Party

Icy Love

His eyes were fixated on Eun Ji as her hips were moving languidly, as if she wanted to draw an infinity sign shape with them. Dazed by the beauty Taemin and his girlfriend exuded when dancing and having impossible feelings creeping up in his heart, he chose to send them a little sign to tell them he was going to the bathroom. They nodded and kept on dancing together without a care for the rest of the room. 

The muted noises and the emptiness of the bathroom bathed in dim red lights helped Minho snap out of his confusion. His reflection couldn't lie and he saw the troubled look that darkened his pretty face. 

He wanted the boy but he also wanted the girl. He wanted both because choosing one over the other was too agonising. One had something adorable about him that made anyone want to look after him, a true innocence that couldn't be faked. The other one had such confidence, such knowledge about who she was that one couldn't help but feel attracted to her.

What had started as an innocent crush had turned into a complicated mess. Minho reckoned his past love stories and knew this one was another effing minefield. He didn't even want them to break up. They could stay together as long as he could have them. Yes, no one had to be hurt, no one had to be put aside in his perfect scheme. He needed to proceed with caution and manoeuvre carefully. He felt like a f***ing for thinking that way but he couldn't resist it. 

He went back to the main room and sat down where he had left his beer. Changmin, one of his friends from law school noticed he was back and joined him on the sofa he was sitting on. He raised his glass, inviting his friend to clink it to his own. 

- Tired already?

- Nah.. just enjoying the view.

Changmin followed Minho's look and found what his friend was looking at.

- Oh. Nice choice. Just unsure of which one you have your eyes on.

- Honestly, both.

- Seriously? You're treading on thin ice, you know that?

Minho nodded and Changmin chuckled. He had a hunch that his friend would end up in deep water if he went on pursuing two people at once. A couple moreover. 

He also knew that Minho was stubborn and that's why he didn't bother trying to stop him. He'd be here to pick up the pieces of his heart after it would be broken by those two gorgeous people. 

Minho swallowed the bottom of his glass and stood up to join Taemin and Eun Ji who were still dancing but he got caught by two of his friends, Jinki and Jonghyun who dragged him to the pool table. They grabbed cues and rubbed blue chalk on the tip before starting the game. Jinki and Jonghyun had teamed up, playing one turn each while Minho remained alone but it didn't matter much. Two players didn't make a winning team. Minho had already put half the balls he had to get in the pockets while Jonghyun and Jinki had managed to only get two. However, his focus wavered when, from the corner of his eyes, he saw a smaller figure coming closer. 

Taemin smiled a bit awkwardly at the two unknown young men and more confidently at Minho then he leant on the pool table to observe the game, without really understanding the rules at first. Minho's moves and dexterity made it look easy and the younger one felt like trying. His friend accepted him as a teammate, without caring if he knew how to play. Minho guided him by explaining the general rules and advising him on which move to try. 

- Don't hold the cue like this, you'll end up ripping the cloth, Minho chuckled, here, I'll show you.

He came close to Taemin, then slid an arm around him to better get a hold of his hands and correct their position on the cue stick. Such closeness made the both of them feel like there was electricity running in their nerves. The contact of the other's skin on theirs was enough to send dopamine rushing through their neurons. The surge of heat in Taemin's cheeks wasn't unusual, he was used to it but he didn't understand why it happened a lot more whenever he was with the older student. The latter also seemed slightly flustered, as they were close, Taemin distinctly heard him gulp and he had seen Minho's hand twitch when he had put it on his.

- Raise your thumb, put the cue stick between your thumb and index finger, it will help guide it. Your shot must be sharp but not necessarily too strong, the older one explained.

With his hands still on Taemin's, he pulled the cue sticks backward and hit the white ball with precision. The ball hit another with a pleasant neat sound. Though the ball didn't land in the pocket, Taemin was pretty satisfied with his try and Minho's appreciative smile was a nice bonus.

The game went on but no matter Minho's talent and Taemin's motivation, they ended up losing the game. While Jonghyun and Jinki were busy celebrating and handclapping, the youngest of the group looked sorry and apologized ten times, not giving time to Minho to tell him it didn't matter. To gently shut up his apologies, Minho ruffled Taemin's hair and flicked his forehead softly, making the younger one look up to meet his gaze. 

- Hey, I said it's fine. It's just a game! 

Taemin nodded sheepishly and invited Minho to another drink. 

- I'll get going after this.

- Why? Minho asked with genuine surprise and disappointment in his voice.

- I... er... I get tired easily at parties. My social stamina wears out quickly.

The only thing Minho could answer was a hushed little "oh" accompanied by a nod. He was torn between offering to take him back home or staying with his friends. 

- Is there nothing I can do to make you stay a bit longer?

Taemin smiled and shook his head, a hint of amusement shining in his eyes, quickly replaced by a more troubled expression.

- It's not something I really can change anything about. Everything just gets too loud, I can't focus on anything people chat about, I don't feel like interacting anymore and I grow more and more distant from all the fun around me. It's fine though, it's just how I am!

Taemin's vulnerability and openness about his introversion were quite touching and Minho didn't feel like guilt-tripping him into staying. He was curious about Taemin's view of life. For the older one, having fun was quite easy. With friends, music and alcohol, hours could pass by without him realizing.

Taemin agreed with those conditions but on a different level: a couple of friends were enough, music didn't need to be blasting and alcohol was not necessary though he enjoyed it as long as he didn't feel his head spinning. Sometimes, he wished he were different from how he was, "normal" as he would think to himself. 

- I understand why you're friends with Kibum, he seems like the kind of guy with whom you can rest and enjoy some conversation.

- Absolutely! He's great, he never found me weird or boring for not wanting to spend hours drinking and dancing. Sometimes, we're together but we simply read or play on our phone. It's enough. It's like being with family, it's peaceful.

-Well, I hope one day you'll be able to be like that with me.

Taemin's look quickly dropped to stare at his half-empty glass. He was secretly happy that Minho didn't see his introversion as a hurdle to their friendship and that he was looking forward to getting closer to him. The usual symptoms of social exhaustion had grown stronger and though he wished to go back home soon, he was also glad that he had had the opportunity to chat, to dance and to play pool with Minho and with guys he barely knew like a normal person. 

The drink in his hand had lost its freshness due to the temperature of his palm but he drank it nonetheless, sip by sip, observing his girlfriend talking to her friend while they were dancing among other people. He felt weary and simply holding a conversation with Minho had become too tedious for his tired mind and the call of silence was too irresistible to resist it. Once his glass was empty he jumped down the bar stool he was sitting on and said goodbye to Minho. He thanked him for inviting him and his friends and waved briefly before heading to the door, but not before he warned Eun Ji of his departure.

Minho saw her nod with an understanding smile. She kissed her boyfriend and a second later, he was gone. A feeling of emptiness suddenly grasped Minho's heart. He had spent such a pleasant time with the younger student, now that he was gone, did he really feel like staying?

He joined Eun Ji and her friend. He spent the rest of his night dancing, challenging his friends on the pinball machine and drinking more than his brain and his liver could tolerate. As hours went by, his recollection of the party became blurrier and blurrier. 

The muffled buzz of the street outside and the morning light pouring inside the bedroom through large windows that no one had bothered covering by pulling the curtains. That's what woke him up. The bedroom was not his but he knew it. Jinki's. The owner of the bedroom was still asleep by his side and behind him, Minho could see another figure buried under the duvet, probably Jonghyun. 

His fuzzy brain had trouble remembering how the night had ended and how he had managed to get to Jinki's flat. He was way more conscious of the dryness of his mouth and of the headache banging under his skull. He crawled out of bed to get something to drink. Each step he took seemed to send painful shock waves to his head but he held on and managed to collapse on a chair with a chamomile tea in his hand. 

He really was parched, drinking something hot and non-alcoholic helped a bit with his throbbing headache but he still felt heavy and sluggish. The characteristic sound of bare feet walking on sleek flooring made him turn his head to see who was coming. It was Changmin, with wet hair and a white bath towel around his hips, looking as exhausted as him. His friend sat across from him and poured himself a cup of hot water from the kettle Minho had filled. 

- How did we get here? Minho croaked before clearing his throat.

- Took a cab, we were all wasted. It's a miracle someone managed to give Jinki's address. 

Minho ran his fingers through his hair with a frustrated sigh. He hated when he went too far, to the point where he forgot what he'd done the previous night. What was the point of having fun if he remembered none of it? It wasn't completely true. He remembered stuff. Dancing with Taemin and Eunji, holding Taemin in his arms to teach him how to play pool, laughing with his friends. The night had been a success.

- What time is it?

- Half past eleven. 

- I'll take a shower and go back home. 

Changmin nodded and drank his tea. Before heading to the bathroom, he stopped by Jinki's bedroom to pick up his phone and check if his parents had sent him any text enquiring where he was. They had. A couple each. The last one from his mother told him she had concluded that he was probably downtown with friends and that he should be careful and not drink too much. 

There was also one from Taemin that he hurriedly opened.

a single "?" appeared on his screen and he knew he had sent some weird for Taemin to be confused and send him an interrogation mark. He scrolled up to read whatever had crossed his mind at 4 in the morning.

"I'm stil at the barr"

"Come, i want to tell you smting"

"i wnt to tel you smhing"

"I want too see u"

"Come plz"

"i lov u Taemin"

He had not. He had not sent a bunch of misspelt texts and a drunken confession to his crush. He quickly sent him an apology, explaining that he was too wasted to think and act straight and that he shouldn't pay attention to those last texts. 

He put down his phone on the laundry basket and undressed to take a shower, scrubbing away the smells of sweat, tobacco and cologne that had stuck to his skin and his hair. Though getting clean was pleasant, he was way too concerned about his stupid texts to Taemin to really enjoy his shower. As he was rinsing his hair full of Jinki's expensive shampoo, he heard his phone's notification bell. Without bothering to dry his hands, he picked up his phone to read Taemin's answer.

"Hey! No worries, I kind of knew you were drunk af to send stuff like that! I had a laugh reading them! XD I guess you had fun last night! See you"

Some slight disappointment washed over him as he read those words. Yes, he was drunk at that time but all the things he had sent were genuine. He was sure of it. Somewhere in his alcohol-soaked brain, he had wanted Taemin to come, he had wanted to see him, he loved him. And Taeemin saw no hidden feelings in those texts just the words of a drunk guy with no meaning behind them.

He also wondered what Taemin truly thought of those texts. Did he just find them funny or were they a sign of how pathetic Minho could be when too much beer and whiskey ran in his blood? Taemin, a sensitive and reserved guy like him, probably thought Minho was just another guy whose only way of having fun was to get wasted, regret it and do it all over again the next day.

Moments later, as he was walking back home under some fresh snow falling from big grey clouds, he picked his phone, half wanting to send Taemin another text to tell him that alcohol spoke some truth as it was easier to say it through text than to his face but he knew it would be too abrupt, too much like dropping a bomb in Taemin's serene mind so he put his phone back into his pocket and stopped by a convenience store to buy a small bottle of hangover cure.

 

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Beau1996 1390 streak #1
Chapter 8: The perfect moment to kiss 💋
Beau1996 1390 streak #2
Chapter 7: Ok, so it seems to be logical when he thinks cheating with each but not telling the other but it's more like a recipe for disaster!!🧨
Beau1996 1390 streak #3
Chapter 6: Will this be up and up studying or will there be ??
Beau1996 1390 streak #4
Chapter 5: Minho is getting greedy - not sure which way this is going to go...
Beau1996 1390 streak #5
Chapter 4: This is becoming a love knot!! The stage is set for some misunderstanding 😕 I am trying to pace myself but I also want to know what happens next...
Beau1996 1390 streak #6
Chapter 3: Love triangle 📐 - this seems like it might get messy!
Beau1996 1390 streak #7
Chapter 2: I thought for sure it was Minho who had the girlfriend!!
Beau1996 1390 streak #8
Chapter 1: I have a good I've skating story - didn't go unconscious but gave myself a concussion!!
OdetteSwan
978 streak #9
Chapter 12: I finished this in one sitting!
Thank you so much for sharing.
shiningangelmel
#10
Sequel!! :)