16. Punishment

Boy Next Door [ Hiatus ]
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Kris wakes me up early so we can talk before school. Also as punishment, I assume. I’ve only had three hours of sleep.

As I’m getting dressed, I peek through my curtains and discover that Chanyeol has left his open. His usual leather satchel and laundry bag are gone. There’s a pang in the hollow of my chest.

I drag myself downstairs. Suho is awake—he’s never awake this early—and he’s making scrambled eggs. Kris is checking his email at the table in one of his nicest suits. There’s no sign of Yoona. She’s probably on the foldout couch in Kris’s office.

“Here.” Suho slides a mug of coffee toward me. He doesn’t approve of me drinking coffee, so this is serious. We take seats beside Kris, and he sets aside his phone.

“Miso, we understand why you left last night,” he says. I’m shocked and also relieved. Kris continues, “But it doesn’t excuse your behavior. You scared us to death.”

Now that sounds about right. The lecture I’d expected follows. It’s painful, it’s extensive, and it ends with me receiving a month of grounding. They don’t believe me when I tell them I didn’t smoke the pot, which they know was Minseok’s, and I can’t convince them otherwise on either point. I get a lengthy side lecture about the hazards of drug use, to which I could just as easily point to the closed office door and say, “Duh.” But I don’t.

My walk to school is long, my day at school even longer. Mirae tries to entertain me with stories about the twitchy man her parents hired to help in the restaurant. She’s convinced he has a dark secret like a hidden identity or the knowledge of a government cover-up. But all I can think about is tonight. I don’t have work. I don’t have a date with Minseok, and I won’t have one apart from Sunday brunch—if he’ll even show up anymore—for another month.

And . . . no Chanyeol.

At least the next month will give me plenty of time to work on my dress. The thought doesn’t cheer me. The stays are progressing faster than expected, but the panniers are frustrating. I still can’t find any satisfying instructions. I spend my afternoon doing homework, chatting online with Mirae. Yoona is talking with Suho in the kitchen. They picked up her things today, and the boxes have covered Kris’s antiques and taken over our entire living room. The cardboard smells like incense and grime. Yoona’s voice is weary, and I wince and turn up my music. I still haven’t seen her. I’ll have to soon, but I’m putting it off as long as possible. Until dinner, I guess.

The doorbell rings at six-thirty. I pause—my pliers on the wire, my ears perked. Chanyeol? But then I hear Minseok’s deep and gravelly voice. My pliers drop, and I’m skidding downstairs. There’s no way, there’s no way, there’s no way.

Except . . . there he is. He’s even abandoned his usual black T-shirt for a striped button-up. His tattoos poke out of the bottom of his sleeves. And he’s wearing his glasses, of course.

“Minseok,” I say. He smiles at me.

“Hey.” Suho looks as surprised as I feel. He’s clueless about what to do next. I throw my arms around Minseok. He hugs me back tightly but pulls away after only a moment.

“Wanted to make sure you’re surviving,” he whispers. I squeeze his hand and don’t let go. I had no idea how much I needed to see him again, to know everything is okay between us. I’m not sure why I thought things would be different, other than last night felt different.

He’s apologizing to my father. I know it must be killing him to do this. He states his words calmly and briefly.

“Thank you for saying that, Minseok.” Suho hesitates, despising what he knows has to come next. “Won’t you stay for dinner?”

“Thank you. I’d love to.” Minseok knew my parents would be out to get him, and he’s called them on it by showing up tonight. He’s so smart.

“So you’re the boyfriend.” Minseok, Suho, and I grow rigid as Yoona leans against the door frame bet

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love-live_life
Hey guys how are you all?
I am really sorry for not updating the story for so long. Quite a few things happened at that time. I was tired, distressed. I left everything that ever made me happy. But i am gonna start this again.
Thank you for staying and hoping you are still interested.
- Lia
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