Characters [main]: Minseok, Baekhyun, Dania
Characters [supporting]: Luhan, Minna, Jongdae, Chanyeol, Dania’s oppa friend
Summary: Minseok has a love-hate relationship with Christmas; and with people, especially couples.
Author's Note: I haven’t written in 3 years so I hope this is actually alright. This is for my friend, Dania whom I admire dearly and appreciate very much. Thank you for reading my old story about Chan/Baek and sparking my inner writer self once more.
Minseok must be out of his mind. What the heck was he doing out on a public holiday? More like, WHY was he even out at a theme park on Christmas Day?
Minseok has always hated the crowds. He hated people, especially if people are in groups or even worse, pairs. He hated public holidays, especially if they are the dates where people go out in pairs and do cutesy couple things together. He hated people and public holidays even more, especially if they happened simultaneously and he has to be a part of it, regardless he is willing or not.
“Shit this,” He muttered under his breath.
Minseok stuffed his freezing hands into the pockets of his jacket immediately when the cold gust of wind blew against him and caught up with his friends once again. It did not take long before Minseok found himself walking behind of all his friends. Again. For the umpteenth time. This happened quite frequently whenever he is out with his group of friends. He never understood why he even agreed to tag along when he knew jolly well that his friends would bring their girlfriends out, even if they claim it to be an all-boys hang out. All the fucking time. 9 out of 10 times, it never fails to happen. He has always been the one who has to watch everything. He has always been the one who has to feel so horrible, so lonely and so empty.
“Ya, Kim Minseok. You’re a 26 year old grown-up man. Stop wallowing in self-pity,” He sniffed and wiped away the tiny beads off his cheek. His heart clenched as he rubbed his sad eyes. He had not felt this detached in ages, not ever since the day Luhan left him.
Christmas used to be Minseok’s most favourite occasion of the year. He would always anticipate the arrival of Christmas. Indeed, Christmas is the most joyous occasion and everyone is always in the spirits of giving and sharing. Also, Christmas was the day when Luhan and Minseok told each other how they truly felt for each other. Christmas 2012 was the Christmas that Minseok had learned to smile and open his heart. Christmas 2012 was the Christmas that Luhan became his Luhan; and he became Luhan's Minseok.
Christmas then became Minseok’s most detested occasion of the year. He dreaded the arrival of Christmas. To Minseok, Christmas was no longer the most joyous occasion and not everyone was about giving and sharing. Christmas 2013 was the Christmas that Minseok had lost his ability to smile, to laugh and to feel anything but melancholy. Christmas 2013 was the day when Minseok felt his heart die. That Christmas was the last Christmas that Minseok had showed any emotions.
On Christmas Eve 2013, Luhan explained to Minseok that he had to return to China to help out with his family business because his father was terribly sick and he could never return to Korea again. When Luhan left, he took Minseok’s heart with him and every single piece of the broken but beating heart with him. Minseok swore to never let himself sway or open his heart, ever again.
“Minseok-ah, are you alright?” Jongdae asked, however eyes still on his girlfriend, Jimin.
Minseok jumped a little upon hearing his name and snapped out of his self-pity mode.
“Yeah, yeah, I’m fine. Just feeling cold,” He responded with a pursed smile.
Was he really cold because it was winter, or was he cold because his heart was feeling frozen than ever?
“Feed me some, Bae-eun,” Chanyeol teased his girlfriend with his puppy eyes while tugging her sweater sleeves.
Oh god, Chanyeol is at it again… Why am I friends with this person? Minseok cringed.
Minseok made an “ergh” face and turned away from the sight of his friends, but no matter where he looked, it was the same view that he had been watching for the past 2 hours.
“Fuck Christmas. Fuck couples. Fuck theme parks.” Minseok cursed silently.
“Fuck, I’m out,” He could no longer take another moment of this, he needed a breather. He could not take another second of sights of couples holding hands, clinging onto each other while braving the cold, feeding each other food and drinks and exchanging kisses.
All these reminded him so deeply about Luhan, because these are the things that he and Luhan always did together. He hated to admit this but, he missed Luhan more than usual, especially on Christmas days.
“Oppa! Cut it out, return it back to me,” A short and chic girl exclaimd, jumping while attempting to retrieve her phone back from the tall and well-built teenage boy.
“Catch me if you can then!” The boy dashed with his head still turning back, watching the girl chased after him profusely. Not looking at where he was heading, he went crashing into Minseok who was sighing heavily, with his head down and hands still stuffed in his seemingly thick jacket.
“What the he-“ Minseok dusted his hands and got up from the unfeeling ground.
“Oh my, I’m so sorry!” The boy apologized, feeling guilty.
“Serve you right, oppa!” The girl snatched her phone back from the boy and snickered at the situation.
“Jesus, watch where you’re heading,” Minseok scoffed. He was too numb to even feel frustrated with the teenagers.
“Reasons why I hate Christmas and couples,” Minseok rolled his eyes at the teens and walked away.
“What was his problem,” Minseok overheard the girl muttered to the boy. The boy shrugged.
Minseok was unsure of what he was doing at all. He stomped back at where the teens were standing and cried, “People like you out on such places and on such occasions are my fucking problems!”
Why were hot, steaming tears rolling off his cheeks? What was he so outraged about? What made him so imprudent? Minseok was definitely not alright, he was crazy. Crazily broken and missing Luhan like crazy kind of crazy.
He could no longer hold it in and he fell onto the floor and felt himself crumbling; every single piece, one by one into the bottom of earth. He buried himself in a ball and burst into tears, sitting on the ground of the crowded theme park filled with blissful couples. The teenagers both side eyed each other and were both lost for words. They were taken aback by Minseok’s abrupt change in behaviour.
The girl then decided to sit next to Minseok and awkwardly but daringly placing an arm around him and gently rubbing his back, as if to indicate that “everything is going to be okay”. After grieving over how wrong everything had been without Luhan and how wrong basically his life had been for 15 minutes, Minseok detached his buried face from his arms and glanced at the girl. He smiled weakly at her and the girl nodded, as if to say that she acknowledged that he appreciated her kind gesture.
“Minseok! What happened? Why are your eyes so swollen? Why are you sitting on the ground? Why are you-“ Baekhyun ran up to Minseok, kneeling down and feeling his heart ached over the state of how his best friend was in. He never once noticed how haggard and torn that his best friend had been, until that Christmas. He felt like a terrible friend, he never showed enough concern to Minseok after Luhan’s departure. He was so preoccupied with his own life and so obsessed with his girlfriend that he almost completely forgot that he had a best friend who needed him so desperately, but was too afraid to reach out because he did not want to seem like a bother.
“I’m fi-“ Before Minseok could answer with his famous lie, Baekhyun threw his arms over Minseok and pulled him in for a hug. Minseok choked because he had not been hugged in so long and the embrace of his best friend felt so homely.
Everything was going to be okay… For now.
Baekhyun helped Minseok to get up from the ground, making their way towards Baekhyun’s girlfriend, Minna. Minseok released slightly from Baekhyun’s support and made a “hang on” gesture as he approached the teenagers again. He shrugged once more before taking a brief bow and a stolen glance at them, apologizing for his unexplainable behaviour and hostile attitude towards them. The boy did not flitch, he only gave an extremely brief smile while the girl took a small leap in front of Minseok, clasping both of her hands together, smiling at him.
“You look like a cute steamed bun when you cry. I mean, like your face gets kind of puffy and your cheeks have a light shade of pink on them. It’s cute, but ah… Cute steamed bun oppa, don’t cry again, okay?” She patted Minseok on the head gently, giggling.
Steamed bun? He stood frozen. Why did that sound so painfully familiar? Where did he hear it from?
Luhan used to refer Minseok as his cute little steamed bun, because he always turned red when he was around Luhan; and he thought that it was cute to have nicknames for his only. He was Luhan’s steamed bun.
Being slightly startled by her actions, Minseok snapped out of his daze and turned into a steamed bun… Again. But this time, he was not crying; he was blushing.
“I think that girl likes you,” Baekhyun nudged Minseok, trying to cheer him up.
“Yes! I think she likes you too,” Minna, joining in the tease.
“No, she’s just being sweet,” Minseok glared at the both of them.
Baekhyun and Minna laughed at his response and winked at each other, because they knew they were right; especially when Minseok started to glare at people as to hide his true feelings.
“Don’t glare at us like that! You won’t look like a cute steamed bun anymore,” Baekhyun chuckled.
“Stop it! Where are the others?” Minseok yelled, trying to change the subject.
“Ah, I don’t know. All of us decided to part ways since we weren’t paying attention to anyone else, except our girlfriends. I think Suho-hyung went to the T-express with Sumin though. She has been pestering hyung ever since we entered Everland,” Baekhyun stated.
“Then just how did you and Minna find where I was?” Minseok could not help but to roll his eyes. Friends and their girlfriends, psht.
“We heard there was a cute steamed bun that was rolling on the ground and he seemed quite lost, from somewhere,” Minna giggled.
Minseok flushed and slapped his forehead. Imagine this joke was made known to the group… He could literally forget about living through 2016 peacefully.
Despite pretending to be annoyed with the teasing, Minseok actually missed hanging out with Baekhyun. He forgot how much of a good friend Baekhyun was to him. He realized that he had neglected Baekhyun partially because he was too busy in wallowing in his own self-pity bubble; he wished that he was not so mad with the world and responded to all the chances that Baekhyun had given him to get to know Minna.
In the midst of finding their friends, Minseok bumped into the “steamed bun” girl and her boyfriend again. The “steamed bun” girl caught sight of Minseok and gave him a really huge grin, as if to say “nice to see you again”. He was surprised with her friendliness, but he sensed a type of warmth that he had not felt in the longest time ever.
After managing to gather with their lost group of friends, Minseok was once again, walking at the back. He always felt like he belonged into the background; he should not bring the mood of the group down all the time. He should stop being the jerk. So what if Luhan left? He could still be happy, even on his own. Happiness was not dependent on people, but himself. He was his own person; he should be in charge of his own emotions. People around him could only help him this much and they did not have to put up with his shit. He could almost feel his eyes swelling up again, at the sudden realization of everything, but a voice whispered “Cute steamed bun oppa, don’t cry again, okay?”
Uh, where did that come from? Am I honestly losing my mind? Minseok thought.
Regardless, he picked a bit of himself up and collected himself once again. Slowly, but surely.
“You like the girl, don’t you?” Baekhyun asked.
“No, I don’t. I just have a good impression of her. She seems lovely and is very compassionate, and she has a boyfriend,” Minseok replied, trying to stay composed.
“Go and talk to her. Just treat it as making new friends. I mean, you’ve already bumped into her twice, it means something” Baekhyun urged.
Minseok raised an eyebrow. Just because his best friend had a girlfriend, that did not mean that he could dictate on his love life and be a love guru.
“Let’s make this Christmas fun, shall we, Minseok? If you see that girl again, I wan- Okay no, I dare you to go up to her and ask for her name and maybe, her number as well,” Baekhyun challenged him.
“What if I refuse to participate in your stupid dare?”
“Then obviously, you’ve to do forfeit. You’ve to do my chores for me, that also include buying Minna food and gifts when she’s busy with school and when I’m busy with work, for a week” Baekhyun beamed. He was excited at the idea of Minseok being not only his best friend, but his best runner.
“And what if I actually succeeded in doing whatever you want me to do?”
“Then, I’ll buy you fried chicken and beer every weekend for a month,” Baekhyun offered, expecting Minseok to not agree to his dare because he had always been soft-spoken.
“Fine, I accept your challenge,” Minseok’s reply made Baekhyun’s eyes dropped but then, glowed. He evidently did not mind buying his best friend food and beer, because that was the least he could do to cheer him up. What he wanted most was to see his best friend smile again, like how he always did when he saw his favourite food; when he saw his favourite actress; when he saw Luhan; when he saw that girl previously.
“Minseok! Here’s your chance, go for it,” Baekhyun elbowed him hard in his chest, making him yelp.
Baekhyun pointed at the ice-cream stand and Minseok’s eyes followed. There she was, sitting alone next to the ice-cream stand, glancing at her phone.
“I told you, third time is a blessing and also, fate,” Baekhyun reminded, feeling thrilled.
Rolling his eyes, Minseok tried to keep his cool. Was he really going to do this? Slowly, taking steps away from his supposedly comfort zone and making his way towards the ice-cream stand, he could almost felt a gazillion pairs of eyes staring at him from afar and cheering for him.
“Dammit, Byun Baekhyun. I thought it was between us,” Everyone in the group of friends were whistling and clapping. By everyone, they were both his male friends and their girlfriends and they were all being utter embarrassment for Minseok. This made him wanted to bury himself into a hole further. Could he just turn back and be Baekhyun’s man slave for a week?
“Hey,” Minseok finally mustered up his courage and spoke his first word.
“Hey, steamed bun oppa!” The girl got up from her seat, delightfully.
“So, I see that you’re not crying anymore! That’s great! I hope you feel better now,” The girl smiled widely at him. Minseok could not help but to smile to himself. It was such a mesmerizing smile and he had not seen one like that for far too long.
“Yeah, I’m not crying anymore,” Minseok placed a hand behind his head and smiled sheepishly.
“Well, I came to say thank you for whatever had happened earlier. I appreciated it. You didn’t have to sit with me and comfort me, while everyone was giving me skeptical glances… and with your boyfriend, judging us. I hope he isn’t mad with you,” Minseok explained. He was amazed that he managed to get so much out when he was feeling anxious and embarrassed; but mostly embarrassed and shy.
“Boyfriend? Ah! That oppa? He’s not my boyfriend! He’s my good friend,” She clarified clearly, wanting to clear up the misunderstanding. It sounded as though she was shy about the boy being her significant other.
Did Minseok hear her wrongly? Not her boyfriend?
Minseok then felt a cold tinge on his skin.
“Here, this is for you! I saw that it was a pretty flower shaped ice-cream and it kind of resembled a sweet-looking girl like you,” He handed her the half-melted ice-cream. He was burning up so much that he almost forgot that he had an ice-cream in his hands, which was surprisingly melting in the cold winter.
“Oh, thank you,” She brushed her silky auburn hair behind her ear and smiled sheepishly at him.
“You’re welcome. I’m Minseok, by the way” He introduced himself, reaching his dirty hand out.
“I’m Dania,” She scanned his hand and hesitated.
“Oh shit, sorry,” Minseok changed and reached out his clean hand. He was flushing again.
“You’re becoming a steamed bun again, Minseok oppa,” Dania giggled.
As they shook hands, an echoing roar and loud murmurings could be heard. Needless to say, it was that group of annoying people, also known as Minseok’s best friends.
“So um… Dania, do you want to come hang out with u- I mean, me?” Minseok asked, almost regretting his life choices because why would anyone want to leave with someone like him? He could be crying one second and probably, being all nice the next. So bipolar, Minseok would not even want to hang out with himself.
“Sure, why not?”
Minseok felt a surge inside of him. It was the kind of surge that he used to get when he was with Luhan. It was the surge that made him feel alive. He felt like he could live again. He then figured out that he did not hate Christmas; nor he hated couples; he just hated to be lonely and all empty. Most importantly, his heart was never made of stone; it was just waiting for someone to break the solid ice surrounding the delicate heart.
“Christmas isn’t that bad after all,” Minseok finally led out a smile that came right from the bottom of his heart.
Christmas 2015, Minseok learned to be his own person once again.
Christmas 2015, everything was honestly going to be okay for Minseok once again.
- [ONE-SHOT] Christmas