s face knowing that he had done that for him.
He figured that if Kihyun could put that much effort into a meal for him, then he should put forth some effort in return. So, he dragged himself off of the bed and trudged out of the room. Grabbing a nonspecific shirt and pair of jeans on the way to the bathroom.
For the past three days, he hadn’t looked in a mirror at all. He had avoided everything with a reflective surface. He couldn’t face himself.
But for some reason, as he entered the bathroom, standing in front of the mirror and flicking the light on, he just took a moment to stand motionless, staring discontentedly at his reflection. He looked like a mess.
He finally broke from his trance, pulling his eyes downward to pull on the shirt over his tank top. He tugged off the basketball shorts and replaced them with a clean pair of jeans. He brushed his teeth and then his hair, already feeling a little less unkempt. He actually managed to make himself somewhat presentable as he trudged back into his bedroom.
He grabbed his phone off of the nightstand, catching up on social media while he waited for Kihyun to return. He said he would, and Hoseok believed him. So he waited, and half an hour later, he quietly stepped back into the room. Hoseok’s eyes snapped up from his phone as he closed it and looked towards Kihyun.
Kihyun smiled when he noticed Hoseok’s appearance. “Did you comb your hair?”, he asked, and Hoseok nodded slowly at him.
Kihyun smiled in response, before remembering why he had returned. “Today is when the falling star is supposed to come…”
Hoseok’s curious expression faded and was replaced with a solemn one. He was supposed to watch the star with her tonight. They were supposed to wish for their love to last forever. They were supposed to kiss as it went by. He was supposed to tell her that he loved her for the first time once it was gone, and she would say the same. But he would never get to tell her that now.
He wondered if someone else would be kissing her as the star passed by, and he quickly grew angry at the thought. His fists clenched and tears sprung to his eyes.
Kihyun took the initiative to sit down next to Hoseok on the bed, rubbing slow circles into his back. Hoseok quickly wiped the tears from his eyes and regained his composure as Kihyun began to speak again. “We’d all love for you to come watch with us, Hoseok.”
Hoseok thought about it, he did. But he just couldn’t stomach the idea of smiling and laughing with the guys quite yet. He needed a little more time…
“I don’t know if I’m up to it yet…I’m sorry,” he said with a shameful look.
Kihyun nodded slowly, “That’s okay. You need time, I understand.”
And so Kihyun kept rubbing circles on his back and humming every so often. But after a couple minutes, Kihyun stood up and without a word, he left the room. Hoseok sighed as he began to lie back down. When Kihyun came back in again, he was holding a few bottles of Soju.
Hoseok chuckled dryly as Kihyun handed one to him and set the other two on the bedside table.
“Be sure to even it out with some water at least, but I figure you could use these right about now.”
Hoseok smiled, he really smiled at the younger boy as he popped open one of the bottles, toasting it to him before taking a large sip as Kihyun left for the night. Hoseok thought about nothing important as he lightly sipped on his first bottle. He didn’t get a chance to drink often so he knew that three bottles would get him at least a little drunk. (However, he would likely be glad that he was confining himself to his room because of how drunk he would get off of them.)
He eventually heard some commotion outside his window. He walked over to it to see six boys laughing over some barbecue. Hoseok sighed as tears welled up in his bloodshot eyes again. He missed them. He missed how everything used to be. He wished that three days ago had never happened. He silently watched them socialize for a while before he noticed Kihyun turn to look at him, and he got the others’ attention.
All six of them turned to wave to him as he slowly waved back. Many of them raised their glasses to him. Be it Soju, or a soft drink, or anything in between, and so he did the same.
After about ten minutes, he pulled up a chair from his desk and waited for the star to come, thinking about what they were doing down there. He figured that Jooheon and Changkyun would be acting rowdy, and the others would all be smiling and laughing at their antics. He ran the scenario through his mind before naturally, his mind wandered back to her. He bet that she was watching from that spot in the park she loved so much, and he wondered if she’d worn that white bomber jacket she wore so often to see it, or if she had opted instead for a more modest outfit, like that yellow sundress he’d bought her.
He wondered about these things, that is, until he saw a streak of gold dart past him as he stared at the sky. And as he closed his eyes tightly, he wished for the only thing he ever wanted.
He wished for her happiness.
Hoseok stepped out of his dorm as he finished sliding one of his arms into his hoodie sleeve.
He was supposed to be meeting her at his favorite café, but first, he had to lose the paparazzi that he knew would be following him. He first made sure that his sunglasses and mask were secure in his pocket. He also knew that he had a spare hat and jacket hidden in an abandoned alleyway.
He walked at a fast pace; he really didn’t want to be late again. He had been late the last time the two had planned to meet up, and by the time he had arrived, she had already gone home. It wasn’t his fault that he was late that time though, his manager had asked him to stay later than he had anticipated helping some trainee with a dance routine (One of the girls’ dance partners hadn’t shown up, and he was the only one still there at the time), and he wasn’t able to leave to get his phone from his studio.
When she had found out his reason for being late, she had only gotten more upset. She never said why. So he made a point to not be late this time. It helped that he was beyond excited to see her.
As he entered the abandoned alleyway containing his hidden clothes, Hoseok quickly pulled on the new jacket, resisting the urge to smile. He threw his sunglasses and mask into his hiding spot before pulling out new ones and putting them on along with his alternate hat. At this point, he couldn’t hold the smiling back anymore. He looked both ways before exiting the alleyway, his grin spreading as wide as it could go. He was just that excited to meet her.
He knew that he was still being followed, so he quickly located a crowd. He squeezed into it and managed to get lost in the crowd. He figured this would be the fastest way to avoid the paparazzi. He weaved through the crowd, getting further away from the reporters. And as the crowd neared the café he was supposed to be at, he got ready to slip into the doors.
Once he was inside, he sat down at the table furthest from the windows, knowing she would prefer that table. He got a glass of water from the waitress and toyed with the straw in anticipation. He wondered if she was getting payback on him by showing up to the date late. However, when he heard the doorbells chime a moment later, his thoughts ground to a halt as he shot his gaze up to see if it was his beloved.
And it was.
Somehow, his grin grew wider at the sight of her. Hair slightly damp from a shower, hands nervously clasped together at her stomach as she scanned the crowd for her boyfriend. They locked eyes and his chest felt warmer when they did, his love for her spreading throughout his body and making him feel giddy, like a child.
She came swiftly and took the seat across from him, avoiding his gaze, and sipping on the drink he had ordered for her. Hoseok attempted to make small talk with her, but she offered him only brief answers in return, and they were soon met with an uncomfortable silence as the minutes dragged on.
“What’s the matter, sweetheart?”, he asked her. A look in his eyes expressing love and concern. She was quiet for a few moments, before she muttered something under her breath. “What’d you say, dear?”
“I…I think we should break up.”
The words hit him like a brick. Actually, it was more like a semi-truck. Of all the things he may have expected her to say, this was not one of them. He felt a cold hand of sorrow slither up his spine, and he felt the warmth in his chest secede into a pit in his stomach. “W-What?…Why? I don’t understand, did I do something wrong? Is this about being la-”
“Hoseok, slow down. It’s not your fault…I just…”, she trailed off and he searched her eyes for a tone of kidding, but he found none. He was met with only determination. “Just…what? Tell me why.”
She sighed frustratedly, “I just need space right now, to think…about us.”
“This doesn’t make any sense, you were so excited for this date…what happened?”
“Nothing happened, Hoseok…I just want to be alone right now,” he notices a wetness glazing over her eyes as she breaks eye contact, quickly gathering her things and dashing out the door without another word.
Hoseok sat at his table for a moment, eyes wide with shock. Was this really happening? With a trembling hand, he grabbed his jacket off of the back of his chair and walked out of the cafe, the spring in his step giving way to a slow and trudging one. It was a chilly afternoon, and he couldn’t help but feel like the cold aided in making him feel that much more alone in the world. Tears filled his eyes and threatened to spill.
And he knew in that moment, that he was destined to be alone.
It had been four days since she had last seen the sun.
Four days since she walked away from the best thing that’s ever happened to her.
She knew as soon as she entered the cafe that there was no going back. She had to end things, for his sake. But now, it hurts so much. As soon as those dagger-like words left her mouth, she felt that it was a double-edged blade. It cut her beloved, and impaled her heart on its silver tip.
Now that she had made her fate, it no longer feels like she did the right thing. It feels like hell. Feels like her organs are melted, and she can no longer feel anything but pain. He held her heart, and he always would. No matter if they were separated by a million oceans, or by a breakup.
She knew that she would never find someone who made her as happy as he made her. He knew her better than she knew herself, and she knew him just as well. Those things don’t go away, lingering in the back of her mind to visit when reminiscing on the good old days. But now, the memories are too painful to bear. The only thing that stopped the memories from invading her subconscious was by washing away its resolve with a bottle of soju.
So, she downed as many as her quivering body could handle; drinking alone in the darkness of her shared apartment. Her roommate didn’t return until late at night, allowing her the time to herself she desired. She sat on the couch, trying to busy herself with watching the variety show playing on the TV.
It wasn’t as easy to distract from the pain as she had hoped, as she still found her mind wandering back to Hoseok. About how his hair looked when they woke up first thing in the morning. How proud he looked when he cooked dinner for them. And about why she decided to end the best era of her life.
It all started about a month before, when they had finally both gotten a day off, and had planned for a date in the park. It was a beautiful date, walking hand in hand along the riverside. She had told him that was her favorite spot in the city. It was a magnificent place, full of the autumn breeze, the essence of dried leaves hanging in the air, and filling her nose with their scent. It was perfect.
They hadn’t noticed the reporter lurking beyond the trees, and taking their photo, hand in hand with a smile on their faces. The look on their faces made their love undeniable.
Days later, the tabloids were filled with their photos. They hadn’t ever talked about revealing their relationship before. They weren’t ready to be public, weren’t ready for their every move to be scrutinized.
Hoseok saw it as a blessing in disguise. He could tell the world about his love, and no longer had to hide how his mood improved when she was around. He was excited to show her off, to hang his arm around her shoulders in public, and tell everyone of their love.
She thought the same in the early days of their relationship going public. She was ready to meet his parents anyway, to speak with them of bigger plans for their future. Ready to be with him to the end of their days.
But as time passed, her excitement faded. Scrolling through social media became a test of her strength. A once supporting following turning against them. There were good comments, wishing them luck in their relationship, of course. But the negatives, even if there were less, always lingered in her mind.
'If he isn’t going to put his all into Monsta X, then he should just leave. It’s so selfish of him to have a girlfriend when the others are working so hard.’
'I can’t believe he lied to us for so long. He needs to be kicked out of Monsta X.’
'Why is he with her? It’s clear who’s the reacher and who’s the settler in this couple. She’s so disgusting.’
Many comments akin to these littered the pages of their social media. Some went as far as to tell them to end their lives. It shouldn’t have gotten to her, she tried not to let it, but it’s easier said than done.
Soon, she found herself sweating at the sound of whispers behind her back, wondering if they recognized her, and if they hated her as much as the others.
She began to avoid leaving her apartment. It was easier to keep away from the judging eyes of others while confined to her bedroom. She let herself fall back into a pattern of self-hate, one that she had only narrowly escaped from before.
After weeks of hearing other people in her mind, telling her she’s ugly, and worthless, and deserves to die for ruining her boyfriend’s career, she believed them.
She knew how miserable she was, and she could only imagine how terrible Hoseok was feeling. She felt even worse for holding him back. She was dragging him down, and in order for him to get back his happiness, she had to let him go.
For a long time, she battled with this thought. She wanted to keep him all to herself, and never let him go, but she knew that wasn’t fair to him. So after much debate, she decided to set him free.
Her thoughts were interrupted by her roommate entering the passcode to their apartment. As she stepped into the darkness of their living space, she turned on the light to see her friend sitting expressionless on the couch. “It’s three A.M. You should be in bed by now,” she said.
“I’m fine, Sooyoung. I’m going to bed soon,” she lied. She knew that it was near impossible to sleep with the memories circling through her head like a vulture.
Sooyoung huffed as she put her purse on the table next to the couch, walking past her friend to the kitchen, and getting a drink out of the fridge. “The offer still stands if you need to talk about what’s been on your mind,” she said exasperated, moving her legs to sit down on the couch next to her, and putting them back on her lap.
Sooyoung sighed at her monotonous response, knowing all too well the cause of her misery. “If you’re serious about breaking up with him, then you need to move on.”
She must not have liked this advice, because she rolled her eyes and pulled her legs from Sooyoung’s lap, bringing them to her chest and turning to face towards the TV once more.
“I’m serious. We should go out tomorrow night, and just dance and dance all night. I know how much you like dancing. How does that sound? Maybe we could even get you a little bit of arm candy to help you get over him.”
“I’m gonna pass.”
Sooyoung started getting frustrated at her roommate’s unwillingness to cooperate. “It’ll be fun, come on!”
“Please? I’ll even pay for your drinks!”
“I said no, thanks.”
“I don’t see why you’re so adamant about staying cooped up in the house all the time. It’s unhealth-”
“I said no thank you!”, she shouted, finally looking over to make eye contact with Sooyoung, her eyes piercing daggers into her.
“Jesus, dude. I was just trying to help,” she said, standing from her spot on the couch, and marching towards her room. “Next time, I’ll just let you waste your life away wallowing on the couch over some guy that you broke up with!”
And with that, Sooyoung slammed her door shut, isolating her once again.
She sighed to herself, feeling the drooping feeling in her chest return once more. She didn’t mean for things to go this way with Sooyoung. But she fucked everything up, like she always does.
So, she reached to her side and pried the lid off of another bottle of soju.
Hoseok pulled on his leather jacket over a white T-Shirt, smoothing it down, and making the final touches on his outfit, fixing his hair in the mirror.
Minhyuk stood behind him, sitting on the older boy’s bed in wait. He traced the pattern of the bedsheets idly with his index finger, thinking about his wording carefully as to not predisposition Hoseok to having a bad night.
It had been nearly two weeks since Hoseok’s breakup, and he was feeling a little better nowadays. He allowed himself to leave the confines of his room and opened up to his bandmates. He was currently readying himself for his first outing since all of this began. They were going to their favorite barbecue restaurant, all seven of them, to eat and laugh together.
“If you’re not ready to go out yet, don’t feel pressured to. I can bring you home a meal from the restaurant,” he finally muttered.
“It’s okay, Minhyuk. I think I’m ready to try. I’m ready to smile again. It still hurts, and I think it always will, but I can’t put my whole life on hold anymore.”
Minhyuk nodded at him, “You’re right, but don’t push yourself. You could end up undoing all your progress.”
“I can do it, don’t worry. Have faith in me.”
Hoseok finished fixing his clothes and turned to Minhyuk. “Are you ready to go?”
Hoseok had been excited for this meal. Not only for the chance to eat meat, but he was ready to try joking with the boys once again. He missed it desperately.
But as he sat, munching on his appetizer, he found himself clamming up. He wanted to joke with them, but he couldn’t find the words. He wasn’t used to this anymore.
He couldn’t help but feel like once again, he was burdening his friends with his problems, his negativity. He looked down at his lap, hoping with all his heart that he wasn’t ruining the night for everyone else.
As they all finished their meal, they readied to complete their night by heading to a nearby arcade, Hoseok’s favorite.
But suddenly, the thought of being in the loud atmosphere of the arcade made him sick to his stomach. He made up his mind to suck it up and go to the arcade. What was he so afraid of, anyway?
But as more time passed, he talked himself out of it. He raised his voice seemingly for the first time that night; “Guys, it was fun and all, but I think I’m gonna skip the arcade and head back to the dorm.”
There was a symphony of 'Aw’s around him, as his friends agreed to return to the dorm with him.
“No, no. Please don’t let me ruin your fun. I’ll head back alone, it’s okay. Go have fun.”
And with some dejected 'okay’s, and six 'Goodbye’s, he slipped his hands into his pockets as he began the trek down the cold street to the familiarity of the dorm.
He ignored his surroundings as much as he could, trying to walk home as fast as his legs could carry him. Too much on the streets reminded him of her. It was a good plan until he accidentally locked eyes with the specialty gelato shop.
He had taken her there on their sixth date when he had heard her complaining to her friends that she could never find a place that sells Gelato as tasty as the kind she had while vacationing one summer in Europe. So he made up his mind to find some for her.
That was the night of their first kiss.
It was soft, and her lips left a taste of caramel on his own, because of the flavor she had chosen, and he decided that he wanted to make her his.
The memories made him dizzy, his footsteps screeching to a halt, as he leaned on the building next to him for support. Tears pricked his eyes as he made up his mind to slip into the alleyway near him.
He covered his mouth to keep the sobs from drawing attention as he slumped against a wall, his legs barely holding himself up in all their trembling.
He stood like that for a few minutes, before he heard a quiet voice speak up from the end of the alley. “H-Hoseok?”
He looked up and saw Minhyuk, standing startled and looking at him with concern in his eyes.
Hoseok’s breath hitched, and his legs gave way under him, sending him falling to the ground on his knees, forcing him to uncover his mouth to brace his fall.
Loud sobs now ringing through the alleyway, Minhyuk sped over to Hoseok’s side and pulled him into his chest, laying his head on his shoulder and rubbing his back, shushing him and telling him that it would all be okay.
Many more weeks passed before Hoseok was able to walk anywhere by himself. He knew if he tried, that he would end up finding another landmark, reminding him of the times when happiness was the usual. Leaving him with wet cheeks and having him turning around to head back home, task long forgotten by the time the despair had passed.
But after those weeks, Hoseok was able to leave the house without immediately associating her hair with the breeze, her eyes with the skies, and her touch with happiness. He began to find his own definitions for those things, taking a liking to the way the winter breeze smelled as light dustings of snow floated through the air. Eventually, he was able to go back to work, finding that work wasn’t as grueling as it used to be when he had his lady waiting for him back home. He didn’t mind the late nights and tiring practices so much anymore, as they proved to be a good distraction from it all.
His progression was a slow one, but it was progression nonetheless. And eventually, he allowed himself to joke with the boys again, to smile with them again. He no longer felt like everything was meaningless.
One night, the boys had ordered takeout to be delivered to their dorm. They had pooled some money to purchase the newest installment of their favorite video game series, and planned to get halfway through it before the night came to a close.
As they waited for the food to be delivered, they chattered loudly over red cups of cheap beer. It was a night where they would let loose, a night that Hoseok had been excited for.
Hoseok went into the kitchen to refill his cup, after slowly sipping on his first steadily over the course of an hour. He grasped the handle of the spout, allowing the dark liquid to cascade freely into his cup, releasing it as the cup began to fill.
It was then that he felt his phone vibrate in his back pocket. It startled him a bit, causing him to spill some of his drink onto his hand. He shook it off, reaching into his pocket to grab his phone, looking at the Caller ID.
He stopped, thumb hovering over the answer button as he read it a second time, a third time, and even a fourth. ‘It’s got to be a misdial,’ he thought to himself, moving his thumb to reject the call.
‘But what if it isn’t?’
And so he quickly switched his thumb to its original positioning, sliding the icon over, and holding the phone to his ear. “H-Hello?”
“Hoseokie?~ Is that you?”
It wasn’t a misdial. “Yeah, it’s me,” he said, apprehension evident in his tone.
“What'cha up to?~”
He looked behind him, the boys were currently engaged in a heated debate on which of two anime characters would win in a fight. He wasn’t missing much. “Nothing, really. Are you okay? You sound-”
“Drunk?”, she asked, “That’s because I am. And I’m calling to say that…I miss you. And I’m a stupid, dumb, crazy idiot.”
Hoseok blinked, torn on what to say next. Half of him was desperately close to shouting ‘God, I miss you too, so much’ right back at her, while the other half was terrified. ‘What if she was kidding? She’s drunk, does she even really mean it?’ And a million other questions swirled through his mind.
The silence must have drawn out too long, because before he knew it she chimed in again, breaking through his wall of thought. “Well, actually that’s not totally why I called…”
“Well, I went out for drinks with Sooyoung, and I got too crazy in there, and they kicked me out…and Sooyoung is still inside so I have no ride home. I have no one else to call…”
“I’m on my way. Text me the address.”
It wasn’t more than ten minutes before he pulled up to the bar she had given him the address to. And as he parked in front of the establishment, he noticed her lying on the wooden bench outside the doors.
He walked up to her, and it was soon evident that she had fallen asleep not long after getting off the phone with him. It was also evident that she had been crying earlier, because her cheeks were stained black with the remnants of the mascara she had meticulously applied earlier in the night. He also took note that she wasn’t wearing any shoes, and there didn’t seem to be any in sight. He gave out a long sigh, she certainly had gotten crazy tonight.
He wasted no time in scooping her sleeping form into his arms, and setting her gently in his passenger seat. He buckled her into her seat belt, and smoothed her hair away from her eyes, before climbing into the driver’s seat, and beginning on his way to her apartment.
He kept stealing glimpses of her while driving. He couldn’t help it; knowing that this would likely be the last time he’d ever see his beloved. He had blown his only chance at true love.
He wicked away a rebel tear at the thought, turning his gaze from her and tightening his grip on the steering wheel.
He pulled into her building’s parking lot much sooner than he would have liked. He wanted more time with her. He wanted to ask her why she had left him, how he had gone wrong, but they had arrived too soon to ask any of his lingering questions.
So, with a defeated sigh, he shook her awake, and pointed at her building with a mutter of ‘We’re here’.
She thanked him quietly, rubbing the sleep from her eyes and grabbing her purse from the floorboard, turning and grabbing the door handle to exit his car one last time.
Except, she couldn’t bring herself to.
She couldn’t find the courage to pull the handle, allowing herself to be free of him for the last time.
She turned to look at him one final time, and he took the extra time to memorize her facial features. He never wanted to forget them. He had a desperate look on his face, pleading with her for all that was unsaid.
Her expression was one of searching. Searching for something to make her stay in the car, something that would make her put her seat belt back on and ride off into the sunset with him. She was searching for a sign.
He felt tears well up in his eyes again, as he thought about wanting to hear her voice say she wants to see him one last time. How he wants to spend the mornings snuggled up in bed with her one last time. He wants to get beaten by her at video games One. Last. Time.
And so he kissed her.
It was full of everything left unsaid and so much more. Her absolute adoration for him, her insecurities, and all of her worries for the future. And his longing, his love, and his wishes that he could simply wake up and these past months had never happened.
As they finally broke apart, their need for air defeating their need to be close by a very small margin, they remained mere inches apart, neither even considering moving from their spot for a second.
“Please,” he pleaded with her at last, “Come back home.”
She was quiet for a moment, contemplating what this meant for them. But all of her worries seemed miniscule now that he was by her side. So she took her hand from the door handle, and slipped her seat belt back on, looking at him with determination. She gave him a gentle nod, urging him to proceed.
He burst into tears of relief at her gesture, pulling her tightly into his embrace. She too began to cry at the gesture, the both of them letting out all of their shared turmoil.
“Please, just tell me what I did wrong so that this never has to happen again,” he begged her, breaking the silence.
“I told you, love,” She explained at last, leaning back to wipe his tears from his eyes and cheeks, a look of pure adoration plastered thickly onto her face now, “It’s not your fault, it never was. I let the hate comments get to me, and I convinced myself that I was dragging you down. That I was ruining your chance at success, and that you’d be better off if I was gone.”
She paused for a moment, as he let it all sink in. “But if you were half as destroyed as I was being apart from you, then it’s so much worse when I am,” She ended with a chuckle, sniffling not long after.
He smiled at her, grabbing her hands in his and holding them to his chest. “I think you’re right about that. You mean the world to me, you should know that,” he used one of his sleeves to wipe her cheeks in return, “Now that we’re public, things will be hard at times, but we can get through it together, because our love is twice as strong as any hate they could throw at us.”
She smiled at his words, and she realized that all she ever needed was to hear those words. “But we need to stick together through this, or we’ll never make it,” he ended, looking into her eyes deeply.
She nodded again, more firmly this time, and he smiled back at her, as he turned his attention to pulling the car out of the parking lot and heading for the dorm.
The drive back was a serene one, as he held her hand in his, using the other to weave through traffic, occasionally looking over to catch her staring lovingly at him. And slowly, the fog that once clouded over his eyes, turning his world into a monochromatic scheme of black and white, was lifted, and he began seeing color again. He smiled, taking it in as he felt love return to his bones, untying the knots in his stomach that had been there for as long as he could remember.
He turned to her once they stopped at a red light, looking into her eyes, smile still cast over his features, and he said to her; “I love you…so much.”
She smiled back, the fog lifting quickly from her eyes as well, “I love you too.“
And they both knew in that moment, that they were destined to be together, ‘till death did them part.