since when was it 7pm

Fake Dating Series; The8/Minghao

- you’re a regular at this little family-owned chinese restaurant near your school
- you go there so often that you know the couple that works there
- it’s a fairly new restaurant and you were actually one of their first customers so whenever you come by, they always greet you warmly and sometimes even give you free food
- occasionally, their son minghao would come by to lend a hand
- you’ve always found him cute, from the first time you entered the restaurant and he served you
- he even goes to the same college as you and he’s actually in one of your classes, but he probably doesn’t even know it
- you don’t really mind that since you’re too scared to talk to him
- because he’s so handsome??? and perfect in every way???
- he works hard for his studies, he helps his parents out at the restaurant when he has free time, he’s a tutor for chinese, and he’s just an overall kind person and hard worker
- every time you see him, you tell yourself “today’s the day, I’M GOING TO TALK TO HIM” but before you could even say anything, you go like “nope, not today”
- your excuse is always “i might embarrass myself and then i’ll never be able to show my face in his family’s restaurant AGAIN”
- so you decide to just stay quiet and keep that “strangers who acknowledge each other” friendship
- moving on
- one day, you’re eating at the restaurant and this annoying guy from one of your classes enters through the door
- he orders takeout at the counter and while waiting for his order, he looks around the restaurant and he breaks out into a smile when he sees you
- you’re like “omfg no wHY” when you see him make his way over to you
- he exclaims “hey!! how are you?” and you sigh in relief and think “hmm, maybe we can have a normal conversation for once”
- but no, he starts flirting with you and insists that you give him your number no matter how politely you refuse
- you’re smiling on the outside to be nice, but inside you’re like HELP SOMEONE DOWAJWO SOS
- when he keeps asking for it, you say “i’m sorry….. i really can’t give it you” and he asks “but why not??”
- you lie “i….. have a boyfriend!!” and he’s clearly taken by surprise because he’s never actually SEEN you with anyone…..
- he says “what?? who??”
- at that very moment, minghao walks through the door and you point at him and exclaim “him!! he’s my boyfriend!!”
- minghao freezes at your words and stays that way even when the annoying guy turns around to look at him
- even minghao’s parents stopped what they were doing to look over at you and their son
- you shoot minghao an apologetic look and say “yup, that’s right, he’s my boyfriend.”
- the guy says “….really??” and when he isn’t looking, you clasp your hands together and mouth “please save me” to minghao
- minghao nods his head and says “…..that’s right.” he then makes his way over to you and asks the guy “is there anything you need?”
- the guy shakes his head and says “no….. nothing at all”
- he shoots you both a suspicious look, but backs off and leaves the restaurant when his takeout’s ready
- you turn to minghao the instant the guy’s out of sight and you say “i’m SO sorry!!! it’s just—he wouldn’t leave and i said the first thing that came to mind…..”
- he smiles at you and says “it’s fine, i get it” and he tells you to enjoy your meal as he joins his parents behind the counter
- your face is all red for the rest of your meal and you’re so embarrassed when you go up to the cash register because minghao’s the one ringing you up
- you quickly pay for your meal and leave the restaurant internally screaming “i messed up i messED UP IT’S OVER”
- but it’s when you get back to your dorm and you’re lying on your bed that you take out your receipt and realize…. minghao gave you a discount
- you brush it off as “i’m a regular….. that’s probably just why”
- you walk into class the next morning—the class you have with minghao—and since you know where he sits, you look down to pretend you didn’t see him and sit in one of the random available spots
- but just as you sit down, someone plops their backpack on the desk next to yours and you’re like great. it’s probably the annoying guy again
- but when you turn to face the person….. you almost let out a gasp to see minghao sitting there
- he must’ve noticed your confusion because he asks “is there something wrong?” and you ask “no, nothing, i just….. wasn’t expecting you to sit here.”
- he laughs “the guy might grow suspicious if we don’t sit next to each other.” and from the corner of your eye, you can spot the guy looking right at you both
- you look down and quietly say “you…. don’t need to do this, you know? i could just tell the guy i lied and everything. i’m sorry for dragging you into this.”
- minghao smiles “i’m okay with it.” and that’s all he says….. but you still feel guilty for making him do this
- class quickly comes to an end (and you unfortunately couldn’t even focus on the lecture), and minghao leaves without saying goodbye while you’re packing up your stuff
- you subtly turn your head to check if the annoying guy’s still there and seeing that he isn’t, you think “of course…. we’re back to being strangers when he isn’t there”
- it’s a bit sad to think about…. but what can you do…. you probably made things even more awkward with your fake dating lie…..
- you sigh and walk out of the class, but to your surprise, minghao is waiting outside
- he approaches you and asks “where’s your next class?” and you kind of fumble with your words before pointing to the right and saying “it’s th-that way.”
- minghao says “i’m heading there too, we can walk together.”
- you say “but…. the guy’s gone…. there’s no need to….”
- you don’t know why you didn’t just shut your mouth and rush over next to him because XU MINGHAO aka THE GUY YOU’VE BEEN KIND OF CRUSHING ON just offered to walk you to class
- minghao shakes his head and says “if i’m going to be walking in that direction too, then it’s the same thing.”
- you smile up at him, and you both walk down the school hallways side by side, and you’re kind of nervous but….. even though it’s quiet, you still feel happy
- minghao’s class is a little farther than yours, so when you both stop in front of the doors, you tell him “thanks for walking me here” and he says “no problem. i’ll see you around!!”
- he turns around and leaves, and as you watch his retreating figure, you continuously ask yourself “did that really happen??”
- this class is three hours long and it’s super boring and actually it’s your least favorite, but the entire time….. you’re smiling
- your next class with minghao is in three days (friday), and you’re really excited to see him again, but your excitement diminishes when your professor sends everyone a message saying that class is cancelled for that day
- you’re really disappointed upon hearing the news because one) you won’t get to see minghao and two) your two-hour break is now a four-hour break
- you know you can always see minghao at the restaurant but you kind of want to avoid that place for a while because you’re so embarrassed…..
- his parents definitely heard you say he’s your boyfriend, and he probably told them it’s just for pretend…..
- the only thing you can tell yourself is: WHY DID I LET THIS HAPPEN
- you think “okay. i’ll just eat instant ramyeon for tonight. i’ll be fine.”
- but when class ends at 7pm and you haven’t eaten since like 2pm….. it definitely isn’t enough to fill you up, you note as you stare at your empty instant noodles cup unsatisfied
- and that’s how you find yourself standing in front of minghao’s family’s restaurant after a long day
- you slap your forehead and sigh at how WEAK you are
- the restaurant closes at 10pm, and you enter through the doors by 9:15pm
- minghao greets you from the counter, where he’s waiting for his parents to finish cooking the current orders
- you sit on one of the tables, and you find it a bit weird that you haven’t received the menu yet…..
- but then minghao comes along with your regular order, and sets it on the table before you
- you look up at him and say “o-oh! thank you” and he just smiles while his parents wave at you from behind the counter
- the other customers leave before you could finish your meal, and feeling a bit awkward, you quickly finish up your food and head over to the counter to pay
- minghao asks “are you going to head back to the dorms now?” and you nod your head, but he says “alone? it gets dark early these days…..”
- you say “it’s all right, the dorms aren’t too far away”
- minghao looks a bit uneasy you can tell, and just as he’s about to hit the buttons on the cash register, he turns to his dad and asks “dad, can you take the cash register?”
- his dad nods and takes minghao’s spot, which confuses you a bit because…. what’s happening??
- noticing the confusion on your face, he says “meet me outside once you’re done paying, i’ll take you back to the dorms.”
- you say “what?? oh no, you really don’t need to!!” and minghao smiles “i want to. just to make sure you get back safely.”
- and with that, he walks out the door, leaving you behind with his parents
- his dad tells you the total amount to pay, and you hand him the exact amount while dropping a few coins in the tips jar
- you politely say thank you and good night to them, but before you could exit the door, minghao’s mom calls after you
- she doesn’t know your name, so she says “excuse me?” and you turn to her and say “yes?”
- she approaches the counter and with a kind smile, she tells you “please take care of our son.”
- you look at her, surprised that minghao didn’t tell her that you’re not actually dating
- and you feel so guilty that this is all a lie….. but you can’t bring yourself to tell her the truth, too afraid to disappoint her
- so instead, you smile at minghao’s parents and say “i will.”
- you walk out the doors of the restaurant and you see minghao standing against the wall of the restaurant with his bike at his side
- he says “ready?” and gets on his bike, while you blink in confusion, asking “you’re going to be biking there?”
- he nods, and pats the rear rack of his bike, “i’m going to be biking us there. hop on.”
- you walk over to him and sit on the back of his bike, holding onto the sides of the rear rack instead of wrapping your arms around him because you’re too shy to
- minghao turns to you and asks “are you ready?” and when he sees you nod your head, he takes off and starts heading in the direction of the dorms
- neither of you say a word, and nothing but the sound of crickets chirping and the howling of the wind can be heard as minghao slowly bikes through the empty neighborhoods
- eventually, he breaks the silence, and says “you might want to hold onto me for now. there are a bunch of turns coming up.”
- you nod your head and let go of the rack to hold onto his shirt, feeling your face heat up already
- but when the bike makes a bit of a jolt because of a bump in the road, you wrap your arms around minghao tightly and lay your head on his back as your way of hiding your red face
- so as to not make things feel awkward, you decide to start a conversation and say “minghao…. sorry for all this trouble…. but thanks for this.”
- minghao says “it’s nothing. i didn’t want you to walk back all by yourself, you know?”
- you smile to yourself at his words, and then ask “so where’s your dorm? west side or east side?”
- you see him shake his head and he says “i don’t have a dorm room. i live closeby, so there’s no need for me to get one. saves a lot of money, thank goodness.”
- you ask “you live closeby?” and he says “yup, i live a few minutes away from my family’s restaurant. in the other direction.”
- you guiltily ask “so i’m out of your way….?” and minghao says “i really don’t mind!! it’s not far, and besides, i’m the one who offered, so don’t feel bad.”
- you say “thank you again, minghao…. really.” and he replies “no problem.”
- minghao slows down and eventually stops when you reach the dorms, letting you get off his bike to head inside
- you say “be careful on your way home, all right?” and he laughs “don’t worry about me. good night, (name).”
- you head back to your dorm room and your roommate’s already asleep when you get there, but it doesn’t stop you from plopping onto your bed and screaming into your pillow about how CUTE minghao is!!!! and how he took you home on his bike!!!!
- a pillow suddenly hits you on the head, and you turn to see your roommate glaring at you
- they say “ok tell me what happened. but i’m warning you; if it isn’t interesting enough, i will kill you.” and you shut your mouth and start a bit of your homework, but you just can’t concentrate because your mind is only on minghao
- you wake up the next day with a smile on your face, but it sadly disappears when your roommate tells you it’s your turn to buy the groceries and you’re like ughhh WHY IT’S SATURDAY LET ME REST
- they say “do you want an actual meal or instant ramyeon?”
- “instant ramyeon doesn’t sound too bad—” “go get groceries.” “fine.”
- you’re walking down the busy streets, grasping the grocery list in one hand, and you enter the first grocery store you see
- you quickly pick up a few foods small enough to fit inside you and your roommate’s mini-fridge, and a bunch of snacks you can both eat while finishing up some late-night work
- after ringing up your items, you feel someone tap your shoulder and when you turn around, you see minghao smiling down at you
- you ask “minghao? what are you doing here?”
- he lifts up the bags he’s carrying and says “grocery shopping for the restaurant. are you heading back now?”
- you nod your head and he shyly asks “do you maybe want to….. walk back together?” and you exclaim a little too excitedly “sure!!”
- you start heading back to the dorms, but on your way there, you and minghao pass by a little shop, and minghao says “oh wait, i’m just going to take a quick stop here to get something for my mom.”
- the shop looks really cramped so you tell him “alright, i’ll be waiting outside.” and he nods his head and goes in
- you set down your grocery bags on the ground and play on your phone while waiting for him
- but a shadow suddenly looms over you, and you look up expecting to see minghao, but instead, you see this guy whom you’ve never seen before standing in front of you
- he says “hey!” and you slowly respond “…hi?…”
- he continues “what are you doing here all by yourself?” and you’re like ok. i know where this is going.
- the guy starts flirting with you and you’re clearly uncomfortable, but you just kind of shrug him off or dryly give him one-word answers
- while the guy’s in the middle of asking for your number, someone steps between you two and you look up to see that it’s minghao
- with a glare, he asks “is there something i can do for you instead?” and the guy asks “who are you?”
- minghao grabs your hand and says “their boyfriend.”
- you look up at minghao wordlessly, and the guy immediately apologizes and walks off because minghao looked so ready to drop-kick him in the face
- when he’s out of sight, minghao turns to you with a smile and asks “ready to start heading back?”
- you stutter “s-sure….!” but then you look down to see that he’s still holding your hand….
- minghao notices and quickly lets go, clearing his throat awkwardly, saying “s-sorry.”
- you’re about to pick up your groceries, but minghao grabs them before you and says “don’t worry, i got it!!”
- you and minghao walk the rest of the way home together, but the whole time, your mind is on the event that happened earlier when minghao told that guy that he was your…. boyfriend….
- minghao notices you looking pretty distracted, so he asks “are you all right?”
- your mind tells you to say “i’m fine, don’t worry!!” but instead, what comes out of your mouth is “why… did you tell that guy you’re my boyfriend?”
- minghao says “he looked like he was disturbing you, so i thought that saying i’m your boyfriend would get him to go away….. it worked, didn’t it?”
- and you say “oh, he was pretty annoying. thanks for saving me again” and he nods his head and keeps walking
- you tell yourself “stop overthinking!!! minghao’s just doing all this to keep this fake dating thing going…. he’s probably just doing all this to not make things awkward between you two, right???”
- the dorm is on the way back to minghao’s family’s restaurant, so he drops you off there
- while handing you your groceries, he asks “it was nice seeing you today. see you in class on tuesday?” and you nod your head
- you both say your goodbyes and you watch him go with a happy smile on your face, and when you turn around, you see the annoying guy from your class by the entrance
- you’re like “oh no” but the guy says “relax, i’m not going to ask for your number or anything. it’s just crazy to see that you’re actually dating that guy….”
- you ask “is there something wrong with that?” and he shakes his head “i didn’t mean for that to sound bad!! i meant…. i’ve never seen you two together before…. but i did now…. sorry for bugging you so much, i really didn’t know.”
- you say “thanks for being understanding.” and the guy grins “i’m also here to say bye, i’m dropping the class ahahah”
- you say “huh?? why??” and the guy shrugs “i don’t think i can stay motivated?? and i’m already taking the maximum number of courses, dropping one class will actually allow me to breathe”
- you say “o-oh, it was nice meeting you then” and the guy nods “you too, (name). best of luck with your boyfriend!!”
- the guy grins at you one last time before walking past you to probably head to the course registration building to drop his class
- as you watch him go, you think “oh, i can tell minghao we don’t need to pretend anymore”
- that’s what you tell yourself…. but when you see minghao sitting in the spot next to your unassigned assigned seat…. you can’t bring yourself to tell him
- if the guy’s convinced, if the guy dropped the class…. why should you keep pretending?
- you know you’re being selfish
- but sitting next to him in class? the bike ride? the groceries? you don’t want to let it all go just yet
- weeks pass, and you’re unsure if minghao knows that the guy dropped the class because he still sits next to you….
- the more days pass, you feel guiltier and guiltier because you’re just wasting his time
- you have to let go of your selfishness and break it off….
- you enter your class to find minghao there first as usual, and when you take a seat, he says “hey!! we have a new meal on the menu, do you want to come by later to try it out??”
- you nod your head and tell him you’ll come by at around 8pm tonight, and his face brightens at your words
- you get to the restaurant at 8:20pm, and minghao and his parents greet you enthusiastically as you enter through the door
- you say “hello!! minghao told me about the new meal” and his parents get straight to work while you sit on one of the tables
- after dinner, you walk over to the counter and minghao rings you up
- he says “i’ll take you back to the dorms, okay?” and you know you can’t argue with him so you just nod your head
- you say a quick good night to his parents, and follow minghao outside, where he’s working on unlocking his bike from the bike rack
- you sit on the rear rack and minghao starts pedaling, taking you in the direction of the dorms
- but instead of turning left at the end of the street, he turns right, and you ask “minghao, where are you going??? school’s the other way”
- minghao grins “there’s something i want to show you first!!!”
- you hold on tightly to him as he bikes through the dirt paths, and he stops when you both reach a field near the water
- the pearly-white moon is reflected on the water as well as the twinkling stars and you just….. never want this moment to end
- you say “it’s so beautiful….” and minghao says “i know right? i go here when i want some time alone. it’s really calming, especially during sunsets”
- as you’re watching the ripples forming in the river, you suddenly remember this whole fake dating thing…..
- minghao’s spending so much time on you and for what?? to keep that annoying guy away?? he’s gone now, there’s no reason to stay together anymore
- you…. have to let him know
- you say “minghao.”
- he says “yes?”
- you ask “you know that guy who made us start this whole fake dating thing?”
- he asks “what about him?”
- you look down and say “he dropped the class.”
- minghao looks at you as you continue “he…. he dropped it a while ago. i’m sorry i didn’t tell you.”
- he stays quiet after hearing your words, and you say “so…. we don’t have to do this anymore. i’m sorry i wasted your time.”
- you turn around and start heading back for the dorms
- and something inside of you hopes that he would call out your name, something inside of you hopes that he would stop you
- but he doesn’t
- three days later, you enter the class you and minghao have together, and even though you two just “broke up”, he’s still sitting in the spot next to your unassigned assigned seat
- minghao shifts his gaze over to you, and you both have eye contact
- but you’re the first to look away, and you take a seat somewhere else instead
- it’s been three weeks since you’ve been to minghao’s family’s restaurant
- you can’t bring yourself to go back there after the “breakup” because…. you know it was all for pretend, but you had hoped that…. maybe he learned to like you after all this time…..
- you sigh “i really have to get over this stupid crush…..”
- after an entire month of avoiding the restaurant, you finally decide to go one night
- you didn’t want to make his parents think that you got sick of their food or anything, so you decided on just getting takeout
- you don’t have to be there for long, and it shows that you still love their food PLUS minghao doesn’t always work on weekdays so if you’re lucky, he might not be there…..?
- you walk into the restaurant and sigh in relief to see that minghao isn’t at the counter like he always is
- his parents greet you warmly when they see you, and just as you’re about to tell them your order….. minghao walks out of the washroom and you just want to sink to the ground
- he looks at you and asks as he walks behind the counter “hey…. i’ll, uh, ring you up. takeout, right?”
- you nod your head and tell him your order, but while you’re waiting for the debit machine to tell you how much you owe, minghao says “it’s fine.”
- he takes his wallet out and swipes his own card on the machine, ignoring you, who’s saying “no, i can pay!!”
- after minghao shuts the cash register, an awkward silence follows and only the sound of his parents cooking fills the room
- you just kind of stand by the counter looking down to avoid eye waiting while waiting for your meal
- when minghao quietly says
- “you… haven’t passed by in a while.”
- you slowly look up at him and you both have eye contact
- he looks like he’s about to say something else, but he gets cut off by his dad, who holds your takeout box in front of you exclaiming “here you go!!”
- you take the food in your hands and say “thank you” before saying goodbye to minghao and his parents
- when you exit the restaurant, it only takes you about ten steps before the door behind you opens
- you turn around to see minghao running over to you and he says “i’ll take you back to the dorms.”
- you shake your head and say “i’m fine just walking back by myself, really. and i know it’s out of your way.” but minghao doesn’t listen and unlocks his bike from the bike rack
- he pedals over to you and nods over to the rear rack on his bike
- he says “hop on. the food will get cold.”
- you wordlessly sit on the back of his bike and minghao begins pedalling in the direction of campus
- the bike ride is quiet….. and you can’t help but think how AWKWARD it’s going to be once you reach the dorms
- when you finally get there, you get off his bike and say “thanks for taking me back….. i’ll see you around. good night, minghao.”
- you turn around and start walking towards the entrance, when minghao suddenly calls out your name
- you turn around to look at him and he gets off his bike to walk over to you
- he nervously says “i’ve never been good with words, but after all this time spent together…. i might have…. kind of…. will you…. maybe…? because i really…. really like—!”
- you cut minghao off by kissing him on the lips, and it takes a while for him to react, but when he does…. your lips curve into a smile at how clumsy he is
- but his lips are soft, and his hands are cupping your cheeks, and you just want to stay like this forever…..
- when you both pull away, you look into minghao’s eyes and laugh “i really, really like you too.”
- minghao breaks out into a grin, and cups your cheeks again, bringing your head down so that he can kiss you on the forehead
- you eat at minghao’s family’s restaurant the next evening, and at the end of your meal, while his dad is ringing you up, minghao goes outside to unlock his bike to take you back to the dorms
- you politely say thank you and good night to his parents, but before you could exit the door, minghao’s mom calls after you, but this time, she knows your name
- she says “(name)?” and you turn to her and say “yes?”
- she approaches the counter and with a kind smile, she tells you “thank you… for making our son so happy.”
- you look out the window, and smile fondly as you watch minghao waiting for you on his bike
- you turn back to his parents and say “no, minghao’s the one who makes me happier than anyone else in the world.”
- you say good night to them, and you hop onto the rear rack of minghao’s bike like always, wrapping your arms around him while lying your head on his back
- halfway back to the dorms, he asks “i saw you talking to my parents. what did they say?”
- you joke “they just said that you’re really lucky to be dating something like me.”
- he says “well, they’re right.”
- you don’t respond, and instead smile to yourself as you wrap your arms around him even tighter

Why do people who own retail stores think it’s a good idea to have their employees’ schedules rollercoastering? Although they finally stopped scheduling me for 12-9pm shifts next to 445-9am shifts (only because I refused to) I still cannot get a normal sleep schedule since when I get up at 330am I’m in bed at 7pm and when I close I can’t sleep until after 9pm. Honestly, it’s been proven the employees do much better when they have consistent schedules. So the stores are suffering by exhausting us. And we’re suffering because we’re always tired. I only work 20 some hours a week there, but my yo-yo sleep schedule is making me feel like crap all the time.