Minho was sitting with Jinki, Kibum, and Taemin at lunch. He was eating hungrily and stabbing at the lunch that sat in front of him. He was starving. It was almost to the point it distracted him in class. His stomach would growl and churn during lessons.
“Hyung? Your eating like you haven’t eaten in weeks. Your going to choke on your food!” Taemin said with a shocked face.
Taemin had just came back from his three day suspension yesterday, but they hadn’t had a chance to sit down and talk to him properly until today.
“How did your dad take the news?” Minho asked giving him a playful punch and ignored his comment. He was sitting next to the first year.
“He was pissed.” Taemin smiled.
“Ya. That’s not something to be proud of Lee Taemin.” Jinki scolded him. Taemin shrugged his Hyung’s comment off.
Kibum sat on the other side next to Minho moping and sat eating quietly.
“I don’t regret it. It was to help Kibum Hyung.” Taemin said proudly.
Minho nodded understand where he was coming from. If he was there he would have probably jump in as well.
“I still think you shouldn’t have.” Kibum whispered while poking at his food.
Minho and the gang all knew Kibum was sad because he was grounded and had his phone taken away even though it wasn’t his fault. Since Jonghyun was still home from suspension and Kibum’s phone was taken away, he hadn’t talked or seen his boyfriend in four or five days.
Jonghyun would relay messages to Kibum through Minho since Minho was with Kibum most of the day, but that was their only form of communication.
“Everything will be fine. He’ll be back in a couple of days anyway. Besides he keeps sending me ‘love letters’ to read to you.” Minho joked. But Kibum still pouted.
Minho and Jinki were all caught up on the situation that happen with Kibum and promised to look out for him better this time around. Jinki felt especially bad because he was their Hyung and felt it was his job to watch over all of them. Minho also felt really bad since he spent the most time with him in school but did not catch the bully’s bothering Kibum. He felt like a bad friend!
Kibum still refused to tell who had been spreading the rumor, but he wasn’t going to beat it out of Kibum if he didn’t want them to know. So he left that part alone.
The group continued to chatter until the bell rang signaling that lunch was over.
“Wait! You guys are coming to my game tonight, right?” Minho asked frantically.
“I can’t. I’m sorry Min.” Kibum said. He knew he couldn’t because he was still grounded.
“Well, it’s Friday. So I think I can convince my parents to let me come.” Jinki said cheerily.
“Yea. I’ll come.” Taemin joined in.
Great! All his friends couldn’t come but he was happy for what support he did have.
The day ended and he needed to make his way to pick up Minseok from school. He didn't havethe best daytoday as he was distracted from being so hungry and it made him have less energy. He felt so tired. He was walking down his usually path on his way when Jinki pulled up in his car next to him.
“Minho? Do you need a ride?” Jinki said rolling down his window.
Minho was envious of Jinki’s nice car and a lot of other nice things he had, but he didn’t let it show. Jinki was the richest of his friends and owned a really nice car for such a young age. Minho knew he would not be able to afford a car as long as they were poor like this. But he appreciated Jinki’s gesture.
“I have to go pick up my brother.” Minho mentioned leaning down to be face level with him as he talked.
“Yea, I know. It’s Friday, I don’t have Academy classes today. I’ll take you. Get in!”
There were days where Jinki would take Minho to get his brother so he wouldn’t have to waste money on subway fair and so he wouldn’t have to make that long travel.
“How is everything?”
Jinki asked in general but hoped that Minho would open up to him.
“Everything is okay.” Minho said. Lately his mother has picked up a few extra hours as she complained about how rent started to increase a little. He felt as if he only saw her twice this week. They had to eat whatever left overs she brought them from the restaurant that she placed in the refrigerator when she got home and Minho often made trips down to the convient store to by cheap snacks to hold him over until dinner time. His brother had also started coming to him about issues he was having at school, he tried to give him the best advice he could give, but without their mother around he sometimes felt helpless and felt like a bad brother.
He was only fourteen, but he acted as their father sincve he was absent.
Minho changed the topic of discussion and sensing Minho hesitation Jinki left it alone. They spent some time catching up and Jinki hyped Minho up for his game, which was making him more excited.
They showed up at the front of the school, Jinki parked on the side as he waited for Minho to fetch his brother. He watched as the many of the elementary students rushed out to their parents and family members to be picked up. He looked around confused as to why he did not see Minseok as he was usually one of the first few kids to be released from class.
He started to panic as it had been nearly ten minutes since school ended and he had not spotted his little brother in the crowd that had slowly started to disappear. He texted Jinki to wait for him as he walked inside the school to look for him.
He walked to the front office asking where his brother was.
“You are looking for Choi Minseok?” The lady at the front desk asked.
Minho nodded frantically.
“Ah, he is in the principles office. We have been calling your mother for the past few hours.”
“W-what happened? Is he okay?” He panicked.
“He is perfectly fine Mr. Choi. Is your mother available?”
“She is very busy at work right now. She won’t be off until late this evening.” His mother’s job was very frantic, but she always made sure to answer his or Minseok’s call. She probably overlooked the school calling her accidentally since it was not him or his brother.
“Please, what’s wrong? Can you take me to him?” He pleaded.
The lady agreed as it was clear Minho would be the only one able to pick him up.
The lady led him to the principles office where he saw his brother sitting in a corner looking very guilty.
“Hyung! I’m sorry!” Minseok cried the moment he saw his brother. Minho casted him a glare, unsure of what damage his brother has caused. He bowed to the principle as he watched him give a disappointed look towards his little brother.
“Good evening, Sir.”
“Choi Minho? You are his older brother correct?” The principle stood up to bow returning his respect. Minho nodded.
“My administrator relayed to me that your mother is not available to meet as Choi Minseok has gotten himself into some trouble.”
“Minseok has been caught multiple times this week stealing other students food at lunch and rummaging through students packed lunches. This type of bullying will not be tolerated.” His principle said sternly.
Minho felt as if he felt his heart shatter into a million pieces. Their mother had not been around enough to cook for them and they often had to split left over food their mother bought into three portions. Minseok wasn't a bully. He was hungry.
He immediately did a deep ninety degree bow.
“I-I’m so sorry Sir. Forgive my brother. My mother and I will make sure he is reprimanded. This won’t happen again.” He said trying to hid the fact that he was slightly panicking. He wasn’t sure how to handle this situation. If he told the principle that they were starving and did not have a father present and had an overworked mother, would they take them away from his mother? He had to reprimand Minseok because stealing was wrong and he couldn’t let him think it was okay to take from others. But Minseok only did it because he was hungry, not to be a bully. He decided to just beg the principle for forgiveness and decided to handle the situation with his mother later on.
“Ya, Minseok!” Minho whispered yelled at him. He gestured for his brother to get up and bow as he was doing and ask for forgiveness. His brother did just this.
“I’m sorry, Sir. I won’t do it again!” Minseok said sulkily.
The principles hard stare did not soften at their apology, but Minho just wasn’t sure what else to do.
They stood up straight from their bow and looked at the principle expectantly.
“I will still need to get in contact with your mother as this is still a serious matter. You may leave.” The principle said walking to his door to show them out. His respond did not give him any relief but it did not worry him too much, he was hard to read. He just didn’t want Minseok to be suspended.
Minho sighed from frustration. He felt like a terrible friend and now he was a terrible brother.
He pinched the skin between his eyes, he felt like a headache was coming.
“Hyung…I’m really really really sorry!” Minseok cried after they left the building making his way towards Jinki’s car.
Minho knew it wasn’t exactly his brothers fault but he was agitated.
“Minseok! How could you do something like that? It will cause mom to feel burdened! The school will look down on our family as thieves!” Minho remembered how ruthless young children could be when it came to spreading rumors.
“Are you trying to get suspended? Eh? You know stealing is wrong!” He said raising his voice.
He felt even worse than he already felt when he saw tears escape from his brothers eyes.
“I’m sorry…I was just s-so hungry…” He spoke between sobs.
Now Minho felt like a villain.
He squated down to his brothers level to look him in the eyes.
“Seok, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have yelled at you. I know it’s been hard.” He sighed. He wiped the tears from his brothers face.
“I’ll take better care of you, okay?” He stood up to bring his brother into a hug and patted his back to comfort him. He walked him over to Jink’s car with his arm wrapped over his shoulders knocking him around playfully.
“Hey Seok!” Jinki greeted the younger with a concerned look as he watched the two talking outside and witness him crying.
“Hi Jinki Hyung!” Minseok cheered as he sat in the back of his car.
“Everything okay?” Jinki whispered to Minho as he got into the car. Minho heaved a sigh and nodded his head.
“I’ll tell you later.” He said hoping that he actually wouldn’t have the chance to actually tell him.
Jinki offered to take him to practice before the game tonight but Minho already felt bad for having him take him to his brothers school and making him wait so long for the two. He felt like a burden and reassured him that he would be okay.
Minho ushered his brother upstairs and told him to change out of his uniform and get into regular clothes as he would have to take him to his game. He paused as he saw a sticky note left from his mother on the kitchen saying “Food in the fridge, please eat well~”. He smiled. She must have dropped it off on her break
“Seok! Mom left you food! Eat quickly, please!” She left it for the both of them but he rather have Minseok eat it all after hearing the news today.
Minho quickly rushed to change into his soccer uniform. When it came time to find his soccer cleats he frowned. His cleats were old and they were peeling and had holes in them. His mother did not have the money to give him new cleats for the new season, he was actually wearing a pair he had last season. But he was still a growing boy so he knew he would grow out of them soon. He told her it was okay because they were his lucky cleats, he said this only to make her feel better. He really needed new shoes.
He snapped back from his wandering thoughts and threw his cleats in a bag with all his other soccer related things.
Minho and Minseok made there way to the train station to head to Minho’s school. They made it there within twenty minutes, and he made it to practice right on time. Minho sat Minseok down in the front row seats of the bleechers.
“Stay right here, Seok. Jinki and Taemin Hyung will be here to watch you, okay?” He said before ruffling his hair and running to the field for practice. The situation with his brother and friend already stressed him out, and now he had to worry about winning a game. Minho was very competitive when it came to playing soccer, this was something he wanted to have as a profession one day. He needed to always be on point because he was never sure when scouts would come to watch him play. He ran on the field to be greeted by his teammates.
“Nice of you to finally join us!” His team mate Suho said.
“It’s the fan favorite!” His other teammate Yixing yelled. It was a joke amongst the team that Minho was everyones favorite player as it was obvious that he was extremely skilled.
Minho quickly slide on his cleats to run up tp his teammate. He and Suho met through joining the second team his freshman year. They didn’t have classes together so they spent most of their time during practices and games. Yixing was a foreign exchange students from China. He wasn’t always the best at playing but he wasn’t the worst either, but he had great team work.
Minho was closest with these two teammates and they had great chemistry on the field. They were all second years as well.
“I hope you two are ready to win!” Minho said confidently.
He was now in a serious mode and was concentrated and eager to win.
He, Suho, and Yixing decided to parnter together and pass the ball and pratice shooting. As this happen the saw the other team entering the field and walked to the other side of the feild to practice before the game as well.
Minho took a moment to stare at his rivals and to look at their members to see if he saw any threats.
Their team looked older and taller so he assumed most of them were either Juniors or Seniors. But age and height didn’t matter. It was about skill.
He pulled his attention away from the other team and to focused back on practicing. He was trying to concentrate and made sure to periodically check to make sure Minseok was still sitting in the bleachers.
As he was practicing his mind started to wander. He kept thinking about the incident with his brother, it still lingered in his mind. He was starting wonder what they were going to eat for tonight. He also couldn’t help but to wish his mother was able to come to watch him play today. He was also concerned about winning the game today. His concentration was off and it was starting to show.
“Ya, Minho? Are you okay?” Suho asked.
“You missed like three shots in a row!” Suho pointed out.
Minho needed to focus he was getting distracted. Practice went by quickly and it was almost time to start the game.
The team waited for the team captions from both teams, who were seniors, to greet each other. Minho strived to be team captain one day. He looked up to seeing the bleachers starting to become full of parents and students. He almost panicked when he say Minseok was not in the same spot he left him, but calmed down when he saw Jinki and Taemin sitting on both sides of him. He saw that his little brother was chowing down on some snacks, that he figured Jinki probably bought him. He was thankful. He gave them a quick wave and smiled as the waved back eagerly. He noticed when he waved that someone that sat a few seats behind them waved back as well. It was Irene, his class mate and a cheerleader, and her friends. She was waving back frantically at him probably thinking he was waving at her. It was clear that she developed a crush on him over the past few months. It’s not that he didn’t like her, but his mind was more so focused on school, family…and money.
He blushed when he waved back at her.
“Minho!” His coach called.
His wiped his head back around.
“Stay focused.” He said sternly. His coach walked over to him to pat him roughly on the back and whisper to him.
“We are counting on you tonight.” His coach always said this. It put and enormous amount of pressure on, but he knew his coach did it because he knew how reliable he was. Minho was undeniably one of the best players on the team. His coach obviously favored him.
He sighed. It was time to get serious.
He and his starting team lined up on the field taking their positions. He was striker, which meant he was offense. He was often looked to for scoring. Again enormous pressure on him.
The game started and was shocked at the other teams advanced skill. He wasn’t sure how the game was going to go but now he saw that it was going to be a challenge.
But he liked challenges.
He was hungry for a win.
For the first half they were able to hold up their see of the field and were able to keep out the ball to keep them from scoring. Minho worked well with his team. Yixing was defense while Suho was mid-field, which meant he interacted more with him since his position was closer to him. Yixing was good at passing it to Suho who in turn was great at passing it off to Minho. Minho had to good chances to score but their goaly was really good and blocked both shots to the whole teams disappointment.
No one scored during the first half which wasn’t bad but it wasn’t great either. He wanted to win, not tie.
He listened closely as their coach gave them words of encouragement and made up a play for them to follow during the break.
“Defenders you are doing great, just make sure you act as a strong wall to keep the other teams offense out.” Yixing nodded frantically.
“Mid-Field keep passing up to your offenders and strikers, but make it quicker. The ball has been stolen too much! Suho you have a strong kick, make sure you make a firm pass to Minho.” Suho nodded at the direction.
“Suho I want you and Minho to keep up that communication. Minho, Suho is going to give you a strong pass, pass their defense, I want you to use your speed to get pass them and get a hold of the ball and score. Their defense is getting tired, so I know you can do it. You are faster than them.” His Coach finished.
Minho nodded stiffly. He had to score.
The team got back on the field for the second half hopeful for a win.
They were doing well until more than half way through the second half the other team scored. Minho’s team looked on in horror. Now the score was 1-0!
The had less than twenty minutes to to score or to at least tie instead of loose.
“…” Minho breathed bent over when he had a second to to catch his breathe. He would be lying if he said he was really tired from the lack of proper food he had not been recieving. It definetly drained him. He looked off into the crowd and saw his friends and brother cheering for him.
He sat up straight and fixed his attitude.
They reset the field and continued playing down to the last few minutes. It was hard for Suho to give him a good pass because he couldn’t find a clear path to get it to him because the other teams mid-field was fighting back well. But once Suho found a perfect path to kick the ball near Minho and pass the defenders the play could go into action.
“MINHO RUN!” Suho screamed.
The had less than a minute on the clock, and Minho needed to score.
“GO! GO! GO!” He heard his coach scream. Minho ran pass the defense like his coach predicted. The crowd was roaring but he couldn’t hear anything pass his heart beating frantically and his heavy breathing. Once he got pass the defense he caught hold of the ball and dribbled as fast as he could to the goal leaving the other teams defenders in the dust. The goal was in perfect view.
The goal was in his stance ready but looked concerned as Minho drew nearer. Minho came closer and closer and closer…
He released his leg and kicked the ball with the best precision he could muster.
His eyes get wide as he watched the ball fly in the air.
Minho feel to his knees and cursed himself.
The timer was up and the game was over. They lost.
Minho sat over hunched on the ground. He let out a scream. How could he miss! He was so close!
Some of his team mates ran over to help him up and tell him ‘good job’.
“It’s okay Minho, we played a great game. We’ll get them next time.” Suho said grabbing his hand to help him up. They lost but the crowd still cheered for them. He felt so disappointed in himself. What a ty day.
The coach gathered them all together to give one last speech filled with words of encouragement and things the needed to work on. They didn’t play bad, the other team was just better. The coach sent him off with a back pat and a few more encouraging words of how well he did. He packed his stuff and sat on the his team bench as others grabbed their stuff getting ready to leave.
Jinki, Taemin, and Minseok ran down to the field to meet him.
“Hyung, I didn’t know you could hit that kind of speed.” Taemin said reffering to his last play.
“You did a great job. I’m sure you guys will win the next game.” Jinki reassured him.
Minseok jumped up and down and bragged about how good his big brother was and asked him to show him some moves.
Even with all this praise he still felt like . He sat with his head hanging low as he listened more praise ie from his friends. He turned around to gather the rest of his things when he heard Minseok scream “MOMMY!”.
He spun round to see Minseok in his mother arms. His mom was here! It was rare for her to catch his games these days since she worked so late. His mood improved instantly.
“Mom!” He said jogging towards her to engulf her in a hug. He was tall or his age and almost towered over his mother.
“My son!” She said squeezing him back.
“I’m sorry. I know I’m sweaty.” He said pulling back, but she pulled him back toward her.
“Minho, I’m so proud of you! You have improved so much!” She said cheerily.
“How much did you see?” He asked.
“I only saw the last twenty minutes. But from what I saw you were great son!” He smiled. This was the best part of the day.
“I haven’t spent enough time with my boys. How about I take us out to eat?” She beamed.
“Really?!” Minho and his brother said simutanously. He couldn’t remember the last time his family went out to eat.
“Mommy has been working hard, I can afford to take you out tonight. Let’s go!” She said.
Minho bid farewell to his friends and thanked them for coming.
He knew he needed to talk to his mother about what happen with Minseok today, but he didn’t want to ruin the happy atmosphere. He was sure the school would try to contact her tomorrow anyways. He didn’t want to burden his mother right now.
“Ready.” She said grabbing his hand.
“Absolutely! I’m so hungry!” He exclaimed.
Can't wait to develope Minho's story more! I love Minho's chapters, it feels refreshing!
Also I love that Minho and I love playing soccer, we were meant to be weren't we? lol
Also im supper excited to see Minho star in my favorite Webtoon comic! I was so surrpised and Happy, I love that Webtoon!
Also speacial thanks to m_eliane and DolphineWorld for the consistent comments, I always look forward to hearing from you both!
What did you guys think of this chapter? Comments? Concerns?